We anglers are persistently striving for better footing while on the river. Beyond the obvious safety benefit, good traction makes for good posture, relieving back stress. It makes us feel more confident in our fishing, improving casting accuracy, and otherwise giving us peace of mind to concentrate on our end goal, catching fish.
Felt has never been the optimal solution. It provides nearly zero traction while hiking, and can be downright dangerous on grassy surfaces. It is a magnet for snow. And of course, it dries very slowly, potentially hosting a variety of biotic specie that are harmful to coldwater ecosystems.
Rubber soles were purportedly the solution to those problems, but they too have their inadequacies. While they provide excellent traction on the trail, their performance in the river, particularly where uneven bottoms and slick rock covering are the norm, is suspect. Several years back Simms introduced their Vibram sole, complete with a tread pattern that was supposed to compensate for previous rubber incarnations’ lacking. Actual reviews remained mixed, even though the author loves them because he mostly busts his ass reaching for the beer cooler in the back of the truck. And while Simms provided Rockwell hardened studs and their nifty Hardbite Star Cleats as compense, fly anglers are beasts that are difficult to appease.
Enter stage left: the Simms Alumibite cleats.