10 Best Fishing Shoes + Buying Guide [2021 Reviews]

If you’re an experienced angler, you’re already aware of the fact that a good fishing trip can be quickly ruined by having the wrong gear. There are a select few things that anglers must have in order to ensure success and having a good pair of fishing shoes could be among the items that many consider to be essential to a comfortable and enjoyable outing. 

With the many different innovations from different brands in the outdoor industry when it comes to footwear, you’ll have no problem finding a plethora of fishing shoes for sale online or in big box retails stores and even small sporting goods locations. Like most other items related to fishing, owning a premium pair of shoes that are specially made for the sport will likely cost a decent amount of money. 

If you’re going to purchase a pair of fishing shoes, there are a few specific things you’ll want to pay close attention to. We’ve already done most of the hard work for you and narrowed down the many different choices available to our choices for the best 10 fishing shoes currently on the market. 

Read on to find out which pair is going to be the best for your specific needs. 

Quick Summary – Best Fishing Shoes

ON SALE $22.23 OFFBestseller No. 1
Columbia Men's Drainmaker IV Water Shoe, Black, lux, 11
  • ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY: Columbia Men's Wayfinder 2 Strap Sandal features our signature Techlite footbed...
  • ADJUSTABLE FEATURES: The adjustable straps across the instep and the convertible heel make this...
  • MATERIAL: A synthetic upper and a non-marking wet traction rubber outsole make this sandal durable...

Fishing Shoes Buying Guide

Fishing shoes can range in price and quality just like any other gear or accessory item related to the outdoors. If you’re going to be fishing from a boat, there are a few key items you’ll want to consider in order to make sure you keep your footing and stay comfortable while you’re on the water. 

For those who prefer fishing from the shoreline of freshwater or even saltwater areas, having a good pair of fishing shoes will keep your feet protected and allow your feet to dry more quickly than they might if you chose to wear your average pair of shoes to the water’s edge.  

Kayak anglers in particular are known for wearing a pair of shoes that they can easily kick off and on when they feel like it as there are many anglers who like to venture out on their kayaks barefoot. In addition, if you plan to be wading around water that’s especially cold, you might not want to allow your feet to get wet at all, which means you’ll need to select a special kind of footwear that will keep your feet dry and comfortable on all-day fishing trips. 

In the buyer’s guide below, we’ll cover each of the different types of fishing shoes that you can purchase and the benefits or disadvantages of having them compared to other styles. We’ll also take a closer look at the specific things you’ll want your fishing shoes to deliver when it comes to wearing them during your trip. 

Why Wear Fishing Shoes?

Most anglers who have been fishing for any amount of time have likely started out and managed to find themselves in a situation where their feet are wet when they wanted them to remain dry, or when they just didn’t have the right kind of protective footwear for the type of fishing they were doing. 

Years of experience will usually lead to anglers learning just what type of footwear they prefer when they embark on a particular type of fishing. For instance, trout anglers who commonly wade into streams and rivers will want to wear a vastly different pair of shoes or boots compared to bass anglers who will spend the daylight hours aboard their boat. 

Here are some of the basic reasons why most anglers prefer to own and wear a good pair of fishing shoes when they go out on the water. 

Non-slip soles

One of the most important things you’ll want to make sure of is that you never slip and fall while fishing. Whether you’re fishing from a boat, along the shoreline of your favorite saltwater inlet, or even among the rocky streams and rivers, one thing is certain: falling down can lead to serious injury or other problems. 

If you’re fishing along slippery rocks, you could be at risk of falling and hitting your head on a rock, or breaking a limb on the way down. The same goes for being on a boat or kayak. It’s highly important that you maintain solid footing the entire time you’re out on the water as some anglers have even drowned from hitting a rock and being knocked out before going under the water. 

Quick-dry technology

Thanks to newly-designed fishing shoes, you won’t have to worry about trudging around with soaking-wet feet all day, which can lead to a number of problems other than serious discomfort. Wet feet make it more likely that you’ll develop painful blisters in some cases and some waterways are known to have things like flesh-eating bacteria which can make its way into the body through something as seemingly minor as a blister on your heel. 

Thanks to innovations in the fishing industry by some of the top brands, anglers can now own a pair of shoes that will ensure that their feet will dry much faster once they’ve left the water. The rate at which your feet will dry really depends on the quality and material of the fishing shoes you have, but this capability does wonders for overall comfort—especially for those of us who have experienced what it feels like to have a pair of sopping-wet shoes on all day. 

Waterproof ability

One of the most popular features many anglers look for when they are shopping for a good pair of fishing shoes is whether or not the footwear is at all waterproof. Making sure your feet stay completely dry is essential for those of us who enjoy fishing in freezing-cold mountain streams at certain times of the year when the weather is a bit chilly. 

Dry feet will ensure that you stay warm and cozy, even if you happen to be fishing in water that’s only a few degrees above the freezing mark. Other anglers like to have waterproof shoes and boots for the simple fact that they just don’t want their feet to get wet. 

Having wet feet means that you’ll either have to stop and use a towel to dry them, or even completely remove your shoes in order to allow your feet to dry. For those who fish in areas where there might be snakes, or rugged terrain, going barefoot simply isn’t an option. 

Different Types of Fishing Shoes

There are five basic types of fishing shoes that anglers can choose from. Each of these five types will have their own intrinsic benefits and disadvantages depending on where you’re fishing and at what time of year, as well as other factors. 

Being a successful angler often means having the gear and equipment that are going to be conducive to allowing you to focus most of your attention on the fish. If you have the right type of fishing shoes for the particular environment you’re fishing in, you can eliminate much of the headaches and frustrations that come with discomfortable footwear. 

Water Shoes 

Water shoes are typically very lightweight and can often be made of very thin material that is sometimes better suited for less rugged environments. Be wary of purchasing some types of water shoes online because they might be labeled or described as shoes that can be worn for fishing, but are actually the type of footwear that is mostly meant to be worn while swimming in pools, lakes or other areas. 

These types of shoes will have a nice, tight fit on your feet if you get the right size and are perfect for fishing in the surf along coastal beaches when your main concern might be stepping on broken glass hidden away in the sandy bottom. 

Wearing water shoes is actually not recommended for anyone who might be fishing along rocky areas. Most water shoes are simply not designed to hold up against the strain you will put on the seams and soles when stepping along rocky river bottoms and lake shores. If you make the mistake of wearing water shoes in these types of areas, don’t be surprised if you rip a large hole in them. 

Water Sandals and Clogs 

One of the most common types of footwear among anglers who fish in lakes or on boats during the summer are water sandals. We will also include clogs along in this category as most brands consider them to be a variation of water sandals. 

These shoes won’t provide you with major foot protection, but will offer better durability than slip-on water shoes in most instances. Water sandals or clogs are an ideal choice for anglers who expect their feet to get wet at some point while they are fishing. They can be worn comfortably without socks and even quickly removed to let your feet dry while you’re on your kayak or boat. 

If you’re going to be fishing along rocky shorelines or riverbeds, a good pair of water sandals or clogs are sometimes a viable option. They are capable of providing ample protection from any unpleasant things you happen to step on in the water and will usually be much more durable than simple water shoes. 

Boat Shoes 

One of the most common types of footwear that anglers prefer is boat shoes. In recent years, these types of fishing shoes have actually become quite stylish and many avid fishermen and women like to wear their boat shoes as casual wear. 

The main reason why most serious anglers will generally opt for a solid pair of boat shoes is that they will usually be designed to offer a non-slip sole that helps give you much better footing on the surface of a wet boat deck. Some boats are designed with specialized carpet that greatly increases the quality of your footing, but most sportfishing boats that are used in offshore or inshore fishing will have a slick surface that can become dangerously slippery when wet or slimy from fish lying on the surface. 

Boat shoes will also usually be designed with water resistant material, which means you won’t have to worry much about your feet getting soaking wet if you happen to get splashed while running your boat or landing a fish. You can expect there to be a variety of different quality levels when it comes to boating shoes and the price level is usually a good indicator of the overall level of comfort and quality you can expect from them. 

Mesh Wading Shoes 

If you plan to do any wading in areas that are mostly rugged and rocky, or known to have muddy banks, a good pair of mesh wading shoes is likely going to be your best option. These are known to offer much more toughness and durability than water shoes or sandals and are perfect for anglers who like to wade into the water along lakes and rivers to get a bit closer to their target. 

It’s rare that wading shoes are designed to be waterproof or even water resistant in the same way that boat shoes might be crafted, but you can expect most of the high-quality options to feature quick-dry capability that will help keep your feet relatively dry once you leave the water. 

These are very common among kayak anglers who expect to bank their boat along the water’s edge, which will require them to walk over unfamiliar lake or river bottoms where they don’t want to step on anything dangerous. 

Fishing Boots 

The last category of fishing shoes we will mention is fishing boots. We won’t get too far into detail with these as they are really a totally different category of footwear compared to the previous four types of fishing shoes we’ve already mentioned. 

There are various types of fishing boots that anglers wear which can range from knee-high rubber boots, to neoprene footings that are worn inside specialized wading boots. These are generally worn by anglers who fish in extremely cold conditions and rely on their footwear to prevent hypothermia and significant discomfort. 

10 Best Fishing Shoes 

1. Columbia Drainmaker IV Water Shoe

ON SALE $22.23 OFFBestseller No. 1
Columbia Men's Drainmaker IV Water Shoe, Black, lux, 11
  • ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY: Columbia Men's Wayfinder 2 Strap Sandal features our signature Techlite footbed...
  • ADJUSTABLE FEATURES: The adjustable straps across the instep and the convertible heel make this...
  • MATERIAL: A synthetic upper and a non-marking wet traction rubber outsole make this sandal durable...

Columbia is a brand that has a stellar reputation among anglers and others in the outdoor industry as they are known for making quality products that will outlast most of their competition. The company has designed a number of great fishing shoes in recent years, but one pair in particular that stand out among the rest on our list are the Columbia Drainmaker IV Water Shoes. 

These shoes will serve as a capable pair of fishing shoes, but they can also be worn into the water if you prefer to wade into your favorite fishing spots. The sides of the Columbia Drainmaker IV are made with mesh and allow water to drain out from this material, as well as the areas of the heel and the ball of the foot. 

Anglers are mostly attracted to these because they offer a very stylish appearance that’s highly comfortable. Many users have described them as having the same fit and feel as a regular tennis or running shoe, but with the added bonus that you can wear them while fishing. The Omni-Grip non-slip sole will help you gain traction on any type of slippery surface from boat decks to submerged rocks. 

The Columbia Drainmaker IV’s only major downside is that they are a bit more expensive than most other types of fishing shoes. If you’re willing to invest a bit more money in order to get a great pair of fishing shoes, you’ll find that these are easily one of the best fishing shoes that are currently on the market. 

2. Huk Mens Attack Shoes

ON SALE $23.17 OFFBestseller No. 1
Columbia Men's Drainmaker IV Water Shoe, Black, lux, 10.5
  • ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY: Columbia Men's Wayfinder 2 Strap Sandal features our signature Techlite footbed...
  • ADJUSTABLE FEATURES: The adjustable straps across the instep and the convertible heel make this...
  • MATERIAL: A synthetic upper and a non-marking wet traction rubber outsole make this sandal durable...

It’s no secret among freshwater and saltwater anglers that Huk is one of the top brands in the fishing industry. They’ve been around for a while and have established themselves as being among the best companies in the business when it comes to making solid clothing and other accessories that are made for fishing. 

The Huk Mens Attack Shoes could easily be listed in our No. 1 spot, but the difference between these and the Columbia Drainmaker IV’s will likely come down to the personal preference of the angler since they are both great quality fishing shoes. 

These shoes offer outstanding drainage capability, which means your feet will dry faster once you’ve left the water than they will with other shoes. The GripX Wet Traction soles are a non-slip outside tread sole that provides great traction on any type of wet, slippery surface where anglers are more likely to lose their footing. 

These are a bit more expensive than some other pairs we have on our list of the best fishing shoes, but you can rest assured that you’ll have excellent footing and can wear these on any boat, as well as for wading into the water to get closer to your target fish. 

3. Sperry Sea Kite Sport Moc Boat Shoe

Bestseller No. 1

If you’re looking for one of the best overall boat shoes that are currently on the market, it’s hard to beat the Sperry Sea Kite Sport Moc Boat Shoes. These are made by a company that’s been crafting boat shoes for many decades and has been in the shoe-making business since 1935. There are plenty of reasons for anglers to opt for a pair like this and you’ll quickly find that the extra expenditure you’ll shell out to get them is often well worth it if you’re an avid angler. 

The Sperry Sea Kite Sport Moc Boat Shoes are one of the best options for anglers who spend countless hours on their boat every year. They are made with premium, water-resistant leather and feature certain areas of the foot where water is able to easily drain out and leave your foot relatively dry if you do happen to get your feet wet. There are three main color patterns and many anglers prefer these shoes if they are going after a specific loafer-style of footwear. 

You can remove the EVA molded footbed to allow your shoes to dry more thoroughly and users report that this shoe is among the most comfortable of any boat shoe you’ll find. They feature a non-slip sole that will ensure that you’ll have solid footing and can remain comfortable on your boat so you can focus on catching fish. 

4. Columbia Men’s Bahama Vent PFG Boat Shoe

ON SALE $37.03 OFFBestseller No. 1
Columbia Men's Bahama Vent PFG Boat Shoe , Waterproof & Breathable, 11 Regular US, titanium mhw,...
  • ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY: Men's Bahama Vent PFG Boat Shoe Wide features our waterproof and breathable...
  • HANDY FEATURES: Days out on the water are comfortable and worry-free with this boot's waterproof,...
  • ADJUSTABLE FEATURES: This boat shoe features a lace-up closure for an adjustable, secure fit.

Columbia’s lineup of PFG fishing gear is easily one of the most popular on the market and has remained so for a number of years now. Anglers are very familiar with the brand and the Columbia Men’s Bahama Vent PFG Boat Shoes are one of the best boat shoes you’ll find if you’re in the market. 

These shoes offer a much more modern style that most anglers prefer over the casual loafer-style boat shoe, but they also pack in a number of features that make them ideal for serious anglers. The rubber soles give you an excellent non-slip capability and will ensure that you won’t have to worry about losing your footing as you reel in a monster game fish. 

Many offshore anglers prefer these since the soles are usually better for wet, slimy surfaces and anyone who has been on a fishing trip with a pair of unsuitable shoes already knows the importance of keeping your traction the entire time. The only major downside to the Columbia Men’s Bahama Vent PFG Boat Shoes are their inability to drain water out in the same way other shoes are capable of doing. 

5. Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof Hiking Shoes

ON SALE $37.65 OFFBestseller No. 1
Merrell mens Moab 2 Wp Hiking Shoe, Beluga, 10.5 US
  • M Select DRY seals out water and lets moisture escape so you stay dry when you're on the move
  • Performance suede leather and mesh upper
  • Bellows, closed-cell foam tongue keeps moisture and debris out

Our choice for the best overall fishing shoe that doubles as a hiking shoe is the Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof Hiking Shoe. These are actually not the ideal choice for anglers who only fish from a boat and never venture out into the water, but we decided to place them among our list because you can comfortably wear them on a boat or along any type of shoreline. 

Those who are relatively familiar with outdoor footwear have probably heard of Merrell’s Moab (Mother of All Boots) series. These waterproof hiking shoes are ideal for anglers who regularly venture out into the rugged wilderness and need a solid pair of fishing shoes that they can rely on to adequately protect their feet from anything they might encounter. 

Since the Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof Hiking Shoes are mostly designed for hiking, they aren’t recommended for anglers who routinely wade into water as you’ll likely end up with wet feet if you fully submerge these shoes in water. The price might also be a major deterrent for some users who are looking for a more budget friendly pair of shoes. 

These shoes have a very thick, tough sole that offers excellent traction along muddy shorelines and slippery rocks. These are a bit heavier than some of the other pairs on our list that are mainly designed for hiking and fishing, but if you plan to fish along the shoreline without actually needing to go into the water, the Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof Hiking Shoes are likely to be a great option for you. 

6. Sperry Top-Sider Men’s Boating Shoe

ON SALE $25.00 OFFBestseller No. 1
Sperry Men's Authentic Original 2-Eye Boat Shoe, Sahara, 10.5 M US
  • Leather boat shoe featuring moccasin-stitched toe, rust-resistant eyelets, and slotted collar
  • Genuine hand-sewn Tru-Moc construction for durable comfort
  • Non-marking outsole with wet/dry traction

Another great pair of footwear that we consider to be among the best fishing shoes happens to be another model from Sperry. There’s no denying that many of this company’s fishing and boating shoes could be among our list, but many anglers simply don’t want to spend a sizable sum on their fishing shoes, which is perfectly understandable for beginner or novice anglers. 

However, for avid anglers who plan to spend many hours each week or month on their boat, the Sperry Top-Sider Men’s Boating Shoes are truly hard to beat. These shoes offer an outstanding non-slip rubber sole with a much more modern, stylish overall design that looks very much like a quality pair of running shoes. 

The shoes offer a completely mesh material and you won’t have to worry about your feet not having the ability to breath or drain water out if you do happen to get them soaked. The Sperry Top-Sider Men’s Boating Shoes are designed to dry very quickly compared to other brands and are a solid pair for anglers of any skill or experience level. 

7. Crocs Swiftwater Wave Shoe

ON SALE $2.55 OFFBestseller No. 1
Crocs Men's Swiftwater Wave Shoe Flat, Navy/White, 12
  • ATHLETIC, ADVENTUROUS AND AMPHIBIOUS: The Swiftwater Wave shoes for men are one of Crocs' most...
  • WATER SHOES FOR MEN: These Crocs water shoes for men are great as an all-purpose shoe and are as...
  • WHAT SIZE SHOULD I BUY?: These shoes offer a standard fit and we recommend ordering a size up to the...

If you’re a fan of the Crocs brand and unique style of footwear, look no further than the Crocs Swiftwater Wave shoes. These are among the most popular styles of Crocs that anglers typically choose as they are a simple, straightforward design that will allow your feet to have unprecedented drying capability since they are actually a variation of water sandals. 

The siped outsoles help any water that might collect around the sides of your feet to adequately drain out with no problem and the rubber soles ensure that you won’t lose your footing while walking or stepping on the boat’s deck. These shoes are not recommended for anyone who might be wading into rugged terrain or rocky shorelines, but you might find that they will hold up quite well since Crocs are generally known for being a tough style of footwear. 

If your main concern is having maximum breathability and drying ability for your feet, the Crocs Swiftwater Wave shoes are going to be an exceptional choice that will get the job done and keep you on your feet. 

8. Aleader Men’s Slip-On Mesh Water Shoes

Bestseller No. 1
ALEADER Men's Mesh Slip On Aqua Water Shoes Walking Sneakers Overcast Gray 11 D(M) US
  • Breathable and durable air mesh upper allow the foot to breathe
  • Solyte midsole provides an exceptionally lightweight midsole with excellent bounce-back and...
  • Water Drain outsole provides exceptional traction in wet and slippery conditions

For beginning and novice anglers who are just getting started in the sport of fishing, it can be perfectly understandable if they aren’t quite ready to invest a sizable amount of money into getting a pair of fishing shoes. There are a number of more budget-friendly fishing shoes that are currently on the market, but it can be tough to actually narrow them all down to a pair that’s actually going to be able to keep your feet mostly dry and allow you to maintain your footing. 

The Aleader Men’s Slip-On Mesh Water Shoes are probably one of the best budget-friendly fishing shoes you’ll find in today’s market, although there are a few others that might be more appealing to some users based on the overall look and feel of the shoes. 

These shoes are made with a mesh-like fabric material that’s capable of keeping your feet fairly dry if you do happen to get them wet. The rubber soles are a must-have for any anglers who plan on fishing on a boat deck made of fiberglass or other material that can easily become slippery with a little bit of water. These shoes also feature a ComfortDry sockliner that helps to add more padding and create an overall very comfortable fit. 

9. Merrell Men’s All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoes

ON SALE $10.05 OFFBestseller No. 1
Merrell Men's All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoe, Castle Rock/Green Oasis, 10.5 M US
  • Synthetic sole
  • Full grain leather upper
  • Integrated lacing system for a glove-like fit

Merrell is a brand that many outdoor enthusiasts know and trust to provide them with capable gear to get the job done on land or water. The Merrell Men’s All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoes are a pair that we could easily have placed much higher on our list, but the unique design and higher cost are part of the reason why many anglers might not prefer these over other styles. 

These particular fishing shoes are excellent for those who like to wade into the water and fish along rocky creek and river banks as they will provide plenty of protection for hiking through some of the most rugged terrain while fishing. These are also capable of serving as ideal shoes for kayak anglers and can even be great for boating as well. 

The closed-toed design helps to ensure that you can get extra power in your steps, which comes in as a major advantage for those who regularly hike long distances to get to their favorite fishing spots. The Merrell Men’s All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoes also offer plenty of gaps for drainage so your feet will be able to dry out quite fast once you get out of the water. 

These are made with UniFly midsole technology, which creates an incredibly comfortable fit and feel. The integrated lacing system will also allow you to get a tighter fit, which will help maintain their grip on your feet, allowing you to have better overall traction when it comes to crossing through slippery sections of rocky riverbeds or other areas. 

10. Rugged Shark Bill Dance Pro Boat Shoe

Bestseller No. 1
RUGGED SHARK Bill Dance Pro Boat Shoe, Premium Leather and Comfort, Fishing and Outdoor Shoe, Tan,...
197 Reviews
RUGGED SHARK Bill Dance Pro Boat Shoe, Premium Leather and Comfort, Fishing and Outdoor Shoe, Tan,...
  • ALL DAY CUSHIONING: Step into this men's boat shoe and you can feel the comfort, thanks to its fully...
  • ALL DAY COMFORT: Supple nubuck leather upper has breathable mesh panels to keep feet cool and...
  • WATER DRAINING SOLES: The Bill Dance Pro's bottom has built-in drainage: any water that comes into...

Bill Dance is one of the most legendary anglers to have graced the sport of fishing. He’s known as an expert in the freshwater fishing realm and was a highly successful competitive bass angler, but enjoyed an even better reputation as a host of many different outdoor television programs. It’s only fitting that we include a great pair of shoes that has his namesake to our list of the best fishing shoes. 

The Rugged Shark Bill Dance Pro Boat Shoe are another type of shoe that we could easily have at a higher position on our list and many anglers might prefer the unique look and highly comfortable feel to some of the other popular brands’ products. They are made with waterproof leather, as well as a breathable nylon mesh material that will ensure your feet can dry out much faster than they would with regular shoes on. 

If you plan on wading into the water, these shoes might not be the best ones as they are designed mostly to serve as boating shoes. Also, anglers who wear them for saltwater fishing will likely have to thoroughly rinse off any saltwater after their outing in order to keep them from experiencing any type of corrosion as they are mainly designed for freshwater use. 

Last update on 2021-10-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Donny Karr
 

Donny Karr is an avid outdoorsman and writer whose work has been featured in magazines and websites for nearly a decade. He enjoys bass and crappie fishing in the lakes around the southeastern United States, as well as trout fishing in the streams and rivers of the Appalachian mountains. He enjoys keeping up with the latest news and gear items in the fishing industry and is always looking forward to his next outdoor adventure. Donny has written for Georgia Outdoor News, The Outdoor Trip, Man Can Outdoors, Global Fishing Reports, and Bassmaster.