Leeda Volare Wading Boots – Review

Leeda Volare Wading Boots – Review

Easy on the eye – they do look ‘the business’

south-devon-bass-guide-wading-boot-review

 

Searching for a replacement

Following the demise of my previous wading boots – my felt/studded soled ‘Vision Keepers’ that had lasted me nearly 2 years (albeit with a DIY repairs), the replacements were certainly going to have a hard act to follow.

Yes, wading boots, sharp rocks and salt water do not mix, but even though they are built for the freshwater scene I still believe that if you thoroughly rinse them out after each sea fishing session, that they should last at least a whole season – or a year for that matter.

So after trawling the web for a pair of suitable and similar replacements I was extremely disappointed to discover that the number of felt/studded sole wading boots available were very few and far between – due primarily to the fact the many of the leading tackle companies have stopped making them (as felt potentially spreads evasive aquatic species).

I didn’t really want to spend over £50, and I definitely didn’t want to spend over £100! Therefore, I eventually settled on these Leeda Volare wading boots with rubber soles, with the promise that they were fully compatible with studs. I ended up paying £34.99 for them (in a sale) which I felt was a very decent price – one worth taking a risk for anyway considering they were £49.99 everywhere else.

I went for the size 9 boot – one size larger than my normal shoe size, which I admit, surprised me too considering I (and everyone else I know) have always bought wading boots two sizes bigger. But having spoken to the gentleman from the on-line tackle store, he convinced me that one size would be perfect – and he was spot on.

Upon delivery, the stockingfoot on my breathable chest waders slotted beautifully into the shoe – I was very pleased to not be sending them back and to be ordering the next size up as I had a guiding session to conduct the following day!

My review

Key Features of the Leeda Volare wading boots (their description):

  • Constructed using super lightweight materials
  • Incorporating a reinforced toe rand and padded ankle support
  • Gives superb comfort for wading over long periods of time
  • Specially designed wading sole gives ultimate grip on all surfaces
  • Compatible with screw in studs
  • Quick lacing system and rear finger loop
  • Makes it easy work for getting the boots on and off
  • Weight – 1.50kg

My initial thoughts were…

Comfort –

They are very comfortable underfoot – almost trainer like. They did feel extremely light compared to most wading boots I have previously worn and because I only went for the one size up from my normal shoe size, it didn’t feel like I had a couple of giant boats on my feet.

Support –

The ankle area is cushioned (as you’d expect of course) and they did fit very snuggly and were supportive around this area – going well so far!

Stud compatibility –

I had already bought some Wading Boot studs therefore within 10 minutes of the boots arriving I was screwing them in – I must admit to being slightly worried at this point as the soles felt a little bit too soft to me…

Quick lacing system –

This isn’t anymore advanced than any other walking boot, trainer or shoe. That said, the boot is very easy to get on due to the lightweight materials and supple tongue.

Ultimate grip on all surfaces –

I did like the ‘cross’ design so they certainly looked like they would grip very well however, as there is often a requirement for me to walk on flat, wet, very slippery rocks then I would always prefer to be wearing felt plus studs – so time out on the rocks would tell here…

Built to last?

To be fair, as I mentioned on my Facebook page – for £35 if they lasted me a season I’d be ecstatic – if they lasted me a month I’d be unhappy and would probably be asking for my money back.

4 weeks and 30 hours of (hard) use later…

Comfort –

These wading boots are very, very comfortable and you can indeed wear them for long periods of time. Whether you’re wearing them across the most uneven of rocks, over sand or generally walking between marks along the grassy/muddy coastal path they haven’t rubbed at all – brilliant.

Support –

Again, no issues. The ankle support is still as rigid as it was when I first slipped them on.

Stud compatibility –

This is where things start to go downhill. As far as stud location is concerned – I screwed 5 in and around the front (ball) of the sole and 3 in the back (heel area) however, after each session I was missing half of them on my return – I was definitely screwing them in tight. My concerns about the sole being too soft were realised.

Quick lacing system –

The laces have stayed intact but the eyelets and surrounding areas are starting to rust quite badly – see below.

Not quite so attractive now

p1050461

Ultimate grip on all surfaces –

A very bold claim. If I hadn’t inserted the studs (and kept replacing them after each session) then I am positive I would have gone a*** over t** on quite a few occasions! Put simply – I would not be wearing these boots on the shoreline without studs.

Built to last?

The images below paint a thousand words… After 30 hours of walking and fishing they are falling to pieces. The soles are coming away, the eyelets are rusting and the vent rings are falling out.

All this despite these Leeda Volare wading boots being rinsed and washed under tap water after each session. I could attempt to glue the soles back together but I suspect that within another 10 hours of wearing them they’ll be in exactly the same condition – or worse.

The soles have degraded at an alarming rate

p1050462

p1050460

p1050459

Conclusions

I really wanted to ‘love’ these wading boots and I’d hoped that, at the very least, they would last me until the end of this Bass season – 31 January 17. I could cope with spending £35 for a pair of boots that could endure 3 and a half months of my use. A tenner a month for something that is vital to my safety, comfort and overall enjoyment would be worth it, but 4 weeks is not acceptable in my opinion.

I won’t be buying them again which is a pity as they were, and still are, very comfortable and light. However, the lack of grip, soft soles and almost ‘rust on impact’ with saltwater observation really puts me off spending even this modest (in wading boots terms) amount of money on them again.

Back to the drawing board – looking at DIY safety boots next… Cheap, supposedly bullet proof and with a lot more grip – watch this space.

Marc Cowling

 

 

 

 

 

4 Comments

  1. Really good to get this info. Glad I had a look. I’m a year and a half on with my sciera’s now. Took 8 months to loose my first stud. .?supetgluef them in 48 hrs before I used them . They’re not light but are very comfortable . They’ll last at least as long again.. . (Are you free to go out guiding at all in the next few days / weeks . If so I am free to go anytime at all .

    Like

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