Shimano broke out of the box this year with its acclaimed Evair Fishing Boots, an ankle-high injection molded EVA boot that weighs less than 10 ounces. Appearances give the nod to saltwater anglers on wet, slimy decks with the Evair, but in wet conditions on a bass lake they'll perform admirably and keep your feet dry.
Shoes often are overlooked as part of an angler's preparation. But if your feet bother you or uncomfortable shoes contribute to other problems, it becomes apparent they're a critical element worth caring for every day.
Wet conditions can be an aggravation, but Shimano's Evair boots eliminate slippery problems with a lightweight design that repels water.
The boots were selected as the "New Product Showcase" best of show for clothing during the annual ICAST Show held last July in Las Vegas. Judging was conducted by buyers and media representatives at the show, based on each product's level of innovation, execution, workmanship and practicality.
The Evair is 100 percent waterproof thanks to a one-piece molded EVA construction that includes non-skid, non-marking outsoles. Their herringbone canal design helps water scoot away for a sure grip on carpeted or non-carpeted boat decks. Additionally, the EVA design helps reduce shock and fatigue with an internal ergonomic arch design.
They're lightweight, too, weighing less than 10 ounces each. Cleaning is a snap with mild soap and a rinse. They're available in two-tone blue/gray or gray/light gray in sizes 8 to 13. www.shimano.com
ROCKY DECK RUNNER SERIES
If you're looking for a stylish shoe that can be worn during a day of fishing and then to dinner in the evening, look no further than Rocky's new Deck Runner series in lace-up or slip-on models.
Both versions of Deck Runners feature a lightweight and flexible sole with slip-resistant tread for solid footing on wet boat decks or docks. The lace-up model has three eyelets and leather laces. The waterproof upper is a combination of full-grain leather and mesh, which allows for breathability and for water to easily exit the shoe.
Internally, memory foam is used in the footbed design to help curtail foot odor created by moisture and bacteria. The footbed also conforms to the wearer's foot for more comfort. The shoes come in light brown and dark brown. www.rockyboots.com
Long known for its classy boat shoes, Sperry Top-Sider breaks out of the box this year with its unique Hydrofoil sandal, which has several features perfect for a day on the lake.
The unique sole design is a "dual suspension system" that was created by studying the characteristics of the foot, resulting in a sandal that offers greater stability and comfort. It has a footbed with drainage holes and channels for water loss, which also are found on the outsole of the Hydrofoil for better gripping capabilities. Additionally, the lightweight injected EVA upper and midsole give the wearer more stability when moving laterally.
Hydrofoils come with adjustable hook-and-loop fastening systems for a customized fit. They're available in navy, orange and black, and in sizes 8-13.
If you're looking for something more upscale, the Sperry Top-Sider "Gold Cup" series is worth checking out. The series features full deerskin linings and memory foam footbeds, both of which conform to the shape of your foot. The outsoles are made of Vibram for comfort and great traction. Many styles are available. www.sperrytopsider.com
WOLVERINE OUTBACK MULTISHOX ENGLISH MOC
Wolverine is expanding its adventure-style line of footwear in 2007 with the Outback Multishox English Oxford. Resembling a traditional boat shoe, the Outback Multishox is equally at home in the office, on the deck or outdoors.
It features Wolverine's Multishox technology that employs individual compression pads that respond to the needs of the wearer, resulting in a comfortable shoe all day long. Hand-sewn stitching and a full grain leather upper mean comfort as well as eye appeal. The Outback Multishox is available in four different colors to suit most any taste. www.wolverine.com
Columbia's Aquatooth looks like a shoe, but is designed with a sandal in mind. It provides the support of a shoe and the breathability and drainage of a sandal thanks to its open-hole meshing. The Aquatooth has enough treading to allow for moderate trail use, and is guaranteed not to offend the nostrils thanks to its Omni-Fresh antibacterial and anti-odor treatment. The non-marking outsole will help keep your deck scuff-free, too.
The Aquatooth is versatile enough that you can throw away those old boat shoes and worn out sandals without having to sacrifice any aspect of either one, and you can look twice as good in doing so. www.columbia.com