Editor's Note: Products featured on Wide Open Spaces are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
Nothing ruins a fishing trip faster than having bad fishing gear, and finding the right pair of men's fishing shoes is a must.
Of course you can't wear your regular sneakers on a boat or while fishing, but what type do you need? Of course, you'll want a pair of men's fishing shoes that offer good breathability, durability, and solid traction on wet surfaces. But what else? Will you be going on a rocky boat? Will you be submerging your feet in water or just getting them wet from the salt spray? Will you be in cold climates or hot ones? These are the questions that help you choose the best shoe for you.
Whether you prefer deck shoes, fishing boots, or shoes with lacing, we've compiled a list that covers a variety of options that suit plenty of anglers. Many of these shoes can be used for a multitude of purposes: wear them as a fishing shoe or deck shoe, for kayaking or fly fishing, or even just a day out on the boat. No matter what shoe you'll go with, just remember that closed-toe shoes are a must -- you won't find sandals here, because you need to protect your feet from rocks, fish, and sharp objects. All of them are also quick-drying and made with materials that can withstand the elements, so they'll last for years and years. They'll make a world of difference the second you step on a boat, and we consider these your go-tos for every time you fish.
1. Best Slip-on Boat Shoe for Easy Boat Days
The rubber sole on these boat shoes make them a perfect choice for navigating wet surfaces. Whether you take them boating or on your next fishing trip, they have enough cushioning to keep your feet comfortable all day, and you'll have a superior grip on boats and docks. The water- and stain-resistant treatment is also a plus -- if you plan on gutting some fish, these are the shoes for it. They'll even repel water to keep you dry. They also happen to be super stylish, perfect for anyone heading from the boat straight to land for some errands (or more fishing). These won't look great with waders, so consider them for more casual fishing days, with a pair of fishing shorts and a fishing tee.
2. Best Submergible Sneaker for Wetter and Colder Days
These water shoes feature Columbia's signature light footbed for ultimate comfort in a variety of situations. The non-marking rubber outsole and synthetic upper make this sandal durable and comfortable on boat decks and wet rocks alike. (Seriously -- the grip on these shoes cannot be beaten.) Since these can handle wet rocks, we highly recommend these for rivers and lakes where you may come across some slippery surfaces. Customers say they were fully submerged in water and dried quickly, however, some sand did get into their shoes. Overall, they're a great sneaker! Consider these if you prefer laces over slip-ons.
3. Best Wading Shoe for Surf and Steel Fishing
If you're planning on being in waders and getting yourself right in the water, these neoprene fishing shoes are a must-have. Made of high-quality and durable materials, these fishing boots are perfect for steel or surf fishing. With adjustable cuffs around your ankle, you won't have to deal with debris getting into your shoes (hello sand and pebbles). They're super easy to take on and off, thanks to the YKK zipper, and the non-slip shoes are perfect for lakes and rivers where rocks may be a hassle. One surf fisherman writes: "Have used them once for several hours in the surf and my feet stayed dry and warm. Size was true and they gave good solid traction for both climbing down the embankment to my fishing spot as well as in the sand at the beach."
4. Best Boat Sneaker For More Turbulent Days
These fishing shoes are made of water- and stain-resistant material and feature an advanced traction rubber sole for slip-free movement on rough or slippery surfaces. They're perfect for boat fishing or other types of fishing where your feet aren't totally submerged in water but still could get wet or dirty. They're similar to the deck shoe (option one), but the laces add a more adjustable and secure fit. If you have narrow feet you may not like slip-on shoes. The open mesh will help keep your feet dry, while the cushioning will keep you feel pain-free with impact and absorption protection.
5. Best Boot Option For All Year Round
These wave shoes by beloved fishing brand HUK are a great pick for days on the deck or on the boat. The outsole tread pattern gives a tight grip on slippery surfaces -- and reviewers note that these shoes remain non-slip in the rockiest of boats. The shoes are completely waterproof and will keep you blister-free with no chafing: a big bonus for anglers outside all day. The commercial-grade pull straps also help you secure these on your feet in both wet and dry weather, and with a quick wipe down with some baking soda, these shoes will stay odor-free for a long time.
This post was originally published in 2021 and has been updated by Allison Johnson.
Enjoy the outdoors?
Don't miss a story! Sign up for daily stories delivered to your inbox.