"Even then, it always contains an element of risk, but so does driving to the library."
I'll say. I got rear ended a few years back by a drunk lady on my way to the library to find some books on fly fishing right after getting into this fickle sport. Anyway...back on track.
I was wearing some of those cheap reef shoes and stepped on something that cut through the sole and sliced my foot severely. Turned out to be a broken quart beer bottle. Two inches over and it would have come out the top of my foot. Since then I ALWAYS wear something that has real soles.
I wore out a pair Hodgmen's and Bass neopreme boots previously and now have a pair of Pinnacle dive boots that are very tough. Maybe a little thick, 6mm and warm, but I'll take that over a trip to the OR any day.
With these boots I would feel comfortable stepping on a stingray ( which I have done before) w/o too much fear unless it's one of the prehistoric varieties about five feet across.
Serious foot injuries can not only ruin a fishing trip but can plague you for the rest of our life. Be careful.