As an avid wade fisherman on the Texas coast I am always looking for gear that can up my game. Sometimes that means the shiniest new lures that don’t really work better than everything else in the box but we all know how that works! Sometimes it is about comfort out on the water or in this case, a little bit of comfort and safety rolled into one. If you have spent much time in the water you know about stingrays and the danger they present. I grew up fishing Rockport down to the Laguna Madre and was taught to always shuffle your feet to avoid stepping on a stingray.
I never really gave a whole lot of thought to the boots I had seen at Academy made by Everlast until one day at Estes Flats about 5 years ago and we were drifting and I touched the back of a stingray with my rod tip, holy crap that thing EXPLODED! I expected like a rattlesnake strike, a quick jab and that was it. NOPE. This thing thrashed it’s tail for several seconds. Before my next trip out I went to Academy and bought a pair of Everlast boots. I felt much more protected from not only stingrays but also underwater hazards like oysters and I have seem all kinds of debris that could cut you up. With the apparent rise of Vibrio which is a flesh eating bacteria in the hot months, protecting your feet and shins against cuts is a damned good idea as well. Growing up we used to go into the saltwater if you got a cut, but that stuff is scary. It’s not going to prevent me from going fishing or wading but I am also not going to knowingly put myself at risk. We carry antiseptic soap on the boat that is used for surgeons should someone get a cut.
While I liked the protection the Everlast boots provided I also rather hated them. They were heavy and a pain to put on and off. First time out my shins got shafed badly too. Fast forward a few years and I hear about the Bart’s Bay Armor boots made of soft kevlar. No buckles to mess with and made of a soft impenetrable kevlar. There was a video of the owner stabbing them with a knife while wearing them! I ordered a pair as did my brother Mike. We both immediately fell in love with them. Lightweight, easy on and off and VERY comfortable. I don’t even feel the need to wear socks with them on shorter wades.
I waited a year to write this review as I wanted to see how they held up and I am happy to report they are doing great and I like them so much I am ordering a pair for my son for an upcoming trip and will retire his old Everlast boots for guest use.
Highly recommended 5 stars