Fishing in a rocky area is both challenging and dangerous. One wrong move, and you may end up with serious injuries. With this, you have to wear the best shoes for rock fishing to ensure proper footing while braving the slippery surface. Aside from your safety, these shoes will also keep you comfortable as you reel in a catch.
For this post, I curated and reviewed eight of the best pairs that you can use for rock fishing. Some are made for fishing, while others can be borrowed from hikers, thanks to their topnotch traction and protection.
See which of these outdoor shoes you prefer using on your next angling trip:
8 Best Shoes For Rock Fishing
OUR #1 CHOICE
OUR TOP PICK: Hodgman Neoprene Wade Shoes
Product Name: Hodgman Neoprene Wade Shoes
Product Description: If you’re looking for the best shoes for rock fishing, my top pick is the Hodgman Neoprene Wade Shoes. This is designed as outdoor wear for terrains with wet conditions. So whether it’s rock fishing, hiking, and whatnots, this pair won’t disappoint. Moreover, these fishing shoes are made of a 3.5 mm neoprene upper and a rubber outsole. It’s paired with toe protection to keep your feet protected against sharp rocks. Aside from that, these shoes have cuff adjustments on their upper heel as well as YKK zippers for a reliable enclosure. What I really love the most about the Hodgman Wade Shoes is its non-slip and non-marking outsole. It has a dense pattern for the best foot grip on the most slippery rock formations you may encounter while fishing.
Offer price: 47.94
Offer URL: https://amzn.to/3d1yAWi
Valid until: 2026-02-01
Value for Money
I’ve tried fishing with these shoes on big rivers rocks, and it held up pretty well. There are no damages, and I love how tacky it is, even on slimy surfaces. I just wish the bottom has more support, but the added insole is surely a big help.
Overall, these are well-made wader shoes that you can take on almost every outdoor activity that involves water. However, I just found the sizing a bit weird since it feels a bit tight on the ankles. I guess it’s just a matter of breaking in the shoes and getting used to it.
Warm neoprene material
Easy to put on and off
The sizing is a bit odd.
KEEN Targhee Exp WP Hiking Shoes
Another rock fishing shoe I recommend is the KEEN Targhee Exp WP. These are hiking shoes, but their rugged design makes them fit for your next rock fishing trip.
These shoes are made of a leather upper that’s treated with water repellent to keep your feet dry. There’s also a breathable membrane on the upper that will vent your feet to prevent excessive sweating.
Moreover, this has an all-terrain rubber outsole that works well on muddy and rocky surfaces. It has 4 mm multi-directional lugs that will add traction on every step. The good thing is that the outsole doesn’t mark when walking indoors.
Another thing I like about the KEEN Targhee Exp WP Hiking shoes is their support tank. This keeps your feet comfortable when stepping on uneven surfaces. It’s also equipped with a TPU heel-capture system that will boost your feet’s stability.
Aside from that, this has bungee lacing that will keep the shoe snug on your foot. I also like the roomy toe box, which is a big plus if you have wide toes. The bonus part is these shoes are available in various colors.
However, these shoes can become sweatboxes during a hot day. If you tend to have sweaty feet, this is one downside you’ll have to deal with. But overall, you can’t beat the protection this pair provides.
Frogg Toggs Aransas II Surf & Sand Shoes
Do you keep getting cuts from sharp rocks while fishing? If so, you should consider the Frogg Toggs Aransas II Surf & Sand Shoes. This pair is made of 60% polyester and 40% PVC. It also has a 5 mm neoprene outer shell for added water resistance and warmth during cold days.
Moreover, these shoes have a cleated outsole for topnotch traction on slippery rocks. It’s paired with a reinforced heel and toe cap to shield your feet from nicks and bumps.
The Frogg Toggs Aransas II Surf & Sand Shoes is also equipped with an EVA midsole. This gives an extra layer of protection against sharp rocks while dispersing impact.
I also like the adjustable ankle tension strap that lets users achieve the best fit. This is aside from the durable front zipper that makes the shoes easy to put on and off.
Overall, this pair is designed especially for fishing, clam digging, and surf fishing. It’s made to be tough against sharp rocks but easy on your feet. If you’re a beginner rock angler, this might be the best pick. It also comes at a very attractive price.
When it comes to downsides, my only gripe over these shoes is that the Velcro material can be made tougher. You have to ensure it won’t get snagged on other materials to make it last longer. Other than that, I love the design and construction of this pair.
Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve Shoes
For those who are ready to wrestle a big catch, the Merrell All out Blaze Sieve Shoes for Men are a great choice. These are water shoes made with a full-grain leather upper and a synthetic outsole. The patterned outsole of these shoes is guaranteed to give you a stable footing on the most slippery rocks.
These water shoes also have a Kinetic FIT BASE contoured insole that will give your feet the flexibility it needs without compromising stability. This is aside from the protective toe cap that guards your feet from sharp rocks.
Moreover, these rugged shoes have an integrated lacing system so that you can achieve a glove-like fit. It’s also fitted with a neoprene stretch collar that makes it easy to put on and off.
Overall, the Merrell Men’s All Out Blaze is made for all-terrain environments. I felt like a land-water creature with tacky feet while wearing this. It’s easily worth the money, even if you have to shell out a bit more compared to other pairs I reviewed here.
I’ve tried this on rock formations by the beach and slick rocks on the river, where it all worked really well. The grip is fantastic, and I could even ride my mountain bike with these shoes on!
However, it’s not a perfect pair. It’s not the best pick if you’re passing through slick wood on your way to rock fishing. Anyway, it’s just a minor issue and not much of a deal-breaker.
Columbia Drainmaker IV Boat Shoe
If you’re having a hard time on your footing while rock fishing, the Columbia Drainmaker IV might be the answer. It’s made with the brand’s Wayfinder 2 Strap Sandal features, including a Techlite footbed and frame that absorbs impact.
It’s also equipped with an advanced traction outsole with tacky treading to prevent slippage. I also adore the dual-zone winter treading that keeps your footing stable even in snowy and icy conditions. This isn’t surprising because the shoes are made for boating and wet rocks.
Aside from that, these rock fishing shoes are made of textile with a low-top arch. Its synthetic upper is water-resistant and has a sporty design.
True to its name, the Columbia Drainmaker IV has drainable Techlite midsole ports that also allow proper airflow. The combination of mesh and other textiles makes these shoes very comfortable.
Moreover, this has flat laces that allow for a snug fit. These are marketed for men, but with the right size, I think this will also be a great wear for the ladies who are avid anglers.
Overall, if you have narrow or medium foot width, this Columbia pair will suit you well. It also holds up well even if soaked in saltwater for long periods.
However, you have to deal with a break-in period where the shoe will feel too snug at the ball of your feet. After a few days of wearing, this part will loosen up.
XPETI Thermator Waterproof Outdoor Boots
If you’re rock fishing on a winter day, you should consider wearing the XPETI Thermator Outdoor Boots. This is a mid-top pair made for hiking but will also suit fishing with its topnotch construction.
This has a waterproof mesh upper paired with an X-DRY membrane to keep your feet dry even as waves come crashing near you.
Aside from that, this has a rubber outsole with a trail grip that will prevent you from slipping on wet rocks. It also has a toe cap that will shield you from painful bumps. And to complete the foot protection, the XPETI Thermator has an EVA midsole that will support the ankle.
Moreover, these boots have 200 grams of Thinsulate insulation that can keep your feet toasty at temperatures as low as -13F. Even if the water is freezing, your soles will not feel chilly.
I also like the bungee lacing of these boots that offer a snug and comfy fit. Overall, it’s a rugged pair made for the most aggressive foot movements. It’s all about gripping and traction, which is all you need when fishing on rocky surfaces.
I’m quite picky when it comes to boots, but I highly recommend this one. You can also get your usual boot size since this pair is true to size.
But since it’s an insulated pair of fishing shoes, it’s not suitable for summer angling at the rocks. Still, this is something you’d want to have at your disposal once the winter season arrives.
Merrell Women’s All Out Blaze Sieve Outdoor Shoes
For the ladies, I recommend the Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve for Women. It has a similar design as the male version, which uses a full-grain leather upper as well as an integrated lacing system for a snug fit. Overall, this is a perfect choice for those with narrow to medium-wide feet.
Aside from that, these shoes have the Kinetic Fit BASE insole to give your feet more control while wrestling a catch on the rocks. This is paired with a UniFly midsole and a TCS+ Vibram outsole with 3 mm lug depth.
I also like the M Select FRESH antimicrobial elements that reduce shoe odor. There are also openings on the sides, which allow water to drain instantly.
While it’s originally designed for hiking, its rugged construction makes it a perfect choice for rock fishing. It’s water-ready and responds well on almost all terrains. The lug sole also keeps your good footing while standing on the rocks.
These are light and quick-drying shoes, which is a big advantage while rock fishing. It also fits well without chafing, and there’s an option to tighten it to suit your comfort level.
The only downside I see here is that those with wider feet should consider another option. Also, you should consider getting half a size up for the best fit.
Columbia Bahama Vent PFG Boat Shoes
If you’re looking for a slip-on, my best pick is the Columbia Bahama Vent PFG. These are boat shoes made of 100% synthetic materials. It has a canvas and leather upper that keeps it lightweight but durable.
Aside from that, these boat shoes have a grippy outsole suitable for friendlier rock formations. But if you’re planning to go for more challenging rocky terrains, it’s best to consider the other picks reviewed above.
Nevertheless, the Columbia Bahama has a Techlite midsole and vent midsole ports to keep the water out. This shoe also sports the Blood ‘n Guts treatment that keeps it stain and water-resistant.
Aside from wearing it for fishing, these shoes are also great for all-day comfort. It’s a slip-on, after all, which is ideal on laidback days around the harbor.
The bonus part is that this shoe is available in a wide range of colors. It’s pretty affordable, too, which is already a steal considering the Columbia quality.
While this may feel loose for everyday wear, it will start to feel snugger during hot days. This will prevent the shoe from slipping out of your feet while standing on rock formations during a scorching day.
How to choose the best shoes for rock fishing?
There are many outdoor shoes in the market that you can use for fishing. But to ensure that it’s a good pick for rocky surfaces, you should consider the following aspects:
Not all shoe types are suitable for rock fishing. Basically, you should consider the following types for better foot protection and traction:
- Boat shoes. These shoes are made with water-draining features as well as tacky soles. It works well for slippery surfaces and can give you excellent footing on rocky areas. Just make sure that the fishing boots have tight enclosures to prevent the shoe from getting knocked out of your feet.
- Hiking shoes. Hiking shoes also work well when you’re fishing on the rocks. It has one of the best sole traction, and it’s made for the most rugged outdoor terrains. Most hiking shoes are also waterproof to keep your feet warm and dry.
- Wader shoes. These are shoes designed for fishing, though you have to be very specific with the pair you’re buying. Some wader shoes have thin soles, which are a no-no when stepping on rocks. You must invest in a rugged design, just like the one from Hodgman I review above.
The right choice depends on what you find comfortable and how intense your rock fishing will be.
✔️Grip and traction
One of the most important features you should look for in the best shoes for rock fishing is sole traction. The pair should have topnotch wet traction, so you won’t fall or slip while fishing on slippery rocks.
I always opt for rubber soles with lug patterns since it grips better on wet surfaces. The deep lugs on the outsole also allow me to maintain a strong grip on the rocks. The rougher the outsole is, the better it would be for rock fishing.
✔️Sizing and fit
As much as you’ll focus on the design and traction of the shoes, don’t forget to get the proper size. Even the most efficient shoes will be useless if it doesn’t fit you comfortably.
Each shoe brand has its own sizing, so always refer to their charts before buying. Most of them use standard, EU and US sizing references, which makes it easier to find the right fit. However, you should also factor in the material as the likes of leather will still stretch.
Next, you should check the materials of the shoe. Since you’ll be close to water most of the time, it’s important to get one that can endure wear and tear. Walking on rocks can beat a pair of shoes faster than strolling on the pavement. Make sure that it can put up with such an environment.
A combination of fabric, mesh, synthetic materials, rubber, leather, and more is a good choice. During cold days, you can also look for a layer of insulation to keep your feet warm.
However, you should know that durable material is equivalent to a higher price point. But when it comes to your protection while rock fishing, the cost is barely an issue.
✔️Water draining features
The last thing you want is walking on slippery rocks with water-logged shoes. It’s uncomfortable and dangerous at the same time.
With this, you should invest in a pair of fishing shoes with water-draining features. This will allow water to escape the shoes, so you’ll maintain your balance on the rocks. Fishing shoes like waders even allow full submersion without trapping water inside.
If you want to keep your feet dry, opt for a pair with waterproof features. This is a wise choice to protect your feet from irritations brought by sea creatures and saltwater.
The only downside to 100% waterproof shoes is it has less ventilation. On a hot day, it could make your feet warm and sweaty.
✔️Comfort and flexibility
Your fishing shoes must be comfy at all times. This way, you can focus on your line instead of adjusting your shoes repeatedly. It will also prevent blisters and injuries on your feet, especially on long fishing trips.
With this, you should look for fishing shoes with a soft insole. This will cushion your feet to reduce strain as you stand on extended periods. A midsole will also help in dispersing force and acting as an added layer of protection against sharp rocks.
✔️Enclosures and lacing
It’s critical for the best shoes for rock fishing to have reliable lacing and enclosure. This way, the shoes won’t fall off your feet even if you encounter steep or slippery surfaces. It’s a matter of safety and comfort, too, so make sure that the shoes will fit snugly.
Also, the lacing system will allow you to adjust the fit of the shoes. This is a big deal, especially for those with wider or narrower feet than usual.
✔️Design and style
The design and style of the fishing shoes are just a bonus. While durability and traction are the main priority, choosing the style that matches your taste will add value to your purchase.
The good thing is that fishing shoes are widely available in different colors and designs. You can easily find a pair that you’ll be proud to wear on your next fishing trip.
✔️Price and warranty
Last but not the least, you should invest your money in a pair of durable fishing shoes. There are many cheap options in the market, but most of them won’t give you ample protection when walking along slippery rocks.
Moreover, there should be decent warranty terms to protect your purchase. It’s also proof that the brand stands by the quality of its footwear.
Tips for rock fishing
If you’re new to rock fishing, it’s very important to prepare before your first trip. This will prevent accidents and ensure that you’ll go home with a sizeable catch. Here are some of my tried and tested tips you can also try:
- Invest in the right equipment. Aside from traction shoes, you should also get the right fishing rod and reel for rock fishing. You may need a longer pole to cover more distance from the rock towards the water.
- Wear safety gear. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or not, wearing flotation devices will not hurt. This can be a lifesaver, especially if you’re fishing on the rocks surrounded by strong waves. You’ll never know when a strong wave would come sweeping you off your feet (literally).
- Check the weather. Before you go, always check the weather. You should also coordinate with local authorities to ensure that it’s safe for you to go rock fishing. This will also notify them that a person is expected to be in the area within a specific time.
- Examine the rocks first. Before you take your first step, spend some time checking the rocks. This will let you identify safe spots to prevent slipping. If it’s a popular fishing spot, you can ask the locals about the common hazards anglers face.
- Know the tides. When it comes to rock fishing, you have to be very specific with the tides. You wouldn’t get caught in the onset of a high tide when parts of the rock formation will become submerged fast.
- Don’t fish alone. Rock fishing is quite a hazardous endeavor, so you should always fish with a companion. So whatever happens to you, someone else can call for help and vice versa.
- Don’t go too far. Many beginner rock fishers tend to push their boundaries too early. If you’re not familiar with the weather, water behavior, and rock formations of the area, it’s best to start fishing close to the rocks.
- Secure your gears. You should stash all your unused gear above the barnacle line. This is to prevent the ‘swell’ from washing away precious items. The swell is a large wave, which can easily put you out of balance if you’re not careful.
- Rinse all soaked gears. Saltwater is abrasive, and it can destroy everything that got soaked in it. So after your fishing trip, make sure that you give all your gears a good rinse using fresh water.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What do you wear with slippery rocks?
A: When it comes to slippery rocks, you need to wear a pair of shoes with topnotch traction. You should opt for cleated and lug soles that will cling to wet surfaces. Also, you should invest in footwear that fits snugly on your feet, even on challenging rock formations.
Q: How do you walk on slippery rocks?
A: When walking on slippery rocks, you need to keep your body weight centered. You should also keep your feet slightly apart together with mildly bent knees. For added balance, you can spread your hands out as if you’re riding a surfboard. This would be much easier if you’re wearing the best shoes for fishing since it provides better traction on your soles.
Q: Why are river rocks slippery?
A: River rocks are slippery because of the slimy substance that covers them. This is usually a combination of dirt, algae, diatoms, and other organic matter. If you’re planning to fish on such slippery rocks, take some time to scrape off the slimy substance first. This will prevent you from slipping as you try to walk on it.
Q: Can you wear flip-flops while fishing?
A: If you’re on the banks or a pier, flip-flops would be fine. However, if you’re fishing on a boat or rocky surfaces, it’s best to wear a pair of shoes with good traction. This will protect you from dangerous slips and falls, especially as you wrestle a catch. Also, large fishes have sharp fins that could injure your foot if you’re just wearing slippers.
Q: How dangerous is rock fishing?
A: Rock fishing is a dangerous sport since many anglers opt for difficult locations. Also, the unpredictable nature of the waters and surrounding rocks can increase the hazard. Unless you’re a skilled angler, it’s not a good idea to try rock fishing right away.
Q: Has anyone died while rock fishing?
A: Several anglers in and out of the United States have died due to large swells while rock fishing. Also, unpredictable tides, weather, and unsafe spots are blamed for the casualties. Since rock fishing is very dangerous, those who are planning to try it are advised to take extreme caution at all times.
Q: What should I look for when rock fishing?
A: When rock fishing, you should look for outcrops where regular whitewash can be found. These are the areas where fish are more likely to feed as the suds form. Take note that depth isn’t of major importance when rock fishing, so there’s no need to lunge over to the water just to cover more distance.
The best shoes rock fishing will provide protection from head to toe. By giving a stable footing, you won’t slip and suffer from serious injuries. Take note that rock fishing is a hazardous hobby, so you should invest in the right gear before you go. What do you think of these shoe options? Share your thoughts below!