Monday, June 3, 2013

Gear Review: Korkers KGB Boot

Just a few months ago I was seriously contemplating going with all Simms wading boots due to some early failures on my older Korkers. But the fine folks at Korkers Footwear (based in Portland) took fantastic care of me, listened to my concerns, and helped me get into a new pair of their Korkers Guide Boots aka KGBs for a nominal upgrade fee. 

After receiving such great service from Korkers, I figured I needed to at least put the KGBs through their paces before I switched all of my wading gear over to Simms products (Simms makes the BEST waders in my opinion and their boots are fantastic too!).

Let's just say I'm glad I tried the KGBs. With the introduction of this top of the line wading boot, Korkers has seriously upped their game. 

Before I get into my thoughts on the boots, here's what Korkers has to say about the KGBs:

"Korkers Guide Boot incorporates the comfort and technical functionality previously found in Korkers wading boots, while enhancing stability and durability. Extra durable rubber, mesh and laces were added along with a TPU cage and Vibram Idro Grip outsoles, significantly raising the performance of this guide-level wading boot."

Enough of the marketing hoopla and now to the nitty gritty:

Korkers are the kings of the versatile wading boot. We already knew that and Korkers had perfected it with the OmniTrax 3.0 interchangable sole system, but in my past experiences the construction on older Korkers models left something to be desired. The KGBs are built to last with a much more substantial outer shell material, reinforced TPU cage and a design that locks your foot into the boot. These things seem to be bombproof.

With their modern boot designs and almost sneaker-like fit, the other Korkers models were comfortable to walk in (especially with their light weight) but they never seemed to give me the all-day support I wanted. The KGBs are much taller then the Korkers boots previously available, giving you full ankle support which makes those slippery riverbeds and steep riverbanks less hazardous if you're a careless wader like me.

As much as I appreciate the BOA laceless system for it's quick "on and off" ability, I didn't like the maintenance required, and the fact that it can come loose on you during long days on the water. The KGB comes with nice heavy duty laces that feature an ingenious lacing system that allows you to really tighten in the lower lacing structure of the boot separately from the generous upper ankle section. I feel much more secure wearing these boots with the lacing system and I sure like being free from the BOA system. 

The KGBs that I bought came with both Vibram rubber and felt outsoles which both are pretty solid. I use the Vibrams if I'm doing much hiking or am fishing in my float tube and the felts when I'm fishing on slippery river bottoms. The soles attach just like any of the previous Korkers OmniTrax 3.0 boots and I've had no issues switching them out within a minute. I love the versatility factor of these boots.

I've put some solid use on the KGBs and I can say that they seem to really pass the durability test thus far. The outer shell material is solid, the uppers are reinforced, and the lacing system is an upgrade over the BOA setup on other Korkers. The KGBs aren't the lightest boots available, but if support, comfort, and versatility are your three most important criteria in choosing a wading boot then the KGB is a great choice for you. 

Korkers is back in play for this angler. 

Seeing as the blog is STILL in it's infant stages, I'm not in the position of receiving free fly fishing goods to test  and review. That being said, if I personally buy a product and feel strongly about it (for good or bad), then I'll possibly post a gear review on it. The review is my honest input about a product that I spent my hard earned money on... enjoy

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