Over the last 30 years, fishing and fishing techniques continue to evolve offering anglers new tools and tactics to gain an advantage over their finned prey. The rods, reels, and lures available today are technological marvels that make fishing more enjoyable than ever. But, fishing isn’t just about hooks, lures, and rods anymore. Fishing equipment spans well outside the basics to assist the angler both on and off the water. Eye and body protection have become just as important as the newest bottom sounder with all the bells and whistles. And it should be!
Anglers invest countless hours finding the right stuff to fish with, and body protection will most definitely improve an angler’s time on the water. It all starts on the ground floor with the perfect fishing shoe. While many fishing shoes appear to be duplicates of a normal athletic shoe, they are much more than that. Fishing shoes are carefully designed to provide anglers extreme comfort, body protection, and safety. And they look good too!
Historically, fishing shoes were old pairs of tennis shoes that didn’t function well enough for the courts or flip flops. When the mercury crept up to record levels, shoes just got kicked off. Afterward, anglers were wondering why their bodies felt like they just went through 10 rounds with Mike Tyson the next day. What they didn’t realize is foot protection is arguably the most important decision of the day. High quality fishing shoes provide endurance and full-body protection in any environment.
Anglers spend long days on the water fighting the elements on hard surfaces. These conditions stress every muscle, ligament, and bone in the body on a constant basis throughout the day. Quality fishing shoes can provide a vital buffer between the unforgiving environment and an angler’s body that will make the on-the-water experiences much more comfortable and enjoyable.
Fishing shoes do many things, including reduce fatigue, protect feet from abrasions and hook punctures, increase stability, and provide complete sun protection. Fishing shoes may not show the angler how to catch a 10-lb bass, but they will sure increase comfort levels and provide additional protection when it is needed the most.
Fishing shoes come in a variety of shapes and styles from an athletic or loafer style to an open-toed sandal. While all the styles look very different, the components of many of these shoes offer anglers similar characteristics to provide both safety and comfort on the water.
First of all, a quality fishing shoe will have durable cushioning on the inside and outside of the foot platform. This is like springs on an automobile that absorb energy. Cushioning diffuses pressure and stress on the feet that would be normally carried throughout the body. Boat shoe manufacturers use several types of foam cushioning to provide a lightweight but durable footbed to provide extreme comfort in extreme environments. Many companies are switching to an EVA foam material that is super-comfortable and highly preferred among cushioning types.
Beyond quality pressure absorbers, fishing shoe manufacturers must create an outer sole for maximum traction on wet surfaces. Most boat surfaces have portions of the deck equipped with non-skid designs and some are fully carpeted. Even so, boat surfaces get wet and get exposed to fish slime, pluff mud, and all kinds of slippery substances during the course of a fishing trip. Exceptional traction is a must-have for anglers aboard a boat if fishing or not. Shallow, but aggressive grip is preferred of various densities to produce a superior hold across a wide range of surface conditions. And these outer soles must be of the non-marking variety. Traditional black, rubber soles will leave marks and residue on boat surfaces, which is less than ideal.
Anglers can expect when fishing on a boat or anywhere near water to get wet feet at one point or another. Quality fishing shoes will have drainage ports strategically placed around the top perimeter of the shoe bed. Drains and the use of mesh uppers also allow maximum breathability to keep feet cool during the heat of the summer. After taking a quick dip into the water, the wet shoes need air flow to facilitate quick drying. Wet soggy shoes equate to wet feet and a decreased level of enjoyment. Shoes need to allow water to quickly escape with synthetic mesh materials for quick drying.
When fishing is the main duty, shoes will always encounter some unsavory fluids, including blood, guts, slime, and other rank-smelling substances. Synthetic fibers create the best material for stain and smell resistance. Synthetic fibers are hydrophobic and allow for quick drying as well.
Most boat shoes that lack leather elements are machine washable. Even with the best stain retention and hydrophobic materials, shoes will get dirty and often smelly when bacteria find a place to live. Choose shoes that omit leather as a primary material and that are machine washable.
Lastly, boat shoes need a quick security system in the form of bungee laces, hook-n-loop fastener, or just a slip-on type of cinch system. Traditional lace up shoes that need tying offers a potential tripping hazard for boaters and can be aggravating when the laces become unbound. In these cases, a quick elastic security system can avoid these issues, such as the Shimano Evair Marine Fishing Boots.
The Shimano Evair Boat Shoes offer anglers the answer for the need for the perfect fishing shoe. Shimano’s Evair Navy model is constructed similarly in appearance to a traditional athletic shoe, but in appearance only. The Navy model contains the ultra-light EVA mid sole, a quick-drying upper mesh fabric, and two types of non-marking rubber soles for supreme traction on any surface. In addition, the Evair Navy’s heel can be bent down to wear like a sandal when heel protection isn’t warranted.
Shimano’s Evair Marine model eliminates the lacing system and provides an elastic opening to hold tight to the foot. The Marine model is also a perfectoption for the anglers looking for additional airflow. Water leaves these shoes instantly if they get wet. These shoes eliminate the fabric all together with a complete one-piece molded EVA design that absorbs heel shock and reduces fatigue. As a result, these shoes are extremely lightweight and weigh less than 9 ounces per shoe. These shoes are for the summertime angler where water immersions are part of the territory.
Technological developments and competition in the shoe industry has taken fishing footwear to a whole new level. Companies have expanded their research and development and have produced some fine products that are not only attractive, but super comfortable for an entire gamete of outdoor and everyday uses.
Beyond fishing and boating, consumers are choosing fishing shoes for other outdoor activities like camping, hiking, kayaking, surfing, jet skiing, trail running, and trekking. The extreme cushioning, stain resistance, quick drying, and breathability are attractive to many outdoor enthusiasts. And it’s not just for outdoor junkies either.
The comfort level of these types of footwear will appeal to about anybody that wears shoes. Who doesn’t like comfortable shoes anyway? Nobody! The characteristics that make a good fishing shoe attractive to a boater will also be enticing to people that walk on hard surfaces all day long. Shoppers, walkers, runners, tourists of all kinds will appreciate the comfort collage these types of shoes provide.
Fishing shoes are today’s perfect comfort item for fisherman, boaters, or vacationers for an all day trip to the shopping mall, New York City’s crowded Time Square, or along Miami’s white sandy beaches.