Chuck Taylor All-Stars: The Wading Boots for ‘Everyman’

Wading Shoes

The "Next-Best," or the Next Best Thing?

Those who have fished in tropical places with me know that I have a quirky habit of wading saltwater flats in Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star basketball shoes. Well many, many years ago, anyway,  Chucky T’s were considered basketball shoes. No, I’m not trying to make a fashion statement (that thought is laughable, in and of itself). Truth is, I’m cheap.

Now, if I were lucky enough to live in Key West, and I spent every day wading in skinny water, I’d pony up the dough for some specialized saltwater wading boots. But I’m a trout bum who lives out once- or twice-a-year fantasies chasing bonefish.

You can get Chucks for $40 or less. They have a wide, grippy rubber bottom that will repel all but the sharpest bits of pointy coral. They won’t leave nasty skid marks on the deck of a skiff (which will draw the ire of many captains). If you sit them in the sun, they’ll dry quickly, making them easy and light to pack to and from a trip to the flats.

The trick is, you need to size up, at least one full size, especially if you want to wear thin neoprene socks to keep the grit from getting inside (I do recommend that). Will they last forever? Of course not. Can you get 10 trips out of a pair of Chucks? Sure. Figure two trips a year, over five years, you’re paying less than five bucks for every jaunt to the flats to keep your feet happy.

I usually wear white, gray, or black. Candy apple red or Celtic Green? Well, we all have our limits.