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Old 03-08-2001, 09:44 PM
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juro juro is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Steelhead country|striper coast|bonefish belt
Posts: 20,594
RE:wading boots

Hi Ken!

I really like the combination of lightweight booties with a sturdy sole, worn over stocking foot waders. There are a few things to think about for beach wading though...

Damn Sand!

The biggest thing to worry about is sand getting inside the boot. The scuba boots I use are gussetted so that there is no actual opening anywhere. Even the zipper is lined with neoprene such that when unzipped, there is no opening. The sand gets into the teeth of the zipper too, and non-zippered boots are too tight - so I just buy the gussetted scuba boots and never bother with the zippers. I wear good wrap-around gaitors that seal off the tops of the boots and the system is sand-proof for the most part.

Note: Bootfoot waders do not have this problem... but have problems of their own. You can't change boots for different applications, like a free-stone stream, or a boat deck on a rainy day, or cleated boots, or scuba boots, etc. Most good boot foot waders come with a Frankenstein boot, which doesn't work out when you are hiking long distances on the sand. I wish someone would come out with a "beachfoot wader", I'd buy it. For now I take the trouble to get the feel I want to run on sand after blitzing fish.

If the tops are too low, gaitors won't seal them up correctly. Something to think about too.

Price: some scuba dive shops clear out their rental boots after each season, I've bought some of my best boots for $20 or less.

Heat: Unfortunately, some wader Co's make their stocking feet out of heavy neoprene, and good scuba boots are neo too - thus you could end up with several MM of black neoprene on your feet on a hot summer day. Less than ideal... but the days when this is an issue are the days when wet wading is a good option. Despite it's pitfalls, I have yet to see a pair of bootfoots that feel better than the right scuba booties.

Sole: Make sure you look for wading shoes with a solid sole, one that you caould walk on barnacle encrusted rocks with. For scuba boots, some brands make them with 'boat soles' and reinforced heels and toes.

For other boots like the ones you mention, I suppose the only warning is the one about sand penetration and ability to close off completely.

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