It’s been a struggle to find a lightweight comfortable wading boot with enough durability to make it through the season here at Cedar Lodge. Our favorite boots have been the 2015/16 Patagonia Ultra light and the Simms Intruder boot. Both of these boots were/are great in terms of fit, comfort, weight but lack in terms of durability for the heavy user. We put our boots to the test during our season at Cedar Lodge. Depending upon the guide 60-90 days in a row of use is an excellent barometer to how a boot is going to handle a variety of conditions and use.
I am about 30 days in on the Korkers Darkhorse and other than a bit of sole wear and tear, which you would expect, these boots have enough going for them to get a positive review from me.
-Quick on and off. The boa lacing system is awesome in terms of getting in and out of the Darkhorse boot. It’s quick and painless; the boot opens up enough to get into easily.
-New “hydrophobic” fabric that dries really really quickly, like in between pools quick.
-Durability has been great. The quick drying fabric seems to be bomber no issues on mine to date, same with our pilot/guide Dion who does twice the miles in them as I do.
-Drainage has been excellent, there is way more water in my wet wading socks when I take these boots off than in the boot itself which has almost none.
-Roomy toe box allow for good circulation
-Interchangeable soles allow anglers to use these in non felt areas and swap into felt or studded felt as needed. I have been using the Idrogrip Vibram soles this year and they are way better than the standard Korkers Kling on sole, night and day in terms of grip and durability.
-Lightweight. The Darkhorse is not the lightest but it’s very light compared to most wading boots and for walking out of water more than in I have found it be excellent.
-Fit is superb, particularly around the ankle these fit like a glove.
-I can’t seem to tighten the toe box quite as much as I think I need when I put them on. This is a pro in terms of movement of your toes in cold water but I seem to want them just a bit tighter at times.
-The standard “kling-on” rubber soles can wear out prematurely on the edge of the sole causing a small rubber flap. I have found the Sticky Studded Idrogrip Vibram sole to be the very best rubber sole when you have to go with rubber.