Posted by: socalsalty | October 20, 2011

Gear Report: AFTCO Deck Sandals and Fish Feet

As you know, I spend a lot of time on fishing boats.  And like you, when I’m out there on the water, I want to maximize the time I spend fishing in the zone.  To me, that means everything from having the proper gear in my bag, having poles setup for the kind of fishing we’ll be doing (and a backup ready to go), to being ready with a good bait as soon as we start a drift.  One thing that a lot of anglers seem to miss in being prepared is what they wear on their feet.  I see guys all the time wearing everything from regular tennis shoes, combat boots (captains love those guys marking up their decks), to cheapie supermarket flip flops.

My main footwear on the boats has been Xtra Tuff boots and they are also the footwear of choice for the crews, but as I spent more time on the boats I discovered a couple things about the XTRA Tuffs…

  1. The soles are thin.  The bottoms of my feet would get really sore, especially toward the end of the day…to the point that sometimes I’d rather sit than fish.  Not good.
  2. Once the weather warmed up, my feet would get really hot, and again, I’d rather run to take my boots off than fish.

Given that I’d rather fish than nurse my feet, I’ve been looking for a solution and I think I’ve found them.  Recently AFTCO sent me out a pair each of their Guy Harvey Deck Sandals and their Fish Feet.  The Fish Feet they’ve had for awhile.  The Guy Harvey Deck Sandals are a new product in their lineup.  I’ve been wearing both now for the last several weeks.  I got to say, I love both products!

AFTCO Guy Harvey deck sandals

I immediately took to the sandals.  While the weather was still warm, they were a really nice alternative to wearing my boots.  They have a nice thick sole, that offers welcome padding for your feet when standing all day fishing.  Also, at no point did I find them slippery, even when the deck was getting hosed down.  They have a unique bottom sole pattern that grips the deck very well.  They also have a contoured, non-slip surface on top which makes sure that your feet stay on top of them.  I’ve seen lots of dudes wearing cheapie flip flops whose feet slip off them and then scrape on the deck.  Ouch!  Not with these sandals.  The strap material is also a sturdy cloth, so that it doesn’t get hot and always feels comfortable on the top of your foot.

AFTCO Fish Feet

Now that the weather has cooled off a bit, I’ve gone back to my XTRA Tuffs, but with the Fish Feet inside.  They make a big difference.  At first, I had to experiment with socks to find the right combo.  I ended up having to use a thinner sock so that the top of my foot wasn’t pressed against the top of the boot inside.  Once I found that right combo though, I was much more comfortable than in the boot alone and I lasted longer without my feet getting sore.

Now, I use both products in conjunction when I go on overnight or multi-day trips.  I wear my boots with the insoles inside, and bring the sandals along.  If my feet get tired, I can switch to the sandals as an alternative.  It’s also nice to have the sandals handy if you wake up and need to hit the head in the middle of the night.  Rather than pulling on your boots, just slip on the sandals, and then you can quickly do your business and get right back in your bunk.

The insoles go for $20 and the sandals for $45.  Pretty reasonable pricing if you ask me.  Given how much we spend on the trip and other associated gear, it’s well worth your while to invest a little on your feet to maximize the time you spend on the water.  Two thumbs up.


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