Fishing Forum
Skip to Content


Fishing Forum > Fly Fishing Forum : Fly Fishing gear & equipment >

Are felt boots history?

Allen Fly Fishing
fishing
(Page 1 of 2)
> >
Report Post | Register to Reply
Are felt boots history?
Trout Unlimited Search
Felt-soled footwear carries contaminants, appears to be on the way out
The Daily Gazette (NY)
September 25, 2008
By MORGAN LYLE

Are we approaching the end of the era of felt soles?
We are, as far as Trout Unlimited is concerned. The group this month called on the fishing tackle industry to stop manufacturing felt-soled waders and wading shoes by 2011.
For generations, anglers have used shoes with quarter-inch thick, compressed felt soles to stay upright while on the stream. Felt provides great traction on slippery underwater rocks, preventing slips and falls that are unpleasant at best and dangerous or even deadly at worst.
But it turns out damp felt is also a perfect environment for spores and microbes that pose grave risk to trout streams — things like whirling disease, didymo or “rock snot,” New Zealand mud snails and so forth. These organisms are surprisingly hardy. If you fish a healthy stream a week or even two weeks after fishing an infested one, the microscopic bugs and seeds will join you — and after you leave, they’ll stay.
Trout Unlimited acknowledges that aquatic nuisance species are also spread by boats, fishing tackle, animals and birds, but says ending the use of felt soles will be a big first step toward containing invasive species. New Zealand has banned felt soles in trout streams as of Oct. 1 because didymo has so badly damaged prized fisheries.
“It’s like a war on our streams, rivers and lakes, with a new enemy rearing its ugly head each week,” said Jack Williams, Trout Unlimited’s senior scientist. “First, whirling disease, then mud snails, then some invasive aquatic plant. We have to be more aggressive in our battle against the spread of invasive species.”
Wading shoes with synthetic “sticky rubber” soles of materials such as Aqua Stealth have been around for years, and while some anglers say they work just fine, others complain that they don’t grip as well as felt. (These are not to be confused with ordinary lug-soled waders worn by hunters, which are fine for marshes and fields, but are all but useless on streambed rocks.)
The wader industry seems to think the age of felt is coming to an end, and companies claim their new soles will allow us to wade with confidence.
New Products
Simms Fishing Products’ top announcement at this year’s Fly Fishing Retailer show in Denver last week was a new line of non-felt wading shoes.
“It’s very easy to clean, which is very important for wading boots from the aquatic nuisance species standpoint, and it offers exceptional grip,” Simms executive Diane Bristol told blogger and podcaster Zach Matthews. “We feel like it will be as good as, if not better than, felt.”
Hodgman, one of the biggest makers of waders, probably won’t discontinue its felt-soled products — but it is working on alternative materials that are easy to clean and provide the necessary traction, said Parrish Lewis, the product manager for waders and accessories of Hodgman’s parent company, Coleman.
“We are working with some materials that are completely new to the wading industry. I can’t say a lot about it because we’re still in the development stage, but we’re looking at innovations that will make wading not only safe for the en­vironment but also more comfortable and safe for sportsmen.”
Besides curbing the spread of nasty invasives, there are other benefits to non-felt-soled waders. Felt is awful for walking on mud, wet grass or pine needles. If you fish often, it wears out after a few seasons, and the replacement soles you can glue on your shoes simply aren’t as good as the originals.
I just hope somebody comes out with non-felt bootfoot waders. I switched from stockingfoot to bootfoot waders a few years ago when I began doing more salt­water fishing than freshwater, and I don’t plan on going back. Bootfoot waders don’t provide as much ankle support as wading shoes, but they’re imper­vious to gravel and sand, they keep your feet warm, they’re easy to pull on and off and they’re about half the price of waders and shoes.





Dryrod
There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm!

Not a member yet? Click this link to register.


Tell them Dryrod sent you!
Your Fly Fishing Moderator



Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [Dryrod] Are felt boots history? In reply to
I got rid of my felt (with the exception of my hippers which I use on my pontoon) many years ago.
I think I will try to cut the felt off my hippers as it is a big problem, and I don't need it on them.

I have been using the Aquastealth with CARBIDE screws for years. Bought the Hubby the new Simms with the brand new VIBRAM sole, plus some carbide screws in case. He was going to test them out this weekend but 19 degrees with 30 mph wind was not a great test so, will report later on them.
Simms wants to be felt free for 2010 and I think allot of other companies will follow suit.



Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [Dryrod] Are felt boots history? In reply to
in answer to your question.. I think they are on the way out.. I am seeing a lot of posts and info on new boots that are out.. or are coming out to replace them that are just as reliable when wading various water conditions.. plus they are easier to keep clean and "critter" clean..

MacFly Cool




...."May the holes in your net be no larger than the fish in it. ~Irish Blessing"
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [macfly55] Are felt boots history? In reply to
Is anyone addressing the replacement sole issue?

Much as I like to be a good environmental citizen, I can't see throwing out a rather new set of wading brogues over a something that may be a potential (as opposed to real) problem.

Certainly, if I could replace the felt with one of the newer products I would. But until then I'll continue using them.

Brook
http://www.the-outdoor-sorts-advisor.com
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [Brook] Are felt boots history? In reply to
There has been little mentioning BANNING felt from waters, although I could see a few going that far.
I think they will be removed from the shelves and replaced with the new and Improved, but as far as the old? I think they will just run their course. I am betting allot of felt soles were sold for Christmas and possibly at great discounts, but it is just me, but I don't see the old "well too bad" coming up in the near future. I hope they just phase out.

I do think we need to step up the precautions as it seem every year more and more waters are being effected.



Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [flygoddess] Are felt boots history? In reply to
"but I don't see the old "well too bad" coming up in the near future."

Wish I could be as optimistic as you, FlyGoddess. Unfortunately, recent history indicates that a small, loud minority gets to determined policy on public issues time after time.

Of course you're right, precautions should be taken. But they have to be balanced against the reality of economics. And "phased out" is a rather nebulous term. TU's agenda, for instance, only gives us a two-year window. And, as we've seen, the major wader makers are scrambling to comply.

Brook
http://www.the-outdoor-sports-advisor.com
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [Brook] Are felt boots history? In reply to
I gave up trying to figure it out, but have not lost hope.
I watched commercials all during the Holidays about great deals an Financing available on TV's , etc. from Circuit City, which struck me strange as they were on the list as one that would be closing it's doors in 2009.

I guess the manufacturers were willing to deal with the warranties as they already do, and I guess the financing co. is still there...just weird.

TU has been on guard for a long time and wanted the removal of felt for some time but they are being patient.
I wish I could see in the future, I know there are countries that ARE banning felt, and for those that just bought them....too bad.



Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [fly goddess] Are felt boots history? In reply to
I hear what Brook is saying about people being reluctant to chuck a perfectly good pair of wading boots because of they're felt soles. Would seem that some enterprising company could develop a spray that one could use in the field. The felt sole is not the only place where these invasive pests can cling, but also in the laces, seams of ones waders, seams of float tubes and the list goes on. I think on whole the fly fishing community is dedicated to protecting our water ways and wildlife and will do whatever it takes to conform however, we aren't the only group of fisher people out there. There are many individuals that could care less about the future of our fisheries. This is evident by the beer can, plastic bottles & bags and other forms of trash found in and around our water ways. I have personally seen sofas, refrigerators and shopping carts submerged in places that I wanted to fish. These folks wouldn't clean their gear/clothing if their life depended upon it. Fining them won't work because there is no one around to do so.
Well I got off track again so I will go to my room now and think about how to replace a felt sole with a rubber/synthetic product that works effectively as the felt material.




Dryrod
There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm!

Not a member yet? Click this link to register.


Tell them Dryrod sent you!
Your Fly Fishing Moderator



Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [Dryrod] Are felt boots history? In reply to
DR,,,,

if you could come up with a viable, cost effective way to replace felt with newer sole without having to dicard the shoe all together.. you would be a very rich man..

.. as for me.. I have a brand new.. never worn pair of wading boots with felt sole.. anyone care to offer me a good deal on them...LOL..

MacFly Cool




...."May the holes in your net be no larger than the fish in it. ~Irish Blessing"
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [Dryrod] Are felt boots history? In reply to
"I think on whole the fly fishing community is dedicated to protecting our water ways and wildlife and will do whatever it takes to conform "

There's no question, DR, that flyfishers, as a class, have always had more of a conservation ethic than other outdoor users. It's almost the nature of the beast.

Take "catch & release," for instance. When the concept first emerged (pushed by flyfishers) it was an attempt to preserve and protect the fishery. Back then it was the only way we knew to accomplish that.

Now "catch & release" is used as a public relations banner by people who's idea of releasing a fish, particularly an undersized one, is to rip it off the hook and toss it as far from the boat as they can.

But TU, like every other conservation organization, isn't above playing politics with the resource if it accomplishes its goal. One of several reasons I dropped my membership a more than 15 years ago; after having been an active member all my adult life---including being co-founder and president of the only chapter with the balls to use Lee Wulff's name as part of its own.

One way it does that is to overplay the effects of a cause, ignoring all other realities in the process. People have gotten tired of that, and have, as a result, stopped supporting conservation organizations. Membership in all such groups has been steadily declining long before our current economic hard times.

There's a problem with forums like this, in that they attract people who are more serious about the topic, whatever it happens to be. So, in the case of flyfishing, members here tend to be more aware of what's going on, more likely to support conservation projects, more likely to invest in top quality equipment, however that's defined, more likely to be members of TU.

But we are a subset within the general population "flyfishers." The vast bulk of flyfishermen are not members of TU, for instance; they do not replace gear every two years of so, they do not participate in flyfishing forums, do not belong to flyfishing clubs, etc.

I submit to you that that group, which might include as many as 70% of those who fish with a long rod, will not buy-in to the idea that they are to blame for the transmittal of stream diseases. And they are not going to drop several hundred dollars on new waders because of that.

I'll make a prediction. If felt becomes unavailable as an OEM and replacement sole, those people will go back to using homemade materials before they replace perfectly good waders. They'll do things like cut pieces of carpet to fit their boots and attach them with adhesives that leech solvents into the water.

That, too, is one of the realities being ignored.

Brook
http://www.the-outdoor-sports-advisor.com





Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [Brook] Are felt boots history? In reply to
Hi Brook – not quite sure as to your point here. So I will attempt to address a few of them. BTW that is what this forum is all about.”

There's no question, DR, that flyfishers, as a class, have always had more of a conservation ethic than other outdoor users. It's almost the nature of the beast.

Take "catch & release," for instance. When the concept first emerged (pushed by flyfishers) it was an attempt to preserve and protect the fishery. Back then it was the only way we knew to accomplish that.

Now "catch & release" is used as a public relations banner by people who's idea of releasing a fish, particularly an undersized one, is to rip it off the hook and toss it as far from the boat as they can.
“Can you provide an example of this scenario?”

But TU, like every other conservation organization, isn't above playing politics with the resource if it accomplishes its goal. One of several reasons I dropped my membership a more than 15 years ago; after having been an active member all my adult life---including being co-founder and president of the only chapter with the balls to use Lee Wulff's name as part of its own.
Unfortunately many organizations/groups have a political agenda in one form of another so are you advocating dropping out and just let the world go by? If you were the president & co-founder of your chapter instead of dropping out why didn’t you stay & fight the system?”

One way it does that is to overplay the effects of a cause, ignoring all other realities in the process. People have gotten tired of that, and have, as a result, stopped supporting conservation organizations. Membership in all such groups has been steadily declining long before our current economic hard times.

There's a problem with forums like this, in that they attract people who are more serious about the topic, whatever it happens to be. So, in the case of flyfishing, members here tend to be more aware of what's going on, more likely to support conservation projects, more likely to invest in top quality equipment, however that's defined, more likely to be members of TU.
But we are a subset within the general population "flyfishers." The vast bulk of flyfishermen are not members of TU, for instance; they do not replace gear every two years of so, they do not participate in flyfishing forums, do not belong to flyfishing clubs, etc.
“So what is the problem with this forum? I view it as the old general store’s pot belly stove where fishermen sat around and discussed various aspects of their fishing/hunting experience. I am a member of TU, CalTrout, FFF and the OC Fly Fishing Club. So does that make me a snob? I haven’t been to NZ, Patagonia, Canada, Belize or any other exotic places to fly fish. A local river will do me just fine, although I might have travel a few hours to find one. I buy equipment as either a necessity or a luxury. I would rather have a fine rod & reel than a 50 LCD. As they say to each his own.

I submit to you that that group, which might include as many as 70% of those who fish with a long rod, will not buy-in to the idea that they are to blame for the transmittal of stream diseases. And they are not going to drop several hundred dollars on new waders because of that.

I'll make a prediction. If felt becomes unavailable as an OEM and replacement sole, those people will go back to using homemade materials before they replace perfectly good waders. They'll do things like cut pieces of carpet to fit their boots and attach them with adhesives that leech solvents into the water.
“I think not.”

That, too, is one of the realities being ignored
“One final point is that I have made numerous friends here at the BFT. Some just on-line and others getting out to fish together. Like the Mods on this forum are great people & I value the experience of knowing them.”




Dryrod
There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm!

Not a member yet? Click this link to register.


Tell them Dryrod sent you!
Your Fly Fishing Moderator



(This post was edited by Dryrod on Jan 8, 2009, 10:23 AM)
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [Dryrod] Are felt boots history? In reply to
Dryrod, I think you’re misinterpreting much of what I said.

Let’s start with this forum.

“So what is the problem with this forum? I view it as the old general store’s pot belly stove where fishermen sat around and discussed various aspects of their fishing/hunting experience. I am a member of TU, CalTrout, FFF and the OC Fly Fishing Club. So does that make me a snob?

There is nothing wrong with this forum. And I certainly don’t think the members are snobs---far from it. My point is that, as a group, we do not represent the bulk of flyfishers. We are more aware of issues affecting the fisheries, we tend to be more concerned with our equipment choices, we see flyfishing not as a destination but as a journey, etc.

We are serious about our flyfishing. When we can’t actually do it, we want to read about it, or watch videos about it, or discuss it with like-minded other anglers.

This has nothing to do with our individual level of experience, or with the gear we do own. It reflects a mind set that is shared with raw novices and grizzled veterans alike, with fishermen using box-store rods & reels as well as those with $3,000 custom rods.

Of course, you find this syndrome in any outdoor sport. If anything, a larger proportion of flyfishers share this mind set than in other sports. But the fact is, those of us who do are still a distinct minority compared to the population of flyfishers as a whole. We are out on the edge of the bell curve, not in the middle of it.

>Now "catch & release" is used as a public relations banner by people who's idea of releasing a fish, particularly an undersized one, is to rip it off the hook and toss it as far from the boat as they can.
“Can you provide an example of this scenario?” <

Ever been to a bass fishing tournament and seen how they release fish when the cameras aren’t pointed at them? B.A.S.S. developed a catch & release ethic only when it came under fire for its negative impact on the fishery. And still uses it as a slogan. But it does not represent a true concern with the resource as anything more than something to be exploited.

>“Unfortunately many organizations/groups have a political agenda in one form of another so are you advocating dropping out and just let the world go by?<

I’m not advocating anything. Just making an observation.

>If you were the president & co-founder of your chapter instead of dropping out why didn’t you stay & fight the system?” <

I offered those comments merely to demonstrate that I wasn’t some outsider taking shots at TU, but as somebody who had spent many years as a member; as somebody who supported conservation efforts as well as being a fisherman.

I had moved away from the area of that chapter long before I quit TU. And was a member down here for a progressively frustrating time. The precipitous cause was a geographic reorganization that put a real cold-water problem so far on the back burner that it may as well have not existed, while corporate pursued more politically charged issues. I decided that if the native trout of Appalachia weren’t important enough for TU, it could pursue its goals without my money.

I haven’t been to NZ, Patagonia, Canada, Belize or any other exotic places to fly fish.

I really don’t understand how this enters the discussion. With the exception of Canada I haven’t been to any of those places either. Nor would it matter one way or another whether you or I had been to them.

>A local river will do me just fine, although I might have travel a few hours to find one.<

I reckon that describes just about anybody on this forum. We fish locally, and maybe dream globally. And if the opportunity presents itself, we jump at the chance to fish a famed river.

Do I love fishing Montana? You betcha. But I certainly don’t sneer at local waters because I know about others that might be better---or at least more storied.

Have you read John Gierach’s story, “I’d Fish Anyone’s St. Vrain?” That describes me perfectly. And I suspect you, too. And if not all of us here at the BFT flyfishing forum, certainly the majority of us.

“I think not.”

Which is what makes a horserace. But there’s no sense arguing the point. Soon enough we will know.

“One final point is that I have made numerous friends here at the BFT. Some just on-line and others getting out to fish together. Like the Mods on this forum are great people & I value the experience of knowing them.”


Maybe I’m being oversensitive. But this implies that I took some kind of shots at the people here, which is most assuredly not the case. When I first started posting here I was immediately comfortable. “These are my kind of people,” I felt. And nothing has happened to change that.

Well, maybe the fact that McFly hasn’t sent my Patagonia vouchers yet. But that’s a different issue. Wink

Brook
http://www.the-outdoor-sports-advisor.com
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [Brook] Are felt boots history? In reply to

Well perhaps I read too much into your comments. I just thought that you were taking issue with folks who belong to TU and other organizations as well as fly clubs and participated in fly fishing forums. My reasoning for including places that I have never fished was to point out that not all fly fishers were born with a silver spoon in their mouth. So with that said I will place a martini glass to my mouth and sip.

Care to join me?




Dryrod
There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm!

Not a member yet? Click this link to register.


Tell them Dryrod sent you!
Your Fly Fishing Moderator



Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [Dryrod] Are felt boots history? In reply to
"care to join me"

Sure---if it's permitted to pour bourbon into one of them stemmed glasses.Angelic

Brook
http://www.the-outdoor-sports-advisor.com
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [Brook] Are felt boots history? In reply to

I like my martinis [gin or vodka] on the rocks.

Brook you are just going to have to learn how to be common.Tongue




Dryrod
There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm!

Not a member yet? Click this link to register.


Tell them Dryrod sent you!
Your Fly Fishing Moderator



Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [Brook] Are felt boots history? In reply to
I'm a little late in the game with this post. Brook, don't underestimate the majority of fly fishers. They hear about zebra mussels, whirling disease and other aquatic nuisances, how you should clean your boat, out drive, felt boots etc. I think most want to do their part. TU is recommending boot makers to get rid of felt in the next couple years. Simms will not be making wading boots with felt soles anymore. I think it's more than just speculation about aquatic nuisances anymore. They're here and it's going to be hard to get rid of them.
I hate felt soles. Love the Simms Vibram soles. I'm doing my part. I also check the outdrive and intake on my float tube too. It's damn clean.
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [majorizing] Are felt boots history? In reply to
Hi there mojo - I realize that eventually I will have to make the switch from felt soles. But just out of curiosity, what don't you like about felt soles?




Dryrod
There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm!

Not a member yet? Click this link to register.


Tell them Dryrod sent you!
Your Fly Fishing Moderator



Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [Dryrod] Are felt boots history? In reply to
Winter fishing (Frankenstein boots with snow buildup) , and hiking/walking with them. I have some felts and hippers with felts for the kickboats. My main moving water boot has been the Simms Guide boot (leather) and Aquastealth with the carbide studs. I've used them for a long time and I hated the shrinkage of the leather when they were dry. So for Christmas I got the Simms Rivershed with the new Vibram sole. That's a killer combo. I weigh about 230# and last time we went fishing, I purposly tried to slide off the rocks. The soles are pretty impressive. Plus, the material is lightweight and half the weight of the leather Guide's.
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [mojorizing] Are felt boots history? In reply to

Thanks Mojo for the feedback.




Dryrod
There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm!

Not a member yet? Click this link to register.


Tell them Dryrod sent you!
Your Fly Fishing Moderator



Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [Dryrod] Are felt boots history? In reply to
just a fun litttle fact and small update. was very difficult to find online and actually took me a few days so i gave up and called the CO DoW. Felt soled wading boots are going to be BANNED on the dream stream (south platte between spinney and eleve mile res.) this comming summer. i forst heard of this through word of mouth, but after calling the pueblo DoW station i will quote what i was told,

"nothing offical yet, but be prepared to have your gear checked stream side, first time offenders will recieve a written warning, second time a small fine (did not say what amount) and third time offenders a much higher fine."

thats what he told me. well its time anyway, out with the old and in with the new.





Have you read my Blog? I hear it's getting better!

http://redneckflyfishing.blogspot.com/

Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [kochanut] Are felt boots history? In reply to
Since 11 mile canyon is heavy with NZMS in parts I have a hard time understanding why they are not all over the Dream Stream. The only thing I can figure is that the water must be too chilly for them in the winter. Maybe they don't like windy cold conditions. It sure is not because the two are so far apart.

dB
disinfect your wading equipment. wash boat. disinfect livewells / sumps, wash ur dog
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [Scruffy_Fly] Are felt boots history? In reply to
I just ordered a new pair of wading boots. They have felt soles. Blarg. Maybe I still have time to cancel my order.

Jason
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [rw02kr43] Are felt boots history? In reply to
If I was in the market for a new pair of boots I would definitely buy a pair with the Vibram IDROGRIP Technology [by Simms] or a similar rubber type of sole. Think that eventually many bodies of water will prohibit entry of those wearing felt boots.I understand that is happening already in some areas.




Dryrod
There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm!

Not a member yet? Click this link to register.


Tell them Dryrod sent you!
Your Fly Fishing Moderator



Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [rw02kr43] Are felt boots history? In reply to
rw02kr43 wrote:
I just ordered a new pair of wading boots. They have felt soles. Blarg. Maybe I still have time to cancel my order.

Jason


Jason, I would seriously think about doing just that! Boots do last a few years and might as well be ahead of the game.



Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [Dryrod] Are felt boots history? In reply to
felts have been out for a good 10 years ...everybodys wearing what we call corkers with cabide studs put them on when you get to the river take them of when your done..in cold snowy conditions the felts would be a big block of ice when you were done...what a pain...has nothing to do with the enviroment..ther just out of date woth the times..
> >