Rated 5 out of 5 by KDCD1980 Great for FRESHWATER wading
Tired of reading all the negative reviews, I think these boots are great! I do not use them in the sand and from other reviews it appears they aren't good in that setting and the BOA closure breaks.
My experience, one year, about 40 outings, fly fishing in MA, CT, NH, streams has been great! Easy on and off, comfortable and stable. What else do you need? Still going strong and if something bad does happen I know that LL Bean will take care of it.
July 14, 2014
Rated 1 out of 5 by HBLocal One BIG flaw
This boot is excellent in almost every way. It is light, sturdy, secure, has decent grip, is durable, and the BOA lacing system is awesome. However, the one VERY serious flaw is the two vents on the inside of the boot. These vents are designed to allow water to drain out, which they do well, but also have a mesh screen on each of the vents to keep sand/dirt etc. from entering. THIS is the design flaw. My first pair had one of the screens knocked out after only a few uses, so I returned them. I have just worn my second pair for about the 4th or 5th time and had BOTH mesh screens on one boot and ONE on the other become damaged and disappear. The result is a lot of debris and sand making its way inside the boot, making it very uncomfortable and irritating. I will be returning this pair as well (L.L. Bean's return policy is legendary, no secret there), but I feel very strongly that this is either a big design flaw, or they got a bad batch of boots. It's really a shame, because aside from this one thing, the boot is great. If you don't fish or hike in dirt, sand, or muddy environments, these would work, otherwise, be careful.
July 12, 2014
Rated 2 out of 5 by BWOlive Size and Sand in the Boa Closure
As I wear a #12 street shoe, that was the size of boot I ordered. It was much too large, but LLB promptly replaced my return with a #11. This was also a bit large, but I could accommodate it when wearing boot-foot waders and two pairs of medium-weight wool socks. I suspect the ideal size would have been 10 1/2 if this had been available.
The problem that caused me to return the boots for a refund was the boa closure becoming clogged with sand after three hours in the stream. The knob was difficult to pull out, and I was concerned that the effort needed might break it. When putting the boots back on, the sand in the knob mechanism clogged it to the point that I did not know whether I would be able to tighten the boot, and afterwards, to release it without breaking it. After returning home, I sprayed the mechanism with a high-pressure hose to try to clean out the sand, but with no success. This was disappointing, because other aspects of the boot's construction were excellent. They were comfortable and made for solid footing on rock and gravel. If the boa closure were to be improved through better engineering, I would considering purchasing another pair to give them another try.
April 24, 2014
Rated 3 out of 5 by Harve15 Sizing an issue
I ordered a pair of these boots in July in my normal size 10 - I must note that I also own the upland LL Bean BOA boot and I absolutely love them and they fit perfectly... When I received the fishing boots and tried them on, the size 10 that I ordered was way too big! Like not even close. After years of dealing with cold hands in the morning cranking down on laces to get them tight, the opportunity to just turn a dial is very attractive. I am concerned however about the other reviews re: the sand issue, although I do not get into much sand here in the Pacific NW. I will probably order a size 9 in this boot and see what happens.
March 15, 2013
Rated 2 out of 5 by flyfishr Good, but...
Wish someone would have had a sand related review before I purchased these. I fish the surf in MA a few times a year and sand combined with the boa system is not good. If there is any kind of wave action, the boa gets clogged/packed with sand making it very difficult to take your boots off. Agree with others in that these run big and you want to order a size down. I have narrow feet and rarely felt steady while wading on my home rivers and creeks here in Colorado (too much slop inside). These boots are well made, really tough and will work great for some, but they didn't work well for me. My fair rating is based on the issues with sand and my narrow foot. If you don't fish in the surf and have a regular or wide foot, you may find these the best boot ever.
December 10, 2012
Rated 2 out of 5 by Quack4 Sand!!
The boot is great....unless you fish in sandy areas. If you fish the surf, sand will get into the boa system and wear down the plastic gear teeth in short order. I use gravel guards and spend most of my time on the rocks but must traverse sandy waters to get to my fishing locations. I have had sand penetrate the knob on every outing.
The knob can be disassembled and cleaned relatively easily, but at that point, the convenience of the boa system laces is lost and the boots would be better served with a traditional lacing system.
On the plus side: Boa has a very easy, on-line system for ordering replacement parts and their customer service has been excellent. And if all else fails, LL Bean has always backed all of their products.
FYI: The boots run large. I wear a size 14 shoe and ordered a size 13 boot (after returning the size 14) which has more than enough room for stocking foot waders and wool socks.
December 3, 2012
Rated 1 out of 5 by CassadyinWNY Sad
My first impressions of these boots were great: they were comfortable, the studs clung to slimy boulders, and man were they easy to get on because of the Boa enclosure, which stands in for shoelaces. I was booted up and ready before any of my friends. Sadly, this turned out to be the downfall -- after only six months of use, the wire broke, rendering one of the boots basically unusable. Thank goodness I wasn't on a multi-day trip away from home (and civilization)! It's kind of sad, because these boots are a great idea, just not well realized.
Fortunately, LL Bean has an amazing returns policy.
November 18, 2012
Rated 4 out of 5 by SheboyganFallsLLBeanFan Review after 10 days of fishing
I?ve used my new River Treads for 10 days of wading in a wide spectrum of rivers from large, western, pushy rivers and cascading, almost dangerous, rivers requiring boulder scrambling to quiet, heavily silted rivers with muddy banks as well as for significant hiking to and from the fishing. This covers the vast majority of activities that a wading fisherman would do except for winter fishing on icy rivers. I hope my assessment will help you choose the best wading boots for you.
I will always take a superior product over customer service, but if everything is equal customer service becomes important especially if you have to use mail order as I do since no local fly shop is available to try different boots and sizes. Some brands approach, but nobody beats LLBean?s guarantee or customer service. Since I use a LLBean credit card, I have free shipping both ways allowing me to order several boots or sizes, returning those that don?t fit or meet my expectations.
This is a new model, but my 3rd River Tread boots so I?ve had experience with Aqua Stealth (LLBean) soles. Both Aqua Stealth and Vibram soles, used by some other brands, get similar reviews on the internet, and I can?t define a significant difference in grip.
Since I don?t use drift boats or wear my wading boots indoors, and as I?m getting older and could use more grip and balance, I tried studs this time. I?ve not used studs previously and worried that the studs may slip when scrambling on dry boulders. One LLBean expert recommended trying the studs and returning the boots even after use if necessary. I don?t like to use and return things, but LLBean?s excellent customer service gave me the confidence to try the studs. The studs worked OK during rock scrambling as long as I avoided very flat, extremely angled rocks. While I didn?t do a direct comparison, the studs didn?t seem to have a down side for me and may be helpful in certain conditions.
I can easily replace or tie knots in broken shoe laces in an ?emergency? so I worry how reliable the BOA closure will be. The BOA closure has a life time warranty, and with LLBean?s guarantee you?re covered for failure. However, neither of these help if the closure fails on a fishing trip. Maybe I?ll carry extra laces along just in case for emergency closure! I assume I can always force the closure to open if needed. For my 10 days of fishing so far, the BOA closure has worked as expected, and I like it.
The BOA closure has both positives and negatives as related to size, and proper sizing for a wading boot is important for comfort and safety. I?m a size 12 with a narrow foot and skinny ankle. As shoe laces don?t release easily, I?ve usually gotten a size 13 boot for easy on and off and put up with a sloppy boot with less support. The BOA closure releases easily, opening the boot wide allowing a better fitting boot and still having easy on and off, a significant positive. However, the BOA closure has limited tightening capability, a definite negative. Don?t get too large a boot or it won?t tighten adequately for good support. After river use and rock scrambling, it was clear that the BOA closure didn?t tighten adequately for me in the recommended size 12 boot. The River Treads are cut very large, so I ordered a size 11 to try. I?ve used the 11?s for three days of fishing which included some long hikes. The 11?s have much better support, are still reasonably easy to get on and off, and still have plenty of toe room with a heavy sock and my neoprene booties. I wish the BOA closure would tighten slightly more for rock scrambling, but they do tighten adequately for all other hiking and wading. I?m definitely keeping them.
I would, and have, recommended these boots to other fisherman. Just be sure to try on in your living room, so you can send one pair back unused, not only your recommended size, but one size smaller especially if you have narrow feet and skinny ankles. Toe room is still the most important consideration, but if you wade any challenging rivers be sure the BOA closure tightens adequately for support. Remember that boots always seem to loosen in the water.
October 24, 2012
Rated 4 out of 5
by FloatFishingConnection Truth Be Told
I received a pair of these boots and used them during several days of fishing the Loyalhanna in Pennsylvania of the week following opening day (April 14,2012). If you know this river, you know how slippery the rocks can be. Given that the flow was considerably lower and the temperature much warmer than in previous years, the slime coat on the rocks was that much worse. With that in mind, would I say that the tread performs better than felt...Um, no! Thanks to the carbide studs, the few times I did begin to slide...I was saved from taking a dip. I'm not sure I would have been happy with them without the studs though. As far as fit is concerned, I wear a size 10.5-10.75 size shoe and I ordered a size 13. I put a lot of time on local Ohio rivers fishing for steelhead in the coldest months, so I felt additional size upping was a must. I was a bit worried that this may have been overkill given some other reviews about ordering your usual shoe size, but found them quite warm given the extra room. Comparably to the lesser priced-less quality boots that I've owned in the past, I found that the construction of these boots excelled in the way the foot was designed. The tallness and wideness of the foot is quite spacious. If you plan on wearing a couple pairs of socks, you'll like the fact that the boot isn't pressure fitted to your foot. The extra room allows good circulation and insulation from the elements. The boa closure worked great and as commented by a previous poster, when the laces where opened all the way...getting my wader's neoprene boot and my foot in and out of the boot itself is a breeze. Best of all, no smashed toes due to the bootie being pulled toward the heel when inserting the feet either!
Overall, I give them a 4 out of 5 because I felt they needed about double the amount of studs that are currently on them. I'll be ordering a kit to make this upgrade happen on my pair.
April 19, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by Bulbous Run Small
I wear a size 10.5 tennis shoe. I ordered a 10 but it was WAY too big. I ended up getting a size 9 which was spot on. Plenty of room for thick socks and neoprene waders. Boots are very well constructed and dry out fast. Easy on and easy off. The BOA closure system is great!
April 9, 2012