Thursday, March 20, 2008

Product Review - Korkers


Product---> Korkers Streaborn wading boots

Out of the box they are fantastic, very comfortable. I liked the idea of being able to change the sole. However, after trial and error I went with the sticky rubber sole for the duration of the boots life. Since I backcountry fish more often that not, packing in the extra weight of soles seemed silly (not sure why I didn't think of that before) and there wasn't room in the pack anyway. I was delighted with them for a few weeks, until the day I went to put them on and they were way, way too small... what happened??? To get them on with out cutting the circulation off I had to get them wet before I even leave the house, that sucks! Toe-punch was a common thing when hiking down hill and this just wasn't what I had in mind. Although I dealt with it, the last straw was when I was fishing in November. The back "hook" on the boot was already broke which caused the sole to pop off. I realized this when I tried to hike back up the hill next to the water and about fell in. I looked down to see the disaster. After searching for the missing part I decided to keep fishing. I figured that I could return them to the shop and that would be that. I unfortunately assumed the shop would call customer service explain the situation, I would get a new pair of boots, eat the cost of the sole and life is back on the trail...... but nooooo, what I got was an unacceptable way to treat a customer. After 6 months of use these boots just couldn't hack it.

So here is my answer to a corporation that doesn't care about their customer, just their money....

To whom may concern,

Enclosed you will find a pair of the "new" Korkers Streamborn wading boots that were released in the spring of 2007. These highly anticipated boots were purchased in May of 2007 and sadly died on a crisp fall evening in November of 2007 catching Tiger Trout. In the short 6 months they have walked on this earth, they have had the pleasure of witnessing hundreds of pristine miles, seen dozens of river drainages, soaked in high country lakes and had the delight of pursuing fish five days a week. They will be profoundly missed.

As you can clearly see, the nylon-injected hook is broken. I was using the sticky rubber sole as I have the entire time. I am a believer that felt has the potential to transport whirling disease from ecosystem to ecosystem, basically I feel that rubber is more fish friendly… so I bought the rubber sole to compliment the boots. I purchased the extra sole following your consumer guidelines, as well as a shop employee's recommendation, which were again based on your strategy. Unfortunately, that idea was poorly thought out. I have discovered the rubber sole is smaller than what the manufacture had thought, so it did not properly fit the OmniTrax Technology, as it should have. This smaller sole strap makes it fit rather snug on the hook, which I thought was normal, so I didn't think anything of it. Over a 6-month period of time it had obviously put too much stress on this area, end result a broken nylon-injected hook and lost sole. I watched your on-line demonstration and read all the directions. Never once, was there any suggestion to not use the proper retail suggested sole size for the boot. Now, this leaves me out a pair of boots and in the process the rubber sole was lost, that is an extra purchased accessory. Not to mention the sizing issues, I again followed your guidelines and have found that they shrink so bad that they need to be soaked before I can even put them on. How could your design, R&D and marketing people overlook this simple flaw…Triple whammy?

So, I did what people do when a product lacks integrity, I took them to them back to the shop. The employee could clearly see what had happened. He called customer service or whomever shop's call to get things like this resolved. They stated that I need a receipt to show proof that the boots were purchased within the year time frame to be eligible for warranty. Well, I don't have the receipt and more to the point, they haven't even been on the shelves for a YEAR, they are a new product. A Korkers representative said there is nothing he can do. I guess I am naive, I didn't even think that I would be sending these boots back so I tossed the receipt. I suppose I am the type of person that doesn't pack around all my receipts, waiting till the day something goes wrong. Usually, I get a few years out of my gear, call it good and buy another pair. I understand gear does not last forever, but in my opinion 6 months is unacceptable any way you look at it. I suppose the web site "targeting" statement wasn't actually targeting me. It states "Fisherman who are passionate about the sport, hard on gear, and need the ultimate in support and durability. Whether you are a winter steelhead fisherman, or a trout bum who hikes several miles into the backcountry to find monster trout, Korkers new Streamborn is the pefect choice for all-season angling." That is a direct quote from your website, even the grammar errors. I should have known better I suppose??? What a bummer.

I am not new to gear, hard work, play, wear and tear, rain, sleet or snow. I have used and abused the best gear that companies can make. I have tested gear, prototypes, samples and ideas. I am not new research and development, corporate red-tape and a market flooded with inferior products that are sold to hard working consumers in the name of a buck. While you try to find ways to sell products like these to me, I am out there doing what your products are supposed to be capable of handling. I use these boots almost more than regular shoes; I do not guide. I bought these boots specifically for remote backcountry travel through rough terrain. The interchangeable gimmick sold me but I found myself leaving the trail soles behind, ditching the felt and have really enjoyed the rubber traction. So, this leaves me with a pair of broken boots, one stick rubber sole and bad taste in my mouth. I am very disappointed in this situation. I understand lemons, a bad run, accidents and problems. What I don't understand is poor customer service that leaves the consumer high and dry. As of now I am not asking for a refund, a new pair of boots or a new sole, as I do not have my receipt. This is a total loss on my end and for that I feel that the consumer needs to know about this potential hazard. This will be posted on my blog (url enclosed below), a few fly-fishing web forums and word of mouth, as this is extremely disheartening.

In light of this situation I have decided that instead of throwing them away to the trash I would kindly send them to you…for your Research and Development team. They actually might be interested in seeing what used boots look like. If you have any questions or would like to put me on your R&D team feel free to contact me at any time.

Best of luck to you,


cheech said...

If anything the idiots at Korkers might be able to see the awesome potential of some good marketing shots from you.

FYI, I fished with Bry a fair number of times during the life of these pieces of crap. They were used as suggested by the manufacturer. They were used like fishing boots should be used...

flyfishingunlimited said...

Bryan, thanks for sharing this... I was having some doubts about the design, but was still contemplating about getting a pair. It's definitely not going to happen.


BG said...

You know guys, I was really hoping they would have worked out. That is the real bummer.

It seems this has stirred the pot with a Korkers representative. Thats good to known they heard my voice.

There will be an update on here soon.

JayMorr said...

Last year I was tying at the Vosseler booth with Nick. He introduced me to the Korkers rep that was just down from us. After showing me the boot I got all excited and went over to Jimmy's place "All Season Anglers" to buy a pair. I am glad they did not have my size! I ended up not getting a pair and now I am glad.

Bry, awesome work! I think Korker needs to step up and do what is right.


What a bummer!
I am not sure what they are asking receipt? putchase data? along with your driver license ... The company like this only can do the business with me once... I have an ole Kroker... the same thing happened the sole get old and fell out... they were hard to fit my feet anyway...A fancy design but not practical...

Take care Brother... maybe try the new Patagonia...


Durangler said...

Hope you don't mind, I am sharing your blog thru mine. I have had a few buddies look into Korkers... good thing all they did was window shop.

Sorry you got hosed. Thanks for the great site, again, it is awesome!!!


BG said...

Hey everyone -
WOW, I'm surprised at all the support and feedback. Its cool to know that my small voice is heard by someone other than my computer screen ; )But honestly, its pretty interesting to see how fast the internet can work.

I have received a response from Korkers! A reader who I don't know sent an email directly to Korkers asking a simple question and attacking my blog ..."Why the receipt hassles on newly
released gear?". He received a response and through the grapevine it landed in my email.

Long story short I have been in communication with Korkers about this situation. They have been very responsible and are doing the right thing. They have insisted in sending me a new pair of boots and soles.I will post the final outcome once its finalized.

Again, I appreciate all the support and feedback!!

Best of luck to all of you!

BG said...

oops that meant to say... "attached my blog" not attacked, oops!!

I hate how I can't go back and edit the comments ; )