Retro Review: ~1999 Patagonia Marlwalkers

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Sometimes the best reviews are of gear that has gone the distance.  I bought these Patagonia Marlwalkers some time back in college.  I think they were already being closed out even then.  Fifteen years later, I decided to wash them after returning from Mexico.  As you can see, the nubuck coating (or whatever it is) finally decided to give up the ghost.  Honestly, I kind of like the effect.

I’ve worn these boots in the waters of Mexico’s Ascension Bay on three occasions, in the Bahamas, in Gulf Shores Alabama, and on wet-wading excursions throughout the south.  Sturdy, dorky in a Chuck Taylors kind of way, with big water-soaking laces and no metal to rust out, they’ve lasted longer than any other pair of wading boots I own.  In fact, they might be the oldest piece of fishing kit I still use on a semi-regular basis.

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The irony is, thanks to Patagonia’s Ironclad Guarantee, I could probably turn these in and get a new pair.  But I won’t; that’s a chickenshit way to use a warranty.  My only criticism of these boots from a performance standpoint is that the neoprene bootie on the inside gives way to big foot-gashing stitches.  I solved the problem years ago by wearing Simms perforated neoprene sockies (which also keep out sand), but it’s not the kind of detail Patagonia usually misses.  Probably why these are now long-discontinued.

I note that the followup Marlwalker II boots are currently only available on Patagonia Europe’s website.  Makes me wonder if a grandson to these old warhorses might be on the way.

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