Product Review: A New Wet-Wading Boot
Orvis released a new wet-wading boot this spring, the Pro Approach Hiker. I don’t enjoy fishing with crowds, so I spend most of my time walk-wading, i.e., hiking a good distance. While breathable waders offer a vast improvement over the old neoprenes, they still get hot and heavy when hiking to and from a stream in the summer. Thus I wet-wade whenever possible in the warmer months.
I prefer wearing quick-dry pants to protect my legs from streamside brush like thistle and roses. They don’t get heavy when wet, and quickly dry while hiking back to my vehicle. But I digress.
Over the years, I have worn wet-wading sandals, shoes and boots. Each has its advantages like light weight, comfort and good traction. But each has its downsides as well. Sandals and shoes offer no ankle support, and sometimes suck off in deep mud. Wet-wading boots, due to their tight neoprene “sock”, are a real challenge to get into.
Enter the new Orvis wet-wading boot. It is extremely light and provides good ankle support. The Micheline outer sole grips most surfaces, whether hiking or wading. The inner sole is made of foam rubber, is extremely comfortable, and molds to one’s foot. But most importantly, the boot is constructed like a boot within a boot. The inner neoprene boot has a large opening and is closed with laces. A strong loop on the rear assists slipping it on, which is really easy. The outer boot zips closed, and has a velcro flap to seal the boot top.
I do wish that metal studs could be added to provide some extra grip on really slippery stream beds. But I suspect that a thicker sole is necessary, which adds weight and perhaps is less comfortable.
I have been walk/wading with this boot for several months now. It is by far the best wet-wading footwear I have ever worn. The retail price is $229, available at Orvis stores.
written by al simpson, 07/2023