Best Wading Shoe for backcountry hiking?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by JesseC, Feb 2, 2010.

  1. JesseC Active Member

    Posts: 1,969
    seattle, wa
    Ratings: +731 / 0
    Hey Guys,

    I'm a bit of a backpacking fiend. That means I really like to keep the weight that I'm carrying down. Last year, I managed to do some great backcountry hiking alongside rivers and also to some high lakes. The biggest problem I've had is the fact that my normal goretex hiking shoes plain suck whenever I get in the river. It's actually pretty dangerous because I'm slipping around so much.

    So, the question is. Does anyone have any experience with the strap on felt bottoms? I don't want to lug around an extra set of boots when I'm packing light. Any recommendations on what brand or system works best? I'd prefer something that just strapped on to the bottom of my hiking shoes. Hiking comfort is more important than stream comfort to me.
  2. Davbaker Member

    Posts: 49
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +18 / 0
    I've done a lot of similar trips. Honestly, trails will tear up felt pretty fast if you are putting a lot of miles in. What I have settled on are some very light weight zippered, slip on kayak shoes from NRS. I clip them on to the back of my pack and barely notice them. Of course, you still have to change into them once you hit the water. I imagine some of the vibram wading boots might be better equipped for the trail but haven't heard anything. Tell me if you ever find the perfect balance for hiking/wading.
  3. lespaulrock Member

    Posts: 181
    Washington
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I use Chaco's in the same situation, not ideal but the only thing I've found. The Chaco's are great to have on the trail and at camp, but are also dangerous in rivers. No traction. Please also let me know if you find the perfect balance.
  4. Preston Active Member

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    A few years ago I reviewed a pair of Rock Dawg strap-on studded felt soles. Once you got them strapped on tightly and securely they worked quite well. I believe that Cabela's carries them now, they were reasonably priced and light in weight (less than a pound for the pair).
  5. scottybs Active Member

    Posts: 459
    Bellingham, WA and IGH, MN
    Ratings: +78 / 0
    Just get a pair of wading sandels and strap
    them to your pack!!! That's my plan this summer...
  6. Randall Dee Castaway

    Posts: 372
    Cascadia
    Ratings: +16 / 0
    I've gone as close to ultra light as I can get the last few years with the backpacking gear, so I can relate to your situation. If I'm going to a river fishing destination, then I bring these felt bottom neoprene booties from Cabelas. Not ultra light but lighter than most boots. Unlike sandals, they protect my toes and I get the grip of felt bottoms and if I'm going to be in the river all day, the weight penalty is worth it...........
    [IMG]
  7. Connor H Bobbers n Beadz

    Posts: 936
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +8 / 0
    I think the Korkers are great, last year's model with the Running shoe inspired design should be great... I am going to pick up a pair for wet-wading this summer...
  8. Dustin Bise Active Member

    Posts: 3,089
    509
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    if u take neoprene booties (maybe with soft studs or felt for extra traction) then u can wet wade longer in colder water.
  9. JesseC Active Member

    Posts: 1,969
    seattle, wa
    Ratings: +731 / 0
    thanks for the tips guys. Looks like it'll be trial and error for a while. I think those neoprene shoes might be a good call, but the lack of ankle support kind of freaks me out.

    I'd love to find some strap on felt soles that I can just attach to my hiking shoes. i dont care if the shoes get wet, they usually do anyhow.

    We'll see and I'll keep you guys updated if I find the perfect solution.

    -Jesse
  10. Freestone Not to be confused with freestoneangler

    Posts: 2,342
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    Ratings: +1,178 / 0
    Korkers makes several types of strap on cleats to go over boots. Sounds like they could work for you.
  11. Preston Active Member

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    Korkers studded strap-on sandals (roofer's sandals) do the job but they are almost as heavy as a pair of boots all by themselves. As I said above, check out the Rock Dawg, strap-on, studded felt soles. They are light and are meant to be strapped on over any kind of boot. It sounds like they're just what you're lookijng for.
  12. Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

    Posts: 5,655
    Somewhere on the Coast
    Ratings: +540 / 0
    Dang it all, Preston! I've been looking at those Rock Dawgs, myself, and now I think you may have pushed me over the edge!

    About surf booties:
    I have waded and hiked shorter distances in surf booties over my wader's stocking feet, and the ankle support....well, there wasn't any. Round, slippery rocks were challenging. But my feets were warm. I only do this when I'm fishing from one of my (rotomolded) kayaks, as the rubber sole is grippy on the polyethelene for when i want to stand up to cast. Surf booties are the footwear of choice for me in my yaks. They are slippery and scary on round river rocks, though. However, I am usually looking at sand, mud, or gravel bottoms when i'm yakkin.
  13. Preston Active Member

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    Jim,
    Cabela's sent me a pair of their Bone Sneaker 2 flats boots for a review. They're a lightweight boot with a large-lug Vibram sole. Lighter than a conventional boot (while not as flimsy as the usual flats boot) the sole seems to grip well on the (admittedly few, so far) times I've tried them.
  14. slim Fish or Ski...Fish or ski....fish!

    Posts: 208
    Spokane Washington
    Ratings: +10 / 0
    Jesse, I do quite a bit of backpacking into rivers and have faced the same issue. I've tried the strap ons and really didn't like them (wow that sounded bad!), tried glueing felt to Teva's and just didn't get the support. Finally I bought a pair of Orvis brand canvas felt shoes that I found to be the best fit. Think of a Chuck Taylor with felt. They are fairly lightweight and they provide a fairly good support, at least as good as it gets for the weight.
  15. Alex MacDonald Dr. of Doomology

    Posts: 3,321
    Haus Alpenrosa, Lederhosenland
    Ratings: +886 / 0
    cheap, lightweight running shoes with strips of carpet glued to the soles worked for me.
  16. Paul Johnson New Member

    Posts: 6
    Bainbridge Island, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I would check out the Redington boot. It is felt less and great for walking long distances in. Lots of suport.
    I have a high arch and need something that is built well. These boots are made by OTB and built for the SEALS. They handle most of my fishing needs.
    PJ