These days there are a ton of wading boots out there, and narrowing down the right boot for you is a challenge, even if you're fairly loyal to a brand. I personally have used wading boots from Simms, Korkers, Orvis, and a few other brands. For this upcoming season, I did quite a bit of research and one of my options was the Korkers Hatchback. With several improvements over previous Korkers boots, the Hatchback looks to be a serious contender for top boot in 2018.
I put the Korkers Hatchback to the test through the fall 2017 season and throughout the winter and spring into 2018. After numerous outings on small streams, larger rivers, and even to some lakes for both float tubing and shore wading action, I feel confident giving my thoughts on the Korkers Hatchback wading boots.
The first and thing you'll notice with these boots, even if you're familiar with Korkers, is the rear entry design. Using a BOA M2 system for tightening the boot instead of laces, the rear entry design offers a few perks. First of all, the boot is much easier to put on and take off than most other wading boots, especially when coming off of the water. It's also nice having a smooth face on the boot. Never a huge problem, but it's nice after coming through a bunch of grass not to have to pick weeds out of your laces as with other boots.
One advantage that Korkers boots have had is the interchangeable sole. Still as easy as ever to swap between felt, rubber, or studded soles, it's a nice perk to be able to adapt your soles to your fishing environment or local regulations, where felt might be banned. I've had Korkers in the past, and I've never had issues with the soles staying put or with having difficulty swapping them out. Others complain that they've struggled at times, but I've yet to have problems.
As far as fit goes, the BOA system allows for you to really dial in on the proper level of snugness you want. The fit is comfortable, but I had to take time to adjust to the Hatchback's stiffer feel. Compared to about any other boot I've used, the Hatchback is far more rigid. At first I wasn't thrilled by the stiffer boot, but after getting used to them, I appreciate the extra support, especially while wading in streams.
The boot itself is highly protective. Strong support makes turning an ankle a practical impossibility, and the sides of the boot are durable enough to take all kinds of punishment from rocks without blowing out, which I've had happen with boots in the past.
The boot also comes higher above the ankle than many other wading boots, which really helps cut down on mud, gravel, and sand from getting into the boot. Gravel guards are great, but the longer length of the boot helps for when guards ride up.
For hiking comfort, the Hatchback is a little bit of a mixed bag. The insole is comfortable, which keeps your feet from aching, but the boot itself is fairly heavy. I've walked a few miles in the boot on varied terrain and have found the boot suitable for hoofing it through grassy or rocky trails, but they're going to be a bit weighty for someone who is doing some backcountry travel of significant length. I've spent long days with short breaks in the boots, and never felt fatigued, however.
Overall, the boot is a tank, yet still remains comfortable once you adjust to the stiffer feel. I've really enjoyed the Hatchback's support, durability, and overall function, and with this being the second boot in a row I've used with BOA systems, I simply can't go back to laces for my daily use wading boot. I have been highly impressed with the Korkers Hatchback and it's an easy recommendation for anybody who is looking for a high support wading boot.
- Comfortable fit once broken in
- Easy on, easy off rear entry design
- BOA M2 system
- Drains water well and dries quickly
- Durable materials
- Changeable soles allows for increased adaptability
- Comfortable insoles reduce foot fatigue
- Out of the box stiffness that needs to be accustomed to
- Heavier than many other wading boots
- Tight fit in some float tubing fins