Waders with built in rubber boots

DavidS1095

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Not sure if this is the correct spot for this and if it isn’t my apologies. Anyone have any reviews or experience with waders that have built in rubber boots? I was at my local Cabelas today getting read for a trip to the Smokey Mountains. Had a budget to spend so was going to stick with it. I have never been a wafer wearing person because living in Texas they aren’t needed. However, my trip to Tennessee next month I will probably need them. Anyways, my wife through a wrench in my plans and said I could get any set of waders I wanted. My mind went wild with possibilities. Looking at the higher end set with booties and boots. But it all came down to, as usual Cabelas never had the correct size in stock. After walking around the store a while longer I decided to stick with my original plan. They did not have the pair with booties so I got the ones with built in rubber boots.

My question is this, how well does the rubber boot work? My only experience ever with rubber boots is working cows and pigs growing up. I know no matter what I’ll slip but will the rubber boot lugs cause more slippages? And how well do they work.

I should have prefaced this with the fact I don’t get to fish like this often. Most of my fishing is in warm waters in Texas and Oklahoma so I never wear waders and I don’t know when the next time I’ll fish waters that would accommodate waders will be.
Thank you for any intel and advice.
 

iv_wjb

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Honestly, I find my boot-foot (rubber boot) waders to be comfortable and convenient. However, I would not trust them in conditions which have a rocky / slippery river bed. The rubber soles are fine on grass and in mud but, they are not suitable for most rivers as they can be slippery. Further, I find they have little foot and ankle support. As a result, they can be tiring and it’s easy to roll an ankle on a rocky river bottom.

They’re no substitute for good stocking-foot waders and proper-fitting boots that can be cinched-up tight. Full foot support makes them less tiring, less prone to ankle-roll and soles which are suited to river-bottoms, as required. They are more expensive and less convenient but, they are lighter and easier in which to walk / hike and wade.

Your findings may be different... Good luck and have a great trip!
 

ryc72

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You need to consider how difficult the hiking from spot to spot will be. If you are going to do a lot of walking which would be my assumption then stocking foot waders and separate boots will be better as the fit is usually better than boot foot waders since you can cinch down laces and you can pick and choose your boots. Also if you’re flying, boot foot waders are a pain to travel with. Stocking foot is no picnic either to pack but much better than bootfoot. In general I say return the ones you have and get stockingfoot waders and separate boots. The only times I say boot foot is better is when it’s super duper cold and fishing salt water (easier to rinse off). All other times stockingfoot with separate boots is much better. Another consideration, although I don’t have any experience with this, I feel like I’ve read about bootfoots leaking at the boot/wader junction often enough to know that’s a thing. And one final thing to think about if you’re primarily blue lining, you may not even need waders. Could you get away with waterproof neoprene socks and hiking boots if you will only be wading ankle deep?
 

ryc72

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And another thought, if you’re going to do a lot of scrambling and hiking with easy wading then rubber soles is best. But if the water you’re gonna fish has slimy slick rocks then nothing beats felt. Rubber soles in fast water and slick rocks is a death sentence.
 

tcorfey

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In my opinion (and iv_wjb) is correct) rubber boot foot waders are best in mud and snow. But on slippery rocks I would prefer stocking foot and boots with studs. Now many years ago we did not have the option of stocking foots so we would grind down the lugs on boot foot waders and glue indoor/outdoor carpeting to the bottom of the boot using barge cement (similar to Shoo-goo we have today) today they have boot foot waders with felt soles so that could be an option, but note that felt soles are not very good on snow or clay type mud. However, this would provide better traction on rocks and such. I still have boot foot waders in neoprene for duck hunting in the rice fields and for fishing the estuary/marshes around the bay. If you are trying to keep costs down you can shop the discontinued items online or look at stocking foot hip waders and boots if you are not going to wade too deep.
 

WNCtroutstalker

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I've never looked at boot foots, but what are the bottoms made of? If rubber or something else other than felt, can they take cleats or studs? Not sure where exactly you'll be fishing (sounds like GSMNP), but to me wearing rubber/vibram without cleats is a non-starter.

EDIT: I see this point was raised above while I was typing.
 

Rip Tide

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I wear my boot foots when fishing the salt. They're very comfortable. It's like wearing slippers.
But the main reason is they don't fill up with sand like wading boots do when fishing the surf.
For trout fishing I wear stocking foots and wading boots for the same reasons everyone else here with tell you.
 
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jjcm

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I finally wore through a pair of Simms felt sole boots last year. I think they might have been Freestones: they were an all leather, army-green color boot. They held up for years and I got used to wading in them. Upgraded to another pair of Simms. The new pair has rubber soles and is also significantly lighter in comparison.

On my first time out wearing them, I took a swim. Slipped and rode the current down several feet. I think it was a combination of the rubber soles and weight difference that threw me off. After that I adjusted and have stayed dry since.

Felt's traction is superior to rubber, but rubber can be good too depending on the nature of the river one is fishing. Outside of the water, rubber is better for hiking, especially in winter conditions, to spots.

There is also the invasive species consideration. Some states have banned felt-soled boots and others have considered it. Microorganisms can be carried in the felt from what I understand, and it takes more to clean it than rubber.
 

DavidS1095

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Yeah I’ll be in the Smokey Mountains. My plan was to hike in, then put my waders on and fish as I make my way back down to where I parked. I’ve walked across slick rocks my whole life with rubber sole. But I imagine with the waders on it will be different.
Thank y’all for your responses.
 

JDR

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The water in the Smoky Mountains is small, but can be treacherous. The stream beds are rocky with irregular and uneven rocks. Currents are usually swift. You should have some kind of traction aid - Rock Treads are my choice, but you can also use aluminum bars, studs, or felt. Scrambling over exposed rocks is also common. Studs can work against you in those situations. You may also find there is some waking to be done as you wade the creeks, due to boulders, cataracts, and driftwood dams. I would strongly recommend a wading staff. I think you will find that fishing here is often a pretty strenuous physical workout. If your boots/feet let you down, the least you should expect is to be miserable, but other outcomes are possible.
 
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