Let’s get this out of the way: I hate waders. This bias is based on the fact that mine almost always stink like mildew and crotch, they take about 2 minutes to put on (2 minutes I could be spending fishing) and I just love traveling light. That said, from May to October, you can find me waist deep in 55-degree water in nothing but shorts and sandals. For the past few years, I’ve been wearing a beat up pair of Merrell sandals.
I recently decided to upgrade to the Simms Keen River Wading Sandals, and I have to say the difference is amazing. The felt sole on these sandals makes all the difference. Plus, there is a thick rubber outer covering that protects your toes.
The strap construction is super easy adjust or take on and off, using velcro and a plastic buckle. But the biggest benefit of these sandals over other wading shoes is that they don’t fill up with pebbles — at least not as much as my Merrell’s did. I’m a couple months into owning these sandals and I have to give them a positive gear review, they’ve held up really well.
-Felt soles stick almost well as wading boots to mossy Oregon streambeds.
-When I do fall in the water, I don’t have to worry about filling my waders.
-I usually beat my fishing partners down to the best water, while they’re putting on their waders.
-I can wear these to the bar, like I did last night. I didn’t get a second look from the security staff at Davis. Keeping it classy.
-Off-trail bushwacking will result in thorn-shredded ankles and shins.
-Wet wading with open wounds in the Eugene town run can lead to infectious disease.
-River sandals are not as protective as boots on the feet. Slipping off rocks really can hurt.
Simms Keen River Wading Sandals on sale: $59.95 at the shop. -MS