Wading Through the Options: Tips for Selecting the Best Fishing Shoes - GritrOutdoors.com

Wading Through the Options: Tips for Selecting the Best Fishing Shoes

Fishing rods and tackle tend to eclipse all other pieces of equipment an angler might use in their fishing adventures. Such an approach is understandable but isn’t always fair. Apparel and footwear receive undeservedly little acclaim for all the things they do, and they do a lot. In this guide, we’ll spotlight a humble pair of fishing shoes. We’ll try to see what a perfect pair of fishing shoes should look like including the functions it’s supposed to perform.

Features to Look For

How to tell a fishing shoe apart from a regular one? No puns or jokes, we’re all being serious here.  Fishing shoes don’t have any labels or neon signs marking their allegiance. What makes shoes suitable for fishing are certain qualities that help them address the issues anglers face. The possible issues are numerous, that’s why there are several features worth looking out for in your fishing shoe.

Resistance to Water

Scarce are situations when wet boots contribute to you having the time of your life. As a rule, they do nothing but make you feel uncomfortable and unpleasantly burdened. The sound and feel of water slurping inside your boots don’t rank among the best fishing-related memories either. However, it’s impossible to eliminate the possibility of your shoes getting wet. What’s an angler to do? Get water-resistant shoes.

Water resistance is an essential feature that sets fishing shoes apart from regular ones. The ability to resist water is critical for ensuring your feet remain dry for a longer period. While complete waterproofness is only achievable in rubber boots ( Xtratuf offers plenty of those, should you be interested), water resistance is much more common in shoes that look similar to regular ones. In addition to that, fishing shoes should have a feature that allows for quick drainage of any excess water that might find its way inside your shoes.

Aside from water resistance and drainage capabilities, fishing shoes must be quick-drying. Getting your feet wet is not a problem in itself. The fact that it may take hours for your shoes to dry is. Quick-drying shoes eliminate this problem and allow you to focus your attention elsewhere, not slipping, for example.


Water makes things slippery, and some things like slime and mud are slippery by their nature. It happens that those things are pretty often located near water. Losing your footing can lead to a wide array of unpleasant consequences from letting the fish get away to injuring yourself. Traction is the ability of footwear to grip on slippery and wet surfaces, keeping the angler stable while wading or fishing from a boat. We assume you aren’t looking for shoes to wade your way through the water, for nothing beats  waders in that competition. For all other purposes, having fishing shoes with good traction can prevent accidents, slips, and falls, all are accidents you don’t want to go through. Some fishing shoes have Vibram soles, which provide rock-solid traction, while others have multi-directional siping and tungsten carbide devices that bite into river bed structures to ensure maximum traction.

Good traction in fishing shoes is also crucial for maintaining balance while casting or retrieving fish. The right traction helps with maintaining a stable footing and making quick and accurate movements without fear of falling prone. If you fish from a boat, make sure to acquire shoes with non-marking soles. You don’t want to leave your mark on the world in the form of smudges on the boat surfaces.


Anglers are not unique in their distaste for aching feet, this story is quite common for other people as well. The right support in your footwear can drastically reduce the stress on your feet and body, helping you to extend your time on the water (or near it, what don’t know your preferences). Pain in any part of your body will ultimately affect your ability to cast and reel in fish effectively. Feet and legs are more susceptible to aching during fishing, that’s why it’s highly important to give them all the support you can.

The added support and comfort from cushioning help reduce foot fatigue and prevent foot pain. The shock-absorbing technology also reduces the impact on joints, such as ankles, knees, and hips, further lowering an angler's risk of injury. Some of the best fishing shoes available on the market come with features like foam, gel or air cushioning technology. There are plenty of types to choose from, each with a unique feel, but the important thing is to get something that just has cushioning.

Easy Lacing

Laces can be a fun way to express yourself, but more often than not the only occasion when you pay attention to them is when they are untied. Since you have many other things that deserve your focus, laces shouldn’t be a potential problem. Traditional laces can be difficult to retie under conditions anglers find themselves in. That's where easy lacing enters the scene.

One type of lacing system that is popularly used in fishing shoes is the bungee lace. Bungee lacing is elastic, allowing for a secure fit without hassle. This is a great option for those who want to quickly slip their shoes on and off without having to fiddle with knots and loops. The downside is that bungee lacing may not provide the same level of customization in fit as traditional laces.

Another option is slip-on shoes. Slip-on shoes have no laces at all, which means they can’t untie and trip you when you least expect it. However, slip-on shoes may not provide the support and stability that traditional laces offer.

Laces aren’t a necessary evil when it comes to fishing shoes. You can get rid of them whatsoever, or replace them with bungee laces that will never untie. Both of these options make sure there is one hazard less in your fishing trips.

Stain Resistance

Even though fishing is inseparable from water, it’s no clean business. Things may get dirty pretty quickly, and your shoes are likely to be the first thing to take the hit. However, investing in a pair of stain-resistant fishing shoes can make a huge difference. And it’s not appearances we talk about.

Stain-resistant fishing shoes are specifically designed to repel stains and dirt, preventing them from penetrating the material and leaving unsightly marks. While it’s true that they keep your shoes looking clean and fresh and make them easier to clean and maintain in the long run, practical benefits extend beyond looks. By preventing stains and dirt from seeping into the material, these shoes can also prevent bacteria and odors from building up, keeping your feet both healthy and comfortable. Such shoes also have increased longevity, as the material is less susceptible to external influence.


Unless somebody registers the Best Fishing Shoes trademark, we’ll keep saying that the best fishing shoes won’t bear the mark of a single brand. It is functionality that makes shoes perform so well in fishing conditions and address issues anglers have to face. If your shoes have all the abovementioned characteristics, you can rest assured they will serve you well.


Why do you need fishing shoes?

Fishing shoes are important because they provide protection and support while fishing no other type of footwear can. They help prevent injuries and ensure a comfortable and safe fishing experience. Fishing shoes also offer specific features such as traction and water resistance which makes them an essential piece of gear for any angler.

What shoes do you wear on a fishing boat?

You can wear fishing shoes on a fishing boat and experience no problems whatsoever. Thanks to their non-slip soles and water-resistant materials, these shoes offer excellent grip, support, and stability that are essential while fishing on a boat.

Why don't you wear socks with boat shoes?

Boat shoes are built to be comfortable to wear without wearing socks. With time, wearing socks became a marker of an amateur, an inexperienced out-of-touch person. Though the fact alone evidently doesn’t signify anything, it became a part of fishing etiquette or whatever you call it.

Apr 26th 2023 Gritr Outdoors

Recent Posts