The Korkers I-DRAIN Neoprene Guard Sock is one of the best wading socks available for hot-weather fishing. Wading socks are a very specific kind of gear, designed for a specific sort of fishing situation:
Typically you wear neoprene wading socks with wading boots. And wading boots are usually worn with stocking foot waders. Stockingfoot waders, in turn, usually have thick neoprene booties that provide warmth, comfort and fill up the wading boot.
If you want to just wear regular socks with your wading boots — and skip wearing stockingfoot waders altogether on hot summer days — your wading boots will be hopelessly sloppy on your feet because they’re too big to wear with regular socks because you size them to fit stockingfoot waders.
Neoprene wading socks are thick and cushy and they fill up wading boots just like stockingfoot waders.
Also, neoprene wading socks are not meant to be waterproof. In fact, the best neoprene wading stocks have drain holes built in that let water out when you’re walking on dry land. While stockingfoot waders have waterproof booties, wading socks are not waterproof.
The simple idea is to fill out your wading boot so that you can wade fish in shorts on hot summer days while wearing your rugged and stable wading boots. Wading without waders in July, August and September on clean and clear rivers is one of our favorite ways to fish.
Korkers I-DRAIN Neoprene Guard Sock Review
At first glance, the Korkers I-DRAIN Neoprene Guard Socks look pretty similar to other neoprene wading socks. They’re made of fairly standard 3.5mm neoprene and they look like socks. Perfect. Upon closer inspection, though, the socks have a form-fitted construction that provides a flat base over the sole of your foot. The result is an improved fit and a great in-boot feel.
The Korkers I-DRAIN wading socks also include a built-in gravel guard, which isn’t a critical addition, but it’s certainly a welcome feature. The best stockingfoot waders have built-in gravel guards, which go over the top of your wading boots to keep sand, gravel and debris from getting inside your boots and rubbing holes in your stockingfoot waders.
Because wading socks aren’t waterproof, a stray rock here or there isn’t that big a deal — but no one likes to stop fishing to dump out their boots. The built-in gravel guard is nice because you simply don’t have to worry about gravel at all. To ensure that it stays put, Korkers added a hook in the front that can attach to your wading boot laces. It works great, and even works well on BOA laces.
The Korkers I-DRAIN Neoprene Guard Socks have another key feature that’s basically hidden from view: The socks have a perforated footbed that rapidly lets water drain out of the socks.
While some socks have just a few holes, the Korkers wading socks have dozens all along the bottom and back of the sock. But it’s hard to see these holes — they’re covered by a layer of fabric on both sides. Why? The fabric ensures that sand doesn’t get into your sock.
Why are all these holes nice? The Korkers perforated footbed drains so fast and so well that when it’s time to exit the river, you don’t end up walking with squishy feet in squishy boots for long. Incidentally, for about $5 less, Korkers makes another “I-DRAIN” wading sock version: The I-DRAIN Neoprene Wading Sock. At 2.5mm, it’s not as thick as the “Guard” version and it doesn’t include the built-in gravel guard.
All-in-all, the Korkers I-DRAIN Neoprene Guard Socks fit well, have a great build quality, and they drain fast. You can’t go wrong with the Korkers I-DRAIN Guard Sock, which is why they also make a great fly fishing gift. Highly recommended. One last note: If you haven’t taken advantage of wading in shorts during hot summer days, you need to (also highly recommended).