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The Korkers Devil’s Canyon wading boots are lightweight and flexible boots that include interchangeable felt and rubber soles. What’s most surprising about the Devil’s Canyon wading boot is its overall stability.
To get Man Makes Fire a closer look at the Devil’s Canyon wading boots, Korkers sent us a review set. This is what we learned after testing the boots in Idaho rivers and streams during the testing process:
Korkers Devil’s Canyon Wading Boots Review
I must admit, I had not planned to try out the Korkers Devil’s Canyon wading boots because they seemed like an odd sort of wading boot — flexible and bit stretchy at the top.
However, after reviewing a previous-generation Korkers wading boot, Korkers took note of one of my minor quibbles — a personal preference, really: I cover a lot of ground when I fish, scrambling across dry and wet boulders and steep banks, and I wade in fast water. The previous Korkers boots I tested were very tall and pretty stiff.
Enter the Devil’s Canyon wading boots: “Would you be willing to test out a pair?” Korkers asked. I’m pretty guarded with my gear-testing time, so I hesitated before saying yes.
Korkers designed the Devil’s Canyon to be lightweight, fit like a glove and deliver “athletic and agile performance.” The company succeeded. The Devil’s Canyon wading boots are remarkably comfortable — the stretch cuff upper in the back, along with the flexible ankle material and M2 BOA lacing system results in a boot that feels great.
I was expecting the boot to feel a bit sloppy, but that’s not the case: I can wear the Devil’s Canyon fairly loose when wading soft gravel flats . . . or ratchet down the BOA system and scramble down a steep rocky slope.
I was surprised at the ankle support, even when wading deep in faster water over varied slick-rock bottoms.
Of course, you should take my ankle support reading here with a grain of salt — I wear low-top basketball shoes and I’ve been very lucky so far with my ankles. If you have weak ankles or have suffered big sprains in the past, you might prefer a boot that provides more support (like the new Korkers River Ops Boa).
But like I said, I was surprised at the support when I tightened the BOA system — the whole upper seemed to mold around my ankles . . . and yet retained freedom of movement from my ankle while keeping the sole of my foot on the bottom of the boot. The fit was agile yet also stable.
This comfort extends to getting the Devil’s Canyon boots on and off. The BOA system lets you open the boot wide, and it’s easy to slip your stockingfoot wader-wearing foot into the boot while hopping around on one foot along the side of a road. To lace it, I just slap the BOA system wheel down and start twisting to tighten the cables. Works great.
Meanwhile, are the boots truly lightweight?
Korkers reports that each pair weighs in at 2 lbs 14 oz (23 oz each). Our size 15 review pair (for a size 14 foot) weighs 32.45 oz each, which is relatively lightweight compared to most wading boots this size.
Korkers Devil’s Canyon Wading Boots: Interchangeable Soles
Incidentally, you can find other lightweight wading boots that are even lighter than the Devil’s Canyon . . . but you won’t get the Korkers OmniTrax Interchangeable Sole System. I’m sure these soles add a bit of weight to each boot that might not be there if there was a single sole glued to the bottom — but the point of the system is to let you use the sole you need for the water or state you’re in. (Some states have banned felt soles due to the chance of invasive species hitching a ride between waterways.)
The OmniTrax system basically has a complete separate sole that slides into the toe and snap/clips into the bottom of the boot’s sole. A rubber heel strap holds the rear firmly in place. It works surprisingly well, and it’s an awesome feature if you travel between multiple watersheds that either have different regulations or different wading conditions. When your felt wears out, you can simply buy another set of soles.
The overall Devil’s Canyon design errors toward durability. The best wading boots reduce the points of stitching to the bare minimum . . . and then double and triple stitch high wear areas. Korkers takes this a bit farther with the Devil’s Canyon by creating a recessed stitching area around the toe cap and heel cap. Because the stitches are below the surface level of the caps, they’re less likely to get scratched by sticks and rocks.
The molded rubber toe cap has excellent coverage and fends off sharp rocks well. Whatever slightly rubbery synthetic material Korkers uses for the main body of the boot, it seems pretty tough.
Over the years, I’ve tested a half-dozen pairs of boots with BOA lacing systems and I haven’t experienced a BOA failure yet. If you’re concerned, you could always rig up a lacing system with some fly line backing to make it through your day. You can, of course, widely buy BOA lace replacement kits. If you are worried (I’m not) you could just throw a replacement kit in your wading bag just in case.
The Korkers Devil’s Canyon Wading Boots feel far more nimble on your feet than they look in photos. The same goes for support, which I credit to a flexible wrap around your ankle that anchors your foot to the footbed. As for sizing, I think the sizing runs just a bit big — but I never ran out of room to tighten the boot. If you’re a half-size, I’d size down rather than size up. The toe box is roomy, so I think the risk of sizing down is minimal for most guys. If you like a snugger fit, size down, but if you appreciate a bit more room, stick with your usual size.
As for overall comfort, it’s great, and if you struggle to get into and out of your existing wading boots, you’ll love the Devil’s Canyon wading boots. The flexible upper and wide opening makes them downright easy to get on and off.
All-in-all, the Korkers Devil’s Canyon Wading Boots look a little non-traditional, but their performance in the water and on rocky banks offers a great blend of agility and support. Highly recommended.
* Long-term update: Because I test so many pairs of wading boots for Man Makes Fire reviews and wading boot guides, I don’t get to stick with a single pair for truly extensive use. On the other hand, over three seasons, the Devil’s Canyon Wading Boots are always the back-up pair of boots I take with me just in case whatever boot I’m testing fails or is uncomfortable on the water. Plus, I use them as a reference boot when I’m considering weight, agility, and comfort. If anything, my appreciation for the Devil’s Canyon boots has grown, despite each year’s newest competition.