My Wading Boot Blues - Global FlyFisher

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My Wading Boot Blues



None of the wading boots I owned fit my bill for a perfect pair of wading boots



By Martin Joergensen

All 24 pictures




A shower
A shower
All boots should be rinsed under fresh tap water or in a clean stream no matter whether they are used for fresh or salt water. The rinsing followed by a slow drying will prolong their lives significantly.
Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
This Scierra boot has now lost the felt sole twice: once shortly after I acquired the boots and once again recently - after I personally glued the old soles back on. Two bad glue jobs! The soles are far from worn down yet, and will be glued back on again in order to try to save these in many other ways fine boots.
As a boot in water
As a boot in water
Wading boots in their natural environment: the water. The constantly soaked boots will have to endure all kinds of hardships, and expecting them to last forever might be overly optimistic.
Canvas boots
Canvas boots
The latest incarnation of the old Chinese canvas boots. These set me back about 40.- USD and at that price you can hardly complain about lack of value for money. They won't last a lifetime, but these have been my backups for about three seasons now, and are still doing fine.
Changing felt
Changing felt
The felt often lasts significantly shorter than the boots and changing it is a job that many anglers have tried. Worn down felt is a thing you will have to expect. And good boots should last you at least one or two changes of felt - preferably more.
Color difference
Color difference
Apart from the obvious bad state of these boots, the difference in color is also noticeable. This probably comes from the fact that they are from two different batches. Not that it matters much, but for the vain angler it may feel like wearing two different socks to a prom.
Comfortable feet
Comfortable feet
Good wading boots are an important part of being comfortable by the water, but can be hard to find. They seem to wear down a lot faster than I find reasonable.
Coming apart
Coming apart
These Chota boots are dead! As you can see the upper material has given in in the rim along the sole and the boot is slowly "dissolving". As you can also see it is not only the outer layer that rips. The materials in the inner boot are also on the verge of total disintegration.
Cracked, broken and rusty
Cracked, broken and rusty
This is a detail shot of the inner soles and the steel reinforcement that were in my Chotas. As it is obvious they didn't take the abuse that wading boots have to endure.
The inner soles were glued to the inside of the boot, but came loose during my first season.
Gravel gueards
Gravel gueards
If your waders don't have built-in gravel guards, consider acquireing a separate pair like these from Simms. They keep sand and small stones from entering the boots and damaging them and the waders.
Large selection
Large selection
A good flyshop has a large selection of wading boots. Even though they do look much the same, there are huge differences in quality and price - and not always proportional, mind you!
Lousy glue job on Vision boots
Lousy glue job on Vision boots
Vision has done a very bad job of copying these Teeny wading boots. The soles are stitched on and within a season I wore through the stitches. To make it even worse, the soles were hardly glued at all, and as soon as the stitches gave in, the soles started coming off. Notice how clean the felt soles are. As I have written elsewhere, the soles must be drenched in glue in order to hold. These barely ever touched glue.
On the edge of the grave
On the edge of the grave
These Chinese boots are about to draw their last breath. Everything is just falling apart, and they will only endure a few trips more.
Oxidation, disintegration
Oxidation, disintegration
This is what (salt) water does to fabric and metal: ruins it. All parts of this boot are dying.
Protection
Protection
The flats boots are for protection against sand, coral, sea urchins and other tropical hazards. They need to be tight and have thick soles, which also have very good friction on a wet boat deck.
Rocky road
Rocky road
Most of the waters have a rocky bottom, and rocks are the second worst enemy to our wading boots - after the water itself.
Rubber looses grip
Rubber looses grip
These were my first Chotas' The construction of the sole is quite well thought out: rubber on the edges and felt in the center. This gives good grip on both grass and wet rock. Unfortunately there is no grip between the sole and the boot! Within a few trips this started happening: the rubber lost its hold on the boot.
Rusty Chotas
Rusty Chotas
The Chota boots are amongst the most comfortable boots I have owned, but they were not constructed to endure my use. I have worn them in salt and fresh water, always rinsed them when I returned home and kept them as dry as possible. Still they slowly came apart, and as the inner soles and lining started coming off (right), I found the rusty remains of the "steel" inserted into the boot to make them better for hiking (left). Reinforcements like these are great, but they have to be stainless to take the constant soaking that wading boots naturally will meet.
Shallow grave
Shallow grave
The last journey for a pair of wading boots: into the waste. These are definitely beyond repair.
Soft
Soft
Tropical style flats boots offer little or no ankle support. Their aim is to protect.
Teeny style zipper
Teeny style zipper
These boots are radically different from other wading boots I've owned. They close in the back with a zipper and a Velcro strap - an excellent system even though the zipper does take a beating with a lot of contact with sand and rocks.
Unchangeable spikes in the sole
Unchangeable spikes in the sole
These spikes cannot be removed or changed without removing the felt sole from the boot. The wide disc on the back side of each spike prevents it from being unscrewed or pulled through the felt.
Velcro closing
Velcro closing
The velcro is not ideal for closing wading boots, but is easy and inexpensive. But it does have a tendency to open due to current pressure or weed snagging.
Worn fabric
Worn fabric
These are cheap Chinese fabric boots. They are inexpensive and must be expected to have a limited lifespan. As you can see the fabric itself is worn through and the felt is coming off. Still these boots lasted me as long as some of the more expensive ones I have owned.