Gear check - best saltwater wading shoes for stockingfoot waders? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Gear check - best saltwater wading shoes for stockingfoot waders?

06-01-2010, 09:52 AM
OK - my incredible one-of-a-kind ninja boots are falling apart and it's time to find the next sand-proof lightweight wading shoe to deal with northeastern surf, flats and beach conditions.

1) no sand invasion
2) hiking / athletic sole and support for long beach marches
3) lightweight
4) corrosion proof
5) non-startling color for flats fishing
6) price

in that order.

What does the collective wisdom of the Worldwide Flyfishing Forum say is the current leading edge shoe for this purpose?

06-01-2010, 02:41 PM
Patagonia riverwalker sticky, very light, super easy on and off, comfortable, must be paired with good gravel guards to keep sand intrusion to a very acceptable minimum, not particularly cheap but regularly available on Ebay for way less than the $160 list, you'll probably want a size larger than you've traditionally bought so check before buying. Good luck.

06-02-2010, 05:03 AM
Good recommendation - you're not the first to mention those. The shoes I have enjoyed for years have no sand invasion without gaitors. I'd like to find that if possible, being a first priority criteria or perhaps gaitors that are attached to the waders and completely effective.

06-02-2010, 09:59 AM
I think this thread exposes the possibility that there simply are no good solutions for the northeastern saltwater shore angler out there!

06-02-2010, 02:18 PM
I guess I have to agree with you on that, it's a matter of making the best of a poor selection of choices, I think the Patagonias are basically very good but absolutely require gaitors, which increase the total weight that you're hauling around. Over the last 15 years or so I've tried quite few combos and this is the best so far. One omission, I've had the old Simms guides, sans guards (3 pairs) for most of that time.

06-02-2010, 03:51 PM
Juro, I recall seeing Adrian duct tape around the top of his wading shoes to his waders to prevent egress of sand. There is nothing out there short of bootfoot waders that will work in the surf. I use kayak boots over my waders, but they need to be hosed out after use. The solution is to wait until the water warms and wet wade.

06-02-2010, 03:58 PM
Another vote for Patagonia River Walkers. You can also put a few hardened steel studs (Simms or Stabilicers are sources) on the sole if you want added traction.

06-03-2010, 06:20 AM
Take a look at Cabelas' Bone Sneaker 2. Thinking about trying out a pair soon. Simms new flats boot. Great quality but twice the price. For obvious reasons, only good in sand.


06-03-2010, 11:07 AM
wet wade barefoot - the best!

06-03-2010, 04:18 PM
Another one for Patagonia. You'll get a little sand but not much if your waders have a built in boot skirt.

The big thing is the guarantee. I bought my pair about five or six years ago. They wear out like anything else but Patagonia doesn't blink an eye over replacing them. I'm on my third pair and the only cost was the original purchase of the first pair.

The new ones are incredibly easy to put on as well. Lace hooks all the way down to the foot for a big wide opening. Neoprene like ankle cuff keeps out most of the sand.

06-04-2010, 07:04 AM
Simms G4.

Best I have ever used.

06-04-2010, 01:25 PM
I switched to BOOT waders a few years back for the salt. It's an easy on and off and there are no problems with sand/grit working into the mix. Ease of movement/comfort is not the problem that we have been lead to believe. Life is a lot easier with boot waders!!


06-05-2010, 12:47 PM
Indeed I'd prefer to have a pair of each; boot foot and stocking foot - but with the price of top brand goretex waders I need to be able to pack the waders to fish the west coast with different boots than I would don them for the local flats, i.e. $800 is more than I can justify for waders. The boot foot boots are fairly clunky as well for long walking as is often the case on the flats.

Until my current pair fell apart, I was fortunate to have the ultimate solution - basically a neoprene tall slip-on boot with a light hiking sole. This was an experimental design LL Bean sold for whitewater then discontinued. I've been enjoying this for years until they finally gave in to the constant abuse.

In order to cope with the inadequate designs out there I may take the route of perfecting the gaitors over boots that offer everything but the seal at the top of the boot. If the boots have a fully gusseted tongue then the only intrusion would occur from the top opening. The advantage of the slip-on neoprene is that it stretched snugly over the neoprene boot of the wader effectively mating the two for a no-sand solution which could be left on the wader like a bootfoot between trips.

I consider myself a serious shore angler in rips, surf and flats and have tested dozens of designs during which only one design has stood up to the challenge. I may have to design a suitable replacement myself.

06-05-2010, 02:56 PM
Let me say something again for boot waders. I've seen plenty of waterlogged/sandlogged boots making their way back to the vehicles to know that a boot wader is a lot less trouble than a stockingfoot/boot combo. For full disclosure I can say that my freshwater fishing is now done with boot waders. My walking along trout rivers take me a mile or so from my car. I'm also 60 years old and boot waders are not leading me to an untimely end!!!! I feel fine after hours in this gear. One, who is "on the fence" about this ,would be surprised about the convenience of boot waders. It's worth a try.

06-07-2010, 12:20 PM
I just picked up a pair of the River Tread (studded) boots and then spent 2 10 hour days walking in them on the cape (4 fish in 20+ hours makes for 2 long days). Two observations... First these are the most comfortable pair of wading boots I have ever owned. Second, after walking in them for 10 hours there was virtually NO sand inside the boots. Normally I have to empty out my boots at least once a day. I have Simms G3 waders with the built in gravel guards. I am very happy with them so far. They replaced another pair of LL Bean boots with the same bottoms so I know I will be happy with that part of the boot.


06-11-2010, 06:29 PM
Anybody try Cabela's flats boots? If so, please post pros and cons. I was planning to get some but didn't see them mentioned in this thread so I thought I should ask first.



06-14-2010, 05:21 AM
Chotas have been great except that silly bungie lace broke but I put in a hockey skate lace and thats fine,,,, I hear the Korkers are nice too!

06-20-2010, 11:44 AM
After a week of slogging around in my Patagonias I've made at least one observation that might be useful to those who are interested. All week I was noticing that my left foot was accumulating sand and my right was not, upon further study I found there was a slight wrinkle it he left boot that was allowing sand to get get into the welt of the tongue and then work its way into the boot. This could be cured by extending the welt all the way to the top of the tongue, so I guess a trip to the cobbler is imminent. As a lesson I think it is paramount to have a welt that comes up to the top of the tongue for best protection from sand. I hope this will help in the quest.

06-21-2010, 05:57 AM
I appreciate the comments. However I must establish that I have been in beach ninja bliss for several years, having found a prototype boot that is a full high-top height, solid stretch neoprene with sneaker-like sides and soles that slip-on to waders and can be left as "convertible bootfoots" for days or weeks without accumulating ANY sand, and without gaitors.

I have experienced what wading in northern waters should be like, and the trail of regular boots designed for streams and ponds do not cut the mustard in this application. I still have them and use them for freshwater, but they are pretty much useless in salt flats or surf unless you are willing to deal with sand inside (which I am not).

Maybe I need to design and manufacture the beach ninja boot. :smokin:

06-21-2010, 09:32 AM
Sign me up for a pair.

10-22-2010, 07:46 PM
So what did you finally decide on and have they been any good?

12-06-2010, 11:04 AM
I just made this same post under a different thread. I replaced my Simms wading shoes because of salt corroding the eyes. The replacement? Waterproof hiking boots from Wal-Mart for $39.95.... Plus, they have nylon eyes so there's no corrosion. They do have a couple of hook eyes at the top but, all the regular eyes are nylon. Just buy them 2 sizes larger than your regular shoe size to fit over waders. They're comfortable enought that I wear them wet wading during the summer. I've had them a couple of years now, still going strong.

12-06-2010, 02:10 PM
Buy some merrill hiking shoes.... for size bigger if you use waders.... less than $50 and you will have them for years. The whole fishing shoe industry is a joke. I suppose it depends on where and how often you fish. All this sending them back ,etc. I replaced so many Orvis shoes and wet wading sandels before the obvious was right in my face at the hiking shoe display...New Balance also has some really inexpensive running shoes that one guide on the Cape wears... and he is out fishing alot and is a beach guide...(you can also wear them to the Squire after)....

12-06-2010, 04:00 PM

I have worn an older version of the NRS ATB wetshoe for 10 years. I wore them with Bean Gore Tex waders with a gore tex foot and the combo was awesome. But Bean discontinued their stockingfoot waders for now, and I need new waders! So I am a little screwed too.

I love the boots and they meet your criteria in my opinion. I have never even found sand in the boots. Not once. The are comfortable and relatively lightweight but with a rugged sole that offers real support. Long days on the flats with flimsy soled booties caused some arch pain for me.

If you want something lighter then NRS has lighter weight boots that offer less support.

Good luck,