What's Your Preference for Wading Boots

cdnred

Active Member
I've been thinking lately of getting another pair of wading boots, I'd need to get a size 12. I'd prefer to get a quality pair that has a good reputation. I've got a pair of Orvis felt soled wading boots now but I find that they need to get cleaned thoroughly after every use to prevent carryovers from contaminating streams, I'm assuming most people do this..? Rubber boots are much better for contamination control and walking but are rather slick for use in the water. Then there are the Korkers that have the interchangeable soles, not sure have great they'd be. The waders that come with the boot attached are super easy for getting on and off but the boots I find lack ankle support. I much prefer a separate boot merely for the added ankle support. There's also so many different brands to go with, some are great and some are to be avoided. My concern is with the sole type, ankle support and longevity. I did a search on this site but most of what I found were related to boot quality or support. What's your preference on felt over rubber soles, one brand over another, any opinions on this..? May be I'm just rehashing a moot point..?

Edit: Any preference to using cleats on your boots..?
 
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cdnred

Active Member
I like Simms. Tried a couple pairs of Korkers, and was never impressed.
What kind of Simms did you get, felt or rubber..? Any specific type/model number to consider..? Do your boots feel light to wear or on the heavy side..? They give you a lot of ankle support..?

What we should have on this website is a section solely dedicated to gear reviews so that people can do a search to check things out when they're in the market to buy something..
 
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Old Man

A very Old Man
WFF Supporter
My last pair of good support boots were Hodgman's. They came up and over your ankles. And you had to lace them up. None of the simple push a button to pull them tight They were studs and felt. When wet they weighed in heavy side. But if your on the young side the weight is nominal.
 

Shad

Active Member
Simms Guide boots are kind of the gold standard for durability in my experience (got almost 3 years out of one pair), but they are relatively heavy. That's the price you pay for the stability and longevity.

I'm using a pair of Korkers right now, and I'm happy with them a year in. If I get another year, I'll be satisfied, because that's about as long as any of my boots have lasted. I like the interchangeable soles, but as mentioned, in most freestone streams, using the rubber sole is a slippery experience. The good thing is that the replacement soles don't weigh much, and they fit in a pack pretty easy, so you can use the rubber soles (which are surprisingly durable considering how thin they are) for your hiking in/etc., then put on your felts at the river. One thing I fear is the replacement cost for the soles. The felts are pretty thin, so I suspect that's an eventuality. We'll see.

Overall, felt is my favorite for wading. Most reliable in the most conditions. Studs make felt even better for footing in most situations, but studs are a no-no in boats, so I generally don't use them.

A lot depends on how you use your boots. If you do a lot of bank-walking like I do, you'll wear out boots faster than someone who fishes out of a boat most of the time, for example. Cheap boots (less than $100) generally don't last me longer than 6 months to a year. I probably fish 50-60 times a year, for reference. Someone who does half that could probably get 5 years or more out of a pair of Simms.
 

cdnred

Active Member
My last pair of good support boots were Hodgman's. They came up and over your ankles. And you had to lace them up. None of the simple push a button to pull them tight They were studs and felt. When wet they weighed in heavy side. But if your on the young side the weight is nominal.
I checked out Hodgman's website to check them out. They look like they're going the route of Korkers with the interchangeable soles, this might be a new route they've just taken. Not sure if it is because of the COVID but they only have two sizes, 10 or 12 that I see listed. They look like they're a good solid boot..
 

jfilip85

Active Member
I just got a pair of the Devil's Canyon by Korkers. Very impressed with them and love the interchangeable soles. I have a pair of Patagonia foot tractor and Simms guides but these are much better in my opinion.

They are $200 but if you purchase through backcountry and sign up for their emails, you can get 15% off.
 

cdnred

Active Member
Simms Guide boots are kind of the gold standard for durability in my experience (got almost 3 years out of one pair), but they are relatively heavy. That's the price you pay for the stability and longevity.

I'm using a pair of Korkers right now, and I'm happy with them a year in. If I get another year, I'll be satisfied, because that's about as long as any of my boots have lasted. I like the interchangeable soles, but as mentioned, in most freestone streams, using the rubber sole is a slippery experience. The good thing is that the replacement soles don't weigh much, and they fit in a pack pretty easy, so you can use the rubber soles (which are surprisingly durable considering how thin they are) for your hiking in/etc., then put on your felts at the river. One thing I fear is the replacement cost for the soles. The felts are pretty thin, so I suspect that's an eventuality. We'll see.

Overall, felt is my favorite for wading. Most reliable in the most conditions. Studs make felt even better for footing in most situations, but studs are a no-no in boats, so I generally don't use them.

A lot depends on how you use your boots. If you do a lot of bank-walking like I do, you'll wear out boots faster than someone who fishes out of a boat most of the time, for example. Cheap boots (less than $100) generally don't last me longer than 6 months to a year. I probably fish 50-60 times a year, for reference. Someone who does half that could probably get 5 years or more out of a pair of Simms.
On your Korkers, have you encountered any issues with the felt soles coming off..? I'm thinking that they maybe prone to falling off and getting lost or are they on there pretty secure..? I was just looking at the Hodgmans website and I see that they're going the same route with the interchangeable soles..
 

cdnred

Active Member
I just got a pair of the Devil's Canyon by Korkers. Very impressed with them and love the interchangeable soles. I have a pair of Patagonia foot tractor and Simms guides but these are much better in my opinion.

They are $200 but if you purchase through backcountry and sign up for their emails, you can get 15% off.
I like the idea of using them to hike in before putting the felts on once you hit the water. It gives you multiple options with one pair of boots or like having two pairs of boots in one. On your Korkers, when you put on the felts are they on there secure..? Have you encountered any issues with the felt soles coming off..? I'm thinking that they maybe prone for falling off and getting lost. How are they for ankle support, do they go well over the ankle..? I image they'd feel rather heavy in the water..
 

Guy Gregory

Active Member
Im happy withe the value of korkers, I’ve not experienced failure of any kind. The felt is thin so you need to brush it up with a wire brush or relace the felt after a while, they offer aluminum bar soles now, and I’ve not worn a pair out yet. Simms makes a great product, so does patagonia.
 

jfilip85

Active Member
This is my second pair of Korkers and I've never had an issue with the sole popping off. Ever.

The Devil's Canyon are very athletic feeling wading boots. Light and nimble with good ankle support. Not heavy feeling at all.

That said, if ankle support is your highest priority, I would consider the Korkers Hatchback (on sale at most places right now). I've never used these personally but they market them as such.
 

triploidjunkie

Active Member
On your Korkers, have you encountered any issues with the felt soles coming off..? I'm thinking that they maybe prone to falling off and getting lost or are they on there pretty secure..? I was just looking at the Hodgmans website and I see that they're going the same route with the interchangeable soles..
Yeah, I had issues with my Korkers interchangeable soles coming off. Eventually lost them all in the muck. Like mentioned, the Simms guide boots are almost indestructible, but are heavy. I have the new Simms lightweight wading boots, and love them. I like vibram soles, personally. But I do a ton of creek and lakeshore fishing in the winter, and snow makes navigating with felt difficult, plus most places I fish aren't that slick.
 

roadglideguy

Active Member
There is a new Orvis boot (Orvis boot Pro) with a Michelin rubber sole....amazing ...like walking with Velcro on your feet. Rocks in my rivers are covered with slime...these are great boots! They are way lighter than my Simms and provide better support. Also way cheaper...take a look!
 

surfnfish

Active Member
need to match shape of the boot sole with the type of feet you have.
Wide feet, higher arches, better off with a curved sole shape. with a wider forefoot outline.
Narrower feet, lower arches, better off with a straight sole shape. with a narrower forefoot outline.
This holds true with street shoes, boots, running shoes etc.
Having narrower feet, Sims works best for me.
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Brian Miller

Be vewy vewy qwiet, I'm hunting Cutthwoat Twout
WFF Supporter
On your Korkers, when you put on the felts are they on there secure..? Have you encountered any issues with the felt soles coming off..? I'm thinking that they maybe prone for falling off and getting lost. How are they for ankle support, do they go well over the ankle..? I image they'd feel rather heavy in the water..
I've had 3 pairs of Korkers since 2010 and have never had the soles come off. Perhaps I haven't experienced the same boot sucking mud a few others have?
They've all provided me with excellent ankle support.
My Korkers Devil's Canyon boots that I used for 5 years and new Terror Ridge boots are 1 oz heaver than my old Weinbrenner Borger boots, and weigh the same as my Chota STL boots. They are 4 ounces lighter than my old-school full-grain leather - Norwegian welt hiking/climbing boots but have at least as much foot support and are slightly higher with better ankle support. Better than the Chota boots for both.
The new high end Terror Ridge lace-up boots also do a very good job of locking the foot into the heel cup; better than the Devil's Canyon with Boa laces.
I also have to comment that when I have had problems Korkers Customer Service has been outstanding with my boots both in and out of warranty.
 
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