Collection of the Best Fishing Shoes in 2022 (Boat, Wade & Water Shoes)

Many anglers would argue that a successful fishing load out starts with your feet.

Why?

Because if your feet are happy, you’ll be happy. You’ll be comfortable and well-prepared for a day on the water, and you can focus on catching more fish.

With that in mind, I’ve put together this collection of the best fishing shoes in 2022, so you can start out on the right foot.

Ready?

Walk this way.

The Best Fishing Shoes – At a Glance

Before I bombard you with a dozen or so reviews, it’s important to arm yourself with a bit of knowledge, so you know what to look for as you read through.

Try to bear in mind the following features and factors:

  • The type of shoe – “fishing shoe” is a loose, umbrella term that covers a lot of shoe types. Be sure you know what kind you’re looking for. In this review, we generally cover boat/water shoes.
  • Sizing – very important, and variations can occur depending on the shoe and manufacturer.
  • Weather and conditions – where do you most commonly fish? What are the weather/terrain conditions? Are your chosen shoes suitable for all of the above?
  • Grip – water = slippery surfaces. Soles with good lug are highly recommended.
  • Materials and durability – look for sturdy, long-lasting products that can take a beating.
  • Overall comfort – read the reviews, check the comments. What makes these shoes more comfortable than any others – and would they work for you?
  • Aesthetic – color, design, style – how a shoe looks is an important factor to many anglers.
  • Cost – Budget always has a part to play, and the very best fishing shoes can be pricey.

Of course, this guide is not exhaustive, and there might be other features you look for when it comes to fishing shoes. So, add “personal preference” at the end.

And since you might be in a rush, I thought I’d help even further by including my top three favorite fishing shoes, so you can quickly see what I think deserves your attention.

Do you agree with my picks? Check them out, below.

In what I felt was a very tough battle, it was difficult to make a decision. I think many of these shoes can lay claim to the best boat shoes for fishing, but I’ve chosen the Huk Mahi as my favorite.

Arguably the best all-round shoe, they’ve got the support, grip, and style for all kinds of conditions, whether you’re on the boat or shore. And they also come in at a great price point.

A close second would be Merrell’s All Out Blaze, thanks to how highly rated they are, their comfortable, snug-like fit, and added toe protection.

Finally, I love the Sperry Top-Siders Sea Kite, but I think the Columbia Bahama Vent Loco II just edges it – thanks to the price, comfort, and lightweight feel.

And if you’re looking for something a little more heavy-duty, then you can’t go wrong with the Simms Challenger mid-deck fishing shoe.

Keep reading for more of the best fishing boat shoes, and see if you agree with my choices.

TOP 11 Best Fishing Shoes in 2022

Huk Mahi Lace Up Fishing Shoe

Huk Mahi Lace Up Fishing Shoe

Huk are no strangers to making iconic, quality fishing apparel, and their logo is famous within the community and beyond.

I personally think the Mahi lace up is a beautiful fishing shoe, simple, rugged, with stylish, clean lines matched with its durable practicality.

The toe and heel are reinforced with lightweight TPU protection, and the rapid-drying mesh upper will keep you comfortable all day long.

And as they feature HUK slice traction on the sole, you can be sure you’re not going anywhere you don’t want to with these awesome fishing shoes.

Pros

  • Attractive, stylish design.
  • Affordable price point.
  • Very comfortable.
  • Super lightweight.
  • Excellent grip.
  • Heel pull tab.

Cons

  • None to speak of.

Takeaway

Probably one of the most comfortable fishing shoes out there – and you don’t even need to try them on to know that!

This has been designed and manufactured by anglers for anglers – and as a result of a lot of feedback from the community. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better fishing shoe – particularly at this price point.

Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoes

As far as quality, affordable outdoor shoes go, Merrell has been steadily making waves over the past decade or so (although they were founded back in 1981 in the US).

Any number of shoes in their vast range might be suitable as fishing footwear, but I’ve gone for the All Out Blaze water shoe.

Made with a full grain leather upper, they’re lightweight and breathable, with a neoprene stretch collar for easy on and off.

The protective toe cap is reassuring, and it has a removable, contoured insert for flexible support and day-long comfort.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • Very highly rated.
  • Integrated lacing system.
  • Comfortable, glove-like fit.
  • Versatile use.

Cons

  • Reports that the grip could be better.

Takeaway

An excellent, all-round, general purpose water shoe that is ideal for fishing, Merrell’s All Out Blaze footwear is one of the most practical and comfortable options around.

Columbia PFG Bahama Vent Loco II Fishing Shoes

Columbia PFG Bahama Vent Loco II Fishing Shoes

Just about every fishing review website includes this option from Columbia at some point (or a version of them), and who am I to break with such a tradition?

I’m also including them because I actually own a pair, and I use them most for kayaking and kayak fishing. And for more potential fishing shoe choices, check out this review on the best kayak fishing shoes on the market.

The Columbia PFG Bahama Vent Loco fishing shoe might not roll easily off the tongue, but the slip-on style and lightweight feel ensures easy, relaxed use, and long-lasting comfort.

The grip has been designed to be reliable on even the most slippy of surfaces, while midsole ports drain water and encourage airflow.

And there’s a nice choice of smart colors, including a design with fish on it.

Pros

  • Highly rated and popular.
  • Stylish and practical.
  • Durable canvas uppers.
  • Comfortable, easy-on design.

Cons

  • They have been known to take some breaking in.

Takeaway

An excellent boat and fishing shoe from the outdoor clothing specialists, this is a great option just as much for days at the beach as it is for days on the deck.

Simms Challenger Mid Deck Shoes

Simms Challenger Mid Deck Shoes

When it comes to quality fishing gear and apparel, Simms needs little introduction, and they’re up there with the best in the business. Just check out this article on the best wading jackets for more examples.

The Challenger mid-deck shoe is as tough as they come, a fully waterproof – yet breathable – option that has a confidence-breeding non-slip grip on the sole.

Inside, the molded arch support and heel cup can keep you on your feet all day, and the anti-microbial treatment keeps odors at bay.

The low-profile lacing design minimizes line catch, and it’s made with abrasion-resistant materials to keep it looking every bit as good as it feels.

Pros

  • Market leading brand.
  • World-class build quality and materials.
  • Highly durable and long-lasting.
  • Reinforced wear areas.
  • Lightweight yet sturdy.
  • Special rubber grip pods for extra traction.

Cons

  • On the more expensive side.
  • Not everyone will enjoy the boot style.
  • Reports that they run small – be sure to adjust accordingly.

Takeaway

I’ve yet to see a Simms product that I didn’t like, and these Challenger deck shoes are no exception. Top quality through and through, but the price tag might turn infrequent, casual anglers away.

Sperry Top-Sider Sea Kite Boat Shoes

Sperry Top-Sider Sea Kite Boat Shoes

Sperry is an iconic brand when it comes to men’s footwear, and they make some of the best boat shoes and loafers in the business. Just ask James Bond!

The Top-Sider Sea Kite is a more rugged “outdoor” version of their more familiar smart-casual offerings, made with a durable mesh and leather upper, with a fully removable, compression molded EVA footbed.

The outsole has been specially designed to disperse water underfoot, so you can be sure of the very best traction and grip when walking on deck, making the Sea Kite some of the best shoes for fishing on a boat there is.

And not only that, but they wouldn’t look out of place for exploring the city, walking the beach, or even just for everyday wear.

Pros

  • Iconic brand.
  • Super-stylish design.
  • Rugged and durable.
  • Excellent grip.
  • Versatile use.
  • Highly rated.

Cons

  • On the more expensive side of fishing shoes.

Takeaway

Sperry can boast a large, dedicated following of customers – some of whom have been with them for years – and for good reason. They produce top-quality footwear that is stylish and functional, and the Sea Kite is a great example of that.

Grundens Seaknit Boat Shoe

Grundens Seaknit Boat Shoe

Check availability, reviews and price

From the Sea Kite to the Seaknit, European company Grundens might not be a household name like Sperry, but then – not all of us are sport and commercial fisherman.

For nearly 100 years, they’ve created clothing and footwear to protect anglers, and they make world-class apparel that helps to keep the elements at bay.

This particular boat shoe has been worn by MLF Tournament winners, and has been designed to be water-friendly, super-lightweight, and grippy on all surfaces.

Available in a cool choice of colors, the Seaknit is a performance sneaker for on-deck fishing action.

Pros

  • Highly rated in the community.
  • Lightweight.
  • Quick-drying.
  • Comfortable, day-long wear.
  • Moisture-wicking design.
  • Tournament ready.

Cons

  • Pricey.

Takeaway

If it’s good enough for MLF sport anglers, then it’s good enough for me and you too! The Seaknit is one of the best shoes for fishing out there – particularly if you’re into the competitive side of the sport.

Columbia PFG Tamiami Fishing Shoes

Another Columbia entry, their Tamiami fishing shoes are also part of their PFG (Performance Fishing Gear) range; an extensive collection of clothing and footwear that are designed to offer you the best protection when you’re on or near the water.

Featuring a mesh upper with durable synthetic overlays, a super-light midsole, and a high-energy return, these shoes can be worn all day while minimizing fatigue.

The non-marking outsole has razor sniping for improved grip, while the midsole vents provide ventilation and cooling. Stylish fishing shoe that will get the job done.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • Simple, effective design.
  • Heel pull tabs.
  • Responsive cushioning.
  • Water and stain resistant.

Cons

  • Reports that they can be a little tight – double-check your sizing.

Takeaway

When it comes to outdoor gear, Columbia rarely makes a misstep, and the PFG Tamiami fishing shoes are perfect evidence of that. A great all-round option that does exactly what they were intended for.

Just remember that they’re boat shoes and not designed to be waterproof – as some reviewers seem to be a little confused!

Rugged Shark Bass Rigger Water Shoes

Rugged Shark Bass Rigger Water Shoes

Made with premium hand-sewn nubuck leather uppers, these Rigger water shoes from Rugged Shark are as tough as they are comfortable.

The padded collar keeps your feet cozy and supported, while the wrap-around lacing system improves stability.

Inside, the double-knit liners and quick-dry nylon mesh feel comfortable – even against bare feet – and there’s a removable, odor-eating footbed to help keep the footwear fresh.

This is a great shoe for anyone looking for something that’s a little more heavy-duty, as it’s versatile for use when you’re away from the boat, including for hiking and camping.

Pros

  • Rugged and durable construction.
  • Shark Grip rubber high-traction non-marking outsoles.
  • CMEVA midsoles for extra support.
  • Wrap-around lacing.
  • Odor-control footbeds.

Cons

  • Water drainage isn’t the best.

Takeaway

A quality boat shoe that comes into its own when you’re hiking to your favorite fishing spot, this is a rugged offering from Rugged Shark that boasts plenty of comfort, protection, and grip.

DLGJPA Aqua Water Shoes

If you’re really on a budget, then these water shoes from DLGJPA might be right up your street.

They come very highly rated, and are perfect for almost any activity that requires being around water.

Designed to be super-quick to dry, they’re very lightweight, breathable, and with an easy-to-adjust elastic toggle strap that ensures you don’t need to fuss around tying laces.

A highly versatile option, they come in a wide selection of colors, with an anti-slip rubber sole that will give you peace-of-mind on a wet deck.

Pros

  • Excellent price point.
  • Very highly rated.
  • Pull tabs.
  • Quick-dry and breathable.
  • Great choice of colors.

Cons

  • Not the best protection for rocks.

Takeaway

A great budget-friendly water shoe that’s ideal for use on deck, around the pool, and on the beach. I might look elsewhere if you’re shore fishing, however, and/or if you have to hike any distance to your fishing spot.

Oboz Sawtooth X Low Hiking Shoes

Oboz Sawtooth X Low Waterproof Hiking Shoes

Of the thousands of hiking shoes I could have picked for inclusion in this review, I’ve gone for this option from Oboz.

That’s mainly for two reasons – the first of which is I’ve owned these shoes before, and they’re extremely comfortable. The second is that Oboz manufactures quality footwear using recycled materials.

Extremely durable and long-lasting, they’re water-resistant, with an oiled nubuck leather upper with CORDURA fabric mesh.

These shoes will keep you dry and comfortable as long as you’re out there, as the adaptive cushioning technology and TPU heel counters ensures you won’t feel like you’ve been on your feet all day – even if you have.

Pros

  • Very comfortable.
  • Lightweight and breathable.
  • Nylon shanks for protection and traction.
  • Green, ethical company.

Cons

  • Not fully waterproof.

Takeaway

Perfect for bank fishing, hiking, camping, or any number of other outdoor activities, the Sawtooth X from Oboz are also environmentally friendly. And we could all do with a bit more of that these days.

Shimano Evair Marine Fishing Shoes

Shimano Evair Marine Fishing Shoes

The Japanese company might be more synonymous with making world-class fishing rods and reels, but they’ve got a few tricks up their sleeves when it comes to footwear, too.

These Evair marine/fishing shoes have been designed with the same meticulous attention to detail that befits one of the best fishing brands in the world, and is certainly a step up from using other sandals-type substitutes (I’m looking at you, CROCS).

At less than nine ounces per shoe, they are super lightweight, with an ergonomic arch design to prevent fatigue, and a non-marking, grippy outsole perfect for being on deck.

And there’s a removable waterproof inner sole for easy cleaning and maintenance, so they don’t stink the place up after use.

Pros

  • Name to trust in fishing.
  • Made with waterproof materials.
  • One-piece EVA mold.
  • Excellent shock-absorption.
  • Choice of colors.
  • Versatile use.

Cons

  • The sandal design might not be for everyone.

Takeaway

While some people successfully wear CROCS for fishing excursions, I personally need something a little more stylish, comfortable, and practical. That’s why I think Shimano’s Evair are up there with the best fishing sandals on the market.

How to Choose the Right Fishing Shoes – A Buyer’s Guide

At the top of this article, I highlighted the most important features and factors to consider when shopping for a new pair of quality fishing shoes.

Now let’s take a look at each in more detail in our buyer’s guide.

An FAQ section will follow to mop up anything we may have missed.

man rowing small boat on the lake

Why do You Need Fishing Shoes?

Fishing can be an expensive pastime. Rods, reels, clothing, tackle, bait, a boat…

…it all adds up.

So why can’t you just use any old shoe from your closet when you go fishing?

There’s no real reason why you can’t – but a dedicated fishing shoe is going to offer so much more than your average sneaker.

When it comes to fishing shoes, they typically have three main advantages over other types of footwear:

  • Superior grip – for slippery decks and rocks.
  • Day-long comfort – for when you’re on your feet for hours.
  • Quick-drying designs that won’t keep your feet saturated and miserable.

Fishing shoes can also offer you extra protection if they have reinforced toe and heel areas, as well as additional support through the foot arch to help combat fatigue.

So, if you’re angling with any kind of regularity – particularly on boats or in slippery conditions – you will almost certainly benefit from having a dedicated fishing shoe, compared with a more traditional sneaker.

But what, exactly, is a fishing shoe?

fly fishing wading boots close up

Type of Fishing Shoe

As I previously mentioned, the term “fishing shoe” can cover a broad variety of footwear.

Water shoes, deck boots, hiking boots, wading shoes, rubber boots, hiking shoes, wading boots, deck shoes, sneakers, rubber booties…

They can all be called “fishing shoes.”

Basically, it could mean anything you can comfortably wear on your feet for a fishing trip.

For the purposes of this article, however, I’ve been focusing more on shoes that you wear onboard a boat, on a kayak, or on and around a dock.

Some of these shoes are also useful for shore fishing – particularly in areas where you know you’re going to get wet.

With one or two exceptions, you won’t find hiking boots, rubber boots, or wading footwear – although they can all come under the umbrella of “fishing shoe.”

So, when it comes to style and type – what are your options?

Do you want a shoe that’s been specifically designed for wearing on deck?

Perhaps you want something that is more suitable for going into the water?

Maybe you want a fishing shoe that is highly versatile, and can be worn away from the action?

Do you prefer a closed shoe, or something that’s more open – such as a fishing sandal?

How about a well-rounded option that’s a combination of each?

It’s these factors you’ll have to take into consideration when choosing the right type of fishing shoe for your needs.

man fishing in the morning fog from boat in calm river

Sizing

Many of these fishing shoes are designed to be worn without socks.

After all, there’s very little worse than having to spend a day with soaking wet socks after you’ve plunged a foot into the water.

As such, you should take care when choosing your sizing if you’re wearing the shoe with bare feet.

It’s not necessarily one size fits all, as some deck and fishing shoes can run small, while others run large.

Read the reviews, find out if a shoe is true to size, and if not – find out what someone with your shoe size should choose instead.

Together, we can all save on unnecessary returns and negative feedback!

Weather and Conditions

The type of fishing shoe you end up going for may also depend on environmental factors.

The “where” the “when” and the “what” of fishing garment selection.

Where are you fishing? What are the conditions? Are you on a boat or the shore? Is it going to be lashing with rain, or blisteringly hot sunshine with clear skies?

Remember, your feet can be a prime target for UV rays if they’re not protected – and having a shoe that covers the whole foot is preferable if the sun is raging that particular day on the water.

Choose fully waterproof shoes if you don’t want your feet to get wet at all in damp, and/or cold conditions.

And while we’re talking about UV rays, don’t forget to pick up an awesome fishing hat to keep your head protected!

fisherman boat on the water in calm moody weather

Grip

Perhaps the most significant difference fishing shoes have over other footwear is how much grip they offer.

Water or deck shoes have been specifically designed to stand up (literally) in slippy, wet conditions – either on boat and kayak decks, docks, jetties and piers, and/or rocky shorelines and treacherous terrain.

If your chosen fishing shoe has anything less than the best possible grip and lug, then perhaps you should be looking elsewhere.

Some fishing shoe manufacturers pull out all the stops to make sure their product is the most anti-slip footwear on the market, incorporating special designs, and patented technologies to improve traction.

All with the goal of preventing you from falling on your ass.

That’s quite nice of them, isn’t it?

Speaking of grip, it’s also a good idea to have some extra help on your hands when you’re enjoying a fishing adventure. Check out this review of the best fishing gloves available.

Materials and Durability

Of all the clothing and garments we humans wear, it is perhaps our shoes that take the most beating.

Especially when it comes to harsh environments and challenging conditions – such as saltwater fishing trips during a freak rainstorm.

Fishing footwear needs to be as tough and durable as they come, and their materials and construction also need to be top-drawer.

From the stitching to the laces, the eyelets to the midsoles, the uppers to the outsoles – and everything in between, these shoes should be built to stand up to the rigors of fishing in the great outdoors.

fisherman on inflatable fishing kayak with fishing tackle

Overall Comfort

One of the most important aspects when it comes to choosing any kind of shoe is how comfortable it’s actually going to be to wear.

This is especially true for shoes that you’ll be in all day, in potentially harsh conditions, taking some serious punishment.

Water and clothing often don’t mix well, and damp or soaking wet feet wedged into inadequate footwear can be a horror show.

Blisters, sores, chafing…it can be agonizing.

That’s why you need to make sure your boat shoes are quick-drying, super comfortable, and they feel good against your skin.

For the most part, you’re not going to be wearing socks with boat shoes, so they need to mold to your feet, without the risk of causing any skin damage.

But without trying them all on, it can be hard to figure out the most comfortable shoe for you.

Here are some top tips on finding your comfort zone:

  • Check reviews from anglers who are a similar size to you.
  • Check reviews from anglers who fish in similar locations.
  • Remember that you can return shoes easily – without the need to write negative reviews.

It might come down to a bit of trial and error before you find the perfect fishing shoe for your needs.

Top tip – for some additional comfort on your trip, you might want to take a look at these awesome fishing backpacks – which can help you transport your tackle and gear with ease.

Aesthetic

We anglers know that fishing is a lifestyle, and style is part of that life. Many anglers want to look good out on the water – just check any number of YouTube fishing videos for proof!

As such, the best fishing shoes for you will be as cool looking as they are practical and durable.

Again, this will come down to personal preference, as my style is likely to be different from yours.

And when it comes to looks, I think the Sperry Top-Loader Sea Kite is hands down the best looking fishing shoe in this review.

That said, I think all the fishing shoes look pretty sharp, and any one of them could be smartly paired with any of the best fishing rain jackets from this collection.

Designing your apparel load out is almost as much fun as catching fish!

Cost

Lightweight fishing shoes for use on deck generally won’t break the bank, although some are clearly more expensive than others.

I always say buy the best you can afford, in relation to how much you’re going to wear them.

Buying cheap fishing shoes might save you a couple of bucks up front, but if they fail after one or two trips, then that’s not only wasteful, but you’ll be spending even more to purchase what you should have bought the first time!

fisherman fishing from boat in lake

FAQs

What shoes should I wear for fishing?

Any of the shoes in this review are more than suitable for fishing. In order to better answer the question, I would need to know where, when, and how you’re fishing.

As a rule of thumb, I would choose footwear that offers a good degree of protection, is either quick to dry or waterproof (depending on the conditions), and has nothing less than excellent traction.

The shoes in this review are generally designed for use on boats, but if you’re looking for something a bit more heavy-duty, then check out this article on the best fishing boots on the market.

What are fishing shoes called?

Fishing shoes don’t have a specific name.

Waders aren’t shoes – they’re a garment you use with wading boots that keep you protected when you’re in the water. Like these awesome fly fishing waders, for example.

Deck shoes and water shoes can both be used as fishing shoes – and their names are often interchangeable.

Do you wear socks with fishing deck shoes?

You can, but I generally wouldn’t advise it.

It really depends on the style of shoe you’re wearing. I’d wear socks with the Simms mid-deck shoes, or with fishing boots, but not with the Columbia Bahama Vent II, for example.

It will most likely come down to personal preference, but remember – most boat shoes are designed to be super-quick drying, so your feet are not soaking wet all day.

That is going to change if you’re wearing socks.

What shoes do pro fishermen wear?

Pro anglers wear a variety of different brands, including Simms, Merrell, Sperry, Colombia, Huk, and Grundens. More mainstream sport brands like Nike and Adidas are also popular.

Who makes the best fishing shoes?

While many of the brands in this review could lay claim to the title (and it nearly always comes down to personal preference and/or brand loyalty) I would say it’s between HUK, Simms, and Sperry.

But Colombia and Grundens could easily be on that list, plus any number of brands making excellent hiking shoes that can just as well be worn for fishing.

What shoes should I wear for offshore fishing?

Offshore and deep sea fishing is one of the most challenging yet thrilling aspects of the sport – so you need to be 100% prepared for anything.

As such, I recommend you steer clear of fishing sandals, and go with a shoe that offers more protection, and the best possible grip you can find.

I’d also encourage taking a back-up pair of comfortable shoes for getting to and from the fishing spot – or if one set happens to be compromised in any way.

Can you wear sneakers on a fishing boat?

Yes, you can – and many sport anglers and casual fisher people do just wear a normal pair of sneakers.

However, they’re not designed to be quick-drying, nor are they going to have the best possible grip for a wet, slippery deck.

That’s where the best boat shoes for fishing will really come into their own. If you’re regularly fishing from a boat, I highly recommend you purchase a dedicated boat shoe.

Summary

I hope this review and guide to the best fishing shoes in 2022 has helped you make the right choice for your angling needs.

Let me know which option you’ve gone for any why – or if you think I’ve missed an obvious boat shoe that deserves to be here.

Stay safe out there, tight lines, and happy fishing!

Bob Hoffmann

The author of this post is Bob Hoffmann. Bob has spend most of his childhood fishing with his father and now share all his knowledge with other anglers. Feel free to leave a comment below.

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