So nearly the best things since sliced bread, but on the last day of my Irish trip the other day I was proudly showing off these FiveTen SAR canyoneering boots to a mate and saying how incredibly well they were doing as wading boots for me, and then he noticed there was a split on them - on my left boot, down the left side of it where the upper joins to the sole as in the (arty and exciting) photo you can see here.
Damn, damn, and sod it. I have tried all kinds of wading boots out over the years and these FiveTen SAR boots are without doubt the most comfortable and easy to wear, albeit they are not actually wading boots. Light, flexible, I love those buckles (rather than laces), and with some studs in the sole the grip on them is the best I have ever come across on anything that we might wear out on the rocks. So before I tell you categorically that these boots have failed on me, bear this stuff in mind :
They are not wading boots and they are not designed for the sort of use I have been putting them through in saltwater. Sure I wanted these boots to last a lot longer, but the simple fact is that I have been taking a punt (and blogging about it) on a pair of non-wading boots that I hoped might work as wading boots.Regardless of the fact that I am hardly some featherweight being, I have always been I think abnormally hard on shoes and boots. When I was bait fishing on the rocks all the time, if I got six months from a proper, roughly £100 pair of hiking boots before they either fell apart on me or the sole wore flat, I was doing well. I have trashed all manner of non-budget wellies with walking the dog, to the point that I have given up on them and gone back to the cheap ones. I just wear shoes and boots hard.
Forgetting the fact that these FiveTen boots are just starting to split, one thing I have noticed is that there is no wear I can find on the soles, in that they look brand new to me - and that is quite something if you ask me. Not only do they provide quite outstanding grip, they don't seem to be wearing down at all. I only have to think back to a couple of the lads on the Kerry trip whose soles were literally falling off their wading boots, and it was only rubber bands and rivets that kept the things working.
You can most likely sense that I am reluctant to damn these FiveTen boots, and you would be right. I like to think that I might just be unlucky that a split has started to appear, or perhaps they simply aren't up to what I have been doing with them. I can't give you a definitive, but at around the £100 mark I still feel they are a more than viable alternative to most of the "cheap/budget" wading boots that many anglers press into service for saltwater lure fishing, and then find them falling to pieces far too quickly. If you take into consideration that a lot of anglers simply don't get to fish that much then I reckon these FiveTen boots are more than worth a go - and especially if you were to wash them down in freshwater and dry them out after use. I must be honest here and admit to leaving my FiveTen boots sitting outside after most trips out, wet and bedraggled, but I wanted to see how this might affect them - which it might well have.
I was out over the weekend exploring/fishing some new marks (we found awesome water in a gusting 8 W/SW) and I was wearing a brand new pair of the Simms Vapor wading boots that I have gone and invested in - see here. I can't fault any Simms wading boots that I have used so far, albeit I wish they were a bit cheaper to make them more viable for more lure anglers - because in my experience nothing lasts like them. Now these new Vapor boots feel very comfortable and you know straight away that you've got a pair of Simms wading boots when you are walking and clambering around (this is a good thing by the way), but I can't get away from the fact that my FiveTen boots are lighter to wear, not so rigid (not sure if that is good or bad), and are I think that little bit more comfortable and "easier" to wear. Simms wading boots though have been just about bombproof for me.
So yes, I am gutted these FiveTen boots have started to go on me. I am gutted they have split like that, and in all honesty I don't think they have lasted long enough, and even if I have been using them as wading boots when they are not designed for it. But if you gave me a choice of "budget" wading boots or these FiveTen ones? Well I reckon I'd go for the FiveTen SAR boots, but then you must bear in mind that is coming from somebody who have up on "budget" wading boots a long time ago. It's been an interesting experiment that I hope might have helped some of you out, and if any of you end up using the FiveTen SAR boots as wading boots, please do keep me posted as to how they get on.