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Orvis Women’s Encounter Wading Boot Review

- published June 2017

84

2017

RATINGS

Fit
7
Traction
8
Support
7
Weight
7
Features
8
Durability
7
GEAR INSTITUTE RATING
84

SHOP

MSRP
LOW PRICE
$119.00
Support Gear Institute. If you make a purchase after clicking on the links above, a portion of the sale helps support this site.

THE GOOD

  • Versatile lacing options
  • Solid support
  • Sneaker-like flex and comfort
  • Hook for gravel guard
  • Good value

THE BAD

  • High-volume toe
  • Somewhat weighty

THE VERDICT

Cheaper than many of the boots in this test, the Orvis Women's Encounter Wading Boot offers an excellent value, and it does a better job than most at adapting to a wide variety of foot widths though at the cost of being a little on the heavy side.

FULL REVIEW

Fit
The Encounter looks like a high-volume boot, and I expected my foot to swim in it. But to my surprise, I found that the supple, meshy upper allowed me to cinch the laces tightly across the instep. Thus, I could take up excess volume through the midfoot. The heel pocket was still slightly loose—enough to let my heel slip up and down a very little bit while hiking—and the toe remained roomy. But the laces adjust to suit an array of fit issues: I could wear thin socks and still enjoy a comfortably close fit, or I could double up on socks (or use a neoprene liner in addition to my waders’ booties). 

Traction
The Vibram rubber sole feels grippy on dirt paths and dry boulders, but offers mid-pack performance underwater. It delivers trustworthy (but not failsafe) traction, so I occasionally felt my foot slipping off rounded or slimy rocks.

Support
The underfoot construction delivers good protection from poky rocks, and the broad sole provides stability. Yet this boot also flexes more than the others we tested, so it feels more like a Converse All-Star high-top sneaker than a blocky, cumbersome boot. I appreciated that sensitivity while scrambling through rockpiles and downed branches. Yet despite the easy flex, I found it to be supportive enough for wading across rocky riverbeds.

Weight
Despite the sneaker-like feel, this is one of the heavier boots tested, and its tendency to hold water makes it particularly burdensome during post-fishing hikes.

Features
There are no drainage ports, so the Encounter picks up water weight, but there’s a hook for attaching a gravel guard to the toe.

Durability
The Encounter pairs lightweight mesh with thick, abrasion-resistant synthetics and rubber where abuse is most likely.

How We Tested It

The boots in this test were used while wade-fishing across the Rockies, from northern New Mexico to southern Idaho to my backyard trout stream, the Yampa River in Colorado. Conditions included algae-cloaked rocks, gravel, sand, muck, and dryland hiking up to 4 miles on access trails.

For more reviews beyond this 2017 test, check out our Fly Rod tests, Fly Fishing Pack tests, and other related fishing gear tests

The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.

About the Author

Kelly Bastone

Kelly Bastone

For writer and outdoorswoman Kelly Bastone, gear-testing is just part of the daily routine: Her home in Steamboat Springs, Colorado puts world-class skiing, mountain biking, and fly-fishing right outside her door. Read her work at kellybastone.com

Shop for the Orvis Women’s Encounter Wading Boot

MSRP
LOW PRICE

$119.00
Support Gear Institute. If you make a purchase after clicking on the links above, a portion of the sale helps support this site.

Comments

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MSRP
LOW PRICE
$119.00
Support Gear Institute. If you make a purchase after clicking on the links above, a portion of the sale helps support this site.

RATINGS

Fit
7
Traction
8
Support
7
Weight
7
Features
8
Durability
7
GEAR INSTITUTE RATING
84

Specs

  • Gender: Women's

Weight

3 lbs

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