I bought two pair of Adamsbuilt Smith River Wading Boots a couple of year’s back, since my old Korkers had finally worn out. Oh sure, I could’ve repaired the Korkers (fine boots), but it was just easier to buy a new pair and it allowed me to try another brand.
Honestly, I had never heard about the Adamsbuilt brand of fly fishing equipment… didn’t know they existed. Most of the time you only hear of the bigger name brands, so I was actually glad to see something new, at least to me. And I purposely will give a new brand a try because I like to support a variety of manufacturers. If the quality is there, then others should hear about them too.
I’ve waited a year to write a review on these Adamsbuilt Smith River wading boots simply because a product never really shows you what they’re worth until you’ve had a chance to really test them out… beat them up for an entire season to get a solid feel for their quality. And while I understand that after a year a particular product/model may no longer be made, I figure, if the company can make one model right, then they’re going to produce similar quality wading boots in their next versions.
For starters, to get an idea of what these boots have gone through, I fish almost year ‘round. I wade in sand, silt, rocks, logs, and grass. I fish from a drift boat. I fish in blazing hot weather and fish in below freezing weather. I fish at night and when the sun is shining. Throughout this past year, these Adamsbuilt fly fishing wading boots have been through it all.
And I gotta tell ya, I love ‘em.
Made from synthetic leather and polyester mesh uppers, with a web lacing and a hardy felt sole with removable stud receptacles if you wanted to install them… note though that they didn’t come with a set of studs. And for the record, I don’t use studs so I didn’t see how easy they were to install and wear on these.
These Adamsbuilt Smith River wading boots are lightweight, and super comfortable, and waterproof… nah, just kidding they’re not waterproof, that just wouldn’t make sense.
Wading in the rivers I do, the bottoms are usually a mix of sand, lots of round slippery rocks with a few large submerged boulders, and the river banks are muck, sand, grass and trees. Getting out of a river can be as much of a challenge as wading, so you want to make sure your boots are going to have some grip. The last thing you want is for your wading boots to get slippery and slide on the rocks or on the banks – and down you go. These wading boots held tight, providing a solid confidence as I strode along.
And lightweight and comfortable? Whether wading or in a drift boot, a long day on the river is a long day period. So your wading boots have got to be comfortable and don’t weigh you down as you hike through the bush to get to the river and then spend hours wading. These Adamsbuilt wading boots checked the “lightweight and comfortable” boxes. In fact, I most often suit up in my waders and boots before I get to the river, then drive, maybe stop at a store along the way, and these boots felt just as comfortable as most shoes while driving and walking on concrete and gravel.
What about durability? What I’ve found that gives out first on wading boots are the lacing systems, and the soles. I’m hard on my boots, so if I crank on the lacing system they’d better hold without tearing. As far as the soles it’s usually the clue that fails and the felt soles start o peel off. So far, these Adamsbuilt wading boots have been tough. No tearing, no peeling.
One note I will mention on durability was a cracking of the toe caps… while steelhead fishing on a 23 degree day – jumping in and out of the boat to wade as well as fishing from the drift boat – after exposing them to the cold water and then warming my feet up near a portable heater in the drift boat, the toe caps cracked a bit. So while I did feel obligated to mention it, I’m not sure of too many materials than can weather those temperature extremes over and 8-hour day. Does it matter? It hasn’t so I’ll just check that off to “you’d crack to if you constantly went from freezing to hot all day long.”
How about warm? I don’t buy wading boots to be warm, I don’t expect them to be. Let’s face it, they’re getting soaking wet as wading boots do. And if you are going to fish during the colder months you need to make sure your feet are taken care off inside the waders.
How about price? When I bought these through Amazon, they were $90.00. The current wading boot models at Adamsbuilt are priced at $100. For these boots, that is a wickedly fair price.
As far as sizing, like most fly fishing wading boots, the best fit is usually a size larger than your regular shoe/boot to accommodate for the waders.
All in all, I’m glad I came across these Adamsbuilt Smith River wading boots. They are a clear winner in my book. Quality, and value are great.
While Adamsbuilt no longer makes these models you can still find them on the web at a few places priced for around $90.00. Or go to the Adamsbuilt website and check out their new styles. Good Fishing!