Gear Orvis Pro Approach or Simms Lighwight Felt wet wading shoes

Questions about flyfishing gear, camping gear, whatever.

MGTom

Living at the place of many waters
WFF Supporter
I like my sandals for the lower elevation stuff, but the rubber soles do slide on the algee edges and they certainly are not suitable to the pocketwater and thick brush edges like where I was yesterday. I like the Korker boots I got last spring and have come to really like the felt soles, I wore them yesterday, although I bet they would feel better with a neopreme sock to take up space. Might just do that, but I want something less clunky.
Looking for a shoe. One issue is I'm a true 9.5, narrow heel, high arch, like a big (not too) toebox. FYI Keens don't fit me, addidas are ok, Sperrys fit great. Also I can't go try them without a few hour drive.
I mentioned in another thread I was curious about the Orvis Approach Shoe . I'm familar with michelin sticky rubber from racing so I was wondering how well these do on the algee covered rocks.
I was also looking at a felt sole, I like the grip. I'm a little concerened about wear as I notice I'm wearing the Korker felt pretty good. 0.5-2mi of river, usually with an equal walk on trail or roads, several times a week. I though the Simms Flyweight Felt might be something to try. I realise I will be refelting but the sure grip makes me feel safer.
I know they are both low tops, but if anyone knows which feels more supportive I'd like to know.
I've done Keds, shoes with carpet glued on, ect. I'd rather do boots than those, but I think I want a shoe. Thanks in advance
 

Bruce Baker

Active Member
Good to know. I realize at this point I'm going to use up the Korker felt in 1/2 a season. But I do like the grip, that's why I keep putting them on. I feel safe. I think many days a shoe will work, so we'll see. The footware selection will be right up there with the number of rods, the right piece of equipment for the day. I notice the simms rubber sole will take studs, interesting that orvis feels the compond does well enough. I did like michelin bike tires for the grip factor.
That is an interesting difference between the shoes. But there must be a big difference between the Vibram and Michelin compounds.

My street shoe size is 11.5. The approach shoe only comes in whole sizes, so I went with the 12.

I also own a pair of the Orvis Pro Wading boots. I have only worn them once (sea-run coastal cutthroat workshop) and at least sol-wise, it felt so comfortable. The best way I can describe it, is spongy. The actual boot part, a little different story. If felt some pressure against my leg just above the ankle from lacing them up. Hopefully, they will break-in. For wading boots, I usually order a size 13 (one thing I like about Simms, is that not matter the model, I can order the same size), but for the Orvis boots, I ordered a size 14. They felt very snug and tight when trying them on with dry boots. I can tell you that they did loosen up once they got wet, and it makes me think I may have been able to go with the 13s.
 

MGTom

Living at the place of many waters
WFF Supporter
Protect your feet and ankles by wearing boots and neoprene socks of the proper thickness. I wear felt soles or felt with studs. Usually the later. I do not want to ruin a trip wearing anything less...
Took your sugestions and got these liners for $23 from sportsmans. These worked really well, but after a couple miles I realize I got to stop gripping with my toes. Something about being soft underfoot.
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MGTom

Living at the place of many waters
WFF Supporter
Thanks again for all your comments. I will probably do a pair of the orvis shoes at some point, they sound like a good option for several of our waters.
 

DKL

Go Cougs!
I just got some and tried them out. Based on user reviews I was a little concerned about the need to wear a sock liner. So I thought a short walk to the beach would give me an idea but be short enough that they wouldn’t do any damage. They ripped the skin off the back of my heels and the tops of my little toes on that short walk. That fake neoprene material is rough. I think other than that they are quite nice. Good grip in the water and comfortable soles, just disappointing that they require some sort of lining sock.
 

MGTom

Living at the place of many waters
WFF Supporter
I just got some and tried them out. Based on user reviews I was a little concerned about the need to wear a sock liner. So I thought a short walk to the beach would give me an idea but be short enough that they wouldn’t do any damage. They ripped the skin off the back of my heels and the tops of my little toes on that short walk. That fake neoprene material is rough. I think other than that they are quite nice. Good grip in the water and comfortable soles, just disappointing that they require some sort of lining sock.
Thx. I think you experience is that of seveal reviewers, good grip, wear a sock.
 

evergreenfly

New Member
I received mine last week and have used them 5 times now, and can concur with lots of others. Great grip and stability, just wear socks at least the first few times to avoid hot spots and chafing.
 

Shad

Active Member
@MGTom . To preserve the felts on your Korkers, wear the hiking soles on the hike in, then switch to the felts at the river. It's a bit of a chore, but it can easily double the life of your felts. Be careful, though... if you forget to switch, you'll be quickly reminded why you need to do so in the future as soon as you step on a rock bigger than your toes.

Until very recently, I had wet-waded for years without neoprene socks, all the while knowing they were something I really SHOULD be using. Having your feet sliding around in your oversized boots (to accommodate neoprene, dummy!), often with bits of gravel and silt finding their way in, does make one's feet a bit weary over the course of a full day of walking and wading.

This season, I decided to implement a cheap solution. I was digging through my closet and came across an old, "backup" pair of waders (that's what I call the old, leaky waders I keep around, you know, in case I need to experience leaky waders again). Anyway, it occurred to me that these waders had neoprene socks that were likely leaky but should serve the purpose of filling space in boots for wet-wading. As a bonus, they also had gravel guards attached. I decided to cut them off and try them as wading socks.

You might be surprised to find how hard it is (both physically and emotionally) to cut through 3 layers of GoreTex and 5 mm of neoprene. After some work, I ended up with what looked pretty much like the wading socks you see at the stores (but never in your size). I set out to the local crick to give them a try.

Before I even got both boots on, I figured out that I should have cut them longer, because the gravel guards were only being held on by a light adhesive, and they quickly came off with the first "pull." Bummer. Oh, well. I went ahead without them, and I figured out why I wanted them (some little bits of sand and gravel made their way in), but overall, they made the wading much easier and more stable.

I'm sure the real thing would be a good investment. I think I'll buy some next season.
 

Porter

Well-Known Member
I have the Simms flyweight low cut in vibram....slippery suckers. Made the Yakima, PS and Lake Washington feel like the Deschutes. I will have to place cleats in them for next use, or risk a face plant. I was unaware of the Orvis brand, which looks sleeker and perhaps a bit more comfortable looking. I like the Simms but they do remind me a bit of my lightweight steel toed work shoes. I feel my Keens sandals soles have a much better grip, but rocks and other debris are constantly getting under my feet and it is bothersome and frustrating, even on dry land this happens a fair amount. (This was the main reason I bought the Simms, but in achieving my goal of no more debris under my feet I have lost some comfort and traction.)

I have some older bite sandals with felt which have incredible comfort and grip. (What happened to Bite?) I really enjoy them but much like the Keens I'm constantly removing stuck debris from under my feet especially when sight fishing for sculpins on the the Puget Sound beach flats.
 

tomsakai

New Member
I mentioned in another thread I was curious about the Orvis Approach Shoe . I'm familar with michelin sticky rubber from racing so I was wondering how well these do on the algee covered rocks.
I've worn the Orvis wading shoes about 10 days so far. Very happy with them. One thing I do notice is that when wading I check the grip of my forward shoe before moving my back foot. Not sure if I was doing that using wading boots. I am currently using wool socks with the shoes, considering using my neoprene socks instead.

In reviews people criticize the Orvis shoes for two reasons. First, the neoprene rubs on the achilles tendon. Socks cures that. Second, they're tough to put on. True, have to get used to pulling on both the forward tab and the heel tab when putting them on. But, I think it's something you get used to.
 
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evergreenfly

New Member
I've worn mine probably 7 times now, and I agree with most. They will rub the back of your ankle, and socks are a must for me. I dried them with the soles out once, and getting them back in and aligned was a huge pain so they will be dried with the soles in from now on.
 

surfnfish

Active Member
match your foot to the boot.
High arch/supination means curve to your foot outline, requiring curve in the boot sole with a wider toebox.
Conversely, low arch/pronation means a foot with a straighter outline, requiring a boot sole with same = Simms has a straighter outline.
Once understanding your foot type, only need to look at the sole to know whether it has a chance of being comfortable..,or not.


 

MGTom

Living at the place of many waters
WFF Supporter
match your foot to the boot.
High arch/supination means curve to your foot outline, requiring curve in the boot sole with a wider toebox.
Conversely, low arch/pronation means a foot with a straighter outline, requiring a boot sole with same = Simms has a straighter outline.
Once understanding your foot type, only need to look at the sole to know whether it has a chance of being comfortable..,or not.


Good point. I guess I do it without thinking after years of buying running shoes, good link.

I've been really happy with the neoprene boots and the felt soles on the korkers the last couple weeks. Stable and secure. Just getting ready to purchase a new sole set, and may try barge cementing replacement soles on these too. I think this is about 50-60 1/2 days. 4 sets of soles = 1 new pair. Oh, I'll probably do the Orvis next year.
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