The best shoes—not wading boots—for fishing

Be comfortable when you reel in the big one.

person near stream in boots
Stay comfortable while fishing.Taylor Grote via Unsplash

When most of us think about fishing shoes, we think about wading boots. But those aren’t the same thing. Plenty of times we end up fishing in places and situations where we’re not wearing waders but still need something to protect our feet other than running shoes or hiking boots. We have some options for you whether it’s fishing on a boat, on the banks, or in the muck.

HUK Men’s Rubber Waterproof Rogue Wave Mid Boots
Don’t get wet.Amazon

If you want to go fishing, want your feet to stay dry, but don’t want to wear waders and wading boots, these are your boot. They’re rubber and waterproof with nonslip and non-marking soles. The outsole tread even locks down on wet and slippery surfaces. The neoprene upper prevents water from getting in.

Merrell Men’s All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoes
Sometimes staying dry isn’t the point.Amazon

When the weather is hot, and you’re trekking to a high-mountain lake or little-visited stretch of river, you would probably rather a hiking shoe than a wading boot. Look no farther than these. They’re basically a really tough sandal with waterproof leather upper and Vibram TC5 outsole. They also have a neoprene stretch collar for ease pulling on and taking off.

Columbia Men’s Drainmaker Iv Breathable Water Shoe
Be comfortable anywhere.Amazon

This shoe is as comfortable for the trail as it is for the boat. It’s open mesh and synthetic upper allows air flow and water to drain. The midsole has superior cushion, and the Omni-Grip non-marking wet grip outsole will keep you from slipping. Wear it on a boat and feel confident hopping off onto rocks.

Sperry Captain’s A/O 2-Eye Navy
Look good, feel good.Amazon

Sometimes what you need is a fishing shoe that works well on a boat and looks good in a boat club. When that time arises, this is your shoe. It has a rubber sole and leather upper and looks the part of any good boat shoe. But it’s not all looks. The non-marking rubber outsole offers ultimate traction in wet and dry conditions.