New Products: Simms's "StreamTread" Soles

Ever since I saw an extensive review in Practical Sailor that proved that bare human feet are as effective as any boat shoe sole in preventing slippage, I’ve wondered why someone hasn’t taken the bit when it comes to replacing felt with something more eco-friendly. (I wouldn’t want to wade Montana’s Boulder River in bare feet anytime soon.)
Apparently Simms has been working hard behind the scenes to develop a hard-rubber wader sole that performs as well as felt but addresses the problem of aquatic hitchhikers being carried from stream to stream. They’ve partnered with Vibram to produce the first and only fishing-specific Vibram sole. In field testing, Simms’ new sole has shown to have all the performance attributes of felt, only the soles have the environmental benefits (they don’t soak and hold water and they dry quickly) of rubber. The new soles will come out in late 2008, as part of their new 2009 line.

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  • There are a lot of manufacturers who produce fishing specific soles that aren’t felt. All of them partly address “the problem of aquatic hitchhikers being carried from stream to stream.” Unfortunately non-felt soles don’t immediately render a wading shoe free of it’s ability to transport invasive species. Often these invasive species are single celled and can be carried in other parts of a boot and wader, though felt is probably the single biggest transport mechanism. No felt is definitely a step in the right direction (pun intended). I’ll be very interested to see this new StreamTread development and the “performs as well as felt” claim. Thanks for reporting on it.

  • David Richards

    Has anyone had any experience with aquastealth soles ? I will be heading back to NZ in the winter and wonder as to the traction of this rubber soles.

  • I applaud Simms research efforts. I primarily fish tailwaters in Arkansas(White, Norfolk, Lil Red) and use studded felt soles along with a wading staff for safety reasons. Any new sole development must have studs before I’ll switch.

  • finfeatherandfur

    I think most people realize that there is not a silver bullet to stop the spread of ANS, but somebody has to lead…

  • Bill Butts

    Simms is a wonderful, industry leading manufacturer with great people. It’s great to hear of their upcoming new product release.
    However, this is not their first offering of a sole material that is not felt.
    I have used two versions of their Lightweight Wading Boots for several years and love them both.
    Their felt version, which I sometimes add the screw-in studs, and also their AquaStealth rubber sole (sometimes referred to as spider or sticky rubber)which I also add the studs to when needed.
    They also offer custom bootfoot style waders with Muck brand boot feet, which are also not felt.
    I think we can expect this new collaboration with Vibram to be a winner.
    Thanks for the teaser, Marshall.
    Bill Butts

  • Daniel Martin

    Great news !! Bravo for simms. We must preserve our streams free of diseases, but also, we need to replace our felt soles from current boots !! Waiting for the new soles