Tenkara has not only revolutionized my fishing it also makes my gear change because I am more demanding than I was. I want my gear to be really adapted to my fishing.
After years of loyalty to Simms I decided to look for something else, not that my Freestone boots were used, they were not, but after almost two seasons wearing it I was convinced that these boots were not only heavy and uncomfortable but also unadapted to the use I wanted to do.
The last memory I have with these boots is snatching the whole padding that was so uncomfortable and made the boots impossible to dry...I will never be caught buying Simms boots again.
I had to find new wading shoes that would meet my three basic requirements: light, comfortable and easy to dry. And if possible a good value for money.
I started a thread in a Facebook group to get feedback about wet wading gear and an experienced friend of mine (Thanks Adam!) helped me to focus my research.
I found some interesting products on Japanese websites where the kind of gear I was looking for is quite common.
Quickly Caravan products held my attention and after visits of a few other companies websites I finally purchased the Keiryu KR-1F model by Caravan.
I am now going to try to present their main characteristics and my opinion about the three main criteria in choosing this model.
The weight of my pair (size 28 cm) is only 1.2 kg while the Simms (that ended their brief career in a bin) weighted 1850 grams!The lightweight feel of the Keiryu shoes is also reinforced by the facts that there is no unnecessary padding. Some would argue that these dense foam panels are necessary to protect one's ankle but to me this argument is fallacious because when an angler is wading he walks slowly anyway to remain as unobtrusive as possible in the eyes of fishes, he does not rush at the stream like an angry bull!
The comfort of these shoes is really amazing! The upper part is made of nylon mesh and the lining is a non-woven fabric and this combination ensures a great flexibility of the ensemble. The KR-1F are not as supple as my Mizuno running sneakers but they are pretty close. They are really light years far from the Bozeman's anvils! It should also be noted that the lower part of the shoes is made a very light and flexible set consisting of an EVA midsole, a non vulcanized rubber sole and a charcoal felt sole.
When you walk several miles on smashed paths to go fishing I can assure that I really make the difference between good and bad shoes.
One of the main problem with wading shoes is drying them, and dry them well to keep them in good conditions and healthy.
I never found a good solution until I purchased the KR-1F. I only have to place them in an airflow away from the sun. That's it!
The fabric of these shoes is so light that most of the time when I am back home after fishing they are already almost dry so the process is pretty fast. This also avoids the use of chemical deodorant and desiccant products that are often used with hard to dry wading boots.
My last criteria was value for money and I have to say that these excellent wading shoes are cheaper than the basic Simms model I had before.
I am totally satisfied with these wading shoes and there is no doubt that I will remain faithful to Caravan from now on.