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The Korkers Triple Threat Aluminum Hex Soles use six-sided hexagon aluminum discs instead of sharp-tipped spikes to deliver traction on slick rocks. But that’s far from the whole story: The Korkers Triple Threat soles are designed to let you install three different kinds of traction elements on the same sole to customize the sole to your preferences and fishing environment.
To get us a closer look, Korkers sent Man Makes Fire a review set of its Korkers Triple Threat Aluminum Hex Soles for its line of wading boots. This is what we learned:
Korkers Triple Threat Soles: Rubber vs Felt
The best wading boots with so-called “sticky” rubber soles usually let you attach spikes for extra traction — you screw them into the sole. The trouble is, as you scramble around rocks while you’re fishing, some of those spikes fall out. Not a big deal — they’re replaceable — unless you don’t notice that you lost all of the spikes across your heel and you slip and fall.
Consequently, it’s been hard to beat traditional felt soles for traction in a variety of conditions on a variety of rivers. For me, felt soles have provided the most consistently great in-water traction on any river bottom — even on thick and slippery vegetative cover. You cannot go wrong with felt soles.
On the other hand, a handful of states have banned felt soles in fear that they might be a transport medium for invasive species. People who fish in these states have no choice but to go with a rubber-soled wading boot, despite the generally lackluster traction compared to felt.
The aforementioned spikes help, of course, but they’re not a perfect solution. A lot of your success depends on the type of rivers and terrain you cover, how much you weigh, and how hard you are on your gear. Plus, if you use an inflatable raft for fishing, spikes are not your friend.
Enter the Korkers Sole Solution
The Korkers wading boot claim to fame is the company’s Omnitrax Interchangeable Sole System. Korkers wading boots ship with two sole options, usually a rubber sole and a felt sole, but some configurations include studded rubber soles.
What’s great about this system is that you can use felt on your home waters (assuming felt is allowed) and use the rubber soles when you visit new states or watersheds that have banned felt wading boots.
But this system also lets you easily replace a worn out sole without needing to resole the boot or buy a new pair.
Alright, already, what about the Triple Threat Aluminum Hex Soles?
The Korkers Triple Threat Aluminum Hex Disc Soles are the first rubber/studded soles that have seriously competed with felt — at least in my experience with the waters I fish most often. I haven’t gotten to test these in a highly vegetative environment yet, but on smooth slick rocks, steep gravel and rocky banks, they’re damn good.
The question is why? I think the aluminum hex discs are large enough to provide stability across a surface but small enough to offer multiple points of traction across rocky surfaces. Sometimes studded boots can feel as if they are grabbing and slipping at the same time as you move across uneven surfaces while changing pressure points across the sole of the boot as you walk.
The hex design does a great job of covering the entire sole with a consistent pattern that returns a surprisingly consistent feel.
Full aluminum bars, for example, have offered great traction but to make them effective, you end up learning about the bar orientations as you scramble over rocks in and out of the water.
Either way, I was surprised at how much I liked the Korkers hex-sole design. In fact, on two different outings, I wore felt on one foot and the hex soles on the other . . . and I had full confidence in both soles while wading. When it came to navigating steep trails, loose scree, and climbing over boulders along the river bank, I had a similar experience — great traction and confidence from both soles.
Basically, I think it comes down to this: There is a consistency of feel across the hex sole pattern that gave me confidence. (Obviously, felt soles are completely flat, so they’re consistent, too.)
Meanwhile, what about the Korkers “Triple Threat” stuff?
Korkers Triple Threat Soles: Hex, Bars and Carbide Spikes
Each of the soles have the same base rubber sole design with the same screw locations. This lets you remove, for example, the hex disc in the heels and replace them with a single bar instead. Or your could place carbide spikes across the toes of your soles — or mix and match all three.
I’m not sure how well this will actually improve your traction over the already excellent hex discs, but if you’re a bit obsessive-compulsive and spend many days on the water, Korkers is offering pretty astounding flexibility here.
One note: The Korkers Triple Threat line of soles fit into all the Korkers wading boots, but as of now, they are extra add-on sole options and don’t come prepackaged with wading boots themselves.
All-in-all, the Korkers Triple Threat Hex Soles offer traction, stability and consistency of feel across varied terrain, both in and out of the water. They are our current favorite alternative to felt soles. Very highly recommended.