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Wading Boots for Stocking Foot Waders

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I’m tired of being cold and wet while wet wading so I have a pair of stockingfoot waders that I may repurpose for beach use while fishing.  Any suggestions on good budget rubber soled boots.  99% of my time is from nice, sandy beaches.  Thanks!

Edited by pjgreek
Changed “bootfoot” to “stockingfoot”
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  • pjgreek changed the title to Wading Boots for Stocking Foot Waders

So, let me think ahead about dressing for some sand beach fishing tonight-- Truro for example:

1.  A comfortable pair socks to feet.

2.  Stocking foot waders

3.  Another pair of socks or guards to cushion/protect the stocking foot wader boot

4.  Your favorite wading boot.

5.  Gravel guards to prevent sand and stone intrusion.


But you know what... sand and pebble intrusion still occurs, and damned fast if you are in the suds heavy surf.  Soon, your feet are a mess, and your comfort is gone.



1.  Boot foot waders.  Simple.

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I'm not a huge fan of wading boots. Not to say I don't wear boots when I wade,  just that the offerings from most manufacturers fall a bit short in my opinion ESPECIALLY for the price. 



What are boots for? Grip, ankle support,  protecting your feet, arch support maybe. In my opinion companies that make waders don't make boots because they're good at it, they make boots because they fill a need, and people will pay $200+ for them. 


So I buy boots that aren't designed for wading and put drain holes in them and studs if need be. Usually I buy boots on Ebay because good boots are something people often buy and don't use much.  I've gotten some killer deals on Asolo and LaSportiva boots this way.  (Those don't go in the water though lol).



This is the pair I've been using in saltwater recently.  North Face fast packing boots.  Nice stiff shank, sticky rubber,  plenty of tread and foot bed so I'm not getting poked by the Kold Kutters screwed into the soles.


I just think wading boots should be good walking boots, since that's what you do in them typically. Ymmv


This whole set up cost me like $40, boots and studs plus a little labor on my end. I've had a pair of Simms G3 boots. They cost 7 or 8 times more money and were less comfortable and more clunky. 








You could make the case that wading specific boots are designed to be underwater and will last longer in such an environment. I couldn't give you any scientific evidence that supports that one way or the other but I do know that the marketing department at Simms has to work awful hard to sell boots that cost so much. In my younger days when I couldn't afford wading boots period I bought a pair of hikers from Wal-Mart and they are still in my garage right now. The soles are pretty smooth but aside from that they're perfectly serviceable.

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If you're walking sand beaches (not rock hopping) and just want something light, you cold go with booties like the Orvis christmas island or the simms flats booties. Not much ankle support but more like a sneaker if you don't want a heavier boot.

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I picked up a pair of Danner USMC RAT boots (got the "hot weather" version, as it has drain holes already). They were on blowout sale year or 2 ago for between $25-49 depending on size/shipping. You can still find them for around $80 and to me they would easily be worth that (they were recently removed from being approved for combat duty, and as such the surplus stock was put on blowout sales, as these were originally $350-400 boots, and the fit/finish/feel is still of that quality level). They are true to size, so size up and width up if you plan on wearing multiple socks or extra thick socks (I only went 1/2 size up because my left foot is bigger than my right just enough so that most of the time I need a 12 1/2, but my right foot would have no problem in a 12).


The current combat approved version is now I believe the Danner MEB (Marine Expeditionary Boot), which is just a very slight change from the RAT (I believe they actually removed a layer protection from the toe and heal to lighten the boot slightly from the RAT, but for my purpose of wearing them in water, I love that extra protection since it is even less likely that I will hit something that I can't see underwater that can poke into the boot).


They also have a Gore-Tex version that is "waterproof", but that is not really good for submerssion. It is fine for water that doesn't go above the top of the boot, however for deeper water that will submerge the boot, you will then have water on the inside of the boot that will be trapped in there with your feet and never dry out. The "hot weather" version has the vent/drain holes for getting air circulation into the boot to dry it out while you wear them and has beathable fabrics (1000D nylon) that will let them dry out. And since it doesn't use a metal shank, you don't have to worry about the shank rusting and bulging internally in the boot. And while I don't climb as many rocks, the treading is ecellent, and there have been plenty of people who have added metal studs as well (I have not needed that yet with my more limited jetty climbing as of late, because almost all of my jetties I used to climb were submerged by the Army Corp of Engineers with sand/beach replenishment...).

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Based on a reco from @Uncle Stu, I've been using dive boots for both wet-wading in the summer (over socks) and fishing sandy beaches in colder weather over my stockingfoots.  They fit more snuggly than wading boots and minimal sand gets between the dive boot and neoprene stocking foot, which helps from both a comfort and wader durability standpoint.  The ones I bought aren't available anymore, but I'm sure you can find comparable ones (mine are stretchy and you just pull them over your foot - no zipper or closure to worry about).

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I wear dive booties for the beaches, you can get a cheap thin pair from a dive shop for around $30.


mine are 3mm neoprene with a vulcanized rubber bottom. The zipper will fail in the sand i don’t zip mine up i wear a size 10 socking foot wader but I have size 13 dive booties to go over them. When unzipped you get alot of sand in them but it’s not uncomfortable since it feels like your walking around barefoot anyway, the sand just contoures to your foot but it makes them heavy after several hours in heavy surf. 

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