The Best Archery Shoes

What are the best shoes for archery? At Golden Gate JOAD we’ve noticed a trend in archery shoes at our instructional sessions. Sometimes an idea is so practical that it quietly takes off as more and more people see it and decide on their own that it is a good idea. See if you can spot the trend.

As you can see in the gallery of photos, rubber rain boots have become the hot item at the Golden Gate Park Archery range in San Francisco, but not because of recent rain. Instead, water proof shoes and boots of all kinds are popular because our program gets off to an early morning start on a dewy grass archery range. The wet grass can soak through regular shoes and leave your feet wet for the entire morning. As a result, more and more rain boots have appeared at every session. Breathable waterproof hiking boots can also work well and are much better for days when the grass isn’t as wet. The breathable waterproof membrane found in many waterproof hiking boots isn’t always completely waterproof, but that can be a good thing as it allows moisture to evaporate, helping your feet stay dry from that other source of moisture at the range: your feet. 😮

Are waterproof rain boots and hiking boots the ultimate archery footwear? Of course not 🙂 They meet a specific need for archers at our early morning program, and that is the key: your specific needs. What shoes will work best for you will depend on the terrain and climate where you shoot and on what works best for your feet. Overall, the shoes need to help give you a stable platform to shoot from. For indoor and outdoor competitive target archery, such as Olympic-style FITA Recurve archery, thin and flat-soled skate boarding-style shoes are popular with a number of top shooters, including Olympians John Magera and Butch Johnson. Magera says if he’s not wearing Vans or something similar at a shoot he’s just there to have fun and not to compete seriously..

Butch Johnson’s low heeled shoes at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials

However, not all Olympic level shooters wear flat shoes. 2008 and 2012 Olympian, and top US shooter, Brady Ellison competes in cowboy boots as well as athletic shoes. So, maybe it’s best not to over think whether shoes are specifically suited for archery and, instead, consider what feels right to you.

Brady Ellison’s cowboy boots at the Indoor Archery World Cup 2012 – Nîmes

Brady Ellison wearing athletic shoes at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

For an exhaustive discussion on archery shoes check out the occasionally contentious 12 page + Archery Shoes Discussion on the Archery Talk FITA  forum. You’ll find more than you’ll ever want to know about archery shoes, and on what kinds of shoes are allowed in competitions.