Many anglers would argue that a successful fishing load out starts with your feet.
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 2023, so you can start out on the right foot.
Walk this way.
Table of Contents
- The Best Fishing Shoes – At a Glance
- TOP 11 Best Fishing Shoes in 2023
- Huk Mahi Lace Up Fishing Shoe
- Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoes
- Columbia PFG Bahama Vent Loco II Fishing Shoes
- Simms Challenger Mid Deck Shoes
- Sperry Top-Sider Sea Kite Boat Shoes
- Grundens Seaknit Boat Shoe
- Columbia PFG Tamiami Fishing Shoes
- Rugged Shark Bass Rigger Water Shoes
- DLGJPA Aqua Water Shoes
- Oboz Sawtooth X Low Hiking Shoes
- Shimano Evair Marine Fishing Shoes
- How to Choose the Right Fishing Shoes – A Buyer’s Guide
Disclosure: At BonfireBob, we recommend products based on unbiased research, however, BonfireBob.com is reader-supported and as an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases if you shop through the links on this page. For more information, see disclosure here.
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.
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 2023
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
I hope this review and guide to the best fishing shoes in 2023 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!