August 26, 2009

Product Follow Up : Cloudveil 8x Grippy Rubber Boot

Cloudveil 8x Grippy Rubber Boot
Follow up to the initial product review: Cloudveil 8x Grippy Rubber Boot.

In disjunction with the Trout Underground's Rubber Wading Boot Testing, the roughfisher took it upon himself to review the only boot seemed to have been left off the Underground's review sheet, the Cloudveil 8x Grippy Rubber Boot. No product was given, donated, or loaned to the roughfisher for review. The reviewer purchased the boots (though a kickback or some schwag woulda been nice, hint, hint Cloudveil).

The Environs: Faced with urban assaults, rocky rivers cascading through old growth forest, college campus test ponds, and loonshit filled sloughs, this boot has been through it all. It has withstood chemical and biological attacks and still maintains its superior structural integrity. The rigors of hiking through the concrete jungle and arroyos have remarkably left little wear on the soft rubber soles. In fact, the grippy nodules on the soles are money for maintaining your posture when high sticking off of concrete sills and ledge ways. They are also effective when boulder hopping across wet rocks, and are at home in the mud. They've been everywhere.

The Fit: The fit and function of these boots are above par; they are lightweight, offer excellent support, and perfectly fit to my foot. Combined with the toe drain holes, these boots are just as comfortable hiking in wet as they are dry. In fact, after a few death marches, these boots functioned no different than my performance hiking boots. Pretty amazing that after a full day in these boots hiking and wading, you can kick off your boots without pain or even a blister. Best of all, these boots dry very quickly and are very easy to clean, a must for today's battlegrounds and our fight against aquatic nuisance species.

The $10 Million question: how do these boots perform on moss? The same as any other boot without felt or studs: mediocre. There is no smoking gun here, no rubber boot has been produced, to my knowledge, that excels on the slippery stuff. If you plan on using these boots in moss, look into studding your boots or opting for felt (if you can still find any).

Wading Safety: The one thing this trial really brought home were to brush up on your wading safety practices. Even with a wading stick/staff, I still experienced some difficulty crossing in fast knee deep water, narrowly avoiding a swim on several occasions. Wearing a wading belt is good practice, an PFD might even me a wise choice, especially in difficult terrain. All I know is, I'm never going wading on freestone streams without a wading staff. Ever.

The Bottom Line: Boot companies are improving their product with every season. Are these boots easier to keep clean and reduce the risk of spreading invasive species? Sure. But there's so much more to a boot than just that; fit and function are equally important, if not more. This is by far the most comfortable and functional pair of boots I've ever worn. Even more impressive than its fit, is the fact that these boots are just as comfortable wearing as my normal footwear, a must for anyone who spends more time in their waders than in their bed. These boots handled the rigors of concrete and blacktop in stride; I'd like to see how they stack up in the snow and on ice. My guess is the soft rubber sole will minimize slipping. Looks like I'll have to wait a couple months to find out.

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