Questions & Answers

wading boot for stockingfoot waders?

I'm a stream ecologist, and wear Simms stockingfoot waders for my field work. There's a lot of hiking up and down streams, and bushwhacking, and the wading boots I wear over the waders just kill my feet. Frankly, they're dangerous - they're so stiff that I can't tell what I'm stepping on and I've had some close calls.

I'd love to have something lighter and more flexible. Any suggestions? They need to keep dirt out; I don't want bits of grit getting in and chewing holes in my expensive waders! At the same time, water needs to be able to drain out of them. Also they need laces to hook gaiters onto; more keeping gravel out.

I considered neoprene kayaking booties, but the wader feet are neoprene - I don't really fancy hiking with two layers of neoprene over my feet! They're warm enough as it is. The gaiters are neoprene as well. Fantastic for cold-season work (which I do quite a bit of) but not so great for hiking into a site on a hot day.

To sum up my requirements: Light -- Flexible -- Dirt-proof (preferably over-ankle) -- Laces for gaiter attachment -- Will fit over neoprene stockingfoot wader

Thanks for any and all suggestions!


Answers and Replies


Oops, forgot to include that requirement - the sole needs to be grippy somehow or other. The boots I currently use have felt soles, there are various heavily lugged options also. I think if my feet have more mobility, the grippiness of the sole will be less important because I won't be teetering on slimy rocks with 1 square cm of contact! This is why I initially thought of kayaking booties - they're presumably designed for walking on slippery surfaces once in a while.


Hm, the mini-mil boots look promising, although they look at bit too high - my chest waders have built-in gaiters (e.g. ) that assume you're using their just-over-the-ankle wading boots (e.g. ).

This is my complaint with nearly all the more hiking boot-like minimalist shoes - they're so tall! It'd be nice to have something over the ankle to protect those nobbly ankle bones, and keep some duff out of the shoe, but I don't want something halfway up my calf. Straying off-topic here...

I'm not sure why the fishing community thinks having a great heavy rigid slab on your feet is a good thing. I've got my feet stuck between rocks a few times when I slipped between them because I couldn't tell what I was stepping on. Not a big deal in a small stream, but very dangerous in a fast-flowing river. I've appreciated the hard boot when doing kick samples (as the name implies, kicking the rocks on the bottom to dislodge insect larvae) but I could still have at least some of that protection with a more flexible sole.

Long rambling answer to say, close, but not quite there!


Well, I was in the field recently on a hot day in shallow streams, mostly bushwhacking, so I ditched the waders and wore my Merrell gloves. I still don't see the benefit of a stiff sole, but I could really have used some toe protection. I felt more sure-footed, but my feet would still slip down between rocks, and by the end of the day my toes were feeling a bit mashed. Fine the next day, but still...

So now I want what I'm certain doesn't exist: a minimalist over-ankle quick-drying boot with a hard toe-cap. Dream on! I guess I'll just have to wear the wading boots and try not to sprain an ankle.

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