Wading Boot Blowout

Jason Sparks - Wading Boot Blowout - Title

There are a few articles of clothing that I have a small collection of. My closet will back my up on this and the one in the hallway is on standby if needed. I have an assortment of light to medium weight jackets and coats. If it looks rugged and outdoorsy and cool, then I want it.

My wife just shakes head. She used to say “you don’t need another jacket”, but now she just lets it go. I’ve donated a dozen over the last few years. I still have invested closet real estate tied up with outerwear.

Boot Love

Jason Sparks - Wading Boot Blowout - Lineup

There is a similar issue with rugged trail shoes and boots. I have seven or eight pairs of boots from light to medium hikers plus my wading boots. There is no real explanation and I shouldn’t even try. It is just how it is.

When it comes to wearable fishing gear, I don’t seem to have the same hot pockets to purchase new stuff. The waders that I wear are about five seasons old, this may be the sixth even. The wader boots and my wet wading boots have seen miles and miles of trails and waterways. My few fishing caps seem like they will live forever. I don’t have that “want” to go buy new wading boots. Will I know I should when it turns into a “need”?

Tread Life

Jason Sparks - Tread Life

My wading boots have seen some excellent adventures. They have taken me down paths on the backside of Grandfather Mountain (NC), through the Great Smokies (TN), and into Grayson Highland (VA). The rubber lug tread is still excellent. I can replace some missing studs if I wanted to. These treads are good to go. However, the boots are more than tread life and that won’t ward off the inevitable. Sadly, I’m sure these are nearing the end of their life cycle.

The Blowout

The stitching and materials are disintegrating at the vamp and toe cap. Just look at them. Pitiful and sad. When I wash them out after use to get my urban creek water out of them they fill with water. The hose flows from the heel forward flushing sand and brown water right out the side of the toebox. A neat trick for sure, but not a feature of an advantage. I’m pretty sure this pair is ready to throw in the flag. Wouldn’t you agree?

Jason Sparks - Wading Boot Blowout

I’ve been reading about the Simms Tributary, Cabela’s Ultralight, Orvis Encounter, and Korkers Greenback. There are many others out there also. What kind of boots do I really need? I think that is important when choosing. My current “home water” is a sandy bottom urban warm water stream.

I wear waders because it is an urban flow through the city and takes on storm water drains as well. The rocks in it are the granite chunks of rip-rap that line much of the steep eight foot banks. I sometimes have to stumble around on it, but for the most part I’m on the sand. Rubber lugs or a durable rubber tread is perfect for this riverbed and the approach.

For the ease I have in buying hiking boots and jackets, I wish that would rub off on these wading boots. I’ve been putting off getting them two months now and every time I go out, the holes only get larger. I’ll need to get into some real research soon and to start narrowing down my list.

Then I need to find a local fly shop that can help me out. Do you have any suggestions on what brands or boot models I should be considering? What are your favorites from experience?

I appreciate all the help I can get. Please share them up in the comments so I get my homework headed in the right direction.

Jason Sparks - Wading Boot Blowout - The End

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  1. Good article Jason, I can definitely relate. As for new wading boot recommendation, I own a pair of Orvis Ultralight wading boots. I’m going on my 4th season with them and they still perform magnificently. I also like that they’re not super heavy compared to other boots and the cost is reasonable. Plus, Orvis is EXCELLENT with taking care of their customers. All the best!

    1. Orvis UL. Noted. I appreciate light boots. I appreciate you taking the time to share some insight about durability and your fondness for them. Peer review goes a long way with me. Thank you.

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