Review: Simms Pursuit Shoe

One of the most versatile wet wading shoes available
Simms pursuit shoe | wet wading
Photo: Darcy Bacha.

Flats fishing is an active pursuit, and the terrain isn’t always as friendly as we wish it was. And when you’re wading, it’s all about stealth and balance. Keeping your feet safe and comfortable over a weeklong trip where you’ll wade across everything from eelgrass to jagged Caribbean limestone is every bit as important as the rod you cast and the fly you choose to put in front of bonefish and permit.

Nothing is worse than a Day One blister atop a toe or on the heel. It means the rest of your trip is going to be spent irritating the hotspot and it’ll just get worse. Choosing your footwear for a fishing trip — any fishing trip — should be a primary consideration. On a recent trip to Roatan, I chose wisely. I donned a pair of new Simms Pursuit shoes, billed as the all-around footwear to get just about any angler through a fishing day. After a week on the flats and the gnarly, rocky reefs of the island, I may have discovered my last pair of wading shoes.

What works

Simms calls the new Pursuit Shoe the “ultimate wet-wading cross trainer.” And I can get behind that. Though the Pursuit shoe is made to be worn next to the skin, many smart anglers will disregard that boast and don a pair of socks before they hit the water in the Pursuit shoe. For me, I try to take great care with my feet on saltwater trips, because I’ve suffered through the consequences of not doing so in the past.

The shoes fit to size (I’m a 13, and I wore a 13 on the flats), mold nicely to your feet — socks or no — and they’re light as a feather. In terms of fit, I couldn’t have been more pleased.

The company claims the shoes are great for all kinds of wet wading, not just flats fishing. And, as a bonus, they’re light enough, and shed water well enough, that, when dry or even just a bit damp, they’re pretty good on the boat, too. The shoes boast non-marking soles and an impressive ability to drain water quickly once you’re out of the water. In fact, on the 45-minute boat ride from the flats back to the villa we used as home base, the shoes were almost completely dry.

If you’ve ever fished the nearshore flats of Roatan, you know that the flats are just inside the surf break of the barrier reef and that the closer you are to the break, the rockier the bottom. And it’s not just crushed shells or time-worn limestone — it’s sharp, jagged rock that can do real damage to skin or wading boots. Needless to say, the guides of Roatan don’t go barefoot.

And, every day for a week, I put the Simms Pursuit wading shoes through the ringer on those marly, rocky flats as I waded for bones and permit and the odd triggerfish in the surf. I didn’t baby the shoes because they didn’t need it.

This is perhaps the best compliment I’ve ever given a pair of wading boots or shoes that I’ve tested. Never once, over the course of a week, did I even think about my feet. At the end of the week as I put the quick-dry shoes back in my travel duffel, I remember thinking that the shoes were virtually hassle-free … that I never suffered a blister or a turned ankle or a stubbed toe. They were comfortable in and out of the water and, while maybe not a style I’d reach for if I weren’t spending part of my day fishing, I had no issue wandering over to the tiki bar while wearing them getting off the water.

Simms pursuit shoe | wet wading
Photo: Darcy Bacha.

Lacing system
When casting from a boat, I often worry about all the things a fly line can catch on, and often, it’s something generally considered innocuous, like a tied shoelace or the little nub on your sandals. The Pursuit shoes feature a quick-lacing system that doesn’t leave anything exposed for fly to grab. Huge plus.

What doesn’t

They’re not boots
It’s a silly criticism, especially since Simms markets the Pursuit shoes as all-around footwear, both in and out of the water. But one trepidation I had about donning these water shoes was that they didn’t have any ankle support. Now, if you have good, strong ankles, and you’ve never writhed in pain after coming down on top of an opponent’s foot after going up for a rebound on the basketball court, ankle support may not be important. But for me, not wearing boots gave me pause.

Final word

The flats might present the toughest test for the new Simms Pursuit Shoes, and that’s why I chose to take them with me to Roatan. And, while I was a bit concerned about their lightweight construction and the lack of ankle support, the shoes performed very well. In fact, the Pursuit shoes are easily the most comfortable and durable pair of wading shoes I’ve ever tested.

They shed water like a champ and, frankly, they could be worn around just like any pair of shoes you might take with you to the flats. I’m certain they’d perform well, too, in your average trout stream, or on the trail on the way to the water. I’m a fan of Simms’ latest wet-wading offering, and I highly recommend them.



I bought a pair, and I really like them...except the loop on the back points up and in on the left wading shoe and rubs the skin over my Achilles tendon raw.

Hi - I'm wondering if you think these would be good for beach fishing. I walk long distances on the beach and am in and out of the water all day. Haven't found anything other than a boot with gravel guard that keeps the sand out. I'd love to switch to something lighter.