We all know that sturdy and suitable footwear is essential to enjoying a day on the water.
Get it wrong and you’re going to be frustrated.
I want to help you pick the right shoes. In this article, we are going to look at the best fishing shoes in 2021, and give you some key ideas of what to look for depending on what fishing discipline you are undertaking.
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.
If you like standing in the water in slightly warmer climates then you will need something comfortable that is also really great to protect your feet.
Well, I’ve got something for you.
Body glove water shoes mix a range of concepts to produce the perfect solution. They are really lightweight, and as shoes go will probably be the most ergonomic you will see.
Want to know why?
For a start the areas of your feet which you use for balance (your two largest toes) are separately articulated from the rest, it’s almost like walking barefoot, without having to worry about anything sharp under the water.
You needn’t fret about them becoming full with water either. The integrated drainage system allows water to depart from your feet almost immediately, further maximizing weight saving with each step.
There’s more, keep reading…
One thing you definitely want when you are stood on anything wet is the grip. These cool shoes have a rubber sole that guarantees traction. Furthermore, the incorporated top strap ensures that they hug your feet permanently, making them some of the most comfortable fishing shoes I have seen.
Reward: The most versatile fishing shoes that we have seen
An ultra-unique design makes them ideal for many scenarios.
A lightweight structure and reduced water holding helps to avoid your legs and ankles feeling fatigued.
If used extensively the Velcro top strap may begin to be less effective, that said drawstring and laced versions are also available.
These fishing shoes are that good that you can put them on at the start of the day, then forget about them as they basically become an integral part of your foot. If you are going to be fishing hard, these are a great selection.
You’ll have no doubt seen Crocs before? They make an ideal fishing shoe, especially in warmer more tropical waters. The way they work is super simple.
How do they work?
You put them on your feet, and they are protected, that’s it. There is no magic to Crocs. The rubber is thick enough to protect your feet and is obviously immune to corrosion.
Whilst they look basic on the outside, the inside is cushioned with a thick layer of soft croslite foam which makes them surprisingly comfortable.
You’ll also notice that they are perforated, this is perfect for allowing water or sand and muck to drain out of the shoes really quickly.
A final note…
They offer slightly more than regular Crocs. The rubber top strap ensures that they stay firmly fixed to your feet. However, in the unlikely event that one came off in the water, you’ll be pleased to know that they float!
Reward: The best mid-range fishing shoe for summer
Simple and effective.
When rubber and sand mixes it can sometimes be difficult to get rid of, leading to rubbing. Providing you are only walking short distances, however, this shouldn’t be an issue.
Crocs have grown in popularity for a reason, they are super comfortable. For a short-range shoe that is useful on the shore or on a boat, you won’t go wrong with this choice.
If you are going to be fishing in an area where there are very sharp underwater features or have to walk a considerable distance to get to the best spot you might want something a little more hardwearing and sturdier.
These shoes are it.
Substantial doesn’t have to mean heavy. These shoes are constructed from a mixture of tough rubber and lightweight mesh to provide the ultimate solution in subsurface standing. They also keep your feet cool when you are not stood in the water.
They dry really quickly meaning that the walk to and from your day of sport will be comfortable.
But it isn’t all about comfort…
You will need a good grip on the bottom, otherwise what’s the point? These durable shoes feature an anti-slip sole which will work in either direction, so if you are stood on an incline you don’t have to think about sliding forward unintentionally.
Reward: The best water shoes for fishing, especially if you are looking for a good all-rounder.
These shoes are the best of both worlds. As breathable and as light as the best fishing sandals, but with more protection.
The non-slip sole is tremendously grippy and will ensure that you have firm footing on almost any surface.
Whilst the elasticated laces are a good idea they may eventually succumb to fatigue, leading to a looser fit.
You could actually walk all day in these shoes with no discomfort. The fact that you can fish in them as well means they are a really great purchase for warm summer days.
If you liked the look of the Crocs but felt that they were not substantial enough, I’ve got something for you. What if I was to tell you, that you can get the best of Crocs and the best of sneakers all in one package.
Here it is.
In these great quality fishing shoes, you will find all of the things that make Crocs a good choice. Firstly, they are durable and pretty much bulletproof when it comes to getting wet. And you gain extra protection for the top of your feet with the synthetic Matlite upper.
You’ll be looking for comfort, and these fishing shoes have it in abundance. The Literide foam insoles give a small spring to your step. If you are going to walk for a considerable distance then the comfier the better.
If you are a fashion-conscious angler, they are available in a range of different colors, you can pick a darker color that won’t show the dirt quite as much!
The heavily textured sole grips will be really good for ensuring sure footing whether you are stood on the deck of a boat or clambering over rocks to reach your swim.
Reward: The most comfortable shoes for fishing
Really durable construction means that these shoes should last a fair amount of time.
I really like the unique style of these shoes; they are functional yet fashionable.
Whilst they are comfortable and will drain quickly, I worry that the lining will stay wet, if this was combined with sand it could get a little itchy.
Crocs are so successful because they are comfortable and durable. For such a budget-friendly price you can’t really go wrong with these.
Are you ready for something that’s just a little bit special?
These fishing shoes are really wallet-friendly, and they are great for fishing too!
The key benefit to these shoes is that they are perforated all around. What this means is that they will drain water as quickly as it can come in. Because there’s less water held they will dry much quicker.
And check this out…
Because they are made of mostly mesh, they are as light as a feather when you are wearing them.
Even if you aren’t going into the water with your feet, on hot days these shoes are superbly breathable keeping your feet nice and cool.
Even though they are light you still get the sole protection that you need. The rubber sole aids grip and provides enough suspension for them to be pretty comfortable when walking.
Reward: The most breathable fishing shoes
One of the lightest designs I have seen, with all the benefits of a sneaker.
Quick draining and quick-drying, just what you want for fishing.
Whilst the perforated sole saves weight, watch out for sticks and spikes, as they will definitely be able to fit through the gaps.
The concept behind these shoes is fantastic. They have most of the benefits of regular sneakers, but some clever technology which makes them perfect for fishing. They’d be ideal in warmer waters or boat fishing during the summer.
If you want something super lightweight, you have come to the right place.
These shoes are really light and flexible, whilst offering you all of the protection of a regular pair of sneakers. How light? Well if you imagine wearing a pair of socks, this is what these shoes feel like.
They are topped with an ultra-fine mesh, which is really nice…
It allows water to flow freely out of the shoe whilst stopping smaller irritating particles like sand and grit from entering.
Because they are lightweight, they are also really easy to store, so you can easily stow them in a tackle box or bag if you aren’t sure whether you are going to need them.
If you haven’t room in your tackle bag for a pair of lightweight shoes, then it might be time for an upgrade. Why not check out my guide to saltwater tackle bags just here…
The whole shoe is washable too so if you find that after a few outings they are becoming a little ‘funky’ just throw them in the washing machine and they will be as good as new.
Reward: The best lightweight water shoe
Super flexible and light. When wearing these it is almost like you aren’t wearing shoes at all.
The ventilation afforded by the mesh keeps your feet cool and fresh all day long.
Because they are so light, they might not offer quite as much support as a thicker style.
As water shoes go, these are some of the best shoes for fishing. Lightweight and affordable, what more could you want?
Well, I can’t talk about thicker styles without mentioning these beasts. Essentially these shoes are like wellington boots, but with no ankle. The gum rubber outside sole will keep out all water and muck.
Do you want grip as well?
You’ve got it. A rubber sole with a chunky lined grip means that these will cope on most surfaces. The reinforced pull loop will also help you to put them on and take them off.
Wellington boots can sometimes be a little uncomfortable. Not so with these slip-ons. The thick insole provides a little bounce, and also has antibacterial properties, keeping the boot fresh.
The ankles are also lined reducing rubbing which can sometimes happen with rubber shoes.
Reward: The best waterproof fishing shoes
The razor soles ensure a really solid grip, meaning you can stay stood on your feet all day long.
The rubber outer is 100% waterproof meaning that come rain or shine your feet should stay dry.
As you’ll already know, rubber isn’t breathable. There is an outside chance that your feet might get quite warm, especially if the weather is nice.
For the money you get a lot in these fishing boots. If you are boat fishing then they are going to be a great choice, as decks can get rather wet and slippery.
Sometimes the conditions change at a moment’s notice, if this is the case you will want something that is versatile and capable in all elements. You are going to need the best shoes for fishing on a boat…
Allow me to introduce the Delray Duck Shoe…
These are some of the best boat shoes for fishing I have seen.
Let me tell you why…
Imagine crossing all of the comfort and convenience of sneakers with the all-weather capability of wellington boots. And they look great too! These shoes mix leather, webbing and soft material to give you the ultimate in boat shoe technology. And they are available in a range of colors.
The signature traction grip means that, even on wet surfaces, you can be assured of sure-footedness. This, paired with an ultra-lightweight and springy midsole means that they are a joy to wear.
Simms are well known for producing high-quality fly-fishing gear. These wading boots are no exception. They are particularly suited to rocky and muddy river beds.
Want to know why?
The heavily texturized rubber sole is specifically designed to provide maximum grip. If there is a chance you are going to be encountering weed covered rocks then there is also a felt-soled version available.
Walking to the water is part of the challenge, with these boots you won’t have a problem. They are tough and durable enough that you can take any terrain in your stride.
Comfort is assured too. An integral EVA midsole will give a fair bit of suspension to your step.
Want more heavy duty? Well, check this out…
The boots have an added option to screw-in studs (sold separately).
I really like the combined loop and hook system for lacing the boots up. It means that you can ensure a super snug fit whilst and also take them off easily at the end of a hard day’s fishing.
Reward: The best mid-range wading boots
Quality guaranteed from an established brand.
Durable, comfortable and hard wearing.
Wading boots do get wet (obviously) it would have been good if Simms had included some drainage so you don’t carry half the river in your boot.
Overall a solid and sturdy pair of wading boots. For an intermediate angler or a beginner looking to upgrade, these would be really ideal.
If you haven’t got a pair of waders yet, then head on over to my guide to the best fishing waders here, they aren’t all that expensive and will add another level to your fishing experience.
Redington are fast becoming as established as some ‘older’ brands. And for you ladies reading, these boots are just for you!
What’s so great about them?
When you are fishing for the day, wading boots often get absolutely sodden. The last thing you want is to be feeling like you are stood in a puddle, even when you are out of the water. These boots feature unique quick-drying technology to ensure that this doesn’t happen.
The soles are available in both felt and rubber, meaning you have versatility in choosing a boot to match your venue.
One often overlooked feature is the toes. If you’ve ever had a bolder roll onto your foot in the swim, you’ll know how painful this can be. These boots are fitted with a reinforced integral toe cap, so you don’t need to worry.
Yes, mam! The padded ankle support serves two purposes. First, it stops you twisting your ankle, and second, it ensures a really snug fit, so no chance of the boots being sucked off if you are stood in thick mud.
Reward: The best women’s wading boots for fly fishing
Lightweight and super comfortable.
Constructed using quality materials that are both corrosion resistant and quick drying.
It’s a really minor point, but a third set of hook loops would make these boots perfect.
If you are looking for quality, and lightweight comfort, you’ve found it. For the money, these wading boots are really great quality and a worthy investment
Choosing the Best Fishing Shoes – Buyers Guide
Choosing the best fishing shoes needs a little thought as there is no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’.
I’m now going to take a look at some key features that you need to be aware of in order to make the correct choice.
Why Do You Need Fishing Shoes?
Think of any other sport.
Have you got it?
Regardless of whether it was running, golf, football, boxing, or any other activity, chances are that the sport required a special type of footwear. Fishing is no different.
Humans are bipeds… Our reliance on being stood on two legs is what makes us a dominant species. By choosing the right footwear you are ensuring that you use this quality to your advantage.
Fishing shoes are designed to do two basic things. Firstly, they will protect your feet. Under the water there are numerous obstructions and hazards that can cause a nasty injury without the right protection. Rocks, coral or even a sharp stick could quickly ruin your day if you were wearing inappropriate footwear.
What’s the other reason?
The second reason is to provide a reasonable amount of grip. For you to fish successfully you want to be stood upright, not sitting with your butt in the water. I have never caught a fish that way!
When surfaces are submerged or subject to being wet for a long time they lose their grip. To fall on these surfaces can be embarrassing at best, fatal at worst, so it really does pay to come prepared.
What Type of Fishing Shoes to Get?
The type of fishing shoes to get depends almost entirely on where you primarily intend to fish. You might find the odd solution that works in a variety of roles, but generally, they are few and far between.
Here are some suggestions…
Fly Fishing Shoes
If you intend to fly fish then you need to consider when and where you intend to do most of your fishing. If you are only ever going to be stood on the bank then waders might be overkill.
Do you only fish in summer from the bank?
Well in this case you might be best served with a pair of water shoes. They are lightweight and if they get a little wet, then so what? Most of my suggestions offer quick-drying technology.
If you haven’t yet seen water shoes in action, this handy video guide will tell you what they are all about.
If you want to fish further out or wade into the distance then you are going to need some wading shoes. They offer a greater degree of both protection and grip, which is vital, especially if you are going to be traversing underwater boulders.
Beach/Tropical Water Fishing Shoes
When fishing in tropical areas you will probably be more concerned with keeping your feet cool instead of warm. In this case, a water shoe is absolutely your best option. Sandals may sound ideal…
But there is a catch.
Sand, water and feet do not mix well. Chafing and walking is a real problem, and once your feet have been rubbed raw, you will be done for the day. Things to look out for are protective areas and fine mesh that will stop sand and shale making its way towards your feet.
And there’s more to think about…
If you are going to be going into the water, make sure the soles of your fishing shoes are thick enough. Coral and sometimes broken shells can be literally razor-sharp. A deep cut in saltwater is not a fun experience.
Aside from the above, look for security and well-fitting shoes. Things that aid this are laces, straps and top bands that will stop sodden shoes from being pulled off your feet as you step in the water.
If you have read my suggestions, you’ll see that a couple of them are fairly buoyant and will float, so you won’t have to hop down the beach in the unlikely event of a shoe becoming detached.
If you are going on a boat opt for the best fishing boat shoes or water shoes you can get.
Boat shoes are a little bit of an enigma to some new fishermen. What you choose depends greatly on the conditions and some guys I know even like to fish barefoot. This is not advised. Sharp hooks, filleting knives, and rolling slippery decks can easily make for an accident waiting to happen. Not to mention the chance of sunburn on top of your feet, which is something you will only ever want to experience once…
Ask me how I know. It’s not a fun story.
Boat shoes are a great solution. They offer lightweight grip and often a degree of protection. You may want to invest in some that are waterproof. Even on sunny days, it is still easily possible to get wet feet on a boat.
What Do I Need to Keep in Mind Before Buying?
If you are fishing in predominantly dry weather you might get away with shoes that aren’t waterproof. This is of course a moot point if you are intending to stand in the water in any capacity.
Waterproof shoes are great for when you know your feet might come into contact with water. A great example of this is boat fishing.
If you are intending to fish in anything other than the clearest weather then a degree of waterproofing might be necessary.
Depending on where you fish will dictate the amount of grip you need. If you are going to be spending your day’s beach fishing in sunshine on soft sand then you can afford to go a little lighter.
Alternatively, if you are hopping over craggy rocks to reach your secret spot, or standing splashed with spray on a rocking deck you might need to go with something more substantial.
And for fly fishing?
There are two basic soles. Felt and rubber. Felt is designed for keeping grip on weedy or slippery surfaces. Rubber is to deal with harder, more uneven surfaces.
You can sometimes get the best of both worlds. The best fishing shoes for wading will normally feature screw mounts so you can attach studs for a bit of extra purchase.
Durability and Material
Durability will be dictated by where you fish. But as a general guide what I will say is this. Get the most durable shoes that you can afford. Water and constant movement, which will happen regardless of venue or style, will take their toll if your shoes aren’t great quality.
Reinforced sections and durable materials such as rubber and stitching all help to make shoes sturdier. Lightweight mesh will serve you well if you want to be mobile, but if you are dealing with rocks or anything sharp you may find that you need something much more hard-wearing.
Last, but by no means least. Comfort is what can make or break even the best fishing shoes. They can be all singing and dancing, but if they hurt to wear or are poorly fitting you are going to have a bad time.
How can you achieve this?
First, make sure you read a product size guide. This is key. Aside from the size, there are a few things that make a shoe more comfortable.
Let me tell you what they are…
In the soles you ideally want some bounce. Anything with a cushioned midsole is bound to be more comfortable.
Look for ways of securing the shoes effectively. As a bare minimum you will need top straps. Laces and pull chords are all other effective methods too.
Finally, look for cushioned sections. This is particularly important with shoes that go above the ankle, as these are friction points that can rub if left bare.
What shoes should I wear for fishing?
As I’ve said in my buying guide, it depends on three things, what type of fishing you intend to do, where you intend to do it, and what conditions you can expect.
For boat fishing, boat fishing shoes or water shoes will do the trick. Water shoes are good all-rounders for different kinds of fishing. Freshwater wading will be best served by wading boots.
Are Crocs good fishing shoes?
Well, they actually tick a lot of our boxes. They are strong and durable; they are comfortable and they are quite grippy too! Provided you don’t ask too much of them, Crocs can be really great.
Want more proof?
See someone fishing in crocs here:
What are the best shoes for rock fishing?
Rock fishing would be best served by using water shoes. But you ideally want something that is sturdy. In this instance, anything that can slip off, or doesn’t afford a decent grip, is a no go.
What shoes should I wear for offshore fishing?
Depending on the conditions, boats are not the easiest thing to stand in. So, you need something that is both grippy and protects your feet. Boat shoes have been specifically developed to provide the ideal amount of protection and grip.
What kind of shoes do you wear for fishing?
I tend to opt for a pair of quick-drying water shoes. Provided I choose a pair that are substantial enough, they normally fulfill all my needs.
In fact, some, such as the Sobaso water shoes I mentioned above, are durable enough that you can actually hike in them. And if they are good enough to hike in then they are good enough to fish in for sure.
The best fishing shoes of 2021 are a varied bunch, and choosing the right one depends entirely on what you intend to do with them.
If you have a good all-round pair that you love, feel free to let me know about them in the comments below.