What digs into mud and rocks and wet dirt better than a the tire of a dump truck or a Humvee? Not much, it seems. That’s why Orvis partnered with Michelin to create the new Orvis Pro Wading Boot ($230, orvis.com). Michelin is the second largest tire manufacturer in the world with 129 years of experience designing and producing rubber tires to grip the road, haul heavy loads from coal mines, win Olympic cycling events, tear up mountain bike terrain, and outfit military and agricultural vehicles for rugged field work.
The result is the Orvis Pro Wading Boot with a Michelin Outdoor Extreme Sole specifically designed for fly fishing. This isn’t just a slap-on sole borrowed from another product. This rubber compound and tread were designed by Orvis and Michelin for maximum traction and versatility in rivers and streams and importantly along snowy and muddy riverbanks. According to Orvis the new sole has 25% better abrasion resistance and 43% better wet traction than previous Orvis rubber soles. The tread design is “self cleaning” with siped sculptures under the toe and heel to increase surface contact and to release clay and mud with each step. The most important design of this tread, however, is the aggressive outer edges designed like the paddles on a monster truck tire. This shoulder design provides excellent lateral support and as on mud tires, helps keep the tread clean, and free to continue working.
The boot uses a polyurethane-casting construction to eliminate seams in high-wear areas around the outside edge of the boot and to improve durability. The idea is that if the boot has fewer pieces, there is less chance of a catastrophic failure.
A pair of size 10 boots weighs 50 ounces, and the Ortholite 3D molded X25 insole is made by the same brand that produces insoles for brands like Merrell, Saucony, 5.11, and La Sportiva. It’s a three-way collaboration that results in a high-performance, comfortable boot. Available in men’s whole sizes 7 to 14.