Hendrix Outdoors Gunnison River Wading
A Product Review By Joseph Cornwall
Click Above For The Fly Fish Ohio
Back in October 2010 I was asked to present at the
Conclave of the Southern Council of the Federation of Fly Fishers.
I enjoyed my time at the show; itís an outstanding multi-day event held in
Mountain Home, Arkansas close to the White River watershed. While I was
wandering through the show floor I happened upon an exhibit from
It was a new name to me, so I had to take a look.
Hendrix Outdoors is a fishing products distributor based out of Fallon,
Nevada thatís been in business for more than 40 years.
Adams, Sales Manager for Hendrix Outdoors, was representing the company at
the show and he explained to me that about 10 years ago Hendrix quietly
began manufacturing and importing products under their own brand name.
Today Hendrix has a broad selection of branded items including rods and
reels, jackets, nets, waders, wading boots and more. I was impressed
with the quality of the jackets and waders on display. Mont and I
began discussing the current trend away from felt soles towards products
that are less likely to transport invasive species, and he mentioned that
Hendrix Outdoors was bringing in a new line of affordable wading boots
right at the end of the year.
For four years Iíve worn Korkers guide boots. They replaced a long line
of boots that never lasted more than a season, or at best two. I have
studded felt soles, plain felt soles and the first generation of the
Kling-On soles for my Korkers. I love the studded felts and really like
the plain felts, but I thought the rubber soles were for the birds. I
often thought tha,t with the traction they provide on algae-covered rocks,
Iíd be better off wearing roller skates while I waded. Iíd mentioned my
aversion to the new generation of felt-free solutions to Mont and he
assured me the new Hendrix boots were not only competitive in build
quality, but the traction of Hendrix new studded rubber sole was better,
too. I quickly arranged to review the product once it became available.
The Hendrix Gunnison River wading boots feature a synthetic leather and
polyester mesh upper for support and durability, a reinforced, rubberized
heel and toebox for protection, and a padded insole. The lug sole has a
modest traction lug profile with a series of fifteen metal studs on the
size 12 boots I wear. The rubber soles feel resilient and spongy in hand,
but not significantly different than the texture of the Korkers soles.
Right away I felt this was going to be a ďlove themĒ or ďhate themĒ
The Hendrix boots have a very good lacing system. Itís not the equal of
the Korkers Boa lacing system, but at less than half the price I didnít
expect point-for-point competition. The Boa system is the best Iíve ever
used, bar none. That said, the Hendrix Gunnison River boots surprised me
with a simple lacing topology that really does cinch up comfortably and
hold all day, even when the boot is saturated with water. So far Iíve
found the Hendrix boots exhibit very little stretch when wet and,
conversely, don't seem to shrink much when drying (so no presoaking
needed). The lacing system, a personal pet pieve, didn't
demand constant adjustment of the laces to keep a snug, supportive fit. A
Iíve worn the Gunnison boots on a number of outings so far, including
scrambling along snow and ice covered creek banks, moss-covered ledge
rock, algae-coated free stone stream beds, gravel and sand. Iíve also
worn the boots while hiking in a foot of snow along a game trail at the
top of a levy. In short, Iíve given these boots plenty of chances to drop
me on my keister, and theyíve come through with flying colors!
The Hendrix Gunnison wading boots offer reasonably good ankle support, but
in this respect they arenít the very best Iíve ever worn. These are boots
that are best deployed on creeks, rivers or lakes where extreme climbing
isnít necessary, and where the watershed is characterized by a lack of
baseball to basketball sized rocks that can put a lot of stress on your
ankles. The Gunnison boots scored a competent level of performance.
The soles of the boots and well-constructed toe and heel protection do
keep a waderís feet from bruises. I felt quite comfortable
poking around sharp ledges and sudden breaks in the rock bottom. Unlike
some other low cost boots, I never felt a stab of pain from a sharp rock
poking into the arch of my foot or my soles while traversing difficult
stretches of stream. These are comfortable wading boots with
excellent foot protection!
The big question, of course, is traction. In this regard the Hendrix
Gunnison wading boots didnít disappoint. The lay-out of the spikes on the
sole is such that the boot provided an excellent grip on flat ledge rock,
gravel or sand bottoms, mud banks and ďcross countryĒ hiking to a fishing
access. Because the spikes are spread out, and there are sections where a
bottom of smaller rocks wonít make contact with the spikes, I did find
that these boots occasionally slipped when wading over round, smooth
stones that are golf ball to soft ball in size. The Hendrix boots would
be ideal for Cape Cod Canal, Pennsylvaniaís Spring Creek, Ohioís Mad River
or similar locales.
While Iíd recommend the Gunnison for most warm and cold water applications, Iíd
opt for studded felts if I were fishing a really demanding river like
Minnesotaís Snake (characterized by slime-covered watermelon-shaped rocks
sitting on polished baseball sized roller-bearings Ė a brutal river to
wade!), Calgaryís Bow or sections of West Virginiaís New River.
All in all, the studded Hendrix Gunnison wading boots performed
significantly better than non-studded Korkers Kling-on soles, about the
same as plain felts under most circumstances, and not quite as ďstickyĒ as
studded felts in more extreme environments. At the $99 price point these
boots sell for, this is an excellent level of performance and would serve any
serious angler well. Iíll be wearing them all season and Iíll report back
regarding their longevity, but at this point Iím thrilled that there is a
high quality, affordable wading boot solution available at retailers
across the nation and via the web. We're looking forward to seeing a cross
section of the full Hendrix line-up. If the rest of their products
are as good as the Gunnison River wading boots, we'll all have a reason to
celebrate. Well done, Hendrix! Recommended!