Salty Saturday - Footwear
Your feet get hammered hard all day long when wading the flats. You walk over all sorts of nasties while you pursue your quarry, and if you don’t look after your feet, you are going to be in for a very long and uncomfortable trip. If you experience a problem like a coral cut, you may even end up in hospital when you get home (like a friend of mine did), as things can get nasty rather quickly in the tropics.
Quality flats wading boots offer the following benefits to the angler:
- Protection from coral and other spiky hazards that you encounter in the saltwater environment
- Ankle support
- Grip on all terrains
- Sturdy construction for protection and longevity.
The new Simms Flats Sneakers (AKA “Air Tarpons”) are a prime example of a fantastic, new generation wading boot. They not only tick all the boxes for protecting your feet, they are also super mobile and super comfortable.
The big question I am asked is: “Do you wear just Wading Socks with your Flats Boots, or do you wear neoprene Guard Socks as well as Wading Socks?”
Well, I often answer that question with another question – “How much do you like your feet?”
On my first flats trip I wore wading boots and wading socks, as this was the advice given to me. As a result, buy day two I had lost all the skin off the outside of all my toes. This was extremely painful, and if I hadn’t brought some antibiotic cream with me, would have turned very nasty.
I’ve applied wet wading techniques from my Trout fishing background to saltwater flats wading ever since, and as a result, I have not experienced another problem with my feet.
I highly recommend the following three items for a complete flats footwear solution:
- Quick drying & odor-resistant, great qualities for when you are away from home.
- Right Angle® arch support for extra comfort.
- Anti-abrasion wet wading performance.
- Mid-calf height.
- 3.5mm neoprene fills out your wading boots and provides extra cushioning for your feet. This also reduces rubbing and hot spots.
- Abrasion resistant textured nylon jersey for durability & no-slip.
- Molded Boot hook tab.
The Guard Socks, together with the mid calf height Guide Wet Wading Socks, prevent the sand, coral grit and other crap getting into your boots. This is a very good thing!
- Mid-cut, lace-toe and synthetic upper
- Durable, saltwater-friendly materials
- Non-absorbing foam lining with synthetic face
- Gum rubber outsole for traction when wet
- Removable Right Angle® Footbed for a secure and comfortable underfoot ride. This allows you to fish longer and fish all day without foot fatigue.
If you adopt my advice, you will need to size your boots bigger than your normal street shoe size (one size above usually does the trick) to allow for the neoprene guard socks.
What do you do if you have boots and socks already that fit your feet as is? Well, you wont be able to use Guard Socks, as they will not fit with your existing boots. This is where the Simms Gravel Guards come in to save the day, as they wrap around the top of your boots and help reduce the amount of sand etc getting in.
There are quite a number of experienced Saltwater flats fishermen that I have converted over to this footwear approach, and they have all been rather surprised at how much more comfortable their days on the flats have become.
You only have one set of feet, please look after them.