Tag: Vibram soles

Gear Review: The Slip Stops Here, With Simms Alumibite Cleats

Simms Alumibite CleatsWe 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.

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Sold on Simms Vibram

I’m not going to endorse the “studies” being touted which suggest felt soles are evil (and frankly, I think those engaged in the outcry should be ashamed because of the weak show they’ve put on). I bought Vibram-soled boots because 1) I needed some new boots, 2) because Simms Riversheds, which I believe are the best value in wading boots, are only available in Vibram, and 3) because I was tired of felt, which is sticky like roof tar while in the water, but downright dangerous while walking on trails or standing on grassy banks.

Further, I don’t need any long term testing, like swapping boots in and out on different feet, to come to a conclusion as to what works. Vibram soles, when combined with studs – in this case the Simms “Star” cleats – provided as firm a footing as felt while wading. And the same configuration blew the laces off felt-soled boots when out of the water. Note: I was using the same model boot, just with felt, immediately prior to the present pair.

MG signing off (because that’s all I have to say about soles)

FTC Disclosure: These boots were purchased for MSRP less a small preferred customer discount, and no compensation whatsoever was provided for the declaration made above.