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New Wading Boots: Stay Grounded

New Wading Boots: Stay Grounded

Made for Walking

What makes a great wading boot? Is it fit, style, the rubber compound and tread pattern, or durability? Answer: All of the above.

Step into a river and you wade into their world. The river bottom is wildly uneven and unstable, with round, slick boulders; sheets of flat slate; shifting gravel; entrapped trees and branches; shorelines of weed, mud, and clay; and in the winter it's even worse, with anchor ice and slushy hydraulics. When you step into a trout's world, a solid base that helps you stay grounded will help you cast better, allow you to reach those fishy spots along the far bank, keep you comfortable, and most important, keep you upright and dry through your fishing day. Check out these new wading boots

Cabela's Guidewear Boa Boots $160

Forget about how easy it is to ratchet these boots tight. Ignore the fact that in wet, icy conditions you won't have to tie your laces again and again with wet, numb fingers. Disregard the fact that the stainless steel cables are much stronger and more durable than laces, and tighten evenly from the ankles down to the toes. While all these things are great, the thing our tester loved the most about Cabela's new Guidewear Boa Boots is how easy it is to get out of them. 'After a long, tiring day of hiking and wading, the last thing I wanted to do was bend over and fight with wet, knotted laces to get my boots off. With the Boa system I just pull the dial, and the cables release all the way down to the toes so you can quickly and easily step out of the boots. '

Orvis T3 Guide Boot $220

Rumors of Orvis's new boots, and a new rubber compound, circulated around the Internet for at least six months before Orvis finally showed prototypes to the media in August. (The boots will be available to consumers in early 2014.) A group of guides tested the new boots (and soles) on everything from clean, granite freestone streams to slimy tailwaters, and they bragged that they are the best boots Orvis has ever produced. Said one guide: 'I wore one Vibram sole and one JStep sole for a whole season of fishing, and the JStep is better. I can tell because I've been wading in circles all year! ' The new compound is in the Orvis Pivot with the Boa Closure System — for more on that, see 'Game-Changing Technology ' on page 60. It's also on the beefier T3 Guide Boot. The JStep Rock Hydrax tread is a cross-cut octagonal pattern with alternating beveled surfaces designed to grip round, mossy rocks.

Redington Elite Prowler $160

Sure, wading boots are mostly unseen and submerged, or covered in unsightly mud and slime, but that doesn't mean they have to start out ugly. Redington has a whole new line of boots for men, women, and children with a new design that looks like a cross between a pair of Air Jordans and those Dr. Martens all the cools kids wear. Even if you don't like the looks of these, you have to admit they're different. The new boots are all available with sticky rubber and crushed walnut shell soles, and they have an extra-wide foot bed for added stability and comfort. The men's Elite Prowler boots have heavy-duty, noncorrosive speed laces and eyelets, and Redington ups the style factor by offering laces in five different colors. On the functional side, the Prowler Elites have internal molded heel and toe counters, reinforced toe boxes for durability, and double-needle stitching for years of use.

Simms G4 Boa Boot $240

You've probably seen people jogging the streets barefoot, or maybe read the book Born to Run, which takes a close look at the podiatric health of barefoot cultures. The barefoot concept embraces the philosophy that you'll perform better if you allow your foot to do its work unencumbered. While you can't actually wade a river barefoot, the premise behind the G4 Boa Boot is that your foot is a complex appendage with tiny bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves all working to keep you balanced and moving. If you eliminate feedback coming from the river bottom, you hinder your own ability for proprioception — the ability to sense the orientation and movement of the body and its parts. According to Brandon Hill of Simms, the key to the new boot is the sculpted TPU retention plate in the boot platform that allows the outsole to articulate so you can feel your way along the river bottom better, and use your foot the way it was designed.
For more information, see this award winning boot's video: G4 Boa Boot Video For other award winners see our 2014 Gear Guide Awards

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