There’s little more terrifying than making your way through a slippery stream and feeling the ground fall out from under your feet. Neglecting to wear the proper footwear while angling can result in soggy clothes, or worse, serious injury. This article will walk you through some of our favorite picks from a well-loved outerwear brand, Korkers.
Comparison Chart of the Best Wading Boots
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Korkers Women's Buckskin Mary
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Are Wader Boots Important While Fishing?
Ignore any urge you may have to skip a quality pair of fishing boots for a cheap pair of sneakers for your next angling trip. Though it may seem like a good idea for your wallet, you’re putting yourself at risk for nasty falls.
Waders and wading boots are a great choice for any angler for a couple of different reasons. First and foremost, they’re usually waterproof, which can keep you more comfortable in mucky, waterlogged settings. Being waterproof doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not breathable, either. Many companies have managed to master the art of breathability, even in water-resistant material.
Secondly, and most importantly, they add an extra safety precaution to your fishing trip. Any angler who fishes regularly around shallow rivers and streams should know how hazardous it is to cross a rocky riverbed. Slime and unlevel ground can be very dangerous without traction, which great wading boots can easily provide.
What Makes Korkers Wading Boots Stand Out?
Korkers is an Oregon-based company that has been churning out river boots for fifty years. Founder Sherman Smith made the first prototype for what would become Korkers in his basement using rubber scraps, nylon, and cleats.
Korkers have set themselves apart in the angling world thanks to their unique, innovative design. They were one of the first to create an interchangeable sole system, allowing for their patented “adaptable traction.”
Unlike many wading boots, which are confined to either felt or rubber soles, Korkers feature “OmniTrax,” which gives the user the option to choose between the two depending on the setting they’re in. For fly fishing in rivers and streams, felt is probably a better option. For snow and ice, whack on the rubber cleats and you’ll be set.
Korkers has effectively coined the all-season, all-terrain boot market with its innovative design and the angling world has embraced them whole-heartedly.
Review of the Best Korkers Wading Boots
Now that you know a bit about Korkers, it’s time to walk through some of our favorite boots from the company. Here are some of the best they have to offer:
The Greenback line from Korkers is advertised as one of their more economical options, but that doesn’t mean they’ve skimped on quality in the production of these boots. With a heavy-duty look and black and green coloring, they fit well into Korker’s standard design. The Greenbacks wouldn’t be Korker’s if they didn’t feature the OmniTrax interchangeable sole system, which allows the user to pick between a felt and rubber sole during a day on the water.
The entirety of the boot is created with hydrophobic materials, which repel water molecules and allow for quick drying when they’re taken out of the stream. Basically, this means the boot material resists soaking up water while submerged.
To keep the two-pound boots lightweight throughout the day, they include internal water channels, which allow liquid to flow through freely to prevent extra water weight. The upper is made with synthetic leather, and they include a reinforced toe cap and heels for extra durability in the face of bumps and scrapes from underwater rocks and foliage.
The Greenback line of Korkers is an all-around quality choice in the world of wading boots. Among the boots on the market, these come at a fair price, especially considering the materials they are crafted with. They’re comfortable to wear throughout a day, but try going a size up, because many users say these run small. And while it may take a couple tries to figure out how to change soles, it’s a huge benefit to be able to tailor your boots to your terrain
Among the many lines of Korker’s wading boots, the BuckSkin boots are considered one of the most comfortable. Unlike some of the boots from the company, BuckSkins have a more traditional hiking boot look, with chocolate brown uppers and a heavy duty base.
They’re in the mid-price range of Korker’s products, and since they’re a later model, they have some of the newer, more attractive features. Like all other boots from this company, they include the OmniTrax interchangeable sole system, but these have the “3.0” model, which is much easier to assemble than those that came before. They come with the plain felt soles as well as rubber cleats.
Structurally, the BuckSkin boots include a durable enhanced midsole as well as a heel and toe cap. The toe cap is a little more unique in the sense that the rubberized, anti-abrasion material extends to both side panels, providing a little more protection. The boots also include additional ankle support and traditional laces.
If you’re looking for a little more comfort for your next fishing trip, the BuckSkin boots are definitely worth a try. With the same great attributes that all Korkers boots have, this line adds to the feature list with extra structural and ankle support. The main user complaint is that with too much switching back and forth, the soles tend to separate from the boot after a couple of years.
Best Korkers Women's Wading Boots:
Korkers Women's Buckskin Mary
Unfortunately, the angling world is still widely targeted towards men. No woman should be forced to wear incorrectly sized wading boots just because a brand doesn’t cater to women’s sizing. Luckily, Korkers came through with a great line of boots that are suited towards smaller feet.
The BuckSkin Mary boots are, as the name suggests, the female version of the BuckSkin boots. They have almost all the same features as the men’s boot but are smaller in size. They come in a grey and light blue color.
These boots are in the mid-range for pricing and feature quality-made materials, including abrasion-rubber in the toe and heel caps. The toe caps extend to the side panels of the boot, providing more protection against scrapes and bumps from underwater structures.
They feature the original OmniTrax interchangeable sole system and come with rubber and felt soles which can be changed out depending on the angling environment.
While these definitely aren’t the most stylish wading boots on the market, they’re very comfortable and they do their job well. Making the trip through uneven, rocky river beds is a breeze with the BuckSkin Mary boots from Korkers. These do have an earlier version of OmniTracks, which has a learning curve associated with it, but after you’ve figured out the process switching between soles should be simple.
Another mid-price range line from Korkers, the Redside line is another reliable choice for many freshwater anglers. They come in a cream and brown color design and have many of the Korker design attributes that many have come to know and love.
The first major difference between the Redside line and others from the company is the lacing mechanism. Korkers has tried out a variety of lacing systems, as you’ve probably noticed in the above reviews. The Redside boots skip traditional and the boa lacing and opt for quick-cinch lacing, which allows for a simple and easy customizable fit.
These boots are definitely more similar to the Greenbacks than any other on the list as they feature the same mid-size draining system and similar toe and heel cups. They do have the OmniTrax 3.0 interchangeable sole system, which is supposedly a little easier to work with than models that have come before.
The Redside line from Korkers is another tried and true pick. These are a great choice for anglers of all skill types, as they’re made with high-quality materials, yet they aren’t super expensive. While the lacing design is super convenient, there are some complaints that the main lace gets too long over time, so be aware of that before purchasing. But overall, this is a great basic boot.
Korkers added a couple more interesting features to their more recent release, the Whitehorse line. While these do come at a higher price range than some of the company’s other lines, they include several attributes that make them an attractive purchase. Along with the patented OmniTrax interchangeable soles, Korker’s sought to improve the functionality of the system-- the Whitehorse soles are a little easier to click on and off than the lines that came before.
Material-wise, these boots also include a synthetic leather upper, but the company extended the rubber toe cap to travel further up the design, allowing for more abrasion resistance. They reinforced the structure with triple stitching, and additionally, took extra steps to recess the upper stitches to keep them protected from sharp sticks and twigs.
The other main difference between the Whitehorse line and ones that have come before is the lacing system. Rather than including traditional laces, these boots feature the “M2 Boa Lacing System,” an alternative that uses a tightening knob which can get your feet snug and secure in just a couple of twists.
Korkers really stepped up their game with the Whitehorse line. While they stay true to the company’s brand with the interchangeable sole system and high-tech drainage system, they added even more excitement to the product with extra structural reinforcement and an easy-to-use lacing system. These are not the cheapest, nor the prettiest boots, but if you can afford them, they’re definitely worth a try.
Wading boots are an important part of an angler’s fishing gear, and Korkers does wading boots well. If you’ve made the decision to go with the company, hopefully, our list gave you a nice overview of some of their most popular picks. No matter which you choose, you can rest easy knowing Korkers creates high-quality products, so you’ll be in good hands. Happy fishing!