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Wading Boot Question


Dan Draz
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My wading boots have felt soles on the bottom and are probably 5-6 years old. Today when I was climbing out of the Dupe, the felt sole on one boot came half way off the bottom of the boot and is majorly on its way off. The rest of the boots are otherwise in excellent condition. Question: Do felt soles get somehow reattached with the old ones taken off and new ones reattached so that the boots can continue to be used or is this the death of them and you have to go buy new ones? If they can be repaired, who around here does that sort of thing, I assume they have to be taken in vs, a do it yourself job?

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Dan...

You can try this. I had to repair my Simms L2 boots near the end of last season and so far it’s holding up, but not sure how long it will last. Mine separated about a quarter of the sole by the heel.

 

I used Shoe Goo pretty liberally between the sole and boot bottom, pressed down and let it ooze out. Then I laid about an inch wide strip of window screening material I had over the oozing Shoe Goo on the seam between the sole and boot bottom. Smeared the excess Shoe Goo that oozed out all over the mess and let it dry with some weight in the boot.

 

So far so good, but like I said, not sure how long it’ll hold up.

 

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My shoe goop repair lasted about a dozen trips the first time and 4 or 5 the second. They now hang unused in the garage as I've gone entirely with lug soles for almost three years now.

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My first pair of boots were "seconds". It was a name brand, but I got them cheap, supposedly because the pull tab on the back of the heel (to help you get them on) was missing. It was a manufacturing oversight, so they were "seconds". I later found out that that manufacturer had lots of problems with that model year of the boots. Losing soles was part of that years problems. (I'll never buy based on price alone, ever again). I came out of the Fox river one day near the end of that first year and one felt sole was missing entirely.

 

I visited the local fly shop and they were kind enough to order me a set of replacement soles. I thought that was nice of them, since I had bought the seconds via a discount on-line shop. The soles came with a special tube of glue, supposedly made for this purpose. But wanting to be sure I fixed these right, I took them to the shoe/skate repair shop in downtown Glen Ellyn. The shoe expert told me to keep the "special glue". He used his own glue and he sewed the soles to the boots. The rest of those boots fell apart before those soles wore out.

 

In summary, you can order replacement soles. Just use the best glue you can find. If you want to pay the price, have a professional sew the soles on. But I ended up paying more for the boot repair then I paid for the replacement soles. I had not even thought to ask what the cost of the repair would be when I dropped off the boots. With good glue, those soles probably would have outlasted those second rate boots.

 

FYI, my next pair of boots were the Simms L2 boots with the AquaStealth soles. No studs and no felt. Those boots work very nicely in the streams and rivers of Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. And I really like that they don't get all mucked up with goose droppings, like my old felt soles did. One could never get the stink out of those felt soles after walking up the shoreline of any local river. OMO. YMMV. I am now in my third year with the Simms L2 boots and quite happy.

 

And I highly recommend working with a reliable dealer. Yeah, you may save a little buying on-line, but the lack of local service and advice is just not worth it.

 

I hope all this info helps. Good luck.

Ken S.

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I'm on my second pair of Simms Freestones. The first pair lasted 8 years of tromping around trout streams & the north Vermillion, but the soles eventually started to peel off starting at the toes. I used Gorilla Glue to reattach them & it worked great! Simms also makes replacement soles which can be attached using "Barge Cement" available from fly shops or also the local Ace Hardware store.

 

The older Freestones had soles just glued on, my new ones have been improved significantly by having the soles double-sewn to the bottom of the boots. If the old design lasted 8 years, its hard telling how long these new ones will last!

 

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Korkers Co. which makes replacement felt soles no longer provides the glue with them. Apparently because it's now considered a hazardous material?They recommend Aquaseal but ShooGoo is easier to get, cheaper and probably as good.Whatever is chosen make sure it's ok for use in water as not all glues are.Unless you're going to be using some kind of watercraft which would be damaged by studded soles I recommend studded felt.They provide better traction on slippery streams and also significantly extend the life of the felt.One maker of wading shoes provides interchangeable soles for different uses and another allows for removal of the studs as needed.Lug soles are not meant for general stream wading.They provide no traction.I've not used Aquastealth soles but if studded should provide good traction.

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