Merwin: Feel It In Your Sole

Here's another rubber-sole test (with apologies to The Beatles), this time of the Simms StreamTread wading-boot soles that may in the long term help to prevent the spread of invasive species.

This past week I spent two days of trout-river wading while wearing one StreamTread boot and one regular felt-soled boot at the same time. Bottom line: I could tell no difference in traction between the two while wading. The StreamTread soles were at least as good as felt, and that's the first time I've been able to say that about any rubber-soled wading gear.

When walking on muddy or wet-grass streambanks, the StreamTread soles were actually much better than felt. The sharp-edged Vibram/ StreamTread lugs gave a substantial grip on those surfaces where felt soles tend to act like skis.

StreamTread and other rubber soles are much more easily cleaned than felt, of course. Felt soles get continually mashed against the river bottom as one wades, and the small spores of whirling disease, invasive algae, and more get impacted deep into the fabric where they're difficult to remove by common cleaning--more so than on any other part of the boot, which is why felt soles have become such a concern.

So Streamtread soles are a big step forward in the wading game--the first really practical wading alternative I've encountered.