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Merwin: Farewell to Felt

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September 22, 2008

Merwin: Farewell to Felt

By John Merwin & Joe Cermele

Simms, the market-leading maker of high-end waders and related gear, has announced they will stop offering felt-soled waders and wading boots in 2010. Felt soles have been implicated in transporting and spreading various microscopic invasive species and fish-disease agents. The footwear has already been banned in New Zealand, and a ban in Iceland may be happening very soon. Trout Unlimited has called for all wader-makers to stop using felt entirely.

Simms has worked with Vibram in developing a new sticky-rubber sole for 2009 with a special tread said to work well on slimy rocks. Metal studs are also an option. I talked with both Simms and Vibram at a recent flyfishing trade show in Denver and checked out the new footwear, which looks good but there are as yet no samples available for testing. Stay tuned.

L.L. Bean, meanwhile, which already has a sticky-rubber “AquaStealth” wading-boot sole, has developed a new wading boot with smooth exterior surfaces designed to be more easily cleaned, thereby trapping and transporting less river gunk.

Those companies represent only the high end of the wader market, which extends far beyond just flyfishing. I think that as long as there’s a demand for felt-soled waders, that at least some market- driven companies will continue to offer them. How about you—ready to give up your felts?

Comments (9)

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from Rick Setina wrote 5 years 29 weeks ago

I have a pair of AquaStealth boots and I too think they work just as well as the felt soles. I will most likely buy only the rubber soled shoes from now on.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from troutwhisperer wrote 5 years 29 weeks ago

Regarding the question of chemical treatment of felt soles to kill aquatic nuisance species, there isn't one treatment that will kill them all. For example, the chlorine bleach solution will kill whirling disease spores but not New Zealand mud snails. In addition, it doesn't take too many dips in chlorine solution to ruin waders and boots. The best advice is to follow the recommendations of the Clean Angling Pledge. www.cleanangling.org which are to Inspect, Clean, and Dry your equipment. This isn't a silver bullet, but it will help reduce te risk of spreading the various ANS.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jerry k wrote 5 years 30 weeks ago

I have a pare of korkers wading boots and recently bought the aqua stealth rubber soles and i think that in most aplications they work better than felt.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from DylanH wrote 5 years 30 weeks ago

As long as I'm not busting myself on those rocks I'm okay with switching.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dr. Ralph wrote 5 years 30 weeks ago

I have rubber waders but none of the high dollar impress the fly fishermen stuff... in fact I prefer Perry Topsiders while wading in shorts! It's not hard to impress Tennessee fishermen, and I'm still tough enough to handle the cold...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jack wrote 5 years 30 weeks ago

The phone hasn't rung, yet....Hmmm...better check the line...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jack wrote 5 years 30 weeks ago

Here is a question asked from a point of ignorance. Can felts be rid of their parasites with a simple dip/soak in a bucket with a chlorine solution at home, then hang them to dry as usual?Seems a fellow could make a living selling bottles of "Trout King Felt Cleanser". Of course, it would be sold in old wine bottles with 'vintage' labels carrying images of woven trout baskets and a silhouette of a guy with 150 feet of line slicing through a Montanna panorama.Have Bonnier give me a ring - I will gladly license this idea to him. I'll go stand by the phone right now.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Evan! wrote 5 years 30 weeks ago

I'm good with it. I have a pair of felt sole boots right now that are on their way out and I plan on replacing them with rubber/studded boots and going that route from now on.yrs-Evan!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Joe G wrote 5 years 30 weeks ago

I am ok with it. The wonders of technology (travel) make invasives of all types as big a threat as ever. Shoot, its an excuse to buy more stuff!

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Rick Setina wrote 5 years 29 weeks ago

I have a pair of AquaStealth boots and I too think they work just as well as the felt soles. I will most likely buy only the rubber soled shoes from now on.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from troutwhisperer wrote 5 years 29 weeks ago

Regarding the question of chemical treatment of felt soles to kill aquatic nuisance species, there isn't one treatment that will kill them all. For example, the chlorine bleach solution will kill whirling disease spores but not New Zealand mud snails. In addition, it doesn't take too many dips in chlorine solution to ruin waders and boots. The best advice is to follow the recommendations of the Clean Angling Pledge. www.cleanangling.org which are to Inspect, Clean, and Dry your equipment. This isn't a silver bullet, but it will help reduce te risk of spreading the various ANS.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jerry k wrote 5 years 30 weeks ago

I have a pare of korkers wading boots and recently bought the aqua stealth rubber soles and i think that in most aplications they work better than felt.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from DylanH wrote 5 years 30 weeks ago

As long as I'm not busting myself on those rocks I'm okay with switching.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dr. Ralph wrote 5 years 30 weeks ago

I have rubber waders but none of the high dollar impress the fly fishermen stuff... in fact I prefer Perry Topsiders while wading in shorts! It's not hard to impress Tennessee fishermen, and I'm still tough enough to handle the cold...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jack wrote 5 years 30 weeks ago

The phone hasn't rung, yet....Hmmm...better check the line...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jack wrote 5 years 30 weeks ago

Here is a question asked from a point of ignorance. Can felts be rid of their parasites with a simple dip/soak in a bucket with a chlorine solution at home, then hang them to dry as usual?Seems a fellow could make a living selling bottles of "Trout King Felt Cleanser". Of course, it would be sold in old wine bottles with 'vintage' labels carrying images of woven trout baskets and a silhouette of a guy with 150 feet of line slicing through a Montanna panorama.Have Bonnier give me a ring - I will gladly license this idea to him. I'll go stand by the phone right now.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Evan! wrote 5 years 30 weeks ago

I'm good with it. I have a pair of felt sole boots right now that are on their way out and I plan on replacing them with rubber/studded boots and going that route from now on.yrs-Evan!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Joe G wrote 5 years 30 weeks ago

I am ok with it. The wonders of technology (travel) make invasives of all types as big a threat as ever. Shoot, its an excuse to buy more stuff!

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment