Simms Challenger Mid Deck Shoes Review
One of my favorite times to be on the water is when it's raining. Although the fishing can be absolutely phenomenal, it can also be absolutely miserable if you're not 100% prepared for the adverse conditions. Even if much of your body stays dry, having wet feet will likely make you feel cold and uncomfortable all day long. I've certainly been there before, but footwear like the new Simms Challenger Mid Deck Shoes help me avoid these situations.
These shoes are designed tall to provide more substantial coverage over a typical low-top style and feature a tough, abrasion-resistant mesh with TPU overlays in high-wear areas and a membrane that's waterproof and breathable. To reduce line snags, there's also a low-profile lacing system.
Simms gives the interior an anti-microbial treatment along with a molded arch support and heel cup.
For wet or dry grip, Simms uses outsole-grade EVA with micro-siped rubber pods in wear-prone areas. Of course, the treads are non-marking.
The best test of these shoes came recently on a trip out to Northern California. During my first day on the water, we fished in cold, moderate rain the whole day and my feet were comfortable the entire time. In addition, the material of these shoes keep my feet dry and warm without that nasty clammy "airtight" feeling. I also wanted to test the shoes by placing the main parts under a direct stream of faucet water, and moisture did not seep through the material whatsoever.
With the taller design and different tongue design, these shoes don't slip on quite as easily for me as a typical low-top shoe. However, by loosening up the laces a bit more than usual, they go on without a huge effort.
I'm a size 12 and these fit me just fine. I would definitely call my pair true-to-size. Coming from someone who never wears high-top shoes, one thing I noticed immediately was a little pinching just above the ankle. Although noticeable for me, the shoes remain plenty comfortable to wear for many hours—as I have done thus far!
The tread design seems to do its job well. From concrete, to nonskid, to carpet, and even jumping from a boat deck onto soaked shoreline grass, I never slipped up or skidded out.
These shoes have proven to be excellent in both wet and dry conditions. I used to wear clunky rain boots for boat or bank fishing in the rain, so it's nice to have an option that's more comfortable, easier to move around in, and looks like a more typical shoe/boot.
Simms offers Challenger Mid Deck Shoes in sizes 8–14 in the carbon (as tested) color. They sell for $139.95 on the Simms website.
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