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> > Korker Metalhead Wading Boot

JesseApril 7th, 2012, 1:57 pm
Posts: 378
Anyone here have experience with Korkers new Metalhead or Chrome Wading boots? Im curious about their new style of lacing; the BOA speed lacing system that incorporates a wire pulley system as opposed to traditional lacing. Im looking for a new pair of summer wading boots and i like these two styles, but my gut is telling me this pulley system is destined to have none fixable errors. By that i mean not just being able to replace new shoe laces when something goes wrong ha. Some knowledge???
Most of us fish our whole lives..not knowing its not the fish that we are after.
http://www.filingoflyfishing.com
WbranchApril 7th, 2012, 4:14 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2505
I wanted a pair but didn't want to pay the premium for this new technology. Have talked to a couple people who have said they can get stuck and don't release. Some type of wrench is supplied to release them if they jam. The wire laces should last for years longer than conventional laces though. I was concerned I wouldn't be able to tighten them as tightly as I can with regular laces.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
JOHNWApril 7th, 2012, 8:02 pm
Chambersburg, PA

Posts: 452
Have the metal heads and LOVE them. AS Matt said they do include a wrench to clear jams and for routine cleaning (rinse with fresh water). As for tightening I sometimes need to go bck after the first 10 minutes and turn the dial another few clicks.
JW
"old habits are hard to kill once you have gray in your beard" -Old Red Barn
TroutnutApril 9th, 2012, 2:29 am
Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2543
I have had the metalheads and I love them too. Tying wet, sandy wading boot laces on a cold morning has always been one of my least favorite parts of fly fishing, and the metalheads spare me that inconvenience. They do their job well, too.

Edited August 2015. I began to have problems after a while with the wire lace winding mechanism on the metalheads... it didn't work smoothly, and I always seemed to have one side completely tightened up to the edge of the boot while the other was still loose. It's a neat concept, but it got to be much more annoying than wet laces after a while. I got new Korkers boots with regular laces this summer and have been much happier.

Not to rip on Korkers too much, I still love their replaceable sole system, especially the Alumatrax soles. I was lost at first when Alaska banned felt, but these things are grippier than felt ever was.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
EntomanApril 10th, 2012, 6:36 pm
Site Editor
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Tying wet, sandy wading boot laces on a cold morning has always been one of my least favorite parts of fly fishing

Yeah, removing wading gear too... Trying to get your feet out of the neoprene booties is also fun at times! I remember a few years back when I had grabbed a heal and started to pull. My wet hand shipped off and slammed the edge of the tailgate. I jumped up screaming and tripped over my half removed waders. The hills resounded with the sounds of a madman on the loose...:)

As far as the new Korkers, I don't know... I have visions of that doo-hicky on the front getting smashed by a rock (necessitating the use of wire cutters to get the damn thing off). Or, a sole detaches at one end, flopping around in the current while trying to wade across a nasty bit of water. I've had the latter happen before while field testing an earlier prototype of a similar brand (the toe connection somehow released after being jammed against a rock midstream). It was not a pleasant experience.:)

I'm not a big fan of plastic eyelets, either. One of my current pairs has two of them that are broken already. Now I know why they sold them with such ridiculously long strings - to make jerry-rigging possible. The manufacturer says they will repair them, but sending stuff back is a pain in the butt. I believe the old metal eyes are best because they can be grommeted. Also the lash type can at least be bent back out after rock abuse. I wish they would put them back in their high end boots. BTW - forget the flat strings. Replace them with round ones that cinch up much easier.

I may not be a fair judge though for normal use. I put a lot of miles on them quickly with aggressive wading in pretty tough western rock gardens (the volcanic stuff is particularly nasty) Being too cheap, I generally don't replace them until they start to disintegrate.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
JesseApril 10th, 2012, 7:05 pm
Posts: 378
Yeah i just worry about the quick fix with them; i like to relieve myself of any possible error when it comes to my materialistic things, particularly fly fishing things. I heard from a few review sites that the plastic BOA device has the tendency to be uncomfortable against the front of your foot when walking further distances, any thoughts?
Most of us fish our whole lives..not knowing its not the fish that we are after.
http://www.filingoflyfishing.com
JOHNWApril 11th, 2012, 4:19 pm
Chambersburg, PA

Posts: 452
Jesse,
AS for the comfort thing there definitely is a "break in" period however I have not had any significant issues with comfort from thelace winder. At first the toe box felt a little narrow but after 2-3 outtings that has resolved. AS for longevity I cannot accurately speak to it as they are still newish and I don't have nearly the treacherous streams that entoman was talking about as most of the rocks in the eastern rives have very "old" rocks which have been rounded with time as opposed to those "young" western river rocks.
I shopped around befor buying doing alot of research and the overwhwlming majority of reviews I received were very positive especially when I spoke with those people who have the 3rd (current) generation soles.
Ultimatly they are a significant expenditure and it is very wise to do your homework.
JW

P.S. If you would like to try mine on send self addressed stamped envelope with a round trip airline ticket and fishing liscenses to me and I will gladly let you field test. ;)
"old habits are hard to kill once you have gray in your beard" -Old Red Barn
JesseApril 11th, 2012, 10:47 pm
Posts: 378
hahaha im right on it brother. And most of the reviews i have read are positive as well so thats a good thing. Thanks for the info though its much appreciated!
Most of us fish our whole lives..not knowing its not the fish that we are after.
http://www.filingoflyfishing.com
AdirmanApril 12th, 2012, 8:07 am
Monticello, NY

Posts: 490
Suppose you had to do good deal of walking, say from spot-to-spot over a mile or 2 , could you do it w/ those on, or would you have to change footwear all the time?
CrepuscularApril 12th, 2012, 9:13 am
Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 919
Tying wet, sandy wading boot laces on a cold morning has always been one of my least favorite parts of fly fishing,


Aw come'on, if your boots are still wet when you are putting them on in the morning, that's a good thing! It means you've been fortunate enough to be fishing often!
JesseApril 12th, 2012, 11:47 am
Posts: 378
hahaha AMEN Eric! It's just the older age in them; its tough for them to bend down and get the ole laces off..
Most of us fish our whole lives..not knowing its not the fish that we are after.
http://www.filingoflyfishing.com
JOHNWApril 12th, 2012, 5:02 pm
Chambersburg, PA

Posts: 452
Suppose you had to do good deal of walking, say from spot-to-spot over a mile or 2 , could you do it w/ those on, or would you have to change footwear all the time?


Last trip out I wore my pedometer (long story) I clocked just over 2.56 miles combined wading/walking. Only discomfort was from rotten arches and a sore back from fighting current. The nice thing with these is if you are worried about tearing up the felt hiking in, it is less than a minute to swap out to the rubber soles. If I'm hiking in a mile to just start I'll have a backpack of some sort and the extra soles weigh next to nothing so nothing lost there.

I decidedly DO NOT like the stock (unstudded) rubber soles that come with the boots for wading anything with a rocky or remotely slippery bottom. Trail use is an entirely different issue and I really like them for that purpose. The stock (unstudded) felt soles are very good IMHO and since you get both from the start.........
JW
"old habits are hard to kill once you have gray in your beard" -Old Red Barn
WbranchApril 12th, 2012, 6:04 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2505
"hahaha AMEN Eric! It's just the older age in them; its tough for them to bend down and get the ole laces off.."

Yes, this is true, not so much I can't bend down as I still weigh what I weighed in high school, but just from sheer fatigue at the end of the day - at just short of 69 years I can still do a ten hour day with just a lunch break. But I'm literally played out and ready for a quick dinner at the cabin and into bed so I can get rejuvenated for the next day!
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
GutcutterApril 12th, 2012, 8:08 pm
Pennsylvania

Posts: 470

I decidedly DO NOT like the stock (unstudded) rubber soles that come with the boots for wading anything with a rocky or remotely slippery bottom. Trail use is an entirely different issue and I really like them for that purpose. The stock (unstudded) felt soles are very good IMHO and since you get both from the start.........
JW


My local fly shop (yes, there are still a few around) sells them with the studded rubber and felt included. They made a deal with Korkers and got those soles instead of the others that come standard everywhere else. No added charges.
I have had Korkers for 8 years and am looking forward to breaking these new ones in.
There still is a benefit to shopping in person instead of on-line.
All men who fish may in turn be divided into two parts: those who fish for trout and those who don't. Trout fishermen are a race apart: they are a dedicated crew- indolent, improvident, and quietly mad.

-Robert Traver, Trout Madness
WbranchApril 12th, 2012, 9:06 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2505
This comment has nothing to do with the BOA lacing system but it does pertain to wading shoes.

In August I was planning a trip to the interior of Alaska and was told that felt soles were not permitted. So I went to a nice local fly shop just off of I-83 in Maryland and purchased a pair of the middle price point of the Simms wading shoes with the Vibram rubber soles (It is ironic that last year Simms, and others, were poo pooing how felt was the scourge of all time in contributing to the proliferation of invasive species into other waters and how they were going to stop, and cease, all further production of that damn felt! Well I guess their bottom line suffered and the new Vibram soles were not selling very well so in the new 2012 "The Fly Shop" catalog their is a sidebar from Simms about well maybe it isn't just the felt soles that are causing a problem, it is the waders themselves, and our nets, and our driftboatspontoonboatskayakscanoesand whatever else they can think of to justify bringing back felt soles. So maybe they initially had "Green" environmental issues in mind but at the end of the day they were thinking of a "Green" that had northing to do with the environment and a whole lot to do with sales)

Anyway back to my story - so I had this really nice Simms wading shoes with three pairs of speed lacing hooks which I really like for getting out of wading shoes quickly and for getting them back on tightly. The store owner showed me three types of Simms studs/cleats two were carbide and one was a triangular aluminum cleat that is especially good for slippery rocks. I bought the high end carbide that is three cornered with a countersunk hole in the middle. There is a special screw provided with each stud/cleat and there is a pin hole between the lugs on the boot soles. You insert a screw through the stud and into the rubber sole, you just screw them in until the head of the screw fills the countersunk hole of the cleat.

Each corner of the triangle has what can only be described as particulate carbide material of approximately 1/16" diameter distributed about each corner to cover about 1/4". Essentially you have 3/4" of granular carbide material cutting through all the slippery stuff on stream rocks. I put five cleats in each sole and three cleats in each heel. I've got about 6" of carbide material protecting me from slipping and sliding. I've used them for a week in Alaska, for a week on Erie creeks, and for multiple trips to the Catskills in September and October of 2011 and have not slipped one single time and can say that even though I was initially leary of the Vibram rubber soles the addition of the carbide cleats has allayed any fears I might of had.

I just don't wear them in my Hyde or where there is excessive mud.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
MarkmOctober 3rd, 2012, 4:58 pm
Templeton, CA

Posts: 1
Perhaps this was just bad luck, but I purchased a pair and in less than a week, broke the plastic tab off the back of the boot that holds the sole on. I loved them until that point, now it's back to searching for another great fitting boot
SayfuOctober 4th, 2012, 9:37 am
Posts: 560I'm a selfish angler. My waders have the bootfoot built in, and by the time my partner gets his "system" installed with the shoes, socks, I've fished through the hole several times.
EntomanOctober 6th, 2012, 9:43 am
Site Editor
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
I'm gonna open a real can o' worms here, but I am EXTREMELY disappointed in the latest "technology" for outdoor boots. IMO, way too much has been sacrificed at the altar of weight. For the weekend fisherman that wades in gentle waters and hikes very little - for the hiker that sticks to groomed trails with 40 or more lbs. on their back - weight is a very important factor as long as there's decent foot support... But for the rest?

I've owned a pair of recent design Danners (not to be confused with the original Danner Boot Co. that made a hell of a boot) that were worn out on the first Chukar hunt. I'm talking uppers cut through and totally trashed by the lava rock and the crappy cambrial (or however you spell it) lining completely worn out in the heel. More importantly, my feet and ankles felt like crap for two days.

Wading boots? Ankle/foot support & protection, durability - they are way, way down from the best offered even three generations ago. Until recently, I've had the luxury of field testing every major brand of "hi-tech" designs. Those and the last three pairs I've actually owned all have one thing in common -they're crap... Light? Yes. Expensive? Yes. But ankle/foot support & protection is no better than boots from generations ago - traction is no better. Durability? Junk!!! I'm talking soles delaminating, uppers falling apart, grommets (if you can call them that) pulling out when you try to tighten the strings. Oh, and speaking of strings selling them with cool looking big flat strings that are ABSOLUTELY worthless... I gotta say the final straw is the pair of VERY expensive boots I bought last year that are on their last legs as I write this! NEVER again. Patagonia, Orvis, Simms, Korkers? They should be ashamed of themselves...

Do they still make the Weinbrenner wading brogue? They're funky looking by today's standards I suppose, and a little heavier... But I gotta say they beat the current crap like an ugly stepchild when it comes to durability and none of the new designs offer any better support or traction... And they're what (or were), a third the price? I have an old retired pair from 20 years ago that are in better shape than my "new" hi -tech ones.

What would make a great brogue?

- uppers made mostly of some kind of artificial leather that's both pliable and durable
- reinforced toe cap & heal
- gusseted tongue
- a decent arch
- kevlar overlays on the high wear areas
- soles and heels attached with a Goodyear welt that's stitched as well as glued (won't detach, turning into flaps as easily and are replaceable when worn)
- a heel
- solid brass grommets that won't bend or pull out
- round strings for easier tightening and loosening
- pull straps at the back that're integral to the upper (for easy pull-on without pulling out)

This isn't too much to ask as it's not much different from what was offered years ago. Until they (manufactures) get it, perhaps it's best to buy a cheap pare of Chotas, which aren't much worse than the brands mentioned above and they are a $100 or more cheaper.


My recommendations for boots:

Hunting (gentle terrain) - Russell bird shooters
" " (rough terrain) - White's Hunters
" " (wet terrain) - Bean boots
" " (cold terrain) - Lacrosse Pac boots
Fishing - I can't recommend any at this point, if you can't get Weinbrenner's any more. There's some classic brogues out there made of leather that are far better than the current crop of s@#t, but they are very expensive and leather just can't take the repeated wetting, no matter how it's tanned.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Jmd123October 6th, 2012, 11:15 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2379
Being a "cheapskate" by income level (i.e., not much income), I have been using the Orvis wet wading shoes for about ten years now, and I'm on my third pair. They have served me well and I fish pretty frequently, during the spring and summer this year about 3-4 days a week (lots of spare time in my severely underemployed state). They are not expensive, lightweight, and I've found them to be quite comfortable. They come with a pair of neoprene "socks" that I do use for wet-wading during the summer when waders (stockingfoot that I wear with them) are just too warm. They do have felt soles which have certainly been demonized over the last several years (see Matt's comments above) but I sure appreciate these when I am on slippery rocks, which fortunately there's not too many of in the local streams I fish. I have not heard of any problems with Whirling Disease, Didymo, or other trout stream invasives around here - not saying they're not necessarily around but here in the Great Lakes we are much more worried about zebra mussels, quagga mussels, Asian carp, Eurasian water milfoil, curly-leaf pondweed, spiny water fleas, etc. which are generally spread by boats. I do put these shoes in the sun to dry them thoroughly between fishing trips, and also I am fishing only a few local streams, not travelling the country from watershed to watershed.

As far as hiking boots, I bought a pair of Vasque boots in 2006 for $140 and they lasted about five years of frequent hiking, at which time the soles began to wear out and separate. I replaced them last fall with a pair of Merrills, largely because I bought a pair of Merrill walking shoes in 2006 for $80 and they are still going strong! Longest lasting pair of walking shoes I have ever bought, maybe because they're the most expensive pair I have ever bought. I do plenty of walkng and hiking, though the terrain around here isn't very steep or rocky.

Just my 2 cents. I haven't personally used the Korkers.

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
EntomanOctober 6th, 2012, 5:45 pm
Site Editor
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Yeah, sorry for the rant... It's just upsetting to spend that kind of money for stuff that disintegrates so easily. Plastic do-hickies that break, Pull straps that pull off, grommets that pull out, no heels, seams that rip, liners that wear out faster than the socks you're wearing, soles falling off... IMO, there's just been too much focus on building boots around athletic shoe production methods to keep them light. The irony is that efforts to make them tougher and more supportive have resulted in their weight approaching traditional boot construction anyway... and they're not near as tough. But they sure look cool!:)
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
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