The Sad Demise of the Danner River Gripper
By Doc Trout
I have a pair of positively ancient Danner River Gripper wading boots that, in my opinion, are the best wading boot for wet wading that has ever been designed. Unfortunately, mine are now nearing the end of their life span since the felt on the sole is starting to get a bit slick and the nylon mesh on the side is torn in a couple of places. Thus, I got on the Web the other day to look for a new pair and I was very sad to discover that they are no longer in production.
Some things that I really liked about the Danner boots above all of the others available at the time were the neoprene impregnated leather combined with the nylon mesh upper for quick drainage which kept the wet weight down along with the soft rubber sole placed over the felt sole for shock absorption when rock hopping on freestone streams. Also, since I have a narrow foot, I especially liked the fact that they laced nearly all of the way to the toe because most wading boots tend to fit me a little loosely even when purchased a size smaller than I would normally wear. Thus, my foot tends to slide around a bit in them which I absolutely hate. So, by lacing all of the way to the toe, the Danner boots eliminated any loose fit and thus gave me more positive footing in rough terrain. Consequently, I sincerely hope that Danner will reintroduce the River Gripper at some point in the future and if they do, I can promise you that I will be one of the first anglers in line.
PS. I received an e-mail from a gentleman the other day who informed me that Danner has a "recrafting" service available and that he had just recently had his River Grippers resoled. Therefore, I checked out the Danned web site and they do indeed offer such service. In fact, they have several different service packages available; all with differing levels of "recrafting" and with differing prices levels.