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View Full Version : durability felt vs rubber?



whiterabbit88
09-19-2009, 12:36 PM
I have seen lots of threads about the traction of felt vs rubber, but knowone metions long term duability.

I am in need of some new wade boots and am leaning (very far) twords felt (because of traction). I only fish local, so spreading anything is not the issue i am concered with. However I do hike around alot when fishing (we are talking miles), and am wondering how felt will hold up to this abuse. Would rubber a better option is this particular situation?

Thanx all
whiterabbit88

Ard
09-19-2009, 01:12 PM
Rabbit,

I have only ever walked for miles in waders on a few occasions and wore felts on those campaigns. If you are talking about putting on some mileage along a creek whilst making your way farther from heavy access areas I would wear felt or cleated rubber. If we are talking about a trail hike through the woods and fields to reach a fishing destination I would put waders and wading boots in my Jansport day pack along with a contractors grade plastic trash bag for bringing out the wet stuff.

The only wading shoe I ever owned that actually felt trail worthy were a pair of the Orvis Henry's Fork boots with the exchangeable soles. These were good support but the threaded lugs that secured the soles wore out long before the rest of the boot. Currently I'm testing the Korkers' brand boot with the omnitrax sole system. I am not prepared to make an evaluation at this point. I can state that the soles are fairly easy to change from rubber to felt and etc.

Seldom do I walk more than a mile while fishing partly due to the lack of trails alongside or to and from the streams I fish. If there is an established trail they often are built by brown bears or moose. I would suggest that trying a pair of the Korkers boot may be an option for you. Yes, after long walks the soles can have a tendency to come loose but I have not had any problem where I actually had to stop and re-affix them to the boot. If you want the versatility of multiple sole surfaces there is a small trade off in that they are not as solid as one that is permanently fixed to the sole of the boot.

I hope this brief dissertation is helpful in answering your question.

Ard

SCflyguy
09-19-2009, 01:51 PM
I'm also looking to get a new pair of boots after the felt soles on my cheap basspro boots came off completely. I'm sure it's just the quality of the boot, but it's making me not want to go with felt again. But, in the freestone streams I fish regular rubber won't do either, so I'm looking at the new line of tacky rubber soles that vibram and others are making. Seems like the sole would hold up better in and out of the water and I think rubber soles have a better chance of not falling off the shoe because they are easier to attach to the upper than a felt sole. It looked like the soles on my last pair of boots were attached with elmer's glue. So I would check out some of the new style rubber. I'm looking at a pair from LL Bean.

kruggy1
09-19-2009, 06:12 PM
I have both studded felt and aquastealth simms boots,and they both have advantages. The studded felt arent bad for walking/and hiking, but not in snow or mud. If you have alot of algea covered rock in the water there great. The aqua stealth are nicer for hiking with there tread, and work well in snow and winter months. There ok on slippery rocks in the river,but not as well as felt. You can get studs for aqua stealth which might work out well. But in my opinion if your planning on hiking/fishing all year round go with the aqua stealth.

Kerry Pitt
09-19-2009, 09:21 PM
Isn't there some science there as well? I thought one of the reasons for leaving felt behind was because it transported diseas to easily where a rubber surface was easily cleaned etc.? I'll have to dig that article up again....:)

MoscaPescador
09-19-2009, 10:09 PM
Isn't there some science there as well? I thought one of the reasons for leaving felt behind was because it transported diseas to easily where a rubber surface was easily cleaned etc.? I'll have to dig that article up again....:)

Kerry,
You are correct about felt transporting harmful microorganisms from stream to stream. For 2010, all Simms boots will use StreamTread soles made by Vibram. By 2011, more of the major boot manufacturers will have gone that direction. It is illegal to use felt soles in New Zealand. By Jan. 1, 2011, it will be illegal to use felt in parts of Alaska (Hardyreels, please correct me if I am wrong).

Keep in mind, there are places elsewhere on boots that microorganisms can get trapped. Mesh and laces are perfect hiding places. Simms has a poster that some shops have hanging up that tells people to clean, inspect, and dry their boots before moving on to other bodies of water.

MP

edit: Here (http://simmsfish.blogspot.com/2008/03/simms-urges-vigilance-against-aquatic.html) is the press release from Simms on vigilence of invasive species.

michaeln
09-20-2009, 07:03 AM
After slipping and sliding and falling down on muddy & grassy banks on my last trip while wearing Orvis felt-soled boots, I bit the bullet and bought a pair of the Simms G4 Guide boots with the Vibram / Streamtread soles.

This rubber is anything but "sticky". It's actually quite hard. I haven't used the boots yet, but they sure are a big improvement over the Orvis boots in terms of comfort and ease of putting them on and taking them off, due to the full closed cell neoprene liner.

They are also designed to be easier to clean. I am looking forward to trying them in the field soon.

arfishinbear
09-20-2009, 09:50 AM
I am trying to talk thge wife into a new pair for christmas, Korkers, they come with inter-changable soles and you can buy severel diffrent types.I have talked with a few diffrent people taht use these boots and really like them.
Bear

MoscaPescador
09-20-2009, 10:35 AM
After slipping and sliding and falling down on muddy & grassy banks on my last trip while wearing Orvis felt-soled boots, I bit the bullet and bought a pair of the Simms G4 Guide boots with the Vibram / Streamtread soles.

This rubber is anything but "sticky". It's actually quite hard. I haven't used the boots yet, but they sure are a big improvement over the Orvis boots in terms of comfort and ease of putting them on and taking them off, due to the full closed cell neoprene liner.

They are also designed to be easier to clean. I am looking forward to trying them in the field soon.

Grip will be increased tremendously with the addition of Simms Hardbite Studs. If you don't get the grip that you are looking for, you may want to consider adding them.

Simms has a new screw-in stud that fits in between the lugs of the boot. It is much larger than the Hard Bite Stud giving more surface area for grip. That stud system should start filtering into the shops this fall.

MP

michaeln
09-20-2009, 11:08 AM
Simms has a new screw-in stud that fits in between the lugs of the boot. It is much larger than the Hard Bite Stud giving more surface area for grip. That stud system should start filtering into the shops this fall.

MP

If you mean the Simms Hardbite Star Cleat Studs, they're already available at some shops. I ordered a set yesterday. The only thing that bothers me about them is that I think the Philips head on the screws may get buggered up eventually, making it difficult to get a screwdriver tip in there.

http://www.theriversedge.com/store/images/PAAAAAPOHIOHONHJ.jpg

estrother
09-20-2009, 09:49 PM
I have worn (fished with) Bean Aqua Stealth boots since the late 90s; I think it was near the time that they first started making them (having them made). The boots and the waders (also LL Bean) are still going strong 10+ years later. I am certain that I do not fish as much with waders as many of you, but the boots and the waders look like they are new.

In terms of grip, the Bean boots are very good, but I would have to say that felt (I have some hippers with felt soles) grips better on rocks with slime.

Taking everything into account, I prefer the Aqua Stealth soles. It works as well as felt in most conditions, and it wears much longer. My rarely used hippers with felt soles show much more wear. Also the rubber sole does not take days to dry, which is important if you are on a trip.

BigCliff
09-21-2009, 09:14 AM
I've been looking into all this as I'll likely have a new pair of rubber soled boots before our winter trout season.

In my opinion, after using both studded and non-studded felt soles over the last few years, the ONLY disadvantage of studs is marring up the inside of a boat. If this isn't an issue, I say studs are the way to go.

Studded felt may remain the best possible option for traction, but they've got their downsides as well. We've already mentioned transporting microbes, which include both trout crippling Whirling Disease, potentially angler crippling Didymo, and many others. For folks that will be using them in snowy/frozen conditions you've got the bother of toting around 4" of ice on the bottom of your felt boots while hiking through the snow. (Doesn't really sound like a fun "day off" to me) In addition to all that weight attached to your legs, it seems to me like having 5lbs of ice stuck to the bottom of your boot can't possibly help keep your feet warm. Going back to weight, since a rubber sole necessarily doesn't absorb water (or develop ice) like a felt sole, there's a difference you'll feel while hiking that isn't reflected in the weight difference of boots when dry.

Since I basically never am fishing in waders out of a drift boat, I'll be getting rubber soled boots and adding studs. The studs will go around the perimeter of the sole, and likely a few in the middle as well.

Here's another huge advantage of rubber soled boots that rarely gets brought up: one pair of boots for both salt and fresh water! I do most of my saltwater wading in weather warm enough for flats boots and wet wading, but its not always warm enough here on the TX coast for that to be comfortable. With rubber soled wading boots, I'll be able to wear my waders at the coast without having to shell out another $??? for salt boots that will fit over the waders so I'm not thrashing my felts on oysters and such. Sure I'll have to rinse them EXTREMELY well to get all the saltwater off the metal hardware, but I'd still rather have to do that than need a 3rd pair of boots.

I'll likely be buying a Simms boot, but LL Bean makes a sticky rubber boot that looks like a pretty great value as well. Korkers might be the best possible option for the hiking angler, but I can't speak from any experience with them.

michaeln
09-21-2009, 11:51 AM
A couple things about the Simms G4 boot:

1) They're HUGE. Much wider size for size than other boots. If you look at pics of them you can see that the tread is way wider than the part your foot goes into. This makes them a tough fit in my Force Fins (float tube model) although they do fit.

2) For some reason without looking at the sole, it's almost impossible to tell the right boot from the left one. :confused:

Fly2Fish
09-23-2009, 08:47 PM
I am trying to talk thge wife into a new pair for christmas, Korkers, they come with inter-changable soles and you can buy severel diffrent types.I have talked with a few diffrent people taht use these boots and really like them.
Bear

I'm a big fan of Korkers' interchangeable soles; in fact, I have two different-sized pairs. If I had to do it over, however, I'd spend the extra bucks and buy a set of their Boa Lacing System boots. Of course, I have a bad back and that speed lacing system would really be worthwhile for me.

Bigfly
12-16-2009, 07:50 PM
I've made the move to rubber, but will miss the AC/DC platform shoe effect when walking in snow. The Freestone model from Simms, beats the Frankenstein G series and is my choice for rentals and my own. Use some Aqua seal on any exposed thread and they'll last a long time.....

mojo
12-18-2009, 09:47 PM
I had the studded Simms Guide boots (leather) for just under 10 years. (5-10 Sticky sole)
I just got the Simms Rivershed with the Vibram soles last Christmas.
I haven't had any problems, and yes the soles seem hard but on rocks they seem to grip as you put weight on them. I finally hit some real snot rocks on the middle Provo a couple weeks ago. The only thing that would keep one from slipping on them is adding the studs. Felt wouldn't have been any better then the rubber.
I've fished this river and the snot rocks with felt and rubber for a long time and I like the rubber soles from Simms. Felt boots weigh more once you're in water, are a real ***** when you walk on snow and wear out at the heels. I haven't had any of those problems with the Vibram soles or the 5-10 soles. I really like the light weight of the Rivershed and they do have a big toe box. Joni bought me the carbide studs, but I have yet to put them on.

racine
01-16-2010, 12:18 AM
I've owned 2 pairs of felt boots that I also hiked in. I didn't have them long then I bought a pair of LL Beans Aquastealths studded in 1998. I've fished and hiked with them often and have grown to trust them. Last July I was hiking down to the Gunnison River of the Black Canyon in Colorado. It was 4.5 miles downhill over hard, sharp rock trails with a 45lb pack. At mile 2 my Salomon boots (of 7 years with little mileage) delaminated. I used fishing line as a repair for about 1/4 mile and lost the whole sole. Not long after my other sole also delaminated and I finished the last 3 miles on the lasts. I knew my wading boots had worked before but not with a backpack. I hiked that 4.5 mile trail uphill with the studded Aquastealths and hiking poles in 2 hrs and never noticed a difference since they weighed as little as the Salomons. I saw no damage to the studs or treads of either boot after this adventure and I was amazed that the studs did not hamper me the least bit. I'm getting a newer and larger pair this March-also LL Bean Studded Aquastealth Gray Ghosts. Money well spent!

ksigtuck
01-16-2010, 09:45 PM
Well I picked up a pair of the Simms Riversheds for Christmas with the stream tread and yestday was the first time I have had a chance to get out on the water with them. I was worried that they would not grip as well as the felt. I was wrong...I had absolutely no problems with them and they are also very comfortable. Today they really got the test as I wore them out in a creek with some of the slickest rock snot I have ever come across plus ice everywhere above water. Again they performed flawlessly. So far so good but I guess only time will tell. Another plus was the comfort of hiking in them. THe vibram foot sole makes this a joy as well.
Tuck

45fisher
01-26-2010, 05:39 PM
I am with Fly2Fish.
I have a pair of Cablea's felts that I screwed the Chota cleats into and they worked great for my fall/winter wader fishing. ($6 for 28 cleats, 14 per boot)
I also have a pair of Kokers with the interchangable soles for my summer wet wading. I've got all the soles and for traction you really can't beat cleated felt. The next best if you are worried about micro-org-transfer is the cleated rubber soles.
If you do a lot of walking to get to that spot... get a pair of Korkers. Start out with the rubber only sole and switch to the cleated sole when you get to your spot. Switch back on the way out.
The key is to make sure the interior bottoms (Boot ans Sole) are clean and free of stuff. You don't even have to take your boots off. Just the sole!

MoscaPescador
01-27-2010, 09:24 PM
Back to the OP which is dated back in September. I know a number of people who have had StreamTread boots since the introduction in Fall of '08. Their boot bottoms show wear, but they are still usable.

According to my NorCal Simms rep, Simms will replace any worn out StreamTread soles for $60.

MP

AKGuide
04-09-2010, 10:59 PM
You should be able to order vibram soles for your boots if they are in good shape and you are not wanting to part with the green for a new set, then have your local cobbler do the repair. Simms has a list of places that will do this on their website now. I even checked with a cobbler in Anchorage and they said no problem. Of course this is for those whom have boots in one piece mine are kind of "Toast"

http://external.ak.fbcdn.net/safe_image.php?d=07b5aceaf0e04c3bf5c0ba0bc44b491f&w=130&h=130&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.akrainbow.com%2FNewsletter%2F 2010%2Fspecials%2Fimages%2Fimg8.jpg

Paul