Korkers Terror Ridge Wading Boots

ts47

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I just bought a pair of these to replace an old pair of Orvis wading boots. I also purchased two sets of Korkers soles. I’ll talk more about the soles at the end - TRIPLE THREAT™ ALUMINUM HEX DISC SOLE and VIBRAM® IDROGRIP™ SOLE. https://korkers.com/collections/fishing-soles

SIZING: The first thing I noticed is, they are a little more snug than other boots I’ve owned, including an older pair of Korkers. I typically wear a size E or wide width shoe. I am happy to say that they did loosen up after a few hours in the water. I broke them in fishing/wading for three days in Western Maryland. At no time did they become uncomfortable. For those with size E or narrower feet, the standard sizing you are accustomed to should work well. If your foot width is greater than an E, you may want to look elsewhere.

COMFORT and SUPPORT: I’m a bit older and a bit on the heavy side. My feet don’t hold up like they used to. I also benefit from having extra support in the ankles. I’ve owned two pairs of Cabelas Ultralights, an older out of production pair of Orvis boots (with a zipper on the side), and a more recent pair of Korkers White Horse BOA boots. These new Terror Ridge boots were by far the most comfortable I’ve owned. They fit and feel more like a hiking boot with extra padding throughout the uppers and lowers. They have four features I really like that, I think, help keep the boot firmly attached to your foot and give some additional confidence when wading.
1. There’s a pad built into the ankle that helps cradle the heel of your foot and hold it in place.
2. There’s a heel lock strap the laces go through that holds the heel of your foot in place. It also keeps your foot from sliding forward and hitting your toes on the front of the boot. IMO, it was comfortable and worked well. I didn't notice my foot sliding around at all.
3. The padding already mentioned above that molds to and protects your feet from getting banged up on rocks as your wading.
4. The insole feels softer to walk on. Korkers says it's an EVA foam insole. I think this is part of what makes them feel more like hiking boots.
These boots felt like they provided the right amount of support without being too restrictive. For those that know it, I spent a day and a half wading the North Branch of the Potomac. Wading there ranges from slippery to dangerous depending on water flows. It’s just a difficult and an occasionally scary river to wade. These boots did their job well and protected/supported both my feet and ankles while staying comfortably attached to my feet.

WEIGHT: These are not the heaviest or the lightest boots I’ve worn. Rather, they felt in between. Korkers says they weigh 3lbs 2oz per pair with felt soles. I did not notice any fatigue brought on due to weight or lack of comfort or support. They are actually feel lighter than my old Orvis boots. My longest hike was about 2 miles one way.

EASE IN AND OUT: I'm accustomed to doing the push and twist thing when getting boots on over waders, etc. I found these fairly easy to put on and take off without all that pushing, pulling and twisting. They do have laces. So… They don’t compare to boots with the BOA system. Still, it was nice not to fight to get them on. For lacing, you need to start by snugging the laces just below the heel strap, then snug the heel strap in place. It locks your foot in with your heel firmly planted at the back of the boot. The top two (uh? lace eyelets) have notches that hold the laces in place if you need to let go or release tension as you snug the laces down.

LACES: These laces seem to stretch when they get wet. At first, I felt like the laces were a bit short. After they got wet the first day, they got longer - or perhaps the boots were molding themselves to my feet?. I found myself tightening them a few times. After the first day, I had to re-tighten the laces at least once in the middle of the remaining two days. I’m not sure what to say about this. I've only got three days on theses boots. Perhaps part of the break-in process?

WISH LIST: Better laces perhaps. Arch support. I put insoles in most of my shoes and ski boots. While I did not have problems with these boots, especially with socks and waders on, I wonder if there is an insole that would withstand being submerged in water. I occasionally suffer from Plantar Fasciitis. It’s an old racquetball injury where I tore the tendons in the bottom of my foot. If you have a suggestion here, please feel free to share. The included free soles are decent but not great. I wish Korkers allowed substitutions.

I am happy with these boots. They will be my primary boot for likely all my wading moving forward. If you decide to buy them, the best deal I’ve seen (which popped up after I bought mine) is this, which includes a free Korkers wader bag: https://www.gorgeflyshop.com/store/pc/Korkers-c128.htm

SOLES: Korkers is known for its interchangeable soles. This is the reason I didn’t consider a company like Simms. Some of my wading is done in difficult situations that require extra traction. The balance of my wading can be done in just rubber soles. Rubber soles also allow me to go places where studs aren’t allowed, like stores or the neighborhood fly shop. Given the money spent on extra soles, I don’t know if the logic I used to buy these was the right logic to use – rather than purchase two pairs of boots. It is my logic though. I should add that the included Studded Kling-On soles that come with this boot aren’t sufficient (IMO) for wading/walking on slippery rocks. They just don't seem to grab like other studs do. I'm just not a fan.(The free included option is between felt & rubber, or the Kling-On studs & rubber soles) The included felt soles are banned in most or perhaps all of my waters. I purchased (https://korkers.com/collections/fishing-soles):
1. Korkers TRIPLE THREAT™ ALUMINUM HEX DISC SOLE. ($70) These performed beyond my expectations wading the North Branch. They grabbed onto snot covered rocks as well or better than any stud I’ve ever used - and FAR outperformed Korkers standard Studded Kling-On soles. There really is something to the "aluminum gripping rocks" thing. The hex-disks also had enough height to them to dig into dirt banks and provide real traction out of the water. I am very happy I bought them! You should also know that the hex disks are replaceable. You can even buy different types of studs or aluminum bars from Korkers and insert or mix them into these soles. https://korkers.com/collections/fishing-components
2. Korkers VIBRAM® IDROGRIP™ SOLE. ($60) I wanted something better than the standard rubber soles that come with the boots. You may do fine with the standard soles. For me, I don’t like to slip. The Idrogrip rubber soles have a much more aggressive pattern that digs into dirt or mud banks when climbing in and out of the water. These soles should work well for some of my easier wading. Having a rubber sole that I like also allows me to gear up before leaving the house, or go from stream to store or fly shop.
The interchangeable soles do take a little effort to swap out. IMO It involves taking the boots off to accomplish. The soles on this boot are a tight/secure fit. At one point I did consider the quick swap sole thing on the water. While you can do this, IMO it’s not necessarily a quick swap. If I need to though... I can switch from the hex disk soles to rubber and go into a store without having to strip out of my waders first.

VALUE: While not mentioned before, the quality of the construction seems quite good - and much better than my last pair of Korkers. How long they last is yet to be determined. I don't have any real concerns though. At only $179.00, I feel like the boots are a very good value and compare with boots that are much more expensive. If you add the hex disk soles for $70, you could have three different sole options for this one boot - The aluminum hex disk, rubber Kling-Ons, and either felt or the standard Studded Kling-Ons. Wow, this is starting to feel like a Star Trek review... It's a lot of options without needing multiple boots. If this were a star rating system, I would give the two extra soles I purchased and the boots all 5 stars with a possible ding on the laces. I need more time on the water before I can decide. I would give the soles included free with the boots - Kling-On Studs 3 stars and regular rubber Kling-Ons 3.5 stars. The regular Kling-On rubber soles are fine and would work well if you need to switch soles to go into a store, walk on concrete, etc. The tread design just isn't that aggressive for those times when you need extra traction. I cant use the felt soles in any of my waters and can't say how well they perform. YMMV.

I’ve done my best here to give you may thoughts, how the boots work for me, and how they compare to other boots that I’ve worn. I can’t compare them to all the boots on the market including names like Simms and Patagonia as I have no experience. I just hope there is something helpful here for you.

If you want more information, Hatch Magazine did a review that is what led me to purchase these. I couldn't find anything in their review that I disagreed with. https://www.hatchmag.com/articles/review-korkers-terror-ridge-wading-boots/7715064
 
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ts47

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I've edited the above review since posting yesterday. Shoe reviews aren't my thing. It took me a try or two to get it right. I think I'm done now and hope something in it is worth reading.
 

johan851

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Thanks for the writeup! Your thoughts on the hex soles are especially interesting. I have the older version of the aluminum bars and they're great - the new interchangeable hardware system provides even more options.
 

ts47

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Thanks for the writeup! Your thoughts on the hex soles are especially interesting. I have the older version of the aluminum bars and they're great - the new interchangeable hardware system provides even more options.
You're welcome!

Yeah, the new Korkers Tripple Threat Soles are pretty neat. If you wanted to, you could mix your aluminum bars, my aluminum hex disks and carbide spikes all on the same foot.

I've never tried the aluminum bars like you have. When I looked at the pics on the Korkers website, I felt like the density of the disks on the sole was enough where I did not need the bars. I was also concerned that the bars may not provide the traction out of the water I need. I climb up and down steep banks that are as much as 30' high. Do you have any out of the water experience you can share?
 

johan851

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In my experience the bars are pretty grippy out of the water. Certainly on any kind of rock they work great. I'm usually not going up and down steep banks, but when I am the dirt sliding out is usually more of a problem - it doesn't feel like the boots are letting me down.

Still, I wouldn't be surprised if the hex disks are better in that scenario. I'd expect them to act more like cleats and dig deeper down into whatever you're walking on. Bars seem like an odd choice for general terrain usage.
 

joe_strummer

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The Idrogrip sole is the only plain rubber sole I've tried that is not some flavor of death on the rocks.

Also available in a studded version.
 

ts47

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The Idrogrip sole is the only plain rubber sole I've tried that is not some flavor of death on the rocks.

Also available in a studded version.
Joe,

I agree with you 100%.

Before going with the studded version though, I'd suggest at least considering the hex disks.

Johan,

Thanks for the reply. That was my thought too.
 

johan851

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Agree that the regular rubber is terrible. I've done some comedy routines in those. And the studded rubber is a little better, but nowhere near the aluminum.
 

markmark444

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I have had Korker's for a long time and currently have the Devil's Canyon. I have tried a number of soles. In the water the Indrogrip with small studs is great; but, I tend to skid on ledges and on bare rock out of the water (with bad results ) if I am use a sole with any metal, especially during warm weather. So, overall felt is still the best for me, though not great for hiking or on dirt.
 

ts47

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Agree that the regular rubber is terrible. I've done some comedy routines in those. And the studded rubber is a little better, but nowhere near the aluminum.
I know what you mean. I've done that very same dance, but in the Kling-On Studded soles. It wasn't pretty. At times, it felt like walking on ice. That's what led me to try the hex disks, and then spend the extra money on the Idrogrips.
 

ts47

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I have had Korker's for a long time and currently have the Devil's Canyon. I have tried a number of soles. In the water the Indrogrip with small studs is great; but, I tend to skid on ledges and on bare rock out of the water (with bad results ) if I am use a sole with any metal, especially during warm weather. So, overall felt is still the best for me, though not great for hiking or on dirt.
I don't know if the metal used in the Idrogrip studded soles is the same used in the Kling-On studded soles. The Korkers web site says they are both carbide tipped studs. If it is the same metal, I know what you mean. I couldn't get the Kling-On studs to bite into much of anything. The hex disk soles were great in and out of the water. Out of the water and as mentioned above, I spent three days scaling some pretty steep rock and dirt banks from 10-30 feet high with great traction. The hex disks stuck to rocks and were tall enough to act like cleats (as Johan put it) in the dirt. I highly recommend them.
 
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markmark444

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I don't know if the metal used in the Idrogrip studded soles is the same used in the Kling-On studded soles. The Korkers web site says they are both carbide tipped studs. If it is the same metal, I know what you mean. I couldn't get the Kling-On studs to bite into much of anything. The hex disk soles were great in and out of the water. Out of the water and as mentioned above, I spent three days scaling some pretty steep rock and dirt banks from 10-30 feet high with great traction. The hex disks stuck to rocks and were tall enough to act like cleats (as Johan put it) in the dirt. I highly recommend them.
Thanks, I will give them a try.
 
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