Korkers made waves in the angling community when they announced their rear-entry wading boot which features a BOA lace system located on the back of the boot. Many people, myself included, questioned that design choice. Laces on the front work. Why mess with a good thing?
But after fishing the boots for over a month, it has become clear that Korkers’ new Hatchback boots represent an interesting move in wading boot design and one that likely will fill a void that many anglers didn’t know they were waiting for someone to fill. Thanks to the Hatchback’s unique design, they offer a different level of support and on/off convenience than other boots on the market—making them a strong choice for anglers that have found other wading boots to be lacking in those areas.
I spend anywhere from 150-200 days a year on the water, and a good chunk of those are with guide friends of mine. I see Korkers boots more and more often for the simple reason that they’re built to last.
The Hatchbacks, like other Korkers' offerings, don't skimp on build quality. I’ve put a solid 30 or so trips on these boots since getting them, and they’re showing no signs of wear.
Featuring a new Flow Foam Fit System, the Hatchback boots have much more cushioning on the back of the ankle and heel than previous boots. I have no complaints on how the boots fit around the foot.
Rear Entry/BOA Mount
I didn’t think I’d like rear-entry wading boots. I steer away from those in skiing, and wasn’t sure if the idea would work in fly fishing.
It does, though. There's no denying that getting in and out of your wading boots is much easier with the Hatchback's rear-entry design, meaning that the usual routine of standing next to your car after fishing, squirming, jumping and swearing while trying to get your boot off is largely eliminated. The BOA mount on the rear doesn’t get in the way, either. It’s not more convenient on the back of the boot, but the smooth rear-entry system wouldn’t work without it.
What Doesn’t Work
As mentioned earlier, these boots aren’t as flexible as a more traditional wading boot. While the stiffness of the boot can be a boon to those that need the extra ankle support, it doesn’t make them particularly well suited to long hikes/walk-ins. It can also make attaching the gaiter hook on your gravel guards trickier.
If you chat with the folks at Korkers, you’ll find that this design was mostly intentional. As noted, the Hatchback line wasn’t built to accommodate anglers like me who throw 30 or more hiking miles a month on my wading boots. They’re built to provide extra stability and—primarily—an easier experience getting them on and off.
I’ve always loved my Korkers boots. They last forever, the adaptable traction is incredibly useful, and they never make wading more difficult than it should be.
While the Hatchback isn’t the boot I’d reach for a weekend hiking my way to spring creeks high in the Rockies, they’re a solid choice for anglers who need extra support while wading or are frequently struggling to get their wading boots on and off.
My best advice is to visit your local fly shop (bring your waders) and walk around in the Hatchback before buying. That way you’ll be able to tell if the Hatchback’s stiffer, supporting frame and rear-entry system is right for you.
Johnny Lucid replied on Permalink
Is it possible too that having the BOA on the back of the boot will reduce the likelihood of its breakage or need for repair because it's not stressed as severely as BOA on the front of the boot might be?
Kevin Anderson replied on Permalink
Thanks for this review. I likewise love Korkers both for comfort and versatility. I've also spent a lot of time hiking in my entry-level pair, and have found them to be comfortable and durable (they are now in their 4th year of heavy use, and while they show wear, nothing has come apart).
I was giving the rear entry boot serious thought, so your review has helped make my decision to stick with front entry, but go with the boa lacing for ease of entry.
Fred Rickson replied on Permalink
What does BOA stand for. It would be nice to have acronyms explained for those of us who live in the dark. Thanks.-
Chad Shmukler replied on Permalink
It's not an acronym. It is, I believe, a play off the word "boa" (as in snake). It's a lacing system that's become fairly common these days. You'll find it on all different kinds of athletic footwear.
More info here: https://www.theboasystem.com
Fred Rickson replied on Permalink
Chad....thank you...I'm just too old.