Gear Review Korkers Wading Boots Plus a TIP

| May 21, 2009

It is amusing to see how other sites go through gyrations about doing gear reviews, ethics, and the deep moral issues that ensue as they try to avoid the slide down the slippery slope.

If you want gear reviewed under the most adverse Texas conditions – heat, rain, heat, mosquitos, wet water, stinky mud bottoms, saltwater, heat, sorry casters, superb casters, gearheads and the mostly qualified, but uncertified testers, just contact us and we will take whatever you have and put it through the wringer – Texas Style.

As for the gear reviewed here, it was purchased and is owned by the tester.

Korker’s Boot Review

KORKERS WADING BOOTS

I have had the Streamborn model for a bit more than a year now, and if you check the link, you will quickly see the cosmetics wear off soon enough. Compared to the photograph of my boots taken this week, I don’t think many folks would be able to tell they are related.

I like my Korkers. The only major drawbacks are 1) I lost a sole in a mud suction and never knew it until I was back at the Cruiser taking them off – way bad, and 2) They tend to lose their form in the toe box and become tight in the toes – requiring presoaking to avoid pain. If you really are the diligent type, be sure to check the soles regularly to see that they are seated in the grooves of the boots. It’s too early to tell, but there is a possibility the soles (the bottom edges where the grooves secure the soles) can permanently deform.

Both of these problems have cropped up on discussion boards, and are well known, but seemingly not widespread. The novelty of interchangeable soles does come at a price and benefit. The price as noted, is that although Korkers redesigned their system to alleviate the sole separating, detaching and being lost – it still happens. The company seems to have attempted to deal with the toe box problem by, at least on their new model, recommending an unprecedented two size increase to accommodate waders. The translation is if you are, say an 8-1/2 US, then you go up a half and add two. Had I done that, perhaps the toe boxes wouldn’t demand a presoak.

There is a huge upside to the Korkers System, and that is as new composites are developed to expedite the move away from felt, Korkers can easily create new soles without having to retool, or in most cases re-bid with overseas manufacturers for a new design with new materials. So, last week I picked up a new pair of the non-slip soles when I was at Cabela’s. They presented themselves as being comparable with new Vibram Aquastealth soles, but I have yet to get them in the field to see how they work. They are called the Kling-on Sticky Rubber Sole. Meanwhile, Korkers has gone even further with two new sole offerings (I wish I would’ve known about), both have the Aquastealth name and are offered in studded and without studs. I can only assume they are using the Aquastealth name because they really are Aquastealth (see Gore-Tex if you aren’t following). Hats off to Vibram for creating a name that will linger in fly fisher’s lexicon much as the Kleenex brand is synonymous with tissue.

My favorite sole is the straight Carbide studded and rubber sole. I use it for the jetties, dam hopping (all the rage in the extreme workout world), and streams that are notorious for their slick rocks – like Broken Bow, Oklahoma. I also used the hiking sole to get to distant locations while on the Conejos, and switched them out with studded felts once I hit the River. The Streamborns are extremely flexible, lightweight and lace up by simply pulling on the ends without having to cinch through the entire weave of laces.

I have to admit, once I bought into the system, I did begin to cast an eye toward more Korkers to take advantage of using the soles on different boot models. With the recent release of the Ultra-Lite I may be rolling some pocket change to get a pair. If nothing else, take a look at the Swift Sandal, and try to talk yourself out of that model for hot Texas climate.
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Wading Boot Tip for Saving Laces

AND THE TIP OF THE WEEKEND

The close up shows the addition of a tire tube doughnut to hold your gravel guards on your waders. The hooks on typical waders seem to eat through laces no matter the lace, and no matter the type of wader. So, just cut yourself one of these from an old bicycle tube and run it into your laces, hook into that and fish on. No matter what, always carry a spare set of laces, and expect them both to fail within a month of one another. It happens.

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Category: Equipment, Reviews, TIPS

About the Author ()

I write. I photograph. I fish, and I live.

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