If you’re an angler, your dreams probably include finding idyllic fishing spots and bringing home huge catches. Spending your days with wet feet is likely not part of that dream. You can always add or remove layers of clothing if you’re uncomfortable. But if your feet get cold, there’s not much that you can do until you’re home and can remove your shoes and socks.
Therefore, you need to find the right fishing boots to get you through your days on the water, in the water, or on the shore. Your boots need to do more than protect you from the elements, though. They should have enough traction to keep you from slipping on boats and uneven terrain. Plus, they should be comfortable and supportive so that your feet don’t get sore while you’re on your adventures.
Our Top Picks
- Best overall choice – Simms Tributary Rubber Sole Wading Boots
- Best premium product – Korkers Greenback Wading Boot with Kling-On & Studded Kling-On Soles
- Best value product – Caddis Men’s Taupe EcoSmart Grip Sole Wading Shoe
What Types of Fishing Boots Are Available?
When you’re looking for fishing gear, you might get confused by the terminology. If you’re searching for footwear, you’re probably seeking out wading boots. But if you search online for “waders,” you’ll come up with something else entirely.
Waders are overall-style pants that people usually use for fly fishing. Bootfoot waders come with incorporated boots. You don’t have to buy footwear separately. There is no separation between the boots and the pant legs, which means that you won’t take in any water even if you’re up to your waist in a stream.
Bootfoot waders are ideal for people who fish in the ocean surf. Because the boots are attached to the pants, sand doesn’t get in even if you’re getting hit by waves. These waders also hold in your body heat. They’re ideal for winter fishing when you might be standing in the frigid water for hours.
However, bootfoot waders are not convenient if agility is essential. You wouldn’t want to hike to your favorite fishing creek in bootfoot waders. Plus, they take up a significant amount of room when it’s time to pack out.
Waders also come in stockingfoot varieties. Those are attached to booties. You need a separate pair of boots to wear with stockingfoot waders. The benefit of purchasing boots separately is that you can find footwear that fits your needs. You can also take your shoes off if your feet get tired while you’re fishing.
Wading boots are footwear that can take a beating in the great outdoors. They’re usually waterproof and make stream fishing safer and more fun. There are many styles of wading boots, and we’ll cover the best ones in this article.
But you don’t always need waders. If you’re going deep-sea fishing, you probably don’t need boots at all. In that case, you can wear boat shoes or sneakers with grippy rubber soles.
Are Fishing Boots the Same as Hiking Boots?
When you go fishing, you often have to make your way down trails and embankments to reach the best spot. Your boots must be able to get you there safely. In that respect, they’re similar to hiking boots. They must have treads that grip leaves, grass, sand, rock, and dirt. They should also protect your feet from inclement weather.
Some fishing boots look a lot like hiking boots. They have fabric or mesh uppers and non-slip soles. Also, they may lace up the front.
The difference between these styles and regular hiking boots are often the materials. You are going to submerge fishing boots in water. Therefore, they shouldn’t contain materials that will swell and turn brittle with repeated exposure to that much moisture. Most fishing boots aren’t made of leather, although your hiking boots could be.
Wading boots don’t necessarily look like hiking boots at all, though. Many are made entirely of rubber and look more like rain boots. These will keep your feet drier than some other boot styles. But you might sacrifice some comfort. Some people don’t find wading boots comfortable for walking on trails or hiking through the forest.
What to Look for in the Best Fishing Boots
Whether you’re a professional angler or enjoy the sport as a hobby, you’ll need to take the following factors into account when choosing fishing boots.
You’re almost always walking on slippery surfaces when you’re fishing. Moisture adds a whole other hazard level. Therefore, your fishing boots should be grippy enough to stay in place when the ground is slick, smooth, or slimy.
Some fishing boots have spikes on the soles. Others may have optional studs that you can insert for additional traction.
Whether you’re walking on dry land or in the water, you’re likely going to be navigating uneven terrain. The way home from a fishing trip is not going to be comfortable if you have twisted your ankle.
Unless you’re surf fishing on the beach, you could probably use boots with some ankle support. Many fishing boots have shafts of about 5 or 6 inches high, which cover your ankle and help keep it steady.
Others look more like sneakers and don’t have the same ankle support. Rubber boots usually don’t have as much ankle support as hiking-style boots.
We’ve talked a lot about rubber soles, anti-slip grip, and traction. Some fishing boots have rubber soles, which are similar to what you’d find on a sneaker or hiking boot.
Others have felt soles. These are surprisingly grippy on wet, slick surfaces, such as smooth rocks on the side of the river. The felt is usually about an inch thick, which protects your feet from sharp objects and makes them more comfortable to wear.
The downside of felt soles is that they wear out rather quickly, especially if you walk a significant distance in the footwear. However, you can replace the felt if it deteriorates.
If you choose felt-bottom fishing boots, you should know that some states have banned their use. Because the shoes are so absorbent, they can soak up microbes that live in a particular river. When you fish in a different area, you might introduce those organisms to the new stream. This can be dangerous to the ecosystem. Therefore, felt-soled boots aren’t always the best option anymore.
Studded or cleated soles have small spikes that give you a better grip. In extremely precarious conditions, you can use boot cleats. These are accessories that attach to your fishing boots. They’re similar to ice cleats and can transform your regular fishing boots into ones with extreme traction.
Fishing boots have slightly different sizing standards than regular shoes. If you select your shoe size, you may find that the shoes feel somewhat large. That’s because their size is supposed to accommodate thick socks.
But that’s not always the case. Just like any shoes, different brands have different sizing standards. Read reviews and check out sizing charts to get a perfect fit.
Some fishing boots lace up. Others close with zippers or buckles.
Laces can get wet and uncomfortable. They also take longer to tie and undo than other types of closures. Zipper and buckle closures may be more convenient than laces.
Fishing boots that look like rain boots may not have any type of closure. Your feet slip in and out of these types of boots. Because of this, they don’t provide as much support around the ankle and calf as other types of fishing boots.
If you have an exceptionally wide foot, you may find it challenging to get these kinds of boots on and off. On the other hand, people with narrow feet may be uncomfortable with the way that they slide around in these kinds of boots.
No one wants their boots to fall apart mid-trip. Investing in a durable pair of fishing boots is worth it so that you don’t have to worry about this.
One could argue that fishing boots need to be even more durable than hiking boots. You wear them in all types of weather, and you often immerse them in water. Cheap materials may not hold up to the relentless bombardment from rivers, oceans, and lakes.
Seek out boots constructed with water-repellent materials. The most waterproof materials are full-grain nubuck or synthetics.
You should also look for boots with high-quality laces. If the laces get wet and don’t dry quickly, they could rot. Because the current may inundate your feet, the laces have to withstand additional pressure. Nylon and polypropylene laces hold up to these conditions better than cotton.
Even though your fishing boots must be rugged and durable, they shouldn’t be too heavy. They’ll feel even heavier when they’re underwater. Your boots should also have plenty of drainage so that they don’t hold liquid, which can weigh you down even more.
Read Also: Best Boots for Ranger School
Best Fishing Boots: Reviews
These rubber boots are much more durable and rugged than most rain boots even though they look like you’d be able to wear them to splash around in puddles. They’re completely waterproof because they’re made entirely of fully sealed rubber.
If they do spring a leak, the manufacturer will replace them for free. That’s a pretty good guarantee that these boots will keep you dry.
Your feet will thank you for buying these boots. The insides are more comfortable than you would expect from a pair of rubber boots.
The footbed is anatomically cushioned to support your feet and prevent soreness. You can also remove the insole and replace it with a custom orthotic if that would be more comfortable for you.
The boots also have a fabric lining, which means that if you wear them without socks, your skin won’t make squeaking noises against the rubber. The fabric also keeps you warm in cold weather.
A kick plate at the heel allows you to use the other boot to release the boot quickly for an easy exit. Entry is simple; there are no buckles or laces, so your feet slip right in.
Although many rubber boots feel unwieldy on your feet, these conform to the shape of your feet and have a streamlined profile. They don’t feel too bulky. However, at 4 pounds, they’re heavier than some of the other options on the market.
The soles are incredibly grippy, though. They’ll help you stay upright in slippery conditions. The boots also have an adequate heel for climbing ladders. Whether you’re on a boat or in the middle of the woods, these boots will serve you well on all of your fishing adventures.
- Anatomical footbed
- Plenty of cushioning
- Streamlined profile
- Fabric-lined interior
- Completely waterproof
- Run small
- Not ideal for warm weather
These ankle-height boots are as versatile as they are practical. The unisex boots are entirely waterproof. They conform to your foot like a second skin and keep the water from entering.
The uppers are made from natural rubber, which is insulated to help you maintain your temperature. The booties keep your feet cool in temperatures of up to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Your feet will stay warm even if the temperature outside is below freezing. Therefore, your feet will stay dry and comfortable on every fishing trip.
The CR foam footbed allows your foot to flex as it naturally would. You’ll be able to navigate all kinds of terrain gracefully. You might feel as though you’re barefoot, but your feet will be protected from sharp, rough, and hard objects.
The boots feature a support panel at the Achilles, which enhances your comfort. The diamond tread on the outsole is grippy and can prevent you from slipping.
These are some of the most lightweight boots out there. They won’t weigh down your feet as your trudging through the water.
One of the disadvantages of these boots is that the soles are thinner than those of many fishing boots. If you’re planning on doing a lot of hiking, these aren’t the boots for you. However, if you need a pair of shoes to slip on at your winter campsite or wear in the canoe while you’re fishing, you might appreciate the streamlined feel of these extremely waterproof boots.
- Excellent traction
- Completely waterproof
- Offer more mobility than taller boots
- Flexible insole
- Not much ankle support
- Don’t come in half sizes
- Sole is thin and may wear out with heavy use
These slip-on fishing boots look stylish. That might not matter to every angler, but it can help you transition from your real life to your fishing life more easily. This footwear is as practical as it is attractive, though.
With a 6-inch shaft, these boots are ankle-high. They allow for plenty of mobility while you’re walking, kneeling, and moving around. They don’t have the most ankle support, though.
You can slip these boots on easily. They feature pull loops that give you extra power to tug the boots over your feet.
The interior has an XpressCool antimicrobial liner. It combats bacteria that come from your sweaty feet and prevent the shoes from developing odors.
Although the outsole looks sleek and less rugged than that of many hiking-style fishing boots, it’s surprisingly grippy. The chevron lug design keeps you steady on many surfaces.
The uppers are made of hand-layered rubber. They’re completely waterproof. However, they don’t grip your ankles the way that the Original Muckboots do. Water can still splash in through the collar.
The boots fit men and women. Women should purchase 1.5 to 2 sizes down. People with narrow feet might prefer these boots. They’re not very wide.
These aren’t the most comfortable boots out there. You might not want to use them for hiking to your fishing spot. They would make excellent boat shoes, though.
- Good for narrow feet
- Easy entry and exit
- Built-in heel kicks
- No half sizes
- Not much ankle support
- Not very breathable
These Orvis Encounter wading boots are ideal for hiking, wading, traversing rivers, and, of course, fishing. It’s an excellent entry-level boot for people who love the great outdoors but don’t want to shell out too much money.
Orvis has a great deal of expertise in constructing equipment for adventurers. These boots for beginner anglers can help you ease into the sport. The upper is 100% synthetic. Even if you submerge the boots in water, they’ll dry quickly so that you can go about the rest of your day without discomfort. Because the shoes dry fast, they minimize the spread of invasive species.
When you’re not used to wandering around on the bottoms of rivers, you might be more likely to roll an ankle. These boots prevent you from doing so. They rise above the ankle bone and have a padded cuff that holds you steady.
The Vibram sole is made of rubber for intense grip, whether your feet are beneath or above the surface of the water. While the boots don’t come with screw-in studs, they will accept them. You can add those accessories if you need better traction. Some consumers say that these boots don’t feel as sticky as they’d prefer. Adding the studs might be a good option if you spend a lot of time on slick surfaces.
These shoes are also incredibly lightweight. The size 10 shoe with a rubber sole weighs only 53 ounces. If you’d prefer something even lighter, you can buy felt-soled shoes, which weigh 37 ounces in size 10.
The boots are designed to fit with stockingfoot waders. You don’t have to size up–just order your normal size. The boots have a little more space than regular shoes. They don’t come in half sizes, though. If you are between sizes, order one size up.
- Accept screw-in studs
- Solid ankle support
- Rubber toe cap protects against abrasion
- Dry quickly
- No half sizes
- Not as grippy as some other fishing boots
Here’s another pair of rubber-soled boots that can take you far into the woods. The soles have excellent traction and help you negotiate smooth, slippery surfaces.
The synthetic upper dries quickly and doesn’t readily absorb moisture. The laces are sturdy and durable. The boots feature lace tie-downs that keep the laces in place and prevent them from getting snagged on rocks or twigs underneath the water.
One of the best features of these boots is the neoprene lining. It’s completely waterproof and encases your foot in dryness. The lining also makes it easier for you to slip the boots on and off.
Moreover, the rubber toe cap gives you extra protection. It keeps your toes safe when you’re trudging around in the muck and safeguards the front of the shoes from scuffs and breakage.
You can wear these boots in fresh or saltwater. If you wear them in the ocean, you’ll have to take extra care to clean them after every use. Rinse them with fresh water, and use a soft brush to remove debris. Air dry them away from a heat source.
These boots are true to size. If you’re wearing them with stockingfoot waders or thick socks, go up a size.
- Can upgrade boots with studs
- True to size
- Great grip
- Not very flexible
These boots are a little different than many of the others in this review because the uppers are made of leather instead of synthetic material. While this potentially makes them less waterproof than some other options, leather is still durable and protective. It doesn’t soak up water the way that cotton does, and your feet will stay dry.
These boots shine when it comes to drainage. They have channels inside with outlets in the midsole. Any water that gets trapped in the boots will flow out so that you can walk through rivers, lakes, and streams without being dragged down.
These shoes also have versatile outsoles. They feature the Omnitrax 3.0 interchangeable sole system, which is compatible with other accessory outsoles from this brand. This revolutionary concept offers flexible traction for various activities. Just change out the soles when you’re on dry land or on algae-covered rocks.
Choose from interchangeable felts for fly fishing, carbide-studded soles for grip on ice and snow, and all-terrain trail soles for hiking. These are truly all-season, all-activity boots.
These boots offer durability, reliability, and ease. The Korkers brand is known for developing versatile footwear for all of your outdoor activities.
The upper materials are hydrophobic, which means that they dry quickly. They won’t hold onto microbes that could spread invasive species to other areas. Also, the uppers don’t have metal parts, so they won’t rust after being exposed to moisture. Finally, the soles are cemented to the boots to seal the seams, enhance comfort, and prevent water from entering.
- Reliable brand
- Internal drainage system
- Interchangeable soles
- Soles are somewhat thin
If you’re a fly fisher, you might want to consider these wading boots. They’re durable and comfortable. They also fall in the mid-range of pricing, which means that you’ll get reliability without investing too much of your hard-earned cash.
The uppers contain synthetic materials and leather, which work together to keep your feet dry and eliminate moisture quickly. They’re also extremely breathable. You won’t have to worry about your feet sweating and stinking up the inside of the shoe.
The materials also make the boots lightweight. They’re flexible and don’t feel heavy or clunky as you walk on any terrain. Even if you wear the boots on slippery rocks, you can rest assured that they’ll provide an excellent grip.
The mesh panels help ventilate the interior of the shoe. They also allow water to flow out while preventing debris from entering.
Because the shaft covers your ankle, you don’t have to worry about sprains or strains. The boots are also padded at the collar, which gives you extra support and padding. Your skin won’t rub against the edge of the boots.
With a rubber toe-cap, these shoes will prevent you from stubbing your toes. The rubber soles are thick and feature unique lugs that grip slippery surfaces. They’re compatible with anti-slip studs.
These boots are ideal for wide feet. They’re roomy and won’t squeeze your toes.
On the downside, the lacing loops aren’t as durable as they could be. They’re also made of metal, which could rust when exposed to water repeatedly.
- Mesh panels provide adequate airflow
- Materials allow for water drainage
- Supportive ankles
- Compatible with screw-in studs
- Lacing loops could be more durable
These budget shoes offer practicality, protection, and good looks. They have features to enhance comfort, keep you safe in and near the water, and last a long time.
The upper material is made of high-quality polyester. It repels water and dries quickly. Adding to the waterproof qualities, these boots have a neoprene bootie. To accommodate the interior materials that keep you dry and warm, you should purchase this boot in a size larger than your shoe size.
Use the heel loop to help pull these boots on. You can get a perfect fit with these shoes because they close using a speed-lacing system. It doesn’t take long to tighten them. When it’s time to head home, you can quickly loosen the shoes and slip them off so that you can relax.
Don’t worry about accidents and mishaps when you’re wearing these boots. They have reinforcements at the heel and toe to safeguard your feet from being crushed.
The Ecosmart sole is extremely stable. It’s thick and features lugs that enhance your grip. Plus, it’s legal in every state.
- Insulation keeps you warm
- Neoprene bootie helps feet stay dry
- Speed-lacing system
- Reinforced heel and toe
- Insoles are not removable
- Not much ankle support
- Not as grippy as some other fishing boots
People who spend a lot of time outdoors in wet weather might like these all-purpose boots. They’re made of rubber and neoprene for excellent waterproofing qualities and will protect you from the wind and cold.
The uppers are made of neoprene, which ends slightly above the ankle. Below that, the foot encasement is made of rubber, which protects your foot even if you submerge it in water or mud.
These aren’t your run-of-the-mill rain boots. They’re much more comfortable than simple rubber boots. The heavy-duty material will endure heavy use. They’re also somewhat flexible, allowing you to maintain your footing at many angles and on various types of terrain.
The rubber outsoles have enhanced treads that are supposed to give you excellent traction. While you might not get the same grip as you would from some of the other boots in this article, you’ll get better traction than many other rubber boots offer.
The outsides of the boots have built-in tabs that help you slip them on and off. The insides have removable insoles, which add to the comfort and help you feel great all day. The extra cushioning is a bonus when you’re standing on your feet for long periods.
These boots can double as snow boots in a pinch. You can hunt, hike, and fish in them.
- Pull tabs for easy entry and exit
- Tall boots protect your legs
- Durable outsoles
- Traction is not excellent in icy conditions
While these look like traditional rubber rain boots, they’re actually made of synthetic materials. They’re non-porous and will keep water away from your skin. Plus, the soft top has a drawstring to tighten the boots around the calf and prevent debris and snow from entering the opening.
These are the perfect boots for wading in puddles, mud, and deeper water. The shaft is approximately 13 inches, which comes close to your knee but still affords you mobility. The opening measures about 15.5 inches in circumference. It should fit comfortably over voluminous and narrow calves.
This footwear is also ideal for wearing in wither weather. The 8-millimeter thermal-guard liner keeps you toasty in below-freezing temperatures. But you can also wear the boots in warm weather. The insulated liner is removable.
The EXPLORER synthetic rubber outsole gives you superior traction on various types of terrain. Plus, the boots are lightweight and won’t hold you down. At only 2 pounds, these boots will help you traverse rivers, stand in streams, and hike to any location.
Check the size chart before purchasing these boots. Some consumers claim that the manufacturer is not very consistent when it comes to sizing.
- Tall shaft covers your calves
- Removable thermal-guard liner keeps you warm
- Adjustable snow collar
- Not much ankle support
- No drainage
If you’re seeking booties that slip on and off easily and feel like a second skin, these Hodgman neoprene wade shoes may be for you. They hug your foot and ankle and prevent water from entering.
The upper is made of 3.5-millimeter neoprene, which is thick and durable. It keeps you warm but allows you to flex. The rubber outsole and toe protection offer more rigid protection at the toes, heels, and underfoot.
Plus, the material holds up to all kinds of elements, including mud, animal waste, and oil. The boots are reinforced at all of the vital stress points, giving you extra peace of mind.
You don’t have to fuss with laces or buckles when you wear these boots. A durable zipper runs up the front and gives you easy access.
Many wading boots in this style don’t have comfortable footbeds. These, however, do. They have a steel shank, which supports your arch and diminishes foot fatigue. The contoured insole is cushioned and provides padding under your heel to prevent soreness.
The wavy lug pattern on the outsole has various beneficial functions. It self-cleans debris so that it grips just as easily whether you’re walking on sand, mud, or moss. The deep treads help prevent you from slipping on many surfaces.
The sizing can be a little confusing for these unisex boots. Women should generally order one size down from their regular shoe size. Men should typically order one size up.
- Easy on and off
- Zipper closure
- 12-inch shaft
- Sizing may be confusing
- Not much ankle support
- Runs large
These are some of the only fishing boots in this article with a felt sole. Remember that you can’t wear these types of boots in every environment. Check the regulations of the state in which you’re fishing to determine if these are permissible.
The felt sole provides excellent traction on slick river bottoms. It’s attached to a durable rubber outsole, which protects your feet from bumpy terrain.
The footbed is also comfortable. It features EVA foam to cushion your foot exactly where you need the extra padding. With that much cushioning, you can stay upright all day without as much fatigue as you’d have while wearing other boots.
Because the tongue is padded, it cushions the top of your foot too. The collar has extra cushioning to feel comfortable against your shin and ankle.
The reinforced toe and heel box give you added protection and help these boots hold up through every fishing trip. Plus, the roomy width accommodates thick socks and waders.
- Speed-lacing system
- Felt soles are grippy on wet rocks
- Reinforced toe and heel box
- Ideal for wide feet
- Lace loops can rust
- No half sizes
These wading shoes stand out because they’re so lightweight. However, they’re not bare-bones fishing boots. They have plenty of padding in the midsole and around the ankle to keep you comfortable in and out of the water.
The upper is made of synthetic materials, including PVC and mesh. They allow for adequate ventilation and keep the boots light in weight. Water can flow out, which helps prevent your feet from feeling heavy.
The boots are wide, which means that your weight will be spread on the surfaces that you stand on. This feature keeps you stable on all types of surfaces and helps you maintain your hold in running water.
You can get these shoes on quickly. They feature a speed-lacing system and locking lace clip. The polymer lace loops won’t rust, and the brass speed hooks are durable.
Enhanced toe and heel caps prevent your boots and feet from getting snagged on rocks and twigs. These shoes are resilient and dry quickly.
Please note that they have felt outsoles. They’re extremely grippy, but might not make the best hiking boots. You’ll wear out the soles if you use these boots for long stretches of hiking on dry land.
- Wide last enhances stability
- Speed laces and locking lace clip
- Felt soles aren’t appropriate for every situation
- Might be too wide for some feet
Fishing boots aren’t necessarily going to help you catch more fish, but they will keep you safe and give you the endurance to stay on your feet for as long as you need to. The best fishing boots keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
We think that the Simms Tributary rubber sole wading boots are the best overall option. They’re ideal for many outdoor activities, whether or not they include stomping around in the water. They have plenty of valuable features, including quick-drying uppers, grippy soles, ankle support, and reinforced rubber toes.
If you want to spend some more money and gain more versatility, you can choose our premium option, the Korkers Greenback wading boots. The best thing about these is that you can swap out the soles, depending on your activity. Even though these are the most expensive fishing boots in our review, they make up for the cost with their versatility. Furthermore, they have the best drainage out of any of the boots that we reviewed.
If you’re a beginner angler or don’t want to invest in expensive fishing boots, try the budget option. The Caddis EcoSmart grip sole wading boots are warm and waterproof enough to keep you comfortable during an entire day of fishing.
Whatever boots you choose, make sure to care for them well. Allow them to dry thoroughly after every use, but don’t expose them to too much heat, or they may become brittle and crack. Any of these fishing boots should last longer than one season.