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Simms gives anglers facts about rubber soles as they reboot for spring

Ban on felt soles and concern over ANS drives consumer interest in rubber-soled wading boots

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BOZEMAN, Mont. (For immediate release) – Anglers across the country are gearing up for the start of a spring fishing season that will likely be different than past seasons – at least where gear is involved.

From Maine to Alaska, anglers wading into waters in 2011 will have to contend with regulations and advisories concerning the use of felt-bottomed wading boots. Maryland and Vermont have banned the use of felt-soled waders and wading boots starting this year and Alaska is set to follow suit in 2012. At least three other states – Oregon, Montana and Maine – are considering bans on felt-soled boots that have been implicated in the spread of aquatic nuisance species like Didymo (or “rock snot”).

Simms Fishing Products took the fly-fishing industry’s lead on this issue in 2009 – voluntarily removing felt-bottomed wading boots from their product line. As the industry’s leader in Vibram® soled wading boots, Simms offers these tips and tactics for anglers figuring out how best to go felt-free this year as the “rubber meets the rowed.”

* ALL RUBBER IS NOT CREATED EQUAL: Manufacturers have been making rubber-soled boots for years, but recent advancements in rubber-making technology have produced new rubber compounds designed for maximum grip in aquatic environments. Simms was the first fly-fishing manufacturer to partner with Vibram® to produce a rubber compound that provides ultimate traction.

* PICK A PATTERN:The lug pattern on the sole of a rubber boot can greatly affect how much traction a boot affords an angler. Look for aggressive tread patterns that provide grip in multiple directions.

* STUD AND CLEAT OPTIONS:Felt soles provided maximum grip when they were studded. The same holds true for rubber boots. Many of today’s rubber-soled boots are equipped to handle screw-in studs and cleats. Simms offers HardBite™ Studs and Star Cleats, as well as molded AlumiBite™ Cleats that are easily inserted into the sole of the boots.

* WHAT TO DO WITH OLD BOOTS: Some cobblers are equipped to resole old wading boots with new rubber soles. Check for a list of cobblers authorized to resole boots with Vibram® soles. Additionally, old boots loaded with a few flowers make for nice centerpieces on tables at Trout Unlimited banquets or in fishing lodges.

* KEEP IT CLEAN:While felt soles have been implicated in the spread of aquatic nuisance species, simply switching to rubber-soled boots does not make the problem go away. Now, more than ever, anglers are urged to “Inspect, Clean and Dry” all fishing gear – not just wading boots – after each use. Anglers are encouraged to log on to for more information, as well as cleaning and drying tips.

* KNOW THE LAWS:Maryland’s felt ban goes into effect March 21 of this year. Vermont’s felt ban begins April 1. Alaska goes felt-free across the state on January 1, 2012. New Zealand had been felt-free for several years. Other states and provinces are expected to follow.

About Simms’ line of StreamTread® footwear.In 2010, Simms became the first fly-fishing manufacturer to discontinue the use of felt in its wading boot line. For 2011, Simms is offering seven models of Vibram® soled wading boots, including the new RiverTek® featuring Boa® lacing system and a women’s specific boot.

Boots and other Simms gear are available at specialty shops and large format retailers around the country. For more information, see Media contact is Matt Crawford at Pale Morning Media (802-583-6069) or