Rubber Soul by the Beatles was innovative for its time, rubber soles on your Simms boots will let you rock like never before. Yep, if you hadn’t heard, Simms is stopping production of felt soles with their 2010 line of waders and wading shoes. Simms is focused on eliminating aquatic hitchhiker that may attach themselves to felt soles and then are transplanted from one water system to another. It is a great idea, but not only because of the environmental concerns.
Felt soles have been a great source of traction while wading, but felt has lived out its days. Technological advances in chemistry have been producing great rubber soles for sandals for some time now. I will be glad to have similar advances on my boot-foot waders.
Currently I have a pair of boot-foot waders by Simms. I ordered them last winter with a lug sole, assuming they would have excellent traction much like other rubber river shoes. Wrong. The rubber on the boot-foot was hard as stone and did not get along with its relatives on the bottom of the rivers. They are very slick, like “I am going to drown” slick. The reason I ordered them with lug was that I really only wear my waders in the shoulder months and winter. Have you ever walked a few miles in sticky wet snow with felt soles? It is a great workout if that is what you are going for. The felt collects snow and before you know it, your feet are packing around several pounds of snow. Not to mention it is rather difficult to walk on an uneven snow laden shoe.
So I took a chance and bought the lug soles. I even went as far as to ask my tire dealer to sipe (cut slices along the bottom). Sipping tires really improves traction for winter use. He must have thought me crazy and said he could not do it. I am going to put screws in the soles for now. One problem with the screws is that they scratch your boat something fierce. They also can cut through a fly line pretty fast.
Look for the new Vibram soles on all Simms sandals, boots and shoes for 2010. I know I will.