Friday, June 3, 2016

Gear Review - Korkers BuckSkin Wading Boots

If you know me, you know I'm not in a hurry to do reviews.  I'll gladly share my thoughts when asked but don't like putting anything in writing until I've had some time to use the product.  I've been wearing the Korkers BuckSkin boots for 18 months and in many different environments.  I feel like that's enough time to do a comprehensive and honest review.

One random Saturday in November I took my waders, socks and headed to my local fly shop.  Really it was Thanksgiving and I needed a time out.  After an hour or maybe three hours of trying on every boot in the shop and scaring away all the customers.  To be fair the shop guy said, I should test them like I would in real life.  What would I do if I saw a bear in real life?  I'd push the guy beside me down and yell "bear" as I ran away.  A sweaty guy in waders running through the store screaming "bear" wasn't good for business.  Happy to be alive, I decided to live life to the fullest and purchased the Korkers BuckSkin boot.  I'm happy I did!

What impressed me most was the OmniTrax® Interchangeable Sole System.  I travel and fish in several states, boats and environments.  Having one boot that I could use in most situations, simply by changing the soles, was very important.

For example, if you're fishing in Missouri felt soles are not allowed.  The locals will throw rocks at you until you leave.  Easy fix, pop off the felt add the studded soles.  Now you're feeling like a stud and getting in your buddies drift boat when your buddy starts coming at you like Von Miller in Super Bowl 50.  You scramble and quickly audible to the regular rubber soles.  All good now and ready to hit the water.  In my kayak, I regularly change between felt and rubber soles.  The felt doesn't grip well on the kayak.  But I prefer to use felt when wading.  It's a quick and easy change between the two and can be done on the water without having to remove the boots.  The extra soles don't take up much room in my sling pack either.

Keeping it together.  No issues.  Extra soles stored in my sling pack.

The fit is great.  I ended up going a size larger than my normal shoe size.  When you add waders and socks they fit snug but also remain comfortable.  More importantly, I feel like I'm wearing a hiking boot while walking and wading.  At almost 3 lbs (pair) you're not going to out run a bear but a few miles of hiking won't kill you.

Drying after first day of use Thanksgiving weekend 2014

It's also important to mention how quickly these boots drain.  It wasn't something I was concerned with until I started hiking a few miles to the water in them.  They get rid of water quickly.  I now use them as a wet wading boot on multi day/night kayak camping trips in the Ozarks and in the "Driftless."  Regularly walking several miles each day in and around the water.  Obviously a traditional wet wading boot would be a better option.  But when you're kayak camping, traveling, or want to spend your cash on something else, these do the job just fine.

Some concerns I had in the beginning were on the durability of the OmniTrax® system.  I read reviews about the button on the back of the boot wearing excessively and breaking.  To date, I have not experienced that issue.  I was also worried I would wear out the ports and tabs on the soles by changing them often.  The end result being the boot wouldn't retain the soles or they'd fit loosely.  I'm happy to report that none of my concerns have merit.  The points where the soles snap to the boot have not worn out or expanded.  The tabs still fit properly in the ports without gaps and remain tightly sealed to the boot.

I've been very happy with my Korkers BuckSkin boots.  Over the last 18 months, I have been challenging them to fall apart.  I've left them too close to the camp fire, drove 200 miles with them dangling from my kayak rack and crushed a few beer cans with them.  But they've kept it together and kept me upright while fishing.  I would recommend taking your waders, socks and visiting your nearest fly shop to test out your bear escape plan.  You might find a new pair of wading boots while you're there.  


  1. I'll be looking for a new pair of boot soon and if it says Korkers, it's on top of my list. I've got a buddy who owns a pair and loves them and hasn't had a problem. I have a pair of Korkers wading shoes and I love them. Thanks for the review Drew!

  2. Drew
    I have been wearing Korkers the past three years and wouldn't wear anything else when it comes to wading. Can't bet the quality and interchangeable soles. Thanks for sharing

  3. I had a pair of Korkers when they were first coming out. They've come a long ways. Out of all the brands I've tried, Cabelas, Korkers, Orvis, and Chota, I like my Simms Guide boots the best.

  4. That's how you do a gear review. I very much dislike the "I used it once or twice" type of reviews. Products need to be put to the test, and knowing how much you're on the water, you did an outstanding job. Over the winter I received a pair of Korkers, and I've used them a few times now, and love them. Really looking forward to how they hold up over time. My old Orvis wading boots lasted me 3-4 years. Still have them as a back up. I love the fact you can change out the sole, and can keep multiple options with you. Such a great idea!

  5. Thx guys, looks like I'm in the right group. Sorry for the delay on reposnding. On the road for the next 2 weeks but hate to not check in. Hope y'all get a chance to put those Korkers to work soon and often.

  6. I may have to reconsider these for my next pair. I tried several pair of Korkers alongside the boots I purchased, the Simms Vapor. I went purely with comfort, and everyone's feet are different. Cool review. Love the kayak shot. Maybe I should pick up some wading socks...