A change of heart is fine, just drop the shoe price by half and we’ll like you again

vibram As mentioned this morning in Angling Trade, SIMMS has apparently pulled the plug on its self imposed felt ban, and will be making all manner of felt soled wading shoes for 2012.

Naturally we’ll assume that’s it’s the suddenly decreased threat of Didymo that’s the root cause of this change-of-heart, or it may simply be the recognition that angler behavior is the key to invasive species spread, and like prostitution, it’s tough to legislate morality.

Me, I think their holy oath resulted in being spanked smartly in the retail aisle, given any discussion on rubber soles amongst anglers brings great froth, dissent, and much vitriol over their efficacy. Adding additional burden has been the lack of reliable information from shoes owners, given that the same boot is mentioned both as slippery, useless, and wonderful, depending on who’s doing the pontificating.

One industry insider said it best, “Simms tried to score green marketing points at everyone else’s expense, and after they largely succeeded, now want the brown dollars to go with them…”

Nothing like the potential for a downward slide of the sales graph to make folks rethink their commitment to the Pristine.

We know felt is not the only material that has spread invasive species and disease,” Walsh said, “but felt is surely part of the problem. At Simms, we’ve decided to be part of the solution.”

The SIMMS “solution” being to orphan your current shoe, sell you a new rubber variant that is less reliable in slime, then have a sudden change of heart, hoping us anglers follow blindly and buy another set?

Fat chance of that happening, you’ve mortgaged what faith your public had already, Lumpy.

I say SIMMS should drop their shoe price by half, allowing us anglers to purchase two pair, which will allow us to be less infectious as we can swap wet for dry, and potentially restore some of that good will we once had toward vendors.

You can get some good will…  I love SIMMS already – due to the panic caused by their earlier announcement, I scored three sets at $40 when the shops unloaded all that tasty felt  …

10 thoughts on “A change of heart is fine, just drop the shoe price by half and we’ll like you again”

  1. Wow, that is a surprising reversal. Like you, I stocked up on on-sale felt Simms boots, which I plan to use responsibly (same watershed, or drying completely if I take them elsewhere) along with my rubber bottomed ankle-breakers.

  2. I’ve fished rubber soles for years, so while this doesn’t really affect me much, I do think the felt vs rubber issue has highlighted a division in the fly fishing world between the industry-friendly media (magazines and industry-friendly sites) and the independent folks, who were far more critical about being left without a choice between rubber and felt.

    Simms said their rubber gripped as well as felt — and a lot of media repeated it and then never looked back — but that didn’t wash online, at least not for long…

  3. I wonder if it might be possible to order a dozen Didymo Emerging on a #6 hook. I commonly fish the Lil Stinking and have found rubber wading boots to be particularly fond of them. You did so well on the #14 “Parachute” Invasives… I cannot thank you enough.

  4. Although I like a lot of things about this blog (and read it without ever commenting), the one thing I like most of all is that you tell the truth.

    So much of the hipster Fly Fishing media is so liberally slanted toward the “coolness” of being green no matter whether a specific idea or practice makes sense or not.

    While like many of us that are usually silent it’s apparent that you DO care about responsible and realistic conservation – but again like many of us you’re not a nut job about it. Instead you seem to squint a bit with one eye, tilt your head to the side slightly, and then wave the B.S. flag when appropriate.

    I applaud your honesty and I feel blessed to have a blog like this to read.


  5. Welcome aboard Jay, it’s not the popular message to be sure – and I suppose I pay a price in some industry circles, but like you I work for a living – and share some resentment that I can’t afford the sport I hold above all else.

  6. I bought into the Simms hype and spent a pretty penny on some Simms Rivershed boots with the so called Streamtread, they’re not the stickiest of soles. I did need new boots at the time of purchase, but I wish I would have just stuck with the felt soled boots until there was a ban on felt in the US, just another sucker…

  7. The hysteria over needing to ban felt soles has been completely over-blown, and I don’t see it having anything to do specifically with the ‘hipster media’ – the mainstream fishing media got behind the notion that ‘felt is evil’ as dutifully as manufacturers could have ever hoped. NO ONE in the media that I can recall has taken a critical, objective point of view about this, and someone should, because it’s mostly hype and bullshit.

    This bizarre focus on sole material over the last few years has been totally myopic, given the myriad vectors for spreading ANS. Well intentioned, perhaps, but still not seeing the forest for the trees. No matter what the sole material of your boots happens to be, your behavior still needs to be exactly the same – diligent cleaning of all your wading gear. Rubber soles do not absolve you of this in any way.

    If you continue to wear felt soles, and you are good about cleaning your gear, then you are no more at risk for spreading ANS than someone with rubber-soled boots. Let’s focus on behavior as the key to stopping the spread of ANS, not product. Oh wait, except there isn’t any money to be made by focusing on behavior…

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