Hodgman brings the latest technology and design to market
with their "Wadetech" wading shoes
Total Score: 7.91
Introduction: Anglers now have a large selection of high
quality wading shoes in which to choose from and the latest shoes are able to
bring hi-tech materials and functional designs to anglers at surprisingly
reasonable prices. Hodgman, one of the oldest and most respected names in the
business updates their already robust lineup with the advanced Wadetech shoe.
How well does it stack up to the competition?
Wading Shoes Specifications
with P.V.C. Reinforcement|
Density Felt (replaceable)|
Durable mesh upper, "rough skin" reinforced heel/toe, padded collar and
tongue, speed lace system, replaceable felt outsole, nylon heel pull|
Impressions: A few years ago the standard wading shoe started
to transform into a fashionable hi performance piece of tackle that any fly
angler, salt flat fisherman, or wader shouldn't be without. Anglers that have
tried to wear an old shoe, or the wrong boot for wading applications know that
this is not only hazardous but also makes fishing difficult as simply staying
afoot suddenly becomes your primary goal.
Hodgman has been making quality wading products since 1838, but in the
last decade has begun to lose some marketshare, especially in the premium wading
category where smaller up and coming companies began producing highly
specialized technical waders and shoes. Not to be outdone Hodgman's Wadetech
shoe is a dramatic departure from the traditional shoes in their lineup, and is
refreshingly modern in outlook, features, and overall performance.
The feature breakdown of the Hodgman Wadetech
Features: Most anglers are surprised by the plethora of new
features that are found on the latest wading shoes. In the past if the shoe
provided ample stability in water then it had done its job well. Today wading
shoes are judged by their comfort, stability, durability, drainage capabilities,
and flexibility in application. The Hodgeman Wadetech is considered a mid cut
shoe and provides support beyond your ankle. The Wadetech's main body is
constructed from mesh and is bolstered with synthetic P.V.C. reinforcements to
provide more structure to the shoe. Getting in and out of the shoe even while
wet is easy with the nylon heel pull on the back of the collar which provides an
excellent point for leverage. Both the heel and toe of the Wadetech are
protected with scuff resistant "rough skin" to provide more armor to the areas
of the shoe that come in the most contact with abrasive surfaces. Finally to
increase the usable lifespan of the shoe the felt soles can be upgraded or
changed out with glue on replacements.
The Wadetech feels stable even when walking on slippery rocks
Comfort: The laces are made of durable taslan and are attached to
the shoe via a cordura material rather then metal loops or grommets found on
most other boots. While this system is very fast it also reduces the overall
weight to the shoe. To tighten the boot quickly their is still one metal speed
loop on the collar. Once on these shoes feel light and comfortable on almost any
surface, but once wet they do take on quite a bit more weight. In the water the
extra weight adds confidence but once outside of the water you feel burdened.
While there are two drainage holes on each shoe the water doesn't abscond from
the shoe as fast as we have seen on other boots, and at least for a few minutes
you feel as if you are walking on saturated sponges.
The mesh upper portion of the Wadetech is
comfortable but a bit too soft and when you walk there is some give in the
center of the boot. We would have liked to see more reinforcement either on the
inside or with synthetic straps on the outside of the boot to provide more
Where the Wadetech excels is in the padding department. Whether you are
wearing membrane or micro fiber waders the stocking feet tuck nicely into this
well padded boot, and Hodgeman did an excellent job on one of the most
generously padded collars and tongues that we have ever tested.
The "speed lace" system consists of fabric and metal speed loops
Soles: The application is the most important factor when choosing
which wading shoe is right for you. There are some boots that have the ability
to instantly change from a variety of soles (rubber, felt, spikes) in a matter
of seconds, but for the most part most shoes are application specific. This is
the wrong shoe to pick for sandy or coral flats fishing but an excellent choice
for most fishing applications. The Wadetech's felt soles are quite thick and do
a fine job gripping rocks on the bottom of rivers. In fast moving conditions or
in areas with large algae growth metal studs would have been a nice upgrade.
While these soles were fantastic in and around the river we found the pure felt
soles to be horrible when standing in the drift boat where they extremely
slippery on the fiberglass. In the excitement of landing a fish it is easy to
lose your footing if you are not properly braced. The answer if you enjoy
fishing in and out of a fiberglass or aluminum drifter....get a shoe with
Wadetech's thick felt soles are good for most applications, and can be
Protection: The mid height Wadetech provides enough support for
most situations, and is lightweight enough to walk form destinations with ease.
While some anglers like sandals that are designed to fit over waders they are
not necessarily the best choice for hazardous conditions. The Wadetech on the
other hand proved to offer very good protection from sharp obstacles in and out
of the water. While testing the shoe by deliberately kicking and knocking my
heel against sharp rocks and branches I garnered many peculiar looks from nearby
anglers that wondered whether I had gone completely mad or perhaps I was
extremely frustrated that I hadn't caught any fish yet. While the tests were
rudimentary I walked away with little more then cosmetic scrapes to the
reinforced heel/toe and with no harm to my feet whatsoever.
The heel of the boot is well reinforced with Hodgeman's "rough skin"
Durability: Our tests put the Wadetech in harms way of debris and
sharp underwater obstacles and the boot emerged from the water every time in
first-rate shape. The quality of the synthetic materials used in the
construction of the boot survived all the torture we dealt. Every panel,
reinforcement, and mesh section is double stitched to ensure that every section
of the boot is securely bonded together. Even when covered with mud you can
spray the boot with water and brush off all the grime with little discretion.
This boot is built to last.
the ideal surface the Wadetech does an admirable job of maintaining a grip
on muddy and sandy areas
Price: Hodgeman does a great job of delivering quality products to
market at reasonable prices. When you buy a Hodgman product you know it is well
built and while it may not necessarily sport the latest materials and
innovations it will perform exactly as the manufacturer intended. For 69 dollars
the Wadetech is more affordable than most branded wading shoes, and considered a
good deal for a product of this quality.
Hodgman Wadetech Wading Shoes Ratings (?/10)
Good materials that are not premium but still durable and well put together
in a package that will take a real beating and still perform as promised
Passed all our tests with some minor gripes about stability and drainage
great price for a pair of wading shoes that perform well and come from a
company that has a proven history of quality products
average amount of features like the speed lace system and reinforced
heel/toe, but nothing too outstanding
Fits well and very comfortable, would like some stability reinforcement on
the mid section of the boot, but nonetheless very comfortable in and out of
water. Considered lightweight. Would be much more flexible if the design
incorporated any type of rubber or steel cleat options.
Great for the majority of wading applications as long as you are not
spending the most of your time on sand and coral reefs.
Pluses and Minuses:
Comfortable, well padded
No added grip options|
Speed lace system
Does not drain quickly |
Mid section stability|
Conclusion: Hodgman is the company that pioneered quality
wading shoes and their longevity is a testament to the quality and value that
their products offer. The Wadetech represents a big step for Hodgeman in design,
style, and performance. The inclusion of advanced materials and features like
the quick lace system and reinforced "rough skin" heel and toe allow this
product to compete with premium wading options that can cost much more. While
the Wadetech is a great choice for most anglers it does lack some of the
refinement and advanced features and flexibility that new premium wading shoes
are beginning to offer. We recommend the Wadetech as an excellent starter felt
mid height shoe for most anglers, but experienced anglers looking for that extra
edge, additional features, and further refinement will want to keep shopping.
Until next time...Tight Lines!