Best Wet Wading Shoes – Top 7 of 2022 – Buyer’s Guide

// By Leonard Schoenberger

Many anglers often forget that their attire while out on the water matters as much as the equipment they bring.

Most would just pull out their good old waders and head out fishing all day. But while waders already have a reputation for being the unofficial uniform of anglers for fishing journeys all year round, there is one thing that’s often overlooked: wet wading shoes.

Come to think of it, waders are uncomfortable to wear during the hottest days of the year—and wet wading shoes are just the perfect alternative for it. Some may swear by their wading boots, but wading shoes are a much more flexible and cheaper option, all while still being able to provide the comfort and security that you need while you are out and about in the water.

Not only that, they’re the perfect footwear to use on land as well, so there’s a guarantee that you would get the best of both worlds. Some anglers may shy away from wet wading because it goes at the expense of being wet, but with the right pair of wading shoes, it would be something you’re sure to go back to every time the summer heat arrives again.

Table of Contents:

Best Wading Wet Shoes Quick Answer List

Important Features in Wet Wading Shoes

Review Of The Best Wet Wading Shoes In 2022

Conclusion

Fly fishing in shorts with wet wading boots
Summer fly fishing with wet wading shoes

Best Wet Wading Shoes Quick Answer List

1. Simms M’s Flyweight Wet Wading Shoe

2. Orvis Pro Approach Shoe

3. Patagonia River Salt Wading Boots

4. FROGG TOGGS Men’s Aransas II

5. Salewa Wildfire Approach Shoe

6. Hodgman Neoprene Wade Shoe

7. Simms Flats Sneakers

Important Features in Wet Wading Shoes

When the rays of the summer sun start to come up, and the temperature begins to rise, the last thing you would want to do is to go fishing with layers and layers of clothing. Let’s put it this way: no waders, more mobility. 

Being in the clear and cool water is a whole different thing that every angler should experience at least once in their lives—because, let’s face it, nothing truly beats the feel of fishing when you are in the water itself. Wet wading is a great way to kick back from your bulky attire, but like any other fishing technique, you still have to consider wearing the proper clothing and, most importantly, footwear. Without something to protect your soles, especially when you are prone to getting “cold feet,” wet wading would undeniably be a less enjoyable experience.

That being said, it is crucial for you to choose a pair of wet wading shoes that will enable you to feel safe, comfortable, and balanced even when you are up against slippery rocks or fast currents. Here are some things to consider when choosing the best wet wading shoes:

Summer fishing with wet wading shoes
Wet wading boots ensure a save stance in the water

Drying time

Let’s face it, even when wet wading does involve getting wet, no one wants to go back out with footwear full of water. Choosing a pair of wet wading shoes that features a fast-drying time will lessen the possibility of mold growth. 

One good thing to consider would be to choose a pair that features channels in the sole that will enable the flow of unwanted water. They will usually drain out as soon as you go out of the water—and they are an excellent feature to ward off the excess sand that goes in.

However, keep in mind that the drying time will also depend on the kind of environment that you are in, considering the humidity, temperature, and climate present. At the end of the day, it all boils down to how patient you would be in air-drying your shoes and rinsing them after every usage so that bacteria won’t pile up and leave you to deal with a foul odor. 

Weight

It’s a given that wet wading shoes are lightweight because they are supposed to be an alternative to chunky wading boots. But it all goes down to personal preference: heavier shoes are guaranteed to last longer, but they won’t give you the mobility and comfort that you would need while wading. If you want something that won’t burden you, opt for lighter pairs.

Durability/Adaptability

Like your fishing equipment, your attire is also an investment. You can never go wrong with choosing a pair that’s guaranteed to last years, whether you’re an occasional angler or a serious one. 

The pair you choose must be able to withstand not only the test of time but also the environment you will be in while wet wading. Aside from being fast-drying, it must also be resistant to abrasion, corrosion, and, as much as possible, water-repellent. 

You can never know what kind of condition you will be facing when you’re in the water, so having a handy pair of shoes that’s guaranteed to not fall apart within a matter of a few hours should be at the top of your list. The traction is also one of the most important things you should consider unless you want to slip easily or have an uncomfortable time battling the rocks and currents on the stream.

Fly fishing wearing wet wading shoes
Wet wading boots in action

Lacing system 

Some wet wading shoes don’t guarantee a one-size-fits-all approach, and that’s where the lacing systems come in. Here’s a short run-down of what to choose:

Laces 

This system works well when you often fish on riverbanks rather than wading through the currents for an extended period of time since it would be too much of a hassle tying them up again and again while you’re already in the river. It’s best to use this if the environment you would be fishing in has little to no debris.

Hook and loop or Velcro systems 

This adjustable system is a much better choice if you prefer battling fast currents. However, they can be quite high maintenance because you would have to scrub out the microorganisms caught in the strap so as to not disturb the existing ecosystem in different watersheds. If you like to switch places every now and then, try to stay away from Velcro systems—unless you are patient enough to thoroughly clean them after every use. 

Cinch 

This one is a safe option for anglers who often change their footwear between journeys, but one disadvantage is that it easily clogs with fine sediment found in water. It’s a great choice if you want a quick and secure pair, especially when the places you fish in don’t really have much fine sediment present.

Sustainability

If you are willing to sacrifice optimum durability just so you can promote sustainability, then never shy away from choosing a pair that won’t leave environmental footprints wherever you go. In today’s time, sustainability is something that should always be deeply considered because we also have to respect the species and the environment we are throwing ourselves into. 

Fly fisherman holding a bonefish
Wet wading shoes can be a great choice when fishing in tropical waters

Review Of The Best Wet Wading Shoes In 2022

With all those factors said, it’s up to you now to choose the right pair that you think would work best for you. Here are some of the best wet wading shoes on the market today for your reference:

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Simms M’s Flyweight Wet Wading Shoe

If you’re looking for something that won’t break the bank but is of quality, then you’re in luck with the Simms M’s Flyweight Wet Wading Shoe. If you are into hiking, then you would find this one most comfortable, especially when used on warm days when fast currents flow. 

It’s built with a TPU film that makes it resistant to abrasion, as well as a web lacing system that will give you optimum lightweight comfort. Its synthetic boot material can both be worn with either a thin sock or no socks at all. The Simms M’s Flyweight Wet Wading Shoe also has a high-cushion mid-sole that’s guaranteed to give you the support that you need while facing the currents. Vibram soles have proven to be of exceptional quality over and over again and will provide a secure footing no matter the bottom of the river or creek you’re fishing.

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Orvis Pro Approach Shoe

Whether you’re drift boating, hiking, wading, or just walking along the shores, the Orvis Pro Approach Shoe is one thing that you should keep an eye out for. It features a seamless cage technology out of polyurethane and a drainage system that offers fast-drying time. It’s durable, breathable, abrasion resistant, and has good traction—all made with the help of Michelin.

The Orvis Pro Approach Shoe already has embedded breathable socks made of Ariaprene in it and a lace hood that keeps the lacing system out of the way, ensuring your convenience. It also has arch-supported insoles for all-day comfort, as well as shock-absorbent midsoles that elevate your maneuvering feel while in the water. 

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Patagonia River Salt Wading Boots

You can never go wrong with Patagonia—especially with their River Salt Wading Boots. The brand takes pride in its sustainable processes, so if you want to ensure minimal environmental impact, then this one is the way to go. It’s a great option if you don’t only go wet wading but hiking and flats fishing as well.

Built with full-grain leather, you won’t have to doubt its durability as it can be used in both salt and fresh water and on dry and wet surfaces. With its draining system, the Patagonia River Salt Wading Boots ensure quick-drying comfort. It’s also embedded with nylon paneling that ensures abrasion resistance, as well as quality soles that provide great traction across a variety of surfaces. This one has a lacing system that’s not only adjustable but corrosion resistant as well. 

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FROGG TOGGS Men’s Aransas II

If you only want to dip your toes in wet wading and don’t want to spend over a hundred dollars for a pair of wet wading shoes, then consider this FROGG TOGGS Men’s Aransas II. The combination of polyester and PVC makes it a perfect choice for anglers who often explore near the coast, and it has great traction as well.

The FROGG TOGGS Men’s Aransas II features a zipper that’s heavy-duty enough to keep sand out, as well as a toe and heel cap that’s durable enough to assist you on rocky surfaces. It has a Velcro system that’s guaranteed to give you the extra support that you need while out on the water.

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Salewa Wildfire Approach Shoe

Whether fly fishing or hiking, the Salewa Wildfire Approach Shoe is something you should watch out for. It’s a great option for anglers who also often go on a hike on mountains, as it gives leverage for you to easily climb things. It sports a breathable mesh lining and a rubber grip that’s suitable for both wet and dry conditions.

The Salewa Wildfire Approach Shoe comes with a lacing system that ensures a wrapped fit, as well as a fine-tunable toe so that you can ensure optimum precision on any surface. 

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Hodgman Neoprene Wade Shoe

If you are a fan of flats fishing, then the Hodgman Neoprene Wade Shoe is a great choice, especially when you also love to wet wade under the summer sun. It comes with adjustable cuffs and a Velcro system that ensures a tight and snug fit to keep debris and sand from entering.

With uppers built using 3.5mm neoprene and non slip rubber soles, the Hodgman Neoprene Wade Shoe ensures comfortable wear that also guarantees protection, and stability. 

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Simms Flats Sneakers

The Simms Flats Sneakers are a great option for anglers who want to have something that could pass as casual wear but can still provide a quality experience while trudging down the water. It’s like a wading boot, and a wading shoe all rolled into one—as durable as the former and as lightweight as the latter.

The Simms Flats Sneakers feature a gum rubber outsole for great traction on dry and wet surfaces, and it also comes with a mid-height design with removable Right Angle® footbeds that ensures maximum comfort even when you’re wading for a long period of time. 

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Conclusion

Wet wading without proper footwear can expose you to certain safety risks, so it is absolutely essential to have a pair that’s suitable for this technique. A good pair of wet wading shoes would enable you to search through the waters comfortably, even when fast currents and slippery rocks are present. 

It’s up to you if you want to invest in a quality pair or if you just want to hold back for the meantime and buy a starter set, but at the end of the day, you should make your choice depending on your comfort, personal preference, and the environment you will be fishing in. After all, you can never really enjoy wet wading without a trusty pair of wading shoes!

Notice: The Wading List is reader-supported. We take part in the Amazon Associates Program and earn a small commission at no extra cost for you if you end up making a purchase. We only recommend products we are convinced of and use ourselves. Thanks!