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Do You Need Special Shoes For Fishing?    by Dave Reed

Sperry Athletic Style Boating Shoes  

ďAre you kidding me!? You really want me to buy special shoes just for fishing!Ē That was my exact reaction only a few years ago. That was also before my "awakening." Back then I would have thought that anyone that purchased special shoes for fishing must have more money than he has common sense. Well, guess what? I was wrong. Not just a little wrong. I was so wrong that now I have made it my mission to show all my fellow anglers just how important having the right shoes on their feet during fishing trips can be.  

One day several years ago I was speaking at a winter boat show and noticed a BASS tournament professionalís uniquely designed shoes. Jokingly, I asked him about them and became totally surprised at just how vigorously he defended his shoe choice. This intrigued me because since this certainly wasnít a sponsor of his it gave an extra measure of credibility to his unsolicited support. In fact, he felt so strongly about his shoes that he convinced me that I should give them a try that season.


Sperry Athletic Style Boat Shoes


For just a moment letís first step back just a bit and discuss exactly what kind of shoes we are talking about. For many years in saltwater fishing and boating this type of footwear was generically called a deck shoe. The reason it is called a deck shoe is because the soles are specifically designed not to slip on wet decks. Anyone stepping out of his boat in his Nike athletic shoes unto a wet boat ramp has seen just how quickly you can do a flip unto your backside. You might even have a hard time believing that there is actually a rubber sole shoe that grips like frogs feet! When you wear your first pair of this type of shoes you are going to wonder just how these shoes can possibly grip like this and how you didnít already know about them.


In my opinion, the biggest problem with the early deck shoes was the styling. The older styles looked either like moccasin type slippers or cheap tennis shoes. They were not exactly something I wanted to be seen in while I was fishing. To be honest, I had once tried a pair of the ones that look like moccasins myself and they just didnít have enough arch support to wear comfortably all day. Also that original pair kept slipping off the heels of my feet when I walked. I only used them a few times before they went into my garage for eternity.

  Old Traditional Style Boat Shoes

Over the last several years Sperry has really improved their styling of this type of shoe. Today Sperry offers several different models that look very similar to high quality athletic shoes. These new styles incorporate the non-slip soles and excellent arch support that is necessary for a weekend of working a trolling motor pedal or standing at the helm of a boat. The rubber compounds and tread designs have also been improved. For a more detailed description of what exactly makes a good deck shoe please check out this article.

OK, I can already hear your arguments. Why would I want to pay between $80 and $140 for a special pair of fishing shoes when I can pay $40 for a pair of WalMart sneakers that I will be able to beat up and then throw away. The simple answer is that these shoes provide a combination of safety, comfort, and are a smart purchase because of the fact that they last much longer in marine use than any other shoes type available.


Today's boating shoes are extremel comfortable as well as safe.

Do you actually need special shoes for fishing? Well letís see. Have you ever slipped and fell on a slippery boat ramp or dock?  Have you ever walked out on a wet slippery boat trailer frame to hook your boat? Have you ever slipped on a wet fiberglass boat floor? Have you ever slipped on the floor in a tackle shop or other retail store? Have you ever tried to control a wet slippery trolling motor foot pedal in the rain for an entire  day? Have you ever slipped off your own front or back porch going to your truck in the morning? If you usually wear regular athletic shoes, Iím betting you have experienced one or maybe even all of these and probably multiple times. Wearing the proper shoes while fishing can actually be a major safety precaution and can contribute to a more comfortable fishing experience! 

Safety in boat shoes should be a big concern if you spend any time in a boat.

Good quality fishing shoes can help make your fishing a more enjoyable experience in many ways.


What makes fishing shoes different from athletic shoes? The most important difference is of course their non-slip soles. You actually canít appreciate or even believe in this feature until you have tried them out for yourself. Today, these fishing shoes are now extremely comfortable as well as good looking. I actually wear my fishing shoes all day every day and I can honestly say that I believe that they are so much more comfortable than any other shoes that I canít imagine going without them anymore. 

Because I currently wear them all the time, I eventually began to consider their longevity. Remember, these shoes have been designed to wear into and around water. Unlike regular athletic shoes, they dry very quickly and can be washed easily. For four solid years I wore one pair of Sperry Top-Siders to work, fish, wade, mow the yard, and go to the store before they literally just came apart. In my opinion, I would have easily gone through three pair of Nike athletic shoes in that same period of usage! 


Do yourself a favor and try a pair of these shoes this season. Your feet and possibly your back will appreciate it!


Do yourself a favor and try a pair of these shoes this season. Your feet and possibly your back will appreciate it!





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