Flats shoes or Lightweight boots?
Only wading stuff I have for my feet is water sandals or heavy leather based wading shoes (SIMS, felt - great for very cold water and support, but heavy for long walks).
Since it's warmed up and I have been walking long distances in the sand these boots are kind of heavy and I'd like to use them for freshwater stream fishing only now.
I know, just get "flats shoes", but they don't look like they give much support and I have a weak ankle due to a battle injury long ago, so need the support the stiff SIMS boot gives me. Has anyone been in this position and what did you get?
TinMan...I've been on a boot quest of my own...so far I really admire John Morin's forceful/determined all weather barefoot stride approach (his feet are as tough as kevlar and he can do hot cinders, broken glass, and rusty tacks with hardly a grimmace)...I can't, at least not yet!
I have a heavy pair of river boots that would not be a good thing to wear to the beach...TOO HEAVY...next case...
I've tried the Patagonia Marle Walkers and, while the support is excellent, they do tend to get heavy when wet, and do allow some sand to enter which will build up to a point of discomfort, at which point I must empty them to continue walking and fishing with a smile.
I've tried the typical flats-bootys and, while they don't afford the same support as the Walkers, they are NOT BAD and I can fish for long periods in relative comfort. Some sand does enter which can be removed with less fuss than the Walkers (although the zipper can become "sand-impared"...needs a squirt of clean water to clear the sand from the teeth).
So, what I have decided...I wear the highest bootys I can find to accommodate my sock waders (and keep as much sand out as possible...sooner or later they will have to be emptied)... AND, I bring an "amphibious" pair of shoes (and socks) to change into should another "death march" be in order. (Lesson learned on the last RipTrip walk)
As the summer progresses and I wet wade a la Morin, and my feet toughen up, I hope to go natural, but when it's cold and I need to cover up to chase away the chill, high bootys (like Juro's and Jim Doogue's) over sock-foot waders are my answer to the temperature-sensative-tenderfoot-enigma. John (my HERO!) still has the best solution! My .02 ...
You know, all kidding aside... going barefoot is much less taxing on you which I think you know and it does not take long to get the bottom of your feet acclimated.. If I had not started doing that earlier.. I think I probably could not have done the 8 mile barefoot since I would have had grapefruit blisters on the bottom of my feet. I know you are looking for ankle support but Orvis makes a sandal that does not pick up much sand and sells for 40 bucks.. with a little improvised ankle support to serve your needs that shoe is worth looking into. I would put it on in unfamiliar water.. otherwise I go barefoot all summer.
If you want the support of a hiking boot for the beach, check out llbean's rubber soled Aqua Stealth Approach Wading Shoes. They're very lightweight and supportive. My neoprene surfing boots don't fit over my stocking foot goretex, so at those times these are the boots i wear. They're also ideal for rocky shorelines. Not quite the ninja boots that neos are, but _way_ better than the average stream wading boot.
BTW, despite the "stealth" rubber on the soles of these boots, they're only suited for rivers that have very little algea growth. They've now come out with a studded version which, if you have plans to use them in a river, i would highly recommend.
Thanks for the feedback guys, wound up getting a pair of Orvis Silver Label Bootfoot Hiking (and another rod - now how did THAT happen?! ;-). These fit the bill nicely since I was also getting annoyed with velcro gravel guards cha-cha. Great service once again from the crew at Concord Outfitters!
Guess I'll use the new stocking foot Clearwaters I pretty much just bought for fresh water only.
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