Where other brands fail, Korkers nails it with a women’s wading boot that isn’t subpar.
The women’s Darkhorse wading boots from Korkers are in a category all their own. Korkers is exclusively an outdoor footwear company, so the boots aren’t just an afterthought. They have unique features and a comfort level I haven’t found anywhere else.
Typically, women’s wading boot options are slim. To be blunt, I think many companies half-ass their women’s boots out of sheer obligation to provide an option. These are not that.
In short: This may be a bold statement, but I genuinely feel that the Korkers Darkhorse ($210) boots might be the best pair of women’s wading boots out there.
Korkers Darkhorse Women’s Wading Boots Review
Comfortable Wading Boots
The words “comfortable” and “wading boot” don’t typically find themselves in the same sentence. Most of my wading boots have felt more like my old Rollerblades from the ’90s. They’re stiff, unforgiving, and sometimes don’t even feel like they’re shaped like a human foot.
Wading boots just aren’t cozy.
I’m not going to tell you that the Darkhorse feels like a pair of sneakers or even a hiking boot — because they don’t. However, they are the closest I’ve found. Even after a long day on the river and plenty of treks back to the shore, and even to the truck, I find myself not immediately wanting to get them off my feet as I have with other boots. They’re clearly built with comfort as an intention.
The function of a good wading boot just doesn’t lend itself to comfort. They need to be rigid to provide a good, stable foundation on unsure terrain. An overstructured upper needs to be a bit stiff to provide ankle protection. It’s just the nature of the beast. That all being said, these boots don’t hurt. That’s a drastic improvement over many of my boots from the past.
As far as heft, they are shockingly lightweight. When you look at them compared to other boots, they do appear like they’ll be clunky and heavy, but they’re anything but. They feel light on the foot, and the drainage system helps prevent water retention, which only helps them feel lighter.
These boots do take some getting used to; they feel a bit like moon boots. They have an interchangeable outsole, which adds a strange feeling of height to them.
That additional sole isn’t overly thick, but I think it’s that extra layer on top of an already substantial boot that gives it a bit of a Frankenstein’s monster feel.
Mind you, this is a reach as it’s early noticeable, but it’s worth noting if you prefer minimalism in a boot. (In all honesty, it could be perception more than anything.)
Wading Boots With Interchangeable Outsoles
On the note of interchangeable soles: How cool is that? Korkers wading boots have been around for a while, and even back at their inception, the outsole was the focus. The idea that you could have one boot with multiple different treads for different scenarios is a total game-changer.
Whether you want felt soles in an area where they’re permitted or hardcore studded soles for rugged terrain, you have a ton of options available to you.
Not only does it broaden the function of the boot, but it’s also eco- and wallet-friendly. The sole is almost always what fails first on a boot, wading or otherwise. Why replace an entire boot when you can just order a new set of outsoles? It reduces your cost and the impact on the environment from needlessly discarding boots.
It’s also just slick that you can keep the same pair of boots regardless of season or terrain.
Traditional laces on a pair of wading boots suck. There’s no nice way to put it. They get caked in muck and are gross to deal with. Eventually, they get brittle and develop weak spots. Laces just don’t work well in wet environments.
The BOA Fit System available on Korkers boots is slick. Twist the dial to tighten the thin wire laces, then pull to loosen.
Easy on. Easy off.
They get tight and secure with a solid hold all day. One little pop! and they’re open.
One downside that I’ve heard is that the BOA system can get a bit “crunchy” if you live in a particularly sandy area. I’ve never had any problem with that. However, I know an angler with this issue. He just hoses off his boots, and everything runs smoothly again.
I won’t waste too much more time on the lacing system other than to say that I never want to mess with muddy, nasty laces again. The BOA Fit System just works.
Is the Korkers Darkhorse Worth It?
Yup. I obviously haven’t owned mine for a lifetime yet, but with proper care, I don’t see why I would ever have to buy another pair of wading boots. If you spend a lot of time on the water, they are worth the investment.
On top of that, Korkers has a one-year warranty from manufacturing defects, and they are incredibly customer service-oriented.
If you’re also looking for a pair of waders to wear with your fancy new wading boots, check out our list of Best Women’s Fishing Waders.