When you think of saltwater fishing, wading boots may not be at the top of your mind. Warm sand and cool water all come together to create a perfect storm that makes for bare feet weather. Which I completely get. There’s something freeing about being barefoot in the water casting a fly to shallow water red drum.
However, we really should be taking into account how great a decent pair of wading boots can be. Nothing can end a day quicker than an injured foot, so protecting them should be of the utmost importance.
Of course, your choice of footwear should vary depending on where you’re fishing. Fishing the saltwater marshes? Watch out for the razors of the water, oysters. Fishing the surf in the pacific northwest? Watch out for slippery rocks that couldresuly in a turned ankle. Wading the flats? Good god don’t step on one of those devil creatures called a sea urchin.
The good news is that you don’t need to purchase any special boots just for wading in saltwater. Your typical wading boots you use in trout streams will work just fine. Some after care of rinsing off after each time will be needed, but that’s about the extent of any extra work you’ll need to do.
There are also a few different types of wading boot you can use as well if you find the traditional wading boot to be too big and cumbersome. Those would be the neoprene water shoe. They won’t offer as much protection as a typical wading boot which is made for stability and traction, but it can be exactly what you need if you’re fishing around any corral or oyster beds.
|Caddis Neoprene Flats Wading Shoe||Can be worn overtop of stocking foot waders||Tight Fit||3.5/5||Check the price on Amazon|
|Simms Freestone wading Boot||Tough and durable||Not the best traction on algae||4/5||Check the price on Amazon|
|Frogg Toggs Hellbender||Great budget boot||Durability leaves a lot to be desired||3.5/5||Check the price on Amazon|
|Neosport Premium Neoprene boots||Durable||Run small||4.5/5||Check the price on Amazon|
|Orvis Christmas Island Bootie||Comfortable in warm water conditions||Not for cold water||4/5||Check the price on Amazon|
|Compass 360 Stillwater II||Fast Drying||Studs Sold Separately||3.5/5||Check the price on Amazon|
|Orvis Men’s Ultralight Boots||lightweight||Run very small||4/5||Check the price on Amazon|
|Hodgman Neoprene Wading Shoe||Offer great traction and protection||Can be difficult to get on||4/5||Check the price on Amazon|
|Redington Prowler Boots||Great Traction and fit||Laces are not durable||4.5/5||Check the price on Amazon|
|Frogg Togg Aransas II||Good for protection||Only comes in men’s sizes||3.5/5||Check the price on Amazon|
Best Wading Boots for Saltwater Fishing
Caddis Neoprene Flats Wading Shoe
Made with a neoprene upper and a rubber ripple sole these are a great shoe if you want flexibility and traction. Unlike the felt bottom of some wading boots these ripple soles can be used in all states.
They’re made to be worn barefoot but can allow room for socks if need be. They can run small so it’s recommended to get a ½ to a full size up especially if you plan on wearing socks.
The manufacturer also says that these can be worn over the top of a pair of stocking foot waders as well. If doing so you might want to go up and other size and a half. Check the price on Amazon
Simms Freestone Wading Boot
Your typical style of wading boot. This features a strong rubber sole that is meant to traverse rocky waters, med, sand, wet grass and everything else in between.
These boots are made to last and can handle up to the toughest conditions including Ice. Which can work well for you PNW or Alaskan anglers who enjoy winter time fishing.
It features a waterproof synthetic leather and rubber upper that can take the beating of large coastal rocks and keep going for years. These boots are also made to be worn all day. It is a lightweight design and cushioned midsole that help prevent fatigue. Check the price on Amazon
|Great for tough conditions||Not the best traction on algae or other slippery surfaces|
|Strong and durable upper|
Frogg Togg Hellbender Wading Shoe
A great budget boot. The Hellbender can be worn in both the trout stream or the surf comfortably. It’s made of lightweight mesh and a PVC upper with a felt outsole for easy and all day water traversing.
The padded ankle collar means there is all day comfort on the water and also provides ankle support. Great for walking on slippery surfaces but also light enough that it can be used when fishing on sand.
For the price the durability of the boot is not so bad, but compared to some higher end models these don’t hold up as well. Overall, a solid boot. Check the price on Amazon
Neosport Premium Neoprene Boot
Featuring a puncture resistant sole and a durable construction these are some seriously tough neoprene boots. It also features a water entry barrier which keeps water out and your feet dry and warm.
The ribbed rubber soles work great for walking both in and out of the water and give the angler ample traction in wherever their adventure takes them.
They do however run slightly small so make sure you order a ½ size to a full size up. These are perfect for fishing near gnarly oyster shells and any blue crabs that may snap at your toes. Check the price on Amazon
|Good traction||Run Small|
Orvis Christmas Island Boot
Similar to a neoprene boot, but these are instead made of Airprene. This material has a similar feel to neoprene but instead of keeping water out it allows water to flow through while keeping out any sand, or dirt.
These are perfect for fishing warm water where staving off cold feet is not a factor. It features a zipper on the side that allows you to easily slip the boot on and off.
The sole and sidewall are made of heavy duty rubber to help protect the angler against coral, rocks, or anything else that could cut up the bottom or side of a foot. Check out the price on Amazon
|Protects the foot||Not for use in cold water|
Compass 360 Stillwater II
Similar to the Frogg Togg Hellbender, but only slightly more expensive, these are another great budget boot. It features a non slip rubber outsole and also has locking stud grips for extra traction.
It also comes with a double padded collar and a reinforced toe cap to keep the front of your feet protected when wading near rocks, coral, or anything else that could be a potential hazard.
These are meant to be worn with neoprene boots. If you don’t plan on wearing booties then move down a half to a full size so that you comfortable fit into these with wading socks. Check out the price on Amazon
|Good Value||Studs sold separately|
Orvis Men’s Ultralight Wading Boot
The Orvis Ultralight wading boot gives you the protection you need while simultaneously giving you the lightweight feel of a neoprene boot. This lets you get out and wade all day with the fatigue of a heavy wading boot.
Thanks to the lightweight feel these can easily be brought on board a plane and you won’t have to leave anything out of your bag thanks to the lightweight boot.
Oddly enough these wading boots do run small and the laces are known to be shorter than normal. Its best to order a size or two up especially if you plan on using neoprene boots underneath them. Check out the price on Amazon.
|Lightweight feel||These boots run very small|
Hodgman Neoprene Wading Shoe
The non slip bottoms provide for excellent traction whether you are in or out of the water, and give the angler plenty of protection for their feet.
The boot is also waterproof and can be a great way to keep your feet warm and dry, especially if fishing in cooler water.
This boot fits well but for men you’ll need to go up one size and women will need to go down one size in order for a proper fit. Check out the price on Amazon
|Good Traction||Run Small|
|Offer solid protection against rocks and coral|
Redington Prowler Boots
First off, this is just a sharp looking boot. Dark brown sides and olive green siding with red trim at the top. So, if you’re looking to hit up the bars after a day on the river there’s no need to bring more than one pair of shoes. Just remember to take the studs out before hitting the dancefloor.
That being said, these are also a fantastic wading boot. These are made to fit neoprene boots order a size or smaller if you don’t plan on wearing one.
These hold up to wading on large slippery rocks and allow extra protection to the wearer. Add studs for extra grip. Check out the price on Amazon
|Great traction||Laces are not durable|
|Good look and fit|
Frogg Togg Aransas II
Equipped with a thick 5mm neoprene shell these can keep your feet warm and highly protected. It also features a cleated outsole perfect for maintain traction on slippery surfaces.
This shoe only comes in sizes 7-13 in men’s, so there is a limited size selection for women and children. Check out the price on Amazon
|Great foot protection||Only comes in men sizes|
A good pair of wading boots can be the difference between a full day out on the water, or one that could end quickly and with you potentially hurt and out of commission for a while. They add protection to the angler and ensure that you get out on the water as often as possible.
If you can afford a nice pair that costs $200 then great, knock yourself out. But if you’re on a budget then even a cheaper pair around $30-40 can be a great asset. Just like sunglasses, you don’t have to spend a ton to get the protection you need.
Hopefully the list above helped you in understanding exactly what you’re supposed to be looking for and feel free to use the list above to help you in your own search of a solid wading boot.