This Is Last Year for Felt Soles At Simms

At the Fly Fishing Retailer show on Tuesday Simms announced that its 2009 lineup (the one announced at the show) would be the last to include any felt soles on wading boots. Instead, the super-sticky Vibram® Streamtread™ soles they will be using this year on six boots, a sandal and shoe — or one like it — will replace felt soles in their 2010 line.
Read the extended entry for the full press release.

DENVER, Colorado (FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE) – Simms® president K.C. Walsh announced at the FlyFishing Retailer Expo that Simms would stop using felt as a material for soles on its wading boots effective with the launch of the 2010 line.
Walsh said Simms’ decision to do away with felt is a result of the material being implicated in the spread of aquatic nuisance species and fish-killing disease. Walsh noted that anglers have always been among the nation’s first wave of conservationists, and with options to felt now on the market, anglers had a responsibility to both the resource and the tradition of angling to cease their use of felt.
“We know felt is not the only material that has spread invasive species and disease,” Walsh said, “but felt is surely part of the problem. At Simms, we’ve decided to be part of the solution.”
Late last week, national conservation leader Trout Unlimited asked at its annual meeting that wading boot manufacturers phase out felt by 2011. Simms is eager to lead the charge.
Walsh’s announcement comes as Simms unveils the world’s first fishing-specific Vibram-soled wading boots. For 2009, Simms will offer six boot models, a wading sandal and a wading shoe with soles featuring Vibram® Streamtread™ soles. Additionally, Simms boots and waders are designed with “CleanStream™ technology,” a design philosophy that uses materials and production techniques making it more difficult for microorganisms to attach and makes wading gear easier to properly clean.
Simms and Vibram have worked together to produce an ultra-grippy, super-sticky rubber sole that works as well as felt in virtually all wet and aquatic conditions. The partnership between Vibram and Simms has resulted in a boot that combines the best performance features of felt with the environmental benefits of rubber. The new soles have been field tested extensively.
New Zealand has placed a ban on felt boots for the upcoming 2008 season. A number of U.S. states where aquatic nuisance species are found have reportedly discussed the possibility of outlawing felt-soles.
Additionally, Simms has agreed to work with conservation organizations and other companies within the fishing industry to develop a certification process to highlight gear designed to help prevent the spread of ANS and disease.
About Simms Fishing Products: Established in 1980, Simms Fishing Products is the recognized leader in guide-quality fishing waders, outerwear, footwear and apparel. Based in Bozeman, Mont., Simms’ full line of award-winning gear is available at specialty and large format retailers nationwide. For more information on Simms, please visit Simms is a partner of the “Protect Your Waters” network.
For additional media information, please contact Matt Crawford at Pale Morning Media,, 802.583.6069

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  • Dave Miller

    Interesting article about replacing felt soled wading boots with a new technology. At issue is the spread of disease from one stream to another and protecting the environment. So for those of us who have invested our time and resources toward appropriate wading gear what is the alternative if felt soles are outlawed. I doubt if Simms would have considered a “retro-fit” kit so we could convert our present boots to the new law abiding type. I am all for protecting habitat and also very concerned about fishing safety. Heaven knows I have gone down in streams when the bottom goes out from under you…felt soles or not.
    I would be interested in why,there has not been a “disinfectant kit” developed that you could soak your boots in after use, much like the immediate response governments put in place for travellers on the first hint of “mad cow” disease. Try to get into Canada or the US without having to step into a pail of bleach…..

  • Sierra Labs

    If anyone can direct us to primary research results showing felt soles do in fact transmit unwanted life forms (other than rude fishers) we be very interested.
    Paul Wilson for Sierra Labs at