Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fighting the Elements: Footwear

Previously we discussed the different glove options to help protect your hands when out on the water. Equally as important is keeping your feet happy, this means, warm, dry and comfortable.

We all know that standing for 8 hours in a boat can be killer on your feet, legs and back. The same goes for shoreline or dock fishermen who spend there time trekking into that secret shoreline haunt or standing on a hard wooden or cement docks.  Your feet get you where you need to go and keep you in an upright position ready to set the hook when a bites comes. 

Over the years I have found that not one single pair of shoes will be able to provide you with what you need in all situations, so I have 4 go to pairs, that allow me to stay warm, comfortable and dry when on the water. Here is a break down of what I wear and why  


Ok, these guys have been on the market for a while now and a lot of guys swear by them. I own a pair and they do have a place when on the water, here are some pro’s and con’s   

Pros: Crocs are made of a light weight durable material that make them easy to wear. They have a great cushion and ease the pain of walking on hard surfaces for long periods of time. They have great traction and grip even in wet conditions. They take abuse well still protect you feet. Odor is also not an issue in crocs.. let your family rejoice

Cons: Although the boast great traction on the sole or the shoe, one area the traction is not so great is in the shoe. If you get the inside of a Croc wet, it is easy for your foot to slip within the croc, this can lead to rolled ankles or slips and falls.  Cros are meant to cushion feet that spend longs days on hard surfaces, I find that the cushioning is not as great when standing still for long periods of time. At the end of the day if I spent 8 hours standing in the boat I still felt the wear and tear on my legs and back

 Applications:    Boat (B-)                       Dock (A)                         Shoreline (C+) 

Running Shoes/ Sneakers 

Everyone has a favorite brand so there is no use arguing that here. Sneakers are meant for athletes and fisherman are athletes, so there is definitely a place for sneakers on the water.

Pros:  Obviously the comfort factor is high, a good quality sneaker is like walking on a cloud (same goes for skateboard shoes). Sneakers also provide additional warmth on those cold days on the water. Most sneakers have a great tread and make standing on a boat or on the shore a breeze.

Cons: Sneakers are not meant to get wet, and lets face it, there is a good chance your feet are going to get wet while on the water. Whether it is in the rain or when launching the boat, it happens, our feet get wet. Sneakers will take a long time to dry and will make for an uncomfortable day on the water.

Applications:  Boat  (B)                        Dock  (A)                        Shoreline (B-) 

Sport Sandals  


Like running shoes/sneakers, there are many brands of sport sandal. I wear Merrells as they are a hiking grade sandal that is very comfortable.  

Pros: I find that sports or hiking sandals are comfortable but not as comfortable as a standard shoe or Croc. They offere advanced protection while still allowing your feet to breath and stay cool on a hot summer day. Full toe protection is great when there are hooks, and toothy critters entering the boat.

Cons: Sports sandals can be heavy. This is the price you pay for the extra protection and comfort added

Applications:  Boat  (B)                      Dock  (B+)                        Shoreline (A-)

Water Shoes: Drain Maker

Standard water shoes I would not even include in my list, but the Columbia Drain maker is an advanced water shoe and is worth a mention 

Pros: the Drain maker is a water shoe, so it is meant to get wet and dry quickly. It is a full shoe and will offer more warmth then a croc or sport sandal. The drain holes in the sole of the shoe allow water to drain quickly keeping the shoe dry and lightweight. It has been designed for hiking with good traction and great comfort.

Cons: this is a newer shoe to me, bought my first pair this year. They are hard to find unless ordering on-line and have limited color options. In the testing I have done I have not concerns with comfort or durability. They don’t offer the same toe protection when hiking to a shore line spot as a sport sandal does, but will suffice in standard conditions  

 Applications:  Boat  (A)                  Dock  (B+)                     Shoreline (A-)

And before you say it, yes, all my fishing shoes are black, it's not a Johnny Cash thing, just some weird compulsion I have. They stand up better to sweat and water stains, then most other colors. 


  1. no, i cant do flipflops.. I know a lot of guys wear them, but i cant get comfortable

  2. Hi bass junky. about the drain maker by colum
    if i wear it in the rain... slight wet muddy places..
    will the water go inthe shoes from bottom up easily? getting my socks wet?

    (even if it can /will dry itself fast...)

  3. the drain holes on these shoes are on the side of the sole and not the bottom. This allows you to stand in damp or wet areas without the water seeping into bottom of the shoe. That being said any puddles that go over the sole will allow water into the shoe.. great review of these shoes in the new FLW Magazine (July issue)

  4. yes the shoe dries fairly quickly