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Rockhopper Wading Boots from Snowbee

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Snowbee Rockhopper in action hopping up a ladder in this case! Snowbee Rockhopper in action hopping up a ladder in this case!

These neoprene soft wading boots are an interesting option compared to the more normal style of boot most anglers will be familiar with. They originated from the sea angling industry in Japan so do they have a role to play for UK and European anglers?

They Say

Our new Rockhopper Wading Boots originated in Japan for Rock fishing, where good grip is essential.
Fitted with our unique Spike Sole, these boots offer the ultimate grip on any surface – particularly weed covered rocks, where other soles fail. The flexible, hardened steel spikes cut down through the weed, to grip the rock below and will even grip in icy conditions.
Neoprene uppers with a side zip closure they are equally suitable for ‘wet wading’ in the summer months or overseas.
rockhopperPlease Note: For use over Stockingfoot waders, we recommend you go up one size on your normal shoe size. 
RRP: £49.99 - available in sizes 4-12.
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We Say

While not warm enough to try these wet wading with shorts, I did pair them with Snowbee's excellent Prestige ST stockingfoot waders recently when I took them down my favourite small Sussex trout stream to give them a thorough workout.
The first impression was a slightly strange one in that because of the soft neoprene uppers, there is a much more tactile and flexible feel to wearing them than you would get with a more traditional wading boot. This of course also makes them very comfortable, the bedroom slippers of the wading world if you like. In an open environment like sandy flats or smooth river bottoms and on flat rock this is great but where there are roots and rocks you do feel the albeit cushioned blows where you are wading more than perhaps in a standard harder boot. I did not find this an issue personally but I do think it will suit certain styles of wading and anglers over others.
Thanks to a large side zipper they are very easy to put on and take off and I can certainly appreciate that these would be very useful in a travelling anglers bag as they compress down quite well, again thanks to the neoprene upper.
The spike sole functioned very well in my view with the spikes not being a nuisance when hiking to the stream as they have a degree of flexibility themselves also, whereas the more normal larger fixed stud makes much more of a clatter and a potentially dangerous hike on certain hard surfaces as we all know. They also performed well on the slippery rocks and weir sills I had to negotiate in the stream with not a slip or a slide encountered. The only minor niggle perhaps is that they did not drain fully once out of the water so it was a bit of a squelch back to the car - easily remedied of course by quickly removing (thanks to the zip!), emptying and replacing before starting the hike back.
Although I did not get the chance to test them in a saltwater environment which is what they were originally designed for, I fully expect that these would be perfect for clambering over seaweed encrusted rocks and ledges where the spikes would really give the grip necessary to stay upright. Rockhoppers by name and nature!

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