" Aquastealth " Wading Boots - Fly Fishing Forum
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Old 01-19-2010, 01:26 PM
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" Aquastealth " Wading Boots

Hey Guys,

I am looking at purchasing new wading boots for the upcoming season and am wondering if any of you have used the boots that help to prevent/limit the spread of didymo. Let's face it, felt works. I always feel safe when wading. As you all know, one slip and it can be over. Yet, I also think it is important that we do our best to protect our trout streams. There is no 100% solution, but we need to start somewhwere. Most of the major companies - Simms, LL Bean, Korker, Orvis etc - have their own versions of the "aquastealth" technology. But what I want to know is, are they safe for wading? Are they as good as felt?

Steve
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Old 01-20-2010, 07:23 AM
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It's pretty simple, nothing is going to be as good as felt. No matter how good you make rubber, it's never going to have the grip of a bunch of rough hairs with lots more surface area and gripping surfaces. Properly cleaning and most importantly drying your equipment is the best defense. Rubber soles mean nothing if your boots aren't dried out properly (inside and out). The biggest possible source to carry didymo is deep in the felt where it doesn't always dry out all the way. Most people just put their boots on the floor/ground to dry, which limits the airflow to the felt. Dry your boots on a drying rack or upside down or just make sure the felt is entirely dry and you'll be fine.

The problem isn't felt, it's fishermen who aren't educated on didymo. New Zealand bans felt soles now exactly for this reason.

And no, 409 and even bleach aren't the magic cures to the problem. The water trapped deep in the felt will never see that stuff, even if you soak the boots. If the felt is already wet it won't absorb more so you're just treating the surface. The only real way to kill the stuff is competely drying the felt.
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Old 01-20-2010, 03:22 PM
Jere Eshelman Jere Eshelman is online now
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Aquastealth

I've been wearing Simms Aquastealth with studs and have been very happy with them. I think the soles are more solid than felts, and my feet feel better with the rigidity of the Aquastealth soles.
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Old 01-22-2010, 07:36 AM
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I was at a TU meeting last night and asked the members what they were wearing. Many were still using felt, but there were just as many who used the new aqua stealth boots. Most of them had the Simms others Korkers, but they all agreed it had to have studded sole. None of them thought it was as good as felt.

Scott....your advice makes a lot of sense. I have been letting my boots dry thoroughly and also use a brush on the boots. The problem comes when I want to move from one river to another, or from one part of the river to another a few miles down stream.

I can still get a another year or two out of my Simms, but I am going check out several other brands that have aquastealth, probably Korkers or the Simms.

Steve
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Old 01-22-2010, 08:56 AM
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This is (luckily) not a problem in saltwater where I spend the majority of time angling nowadays, but to ensure that I am not a "typhoid Mary" of doom to my pacific northwest steelhead I leave felt waders in Seattle so they are never used elsewhere. What's an extra $100 to help protect one of the most amazing natural miracles?
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Old 01-23-2010, 08:32 AM
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Come on, guys. Aquastealth technology is well over a decade old. The "new" rubber soles by Simms are called Streamtread and other companies are coming up with their own versions. All of the new stuff is far superior to Aquastealth so if we want people to begin to use the new stuff we have to call it by the correct names. Otherwise, someone will find a pair of old Aquastealths on sale, buy them, and have all kinds of trouble staying upright on the water. Then he'll get on a site like this and totally rip the rubber soles verbally and discourage others from buying them.

And Juro, I agree with you to a point. My concern is that I now have thirteen pairs of boots, waders, StreamCleats, and sandals that have felt. All are more than usable well into the future. I've always been diligent about cleaning and drying my boots, which is one reason I get them to last for so long. In today's market that's probably $2000.00 or more in felt gear. I'd have no problem if they banned the sale of felt, but if they ban its use I'm out a lot more than $100.00. Besides, detailed studies have shown that laces, eyelets, gusseted tongues, and even stitching can all do the same thing as far as invasive transfers. And that doesn't even begin to acknowledge the effect of other river users, including wildlife. Unless we're all willing to go back to one piece vulcanized boots we should be very careful about how heavily we push this. Better than banning the sale of felt is to simply do what TU's been doing, and that is trying to discourage the companies from making boots with felt. It appears as if all the major companies plan on 2010 to be the last year for felt soles, and Simms made the move for this year.
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Old 01-26-2010, 09:18 AM
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I have the new Simms G4 boots with rubber soles.
They are the generation after the Aquastealth.
They are great.
The only problem I have had was on a very slippery muddy bottom of the river. The bottom was hard but had a layer of mud on it. I don't think anything would have held.
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Old 01-26-2010, 09:49 AM
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I just purchased a new pair of Simms rubber sole boots last year. They are trecherous without spikes in my local rivers. However, in Vermont we have been affected by didymo already so I have no problem putting my felts to rest and going the extra mile to clean my rubber boots.
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Old 01-26-2010, 10:15 AM
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Jr Spey, my post was intended to be food for thought rather than a paradigm for practitioners however for me it does work because I fish in a focused manner:

- saltwater (avidly)
  • stripers, tunoids, etc
  • bonefish
  • tarpon
  • small to mid-size pelagics, etc
- pacific northwest steelhead (avidly)
- local trout (once in a while)
- atlantic salmon (when I can afford it)

So having a few pairs works for me, however I can see how a more diverse angler would have concerns as you point out.

It sounds like a good idea to try modern sole technologies, I have to admit my experiences with aquastealth were "unacceptable" and that's being generous but with these reviews I will give the new stuff a try on my next purchase.
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Old 01-26-2010, 06:52 PM
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Food for thought. If you hike into distant streams in snowy areas as I did in Montana several years ago, the Aqua Stealth soles do not cling to wet snow. Felt soles hold so much snow you end up with a snowball under the arches. Very tiring and after a short while it hurts!

Phil
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Old 01-27-2010, 07:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bonefishmon
Food for thought. If you hike into distant streams in snowy areas as I did in Montana several years ago, the Aqua Stealth soles do not cling to wet snow. Felt soles hold so much snow you end up with a snowball under the arches. Very tiring and after a short while it hurts!

Phil
Anyone doing much trout fishing or steelhead fishing in the Great Lakes area during the winter is well aware of the felt/snow issue, and you don't have to do much walking to have a problem. That's why most of us own Korker's sandals (or something equivalent) that we fit over our felt soles. Felt and snow borders on suicide in some areas.
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Old 01-27-2010, 09:46 AM
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"All of the new stuff is far superior to Aquastealth so if we want people to begin to use the new stuff we have to call it by the correct names"


Jr. Spey,

When I used the term "aquastealth" I was using it in a generic sense for all the new wading boots technologies used to replace felt. So my use of the term "aquastealth" was indeed inaccurate. Thanks for the clarification, your point is well taken.

When I first started this thread, I was interested in finding out if the new technologies being used to replace felt worked on slippery rocks. This is a serious concern for all of us who wade in streams and rivers. You said that Streambed and other companies are manufacturing soles that are far superior to Aquastealth. Have you ( or anyone) tried any of these new boots and do they equal felt in regards to safe wading? Since manufacturers are heading in the direction of no longer making boots with felt, it would be good to know which companies have produced a boot that is safe to use.

Steve
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Old 01-27-2010, 02:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by highway61
"All of the new stuff is far superior to Aquastealth so if we want people to begin to use the new stuff we have to call it by the correct names"


Jr. Spey,

When I used the term "aquastealth" I was using it in a generic sense for all the new wading boots technologies used to replace felt. So my use of the term "aquastealth" was indeed inaccurate. Thanks for the clarification, your point is well taken.

When I first started this thread, I was interested in finding out if the new technologies being used to replace felt worked on slippery rocks. This is a serious concern for all of us who wade in streams and rivers. You said that Streambed and other companies are manufacturing soles that are far superior to Aquastealth. Have you ( or anyone) tried any of these new boots and do they equal felt in regards to safe wading? Since manufacturers are heading in the direction of no longer making boots with felt, it would be good to know which companies have produced a boot that is safe to use.

Steve
In a word, NO. I'm going by the same reports most of us have read. Everyone from Jim Babb of Gray's Sporting Journal to the large article in Fish Fish America have reached pretty much the same conclusion. The new soles are far better than Aquastealth, but are still no match for felt. I'm quite certain that the gap will be narrowed over the next few years, but am also quite certain that rubber soles will probably never be the equal to felt, especially good felt, on some surfaces. The general consensus seems to be that the new rubber soles with studs is probably the best bet. However, there are lot of issues with studs, too, including what happens in almost any kind of boat, from canoe to driftboat or jetsled, with studs. I'm not pretending to have the answers. All I know is that I hope the answers are on-hand before the use of felt is totally banned.
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Old 01-27-2010, 03:05 PM
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Aluminum cleats are amazing for slippery rocks but leave a residue on the rocks. I'm not aware of the negative effects of this on the health of the river but I assume it's not the best thing for the organisms - worth asking an expert.
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Old 01-27-2010, 04:07 PM
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Besides the fact that most of us who use aluminum cleats have Dan Bailey Stream Cleats and they surround the aluminum bars with, guess what?-felt! At least that's how my three pairs are set up. If that changes, and I presume it will, or maybe already has, that will be one solution. The biggest problem I have with them is getting them on and off, especially on. Even with both the rubbers and the boots being wet, they are a struggle, and my newest ones are upsized which is one reason I ended up with three pairs. It's almost impossible for me to get the XL on my size 10 boots and their catalog says they should work on size 12 and 13 boots. Eventually, I get them on, but the idea of slipping them on and off as needed, such as getting into and then out of a driftboat, just isn't possible. I agree that they stick like nothing else. They also do a terrific job of cutting a flyline in half if you even think about stepping on it with one of those aluminum cleats. I've actually done it more than once, which proves what a slow learner I can be at times.
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