Each Fall Backwater Angler staff demos new products for the upcoming season. A pair of size ten wading boots from Cloudveil are about to be put through the paces on the Gunpowder River. After a few days of fishing, I plan to hand them off to other Gunpowder Guides for more testing. We will be posting reviews by different guides in the coming weeks.
The Cloudveil 8X Stealth Wading Boot is extremely lightweight and features a 5.10 rubber sole. Soft rubbers like 5.10 are found on soles of rock climbing shoes. The sole smears to the rock, wet or dry, and provides constant contact by placing as much surface area on the rock’s surface. The shoe comes with inserts to allow custom sizing between a full shoe size.
Rubber soles are becoming more popular and anglers are dismissing the myth that rubber soles can’t compare to felt. I’ve been in a pair of Patagonia sticky rubber shoes for two years, have rock climbed for years, and guide on Maryland’s three premier tailwater fisheries. Rubber soles are great where rocks dominate river bottoms and trails. Slick bottomed rivers like the Savage and North Branch are tough wading no matter what shoe is worn. The issue in those watersheds is high PH, which creates a fine algae on the rocks.
One big thing to consider in the ever changing world and climate is that felt is becoming a vector for transporting aquatic invasives. Didymo, an invasive algae was recently discovered on the lower portions of The Battenkill River and East, West and main branches of the Delaware River. Felt has been found to contain and harbor 100% of Whirling Disease and Didymo spores when exposed to these invasives.
Maryland’s Department Of Natural Resources has issued the following request to anglers and boaters:
If possible refrain from using felt on your boots.
Proper drying times, 3-5 days, can prevent fishing for days, or risk spreading the diseases to other watersheds.
A second pair of old wading boots designated for infected fisheries can be a great way to prevent further spreading.
Rubber doesn’t absorb spores, hold water or small particles of mud. In the winter the rubber soles prevent “high heels,” which is when snow on the bank freezes to wet felt soles. Rubber soled shoes are far lighter and clean easier with a simple rinse and scrub brush. Drying time can be minimal, as the shoe has few materials that hold water.