Zuri Tabi

by tnitz
(Joseph, Oregon)

Not suitable for black tie...

Not suitable for black tie...

It may be that no-one will believe me, but my acquiring Zuri tabi had absolutely nothing to do with an interest in tenkara angling. I actually thought they would be good kayaking/canoeing footwear. I still haven't explored that use, but did wear them angling the other day.

The only reliable and constant supply of these appears to be Walmart or Don Quixote in Honolulu, HI. By coincidence, I had to go to Honolulu twice last fall for work, my first time there. Not knowing what there was to do or how much time I would have to spend eating great food, my simple goal for the first trip was simply to go to Walmart and get a pair of Zuri Tabi.

Current models are black felt adhered to black rubber footbed with black stretch nylon upper. They are anything but handsome, though they do make quite a fashion statement, especially with shorts. Don't know what kind of fashion statement, but they make a big one anyway.

You have to fit them relatively closely so your feet don't slide around in them and even in person that's not easy without putting them on. I actually bought a size too big my first time and had to get a smaller size the next time I went. The felt is 1/2" thick and does a better job of cushioning your soles than you might think. Even fishing a stretch with large cobbled bottom, the soles of my feet didn't get sore. The only issue I had was when my foot slid down or was placed between two boulders - no protection on the top of the foot and only a layer of rubber on the side are a far cry from wading boots.

Like aqua socks, the top is porous and so your feet are constantly wet. In one sense this is a good thing, the water kinda massages your feet while you fish!

Previously, my favorite wet wading shoes when I didn't want to wear boots were Sperry topsiders. Wet canvas sneakers wear quickly, however. These are much better and actually easier to put on and take off since there are no laces. They are great for those times when you can't be bothered to put on waders or wading boots and flip flops just won't cut it.

Best of all, they are dirt cheap. It's just the commute that's expensive.

Comments for Zuri Tabi

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Sep 24, 2012
End of Summer Update
by: T Nitz

The only time I wore my wading boots this summer was doing salmon surveys where I was wading all day over miles.

These have worked better than I ever imagined for regular angling. They are quick and painless to pull on and I no longer even think twice about it (unlike waders, neoprene socks, and boots). I don't know why, but I didn't experience any difficulties with my feet slipping down between boulders (maybe I was just more careful, I don't know) and the bottom of my feet never got sore from wading. The rubber bumpers did protect my toes from getting stubbed and the sides of my feet.

I can't for the life of me figure out why they have a seperated big toe since I can't even imagine the zori that fit over these, and I know they aren't for everyone, but I've been very pleased with mine.

Oct 11, 2012
Cold water
by: Tnitz

Now that the water temps have fallen, the lack of stiff sole comes into play. When my feet get cold enough to feel " brittle," I feel the sharp rocks underneath and wading gets tender...

Jun 15, 2015
Fabi's Felt soled booties
by: GREGG DE LONG

YOU ARE CORRECT THEY ARE THE BEST GRIPPING FELT SOLED BOOTIE YOU CAN USE, I HAVE BEEN USING THEM WHEN AVAILABLE FOR THE LAST 30 YEARS AND I FISH 100 OR MORE DAYS A YEAR. IF YOU ARE ATHLETIC IN YOUR APPROACH TO SAFE WADING YOU WILL FIND THESE TABI'S TO BE A GREAT ALTERNATIVE TO THE THICK UNYIELDING WADING BOOTS THAT WE HAVE BEEN FORCED INTO BELIEVING ARE THE THE SAFE AND ONLY WAY TO GO. UNLIKE THE HEAVY BOOT STYLE THESE WILL PROVI MORE SURFACE AREA ON THE UNEVEN AND FREQUENTLY ROUND SLIPPERY SUBSTRATE'S OVER WHICH OUR RIVER'S AND STREAMS FLOW, AND THEY PACK WELL ALLOWING TO CARRY UP TO THREE PAIRS IN THE SPACE OF 1 PAIR OF THE MORE COMMON BOOTS. THEY ARE INEXPENSIVE AS WELL AND ALLOW YOU TO CHANGE WHEN TRAVELING TO DIFFERENT WATERS INFECTED WITH FOREIGN INVASIVE FLORA OR FAUNA.

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