For eastcoast stripers, i've been very happy fishing with the following:
stockingfoot goretex waders with lightweight (llbean) sticky rubbersoled boots (like hiking boots)
wetsuit or dry suit bibs with neoprene surfing boots
I remember a hike out to nauset inlet from coastguard beach when Juro was wearing conventional wading boots and i had my surfing boots on - i felt like i had wings on my feet. For long walks on the beach you _cannot_ beat them, and i personally really like being able to feel the sand & stones beneath my feet.
Wearing a wetsuit or drysuit is something i used to do for safety when i thought i'd be gambling with time on a far sandbar as the tide came in. I'm getting a little too comfortable with goretex now though
Because my surfing boots are too tight to pull over my goretex waders, and I wanted something that could do double-duty on rivers, I got the lightweight llbean sticky rubber sole boots for them, and they also cruise very well over sand, as well as being just the trick for rocky areas. If not for them, i'd surely have gone for a pair of larger dive boots. BTW, neo boots are also a very nice item to have on hand if you ever get a chance to fish the tropics.
( Also, don't expect the sticky rubber soles to work well on streambeds that have algae on them (i see they now come optionally with carbide spikes ) )
Now that i've purchased a pair of (Simms Guide Model Goretex) bootfoots to keep my feet toasty in PNW rivers, i have to say that i really like the convenience of just slipping them on and off, and if i ever move back to boston, i'll be eyeing a pair for myself. The Simms Guide model bootfoots are _really_ expensive, but i agree with Brian that walking in them is quite comfortable and they seem to offer adequate support.
I couldn't agree more with the bootfoot's value of not having to deal with the ordeal of double gaitors, which often still don't keep the sand out if standing right in the wash.
However, i strongly suggest against using felt soles on the beach unless you are looking for a _lot_ of extra exercise. I don't know if they are still available, but last year the Simms Guide Model goretex bootfoots could be ordered with a treaded sole instead of a felt sole, but you've got to be really prepared before you peek at the price. At least the guide models come with a two-year warrantee instead of just a one-year.
A bit off the topic, but the dry suit which i have is a two piece bib & top combo - the top has a comfortable neoprene neck unlike the totally hardcore ones which have a latex seal neck. I keep it rolled up and tied to the back of my chestpack for when it is either pouring rain or when i think i need a measure of safety ( when i think i might have to do some swimming
. pulling it down over the top of my chestwaders, drawing the double waistband tight and velcroing the neck gives me almost the equivalent of a drysuit, and eliminates the sea-anchor effect of swimming in chestwaders - considerably more so than just a wading belt.
Lastly, in case anyone has not yet experienced goretex waders for hot summer fishing - the luxury is something you'll appreciate every time the temperatures warm up.