Saltwater Wading Boot // Buyer's Guide

May 9, 2019

Having comfortable feet runs parallel with having fun.  I don't care how good the fishing is, if you have shells, rocks, and sand in your shoes and quarter sized blisters on your heels its miserable.  Take some time to get your feet setup right and wade comfortably on the saltwater flats.

Depending on the destination, there is going to be one of three products that is right for you.  Considerations are largely dependent on the terrain of which you are walking.  

Considerations for Saltwater Wading Boots

Will there be coral?
Will I spend all day on my feet, or just short wading sessions?
Will I be walking on coral and rocky ledges?

Tips for a GOOD Wading Experience in Saltwater

  1. Break your shoes in, get 'em wet. Walk walk walk.
  2. Wear good fitting neoprene wading socks.
  3. Consider a "liner" sock like those used by many serious hikers and climbers
  4. Bring water, drink LOTS of water or electrolyte mix.  Powdered Gatorade is very nice to have. Saltwater will take fluids out of ya!
  5. Show your guide how to access your camera, have him take lots of pictures.
  6. Slow down. You'll see WAY more Bonefish standing still than taking steps.
  7. Keep a couple extra flies in your hat, or on your fly patch.

Simms Neoprene Guard Socks

I LOVE these. They dry fast, are comfortable and don't chafe my feet even if there is a bit of sand inside them. I wear them directly against my skin and have never had any issues. I do encourage you to pack a set of ultrathin liner socks in the event you get some hot spots.

simms neoprene guard sock for wet wading

SIMMS Neoprene Guard Socks



Lightweight Easy On/Easy Off Wading Boots - Simms Zipit II Flats Booties

Simms Zipit II Flats Bootie

If you are only wading up to an hour or two at a time, say chasing an occassional Permit and walking out to meet a school of Bonefish, the Simms Zip it II Bootie is the right choice. This shoe mixes well with boat oriented trips where packing light and having a slip/slip off shoe is the right choice.  They are very comfortable for short durations, but I would never want to wade all day in these!  They have little arch support and don't handle rock or coral well at all.

For most trips to the Bahamas where boat fishing is the main game, and nearly everywhere in the Yucatan these are the right call.




Lightweight All Purpose Flats Boots - Simms Flats Sneakers

Simms Flats Sneakers (most popular saltwater wading boot)

These are the most popular out of all the wading boots we sell.  They are a classic!  Simms has been making a "Flats Sneaker" for eons and there have been many upgrades over the years. The current model is outstanding. After reviewing these I'm tempted to upgrade my old set.  I think this year I'll leave my old ones behind in Christmas Island get a fresh pair for Cuba next year.

I have found these to be a great balance of lightweight mobility and good support. The new "Right Angle Footbed" is a real upgrade.  This boot should give most anglers all the support that they need.

Sturdier Flats Boots - Simms Intruder Salt Wading Boot


I have worn the freshwater version of these A LOT. I find them super handy, comfortable, with good enough arch support to fish fairly long days on foot. They handle rough terrain quite well and are a good boot for someone that might spend a full day on their feet, but wants a simple boot with neorpene gasket attached.  I don't consider them an "all day" or "all week" boot, but if you aren't sure that a Zip It Bootie will work, give these a try for the right balance.  I suggest you buy up a 1/2 size and wear a neoprene sock inside these for maximum comfort.  For "quickies" you can wear them barefoot.

Sturdiest Flats Boots // Simms Vaportread Wading Boot

I haven't personally wore these, but have heard great feedback from guests.  Especially anglers that have been to the Seychelles where the wading can be pretty rocky in places. These are the heartiest out of all the boots we have here at Red's. 

Simms Vaportread Saltwater boot

Simms Vaportread Wading Boot