*Crushed Reviews are serious reviews for those who seriously beat gear. We don’t get paid by these companies and we don’t take free gear on a day or weekend trip and then review it. We pay for it then we crush our gear… hard, beat it, use it and sometimes even abuse it before we write a review. So you know this stuff is seriously tested.
We rate our crushed gear on a scale of 1-5. 1 = absolutely sucks, 2 = ehhh they could have done better and we are disappointed, 3 = average (average isn’t good enough for us), 4 = Good, we actually like it, 5 = Excellent
It does not take long for me to get bone chillingly cold. In fact I’ll admit it… I’m a Sissy La La when the temp drops below 40. The problem is, my love for fishing and Steelheading over powers the agony I put my body through. Family and friends think I’m crazy, but if you’ve ever hooked into a steelhead you understand! I layer like you wouldn’t believe and over the years have gotten it down to a science. It’s to the point that even my hands are okay… even after safely releasing a steelhead in nearly freezing water.
The only remaining problem was my feet. No matter what I tried I couldn’t find a solution. I’ve stood in rivers way longer than I should with such cold feet. On multiple occasions I was seriously worried about losing some toes, and if you’ve ever been in that situation you know how scary it can be. And as I mentioned… I’ve tried pretty much everything.
Out of desperation and a refusal to be deterred by, literally, freezing my feet off… I took a risk and picked up Cabela’s Heated Performance Socks. These socks are very expensive ($199.99 hence the risk) and typically out of my price range but I had to try something.
Typically we like to crush gear a little longer before reviewing it, BUT I felt this product could seriously add to your enjoyment during the second half of the Steelhead season. So after a couple of Steelhead trips using these socks, here is my review:
Comfort: This is a category that I was concerned with. Especially after reading a couple of the reviews at the link above. There is a port, to attach the batteries/a longer cable (for wearing with waders), located to the inside and just below both of your knees. From this port, a wire runs down the inside of your calf and wraps under the arches of your feet. When wearing with waders, as most of us would be, a wire adapter is attached to one port and branches at the crotch area to run to the port on the other sock. At the crotch (where the wire branches to both socks), the wire runs up and out of your waders. At no point were these wires/ports uncomfortable. I spent sun up to sun down moving around freezing stream-beds and hiking MILES in a foot of snow along the banks of these streams. Again, at no point was comfort an issue. I recommend that you wear a thin sock liner underneath and a comfortable warm sock on top (don’t go too bulky! This could cause you to cut off circulation which will ultimately lead to cold feet).
Heat: The Lithium batteries allow you to adjust the heat to 4 levels- Low, Medium Low, Medium High, and High. When Steelheading most of us are committed to fishing most, if not all, of the day. So I would recommend leaving the setting on Low to insure that you have enough battery life (reviewed below) to last the day. By no means will you be sweating out of your boots on this setting, BUT it will prevent you from having to get out of the water. When set to Medium High or High you can definitely feel the heat flowing to your toes but this will cause you to run through battery life too fast.
Battery: These socks come with 2 Lithium batteries and a battery charger. When fully drained it takes about 3-4 hours to recharge, so if you are on a multiple day trip make sure to plug them in after each outing. When using the long wire adapter you can only plug one battery in at a time, which, obviously, will cut the suggested battery life in half (The battery life can be seen at the Link provided at the beginning of this review and the times are reflective of using 1 battery on each sock). It is definitely a good idea to check the battery levels from time to time to make sure a battery doesn’t die without you knowing until it is too late. This happened to me the first time I used them and was almost a costly mistake. Battery life is short but I feel these socks are still worth the purchase.
Price: These bad boys are priced at $199.99, which, is definitely pretty steep for a pair of socks. However, when it comes down to losing toes or simply NOT fishing that price suddenly becomes much more affordable. They are definitely worth the purchase.