TOP 12 Best Wet Wading Shoes For Fly Fishing 2023

When the sun is shining bright, and the temperature is high enough, wet wading becomes an angler’s favorite pastime. The river twinkles with sunlight, and a summery breeze flow in your hair. You put on your best wet wading shoes and take a dip. Those thick neoprene waders will now rest in the closet, while a loose tank top and camo shorts become your staples for fly fishing.

Why wet wading shoes are important? The best wet wading shoes will help you keep a steady foot while you wade through slippery wet rocks or fast water currents. River wading shoes are adaptable to water and provide traction in slick conditions.

If you are a woman, you can skip to best wading shoes for women

But with so many wet wading shoes available in the market, how will you know which one is good for you? Well, this best fishing shoes guide will help you decide.

First, let me give you my verdict! After testing numerous shoes for wet wading, KEEN Men’s Voyageur tops the list of the best wet wading shoes for fly fishing.

Best Wet Wading Shoes: Quick Overview

SOBASO Water Shoes – Best Wet Wading Shoes
Simms Tributary Felt Sole Fishing Boots – Best Wading Boots
KEEN Men’s Voyageur – Best Leather Shoes
Merrell Blaze Sieve Water Shoes – Best Wading Sandals
SIMARI Water Shoes – Best Budget
Hodgman Neoprene Wade Shoe – Best Flats Wading Shoes
8 Fans Men’s Fishing Hunting Wading Shoes – Best Value

Following best wading shoes guidelines, we reviewed tons of water shoes for wading from various brands. And based on customer satisfaction, performance and usability of each product, we have listed the 12 best shoes for wading below.

1. KEEN Men's Voyageur Shoes – Leather Hiking & Wet Wading Shoes
2. Merrell Men's All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoes – Best Wading Sandals
3. SIMARI Water Shoes – Best in Budget
4. SOBASO Water Shoes – Best Water Shoes
5. Hodgman Neoprene Wade Shoe – Best Flats Wading Shoes
6. Simms Tributary Felt Sole Fishing Boots – Best Wading Boots
7. 8 Fans Fishing Hunting Wading Shoes – Best Value
8. DOUSSPRT Men's Water Shoes – Light as a Feather
9. Kylebooker Men's Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes – Most Breathable
10. Water Shoes Mens Womens Quick Dry Barefoot Swim Diving Shoes – Most Comfortable Surf Shoes
11. Merrell Women's Hydro Moc Water Shoe – Best Arch Support
12. AFT AFFINEST Mens Womens Water Shoes – For Short Hikes

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12 Best Wet Wading Shoes

Good quality wet wading shoes are water adaptable, anti-corrosive, breathable, and fast-drying. Best wet wading shoes provide good traction underwater and are not slippery on slick rocks.

Now detailed reviews of wet wading boots:

1. KEEN Men’s Voyageur Shoes – Leather Hiking & Wet Wading Shoes

I have had these for a few years. This year while waiting for a new pair of winter boots to arrive I used them to snowblow and shovel and general outdoor use for less than an hour at a time in Michigan winter. Surprisingly my feet stayed warm and dry. These are not even waterproof.

My favorite feature in these wading shoes for fishing is the flexibility of the sole that lets you hop around on stones with ease. The ventilation in the upper of these river-wading shoes traps no water and odor. The leather material is also water repellant and hence, fast-drying. Insoles are EVA that takes the shape of your foot, providing the comfiest fit.

This wet wading shoe has moderate arch support, otherwise one of the best wet wading shoes.

2. Merrell Men’s All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoes – Best Wading Sandals

I purchased these for a canyoning trip at Kawasan Falls in the Philippines (beautiful and extremely fun trip that I highly recommend) but I found out rather quickly that they were wrong for the intended purpose. First, lets talk about why these are great water shoes. Even Superman has one weakness and mine just happens to be the bottom of my feet, which are very sensitive to pain when I step on things like pointy rocks, Legos, etc. While planning for the trip and watching some videos of those who have gone before, I knew that I would need to plan on having a pair of water shoes that would decrease the potential of pain while walking over stones of varying sizes so after reading the reviews I went with these. The size was true to my standard shoe size, and I was really impressed by the quality of the shoe for the prince (I paid $69.99 for mine, but I see they went up in price recently). The waxy coating on leather gives them a rugged look and solid feel while the neoprene collar keeps your foot nice and snug. The sole on these suckers is hard! I didn't feel any discomfort caused by stepping on stones through the sole during the 2 hour canyoning excursion and would highly recommend these as great shoes for hiking when stream crossings are required.

Note the end of my last sentence: "... I would highly recommend these as great shoes for hiking when stream crossings are required" because honestly I wouldn't recommend these for canyoning. In fact, the constant immersion of my feet in water softened my skin and the hardness of the sole gave me two of the worst blisters I have had in my life right on the ball of my feet. Our guide had opted for and even offered us anti-slip diving boots, but we turned them down because we had our own shoes, and hindsight being 20/20 I should have noticed and mimicked the seasoned professional rather than thinking I knew better. The other reason why I regretted my choice is because while the soles were fantastic at gripping the dry portions of our trek as well as protecting my sensitive soles, the hardness of the sole did not help out with the slipperiness of the constantly emerged stones. At times it seemed like I was trying to walk on ice with how often I slipped on the algae coated stones and I'm positive that having a more flexible sole designed for constant immersion would have been much better suited to the canyoning adventure.

So in sum, I learned my lesson the hard way but these will still be amazing summer hiking shoes on trails that I know cross streams. With a little breaking in I also anticipate that the soles will be come a little more broken in and increase the grip potential, but I will update this review later if that isn't the case once I get an opportunity to test the theory!

3. SIMARI Water Shoes – Best in Budget

I may just buy more of these and never wear normal shoes again. I bought these for a lake trip and they're the most comfortable show I've ever had. I wear them all the time now, even out of the water. They look like normal sneakers if you're not paying close attention, they're snug (but not tight!), and they're super breathable. I 100% recommending getting a couple pairs!

Outstanding grip while walking too. I haven’t yet tried these wet wading shoes on slippery rocks, but from my experience with them, I can guarantee that they will give excellent traction. They are lightweight, comfortable, and are incredible saltwater wading shoes. And on top, they come with a minimal price. They are the best fishing shoes on a budget, undoubtedly!

The sole of these wading shoes for fly fishing is quite stretchable but thinner than I would have liked. The sole won’t be good enough to give the necessary support for walking very long distances.

SIMARI Water Shoes review

4. SOBASO Water Shoes – Best Water Shoes

I use water shoes in Mexico and I leave them down there. It gets hot and humid there during the summer months. I had some New Balance water shoes (apparently now discontinued) that were fine . However, the soles delaminated from the uppers (without a lot of actual use) over several years of sitting around. The uppers on this product are less robust than the New Balance ones but the soles look quite good. For me, they didn't seem to run large as others have posted. I wear 10.5 with New Balance and the 10.5 with this shoe seems to fit fine.

They won't get actually used until the end of February and we will just have to see how they hold up in storage down in MX.

What I love the most about Saboso wading shoes for fishing is that they have just the right amount of water drainage channels. A common trend in water shoes is that the manufacturers give several openings in the top and bottom of the shoe for draining water fast. What happens is that the water drains out, and the sand gets trapped within the footwear. The shoes start to feel like you are walking on a sandy beach barefoot, forcing you to stop every few miles and clean the footwear again and again.

The Sobaso wet wading shoes are the best fly fishing shoes because they do not have a hole in their bottom, keeping the sand out and the sole clean from the inside while walking. Also, their material is quick-drying and lightweight. The rubber outsole provides a solid grip in almost every slippery condition I have tested these in.

As far as sizing is concerned, I’d suggest you go half a size down since these are a bit wider than the standard shoe size.

5. Hodgman Neoprene Wade Shoe – Best Flats Wading Shoes

Got these for a bonefishing trip in South Andros, Bahamas. I typically wear a size 12, but found the 12 a little too large if going barefoot or only wearing thin socks underneath. Exchanged for size 11 and it was perfect. If you are going to wear thicker socks (like neoprene), then I would order your regular shoe size or perhaps even a size larger, depending on thickness of sock.

They were flawless. Easy on/off, strap to secure ankle, thick enough sole and toe protection to deal with rocks and coral. No complaints whatsoever, and great price.

Also, they are considerably lightweight. The zipper on the top is more straightforward to operate than the conventional laces. You can easily slide your feet in and out of them because of neoprene. And despite being quite minimalistic, they still offer subtle toe protection.

The cuff around the ankle helps customize the fit of the ankle collar. You can tighten or loosen it until it fits you perfectly. Moreover, this flat wading shoe is quite durable and lasts you many years of wet wading. Hence our best wading shoes.

But, these flats wading shoes run a little large, so order accordingly. However, sizing is a bit dodgy. You’ll have to keep in consideration whether you plan on wearing these flat shoes barefoot or with socks.


6. Simms Tributary Felt Sole Fishing Boots – Best Wading Boots

After six outings fishing the evening hatch the Simms boots show no sign of wear, just mud and weed seeds on the boots in the photo. Note the second photo of boots from another source with only one use after about an hour and a half the soles are separating from the boots. I got my money back on those then got those Simms and they are great. These are my first Simms and the sixth pair of wading boots. The way they are holding up with my age they could be my last pair of wading boots. Time will tell.
They are way better than any of the others and they are the cheapest Simm! I was going to get the next higher grade of Simms but they weren't available at the time with felt bottoms

Apart from the traction, Simms Tributary is very good at protecting your feet from injuries. There are rigid upper and reinforced toes and heel caps that won’t let your feet stomp on a rough-edged rock. Furthermore, the neoprene inner enables you to slide your feet in and out of them very smoothly.

The Simms wet wading shoes are best for anyone who takes traction very seriously. But they may not be an ideal pick for someone who doesn’t want a considerable weight on their feet. These fly fishing wet wading boots look bulky and weigh quite a lot compared to other low-key water shoes.

7. Kylebooker Fishing Hunting Wading Shoes – Best Value

A common proverb for hiking; “an ounce on the feet, is a pound on the back.”

Ordered size 9, they fit well. The wading boots are comfy with light weight. Super Lightweight,breathable and quick draining are definitely important considerations to choose the satisfactory wading boots. The sturdy built
toe and heelThe Mens Fishing Wading Boots were built to Mesh upper reinforced toe and heel which reinforces the protection of your foot.
Non-slip rubber soles offer good traction! Affordable and fast shipping Highly recommend!

The oxford upper and reinforced heel and toe caps are tough enough to withstand rugged and sharp-edged objects underwater. The boot has interior cushioning. It gives excellent ankle support, a feature you won’t find in any wet wading sandals. The rubber soles are also very good at providing a good grip on the slippery wet rocks.

The only downside is that the drying time is prolonged because of all the cushioning for comfort. You’ll have to wait at least 48 hours before they are entirely dried so that you can take them for another wet wading trip in another river.

8. DOUSSPRT Men’s Water Shoes – Light as a Feather

I bought several different water shoes looking for the best to use as light compact everyday easy on off shoes for in the house and around town errands. These are my favorite. As I do with all shoes, I replaced the insole with a Spenco green insole.

These are light and compact, so for travel they worked well on the airplane and bus as well. For long days of on my feet walking I use running shoes instead. I did wear these a few times on cobblestone streets but running shoes are better.

I have not used these as water shoes. The bottom of the shoes have many drain holes and as expected water with a little depth will come in through them as well as drain out through them. These will not keep your feet dry walking through wet grass. The very breathable total mesh upper should filter out larger stuff. Not sure if it is fine enough to filter out sand. The elastic laces will snug the shoe to your foot. Not sure if this will be sufficient to keep the shoes on in mud sucking stuck shoe situations. I would use full lace up shoes for muddy in and out of water situations. These might be great for swimming while wearing if you need some light foot protection. I would definitely choose to use them for that. No idea if they would be useful around coral or just shred.

9. Kylebooker Men’s Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes – Most Breathable

Whether hiking around a water body, fly fishing, or wet wading, a comfy and lightweight water shoe is essential for having a good experience, precisely what the Kylebooker water shoes do.

These wet wading shoes have very little weight and are very comfortable to wear. Plus, they are incredibly breathable. The upper body is all-mesh, while the bottom also has openings for easy water drainage. This feature also makes them super-fast drying. The soles are rubber and give lovely traction on rocky slopes. The shoes also have interior lining and cushioning to keep your feet relaxed.

But mesh means little barrier against sand getting into the shoes. These fishing water shoes are not suitable for a beach or a river shore that has sand or fine pebbles. Nevertheless, these water shoes for wading are the most breathable option on the market.

10. Water Shoes Mens Womens Quick Dry Barefoot Swim Diving Shoes – Most Comfortable Surf Shoes

I bought these because I wanted to jump on the barefoot shoe train, but Vivo's are too damn expensive, and my next favorite company was out of stock.

As zero-drop barefoot shoes, these work perfectly... Of course, they don't have the wide toebox, but beggars can't be choosers, and the stretchy material makes up for some of that.

Being made specifically for water, I can imagine these falling apart pretty quickly, but I take these on a 3-mile trail hike every morning, and they're still going strong.

If you want to transition to barefoot shoes and are broke/still waiting for Wildlings to be in stock, these will do well.

Oh, and they work great in the water.

4 Month Update: Well I’ll be dipped! These puppies have not fallen apart like originally assumed. In fact, they basically look brand new. My Wildlings came in, so I don’t wear these every day anymore, but I still wear them regularly enough that I’m stunned they’ve held up so well.

The upper body of the shoe has a soft fabric that is very breathable. These fly fishing wet wading shoes also take little time to dry, and you can easily dump them in your car trunk or put them in your backpack to have an outdoor shoe readily available at all times. Additionally, they are durable and come in many attractive colors.

The arch support, however, is a letdown for me. After a day of wet wading and walking long distances in them, my feet were hurting pretty bad.

11. Merrell Women’s Hydro Moc Water Shoe – Best Arch Support

I have a flat foot and rarely find a comfortable shoe to take a long walk. With half of my life spent trying on shoes that would soothe my painful arches, I can vouch for these best fly fishing shoes by Merrell.

Their arch support is beyond amazing. Buying the right size may be a little tricky with these, but the comfort these fly fishing wet wading sandals bring to anyone with problematic feet is unimaginable. The EVA insoles are thin and flexible and have the proper contours to support your arch. The heel is articulated and has a strap at the back to ensure a good fit.

There are huge holes in the upper cover of the shoe, so no water gets trapped in them. Also, the rubber material is hydrophobic and very fast-drying. I have worn these shoes for wet wading and when I’m home, running small errands, or sometimes for casual days at work. They are super lightweight and easy to carry around with you.

 12. AFT AFFINEST Mens Womens Water Shoes – For Short Hikes

I've had these for a few months now and do a lot of salt water fishing. Needed a good water shoe that could hold up to wade fishing and walking on the rocks at the jetty. These are great for that. The only thing I changed was swapped the insoles out for some stiffer ones so you dont feel all the hard edges when walking in the rocks. Other that that, they are great. I plan on ordering another pair just to have.

Our last entry in the list of wet wading shoes is the Aft Affinest water shoes. They are breathable, quick-drying, and give a good grip. The fabric mesh upper retains no water while keeping the sand out. At the same time, the rubber outsole is good enough to stand steady on wet and slippery stones.

There is ample toe protection due to the thickened rubber at the toe region. The sole is also shock-absorbent. While the arch support is not their strongest suit, these wet wading shoes are still comfortable if you wear them for shorter intervals. The elastic laces are also easy to operate.

Buying Guide For Wet Wading Shoes:

You need to keep in mind a few essential features while shopping for the best wet wading shoes.

Water Adaptability

You cannot just dive in the water while wearing your sneakers and then complain about them getting ruined. The best wet wading boots are capable of surviving the wear and tear caused by water. They are abrasion-resistant, anti-corrosive, hydrophobic, and thus fast-drying, to name a few.

If you want to spend considerable time with your feet underwater, you should prepare for it beforehand. Because water flow is pretty ruthless to wet wading gear, but a durable wading boot won’t just fall apart after a few hours in water.

Water Drainage Ports

No one wants to walk around with a bucket full of water dragging down their feet. An excellent wet wading shoe has channels in the sole area to let out the accumulated water. These channels allow instant water drainage as soon as you step out of the river. Plus, they also help in getting rid of the sand and gravel that goes in.

Traction Under Water

Traction is one of the most important considerations while shopping for boots for wading in water. You don’t want to slip and end up lying flat on slippery rocks in gushing water. That is why should know wading safety guidelines. Evaluate the conditions where you plan on fishing and choose your wet wading boot carefully.


Q. How cold is too cold for wet wading?

With a water temperature ranging from 50 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit, it is better to wet wade while wearing neoprene socks or flats wade shoes like the Hodgman wade shoe.

Q. What are the best wet wading sandals?

In my experience, I’ve found the  Merrell Blaze Sieve Water Sandals one of the comfiest wet wading sandals. KEEN Men’s Voyageur is another great option for fly fishing shoes.

Q. What are wet wading essentials?

The most essential wet wading gear includes:

>Best wet wading shoes

Neoprene wading socks Comfortable shirts, wet wading pants, and undergarments

> Polarized sunglasses

Sunscreen with high enough SPF

> Waterproof storage bag > Lots of excitement!


You can ditch the heavy and insulated waders during summers, but what you cannot wade without is a pair of your best wet wading shoes for fishing. They will be the solid ground beneath your feet and give a better wading experience.

The market is full of products, each claiming to be better than the other. After loads of testing and trying out, I think the  Simms Men’s Challenger Air Vent Shoe are the best shoes for wade fishing. They give superior traction, are tough as hell, and will last you decades without losing their integrity. My favorite feature is their ability to keep the sand out.

So go out and buy your pair and live this summer wading through the mightiest rivers.

Related Fly Fishing Guides:
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