Wading shoes/sandals

(Mike Kotowski) #1

I’d love to get some recommendations for wading shoes/sandals. Most recently, I have been wet wading with a pair of teva sandals, but after several minor slips and falls on slick rocks, I’m realizing they aren’t getting the job done. I am looking for something lightweight that can ride in my pack on longer backpacking trips that I can wet wade in. Any recs?


(Mike Shelton) #2

I used to wear sandals until my feet got cut up by broken glass from a beer bottle wedged between rocks
in the stream. 32 stitches later I wasn’t feeling the love. I also had a snake bite me under water in my sandals and that did it for me and sandals. It took 10 stitches to fix that mistake. Since those two accidents, I only wear shoes or mostly boots that protect my feet completely. I prefer felt soles although the popular movement calls for sticky rubber soles. I just did not feel secure enough wearing the rubber soles so I migrated back to the felt soles. I do clean, wash with soap, and soak in the shoes/boots in a chlorine solution, and wash them once more with lysol solution before sun drying the boots. I hope this takes care of the bacteria, water fungi, virus, protists, diatoms, etc. that has been a problem in recent years with transferring organisms from one stream to another. I know this is not the popular movement presently but I feel it is working for me. You might find the scandals or rubber bottom boots work great for you so experiment some to help make up your mind before settling on a decision. I’m sure other experienced members may have other ideas on what works best. I have not tried Korkers yet and that might be the ticket for interchanging the soles from felt, to rubber, and to spikes. The price for the boots is very reasonable compared to Simms and Patagonia boots. I hope this helps you.

(Gressak) #3

I take wading footwear seriously.

For me its the simms freestones, but that is not what you are asking for.

If I were backpacking, I would probably do something similar to what you are already doing and consider a folding wading staff or invest in a trekking pole to serve as double duty. Another option…limit your wading. On a backpacking trip, wading in the water creates higher risk of injury no matter the footwear.

These days all my wading boots are outfitted with carbide spikes called grip studs. They are made for dirtbikes and snowmobiles and are the best value for the money. I have a pair of vibram freestones outfitted with them that are on their fourth season in the saltwater environment…no wear on the spikes. On my freshwater boots I have the 1300s, which are a shorter spike and a shorter auger. They make all sizes.


you could outfit your sandals with them or any spike for that matter. I cannot say enough about this brand though. I have tried several, and this is the only one that gets the nod for me. The fact that they have lasted for 4 years and probably have at least 4 more in them is just insane for any product.

One thing to note…the auger screw is much more robust than the other spikes that have just sheet metal screw threading. Even so, there is always potential of tear out in wading footwear that has a softer…sneaker type rubber. Simms wading boots are made to accept spikes. If you put spikes in your tevas, you will be experimenting. There is always a chance of push through or spikes leaning over. Even with the simms, I fit each spike with a 1/4" ID washer. this prevents installing them too deep, lean over, and push through.

Spikes are not stealthy for fish, nor do they make the stream environment 100% safe. But they are safer for the angler for sure. I recently got a new pair of boots and fished them without spikes. All i can say the difference is night and day.

I hope it helps and if you need more info, let me know.

(Mike Kotowski) #4

Very helpful. I think the gripstuds may be my first try…I have done some searching on wading shoes and haven’t found anything that really grabs my attention yet.

I’ve also considered just wading in my trail runners, since they have pretty aggressive tread. They would definitely be an improvement over the sandals I’m using.