One of the last thing you want on a holiday are wearing shoes that want to kill you.
The only thing worse than that is having to wet wade multiple days on your dream fishing trip in that pair of shoes that want to kill you.
Walking, running, traversing on slippery surfaces can be very hazardous to our health, it could also bring a premature end to a highly anticipated fishing trip. A bad fall could spell disaster. Besides injury, a fall could also mean a broken fly rod.
I’ve had my fair share of falls both in the river and on ground, thankfully, other than cuts, bruises and short term pain – nothing serious.
Many factors can lead to a fall. Fatigue, carelessness, accidents and slipping are the most common causes.
Good footwear grip certainly helps reduce the risk of falls caused by slippage and the slippery rivers of Khao Sok Thailand, where we fish for the Thai mahseer is one of the best place to test out the grip of any footwear.
The Slippery Rivers of Khao Sok
Redington Skagit Wading Boots with Sticky Rubber Replacement?
My aging Redington Skagit wading boots has seen better days and is due for replacement. One major grouse many anglers seem to have against wading boots is the weight.
Approximate dry-weight comparison:
Simms Riprap shoes approximate size 11 weight: 1kg / 2.3lb
Redington Skagit boots approximate size 10 weight: 1.6kg / 3.6lb
When the footwear are wet, they get even heavier. And when you are walking and wading in them for eight to nine hours a day, for a couple of consecutive days, your feet can suffer quite a bit.
Features of the Simms Riprap wading shoes:
- Hydrophobic mesh upper stands up to a beating underwater while draining quickly on dry land
- Outsole accommodates studs/spikes for added traction
- No-line catch upper
- Right Angle® footbed fights fatigue for long days on the water
- Resist odours – treated with Agion
It’s always tricky business buying shoes online. Never having the chance to try a pair on could mean ill-fitting shoes and that’d be bad.
I usually wear US size 12 shoes. Size 13 with waders. I was surprised when the size 12 Riprap turned out to be a snug fit when I first put them on without socks.
They can still be worn with thin socks. One size up, a US size 13 would appear to suit me better and enable me to wear thicker, wading/neoprene socks in them.
You can see the stark difference in size in the side-by-side comparison pictures below of the Riprap with my current Skagit boots.
To test the shoes pre-trip, I wore them for walks with thin socks. They are snug, which is good actually and did not hurt my feet so they’re good-to-go for the in-river grip test.
Fishing With The Simms RipRap Wading Shoes
It needs studs. Period.
I tried them out as is on the first day and quickly found out they offer no grip at all on slippery river rocks and boulders. It is like trying to walk on solid ice.
The conclusion is basically the same for all shoes with rubber outsoles, you need studs/spikes/felt to grip on smooth and hard slippery surfaces.
Otherwise, the Riprap wading shoes works. More mileage is need for an even better conclusion and an upcoming trip will offer that opportunity.
Will I Buy Another Pair?
Highly probable and it will be the felt outsole version. And one size bigger.
UPDATED: What A Difference A Few Days On The Rivers In These Shoes Made
After a total of five full days wearing the Simms Riprap Wading shoes I’ve come to a final conclusion that they are not good for hardcore wet wading.
While the tight fit did not help to start with (see above for size difference compared to the Redington’s), the durability of the outsoles are also poor.
Editor’s tip: get one size bigger when you’re getting Simms footwear and intend to wear thick socks e.g. neoprene sock with them
The grip on slippery wet rock is also unsatisfactory even though I added studs on the outsoles. The rubber outsole studs does not provide grip as good as the Redington Skagit Wading boots that it replaced.
Other things I did not like was the thin sides as at times I could feel sharp rocks pressing against my foot.
I also conclude that the low ankle support is risky (my first time wearing low-cut wading footwear) when you spend plenty of time walking on very uneven and at times unstable (stony) ground. Solid, high ankle support is a much better choice to prevent serious injury as a result of “roll-overs”.
Footwear malfunction is one of the worst things that can happen during a fishing trip.
I guess I won’t recommend the Riprap shoes afterall.