Most wading boots today are available with either felt or sticky rubber soles. Sticky rubber versions are sometimes slightly more expensive but well worth the cost as they are far more durable. Gone are the days when you have a perfectly good pair of boots, but the felt soles are shot. Rubber soles last the life of the boots (usually) and because they don’t hold water they are cleaner in your car, at the riverside convenience store, or when you’re getting in/out of a boat all day. They are also easier to clean to remove invasive aquatic nuisances. Rubber soles also have far better traction on snow, ice, mud, and wet grassy banks. If you have to hike anywhere, rubber soles are better. On round, moss-covered rocks in a river, felt offers better traction than rubber alone. However, rubber soles with metal studs, or rubber with Patagonia’s aluminum bars, offer better traction than plain felt.
Hit the Road
The “best” boot for you depends on what kind of fishing you’re likely to be engaged in. The best new boots on the market for (1) salt water, (2) women, (3) difficult wading conditions, and (4) lots of hiking, boating, or for easier wading.
<h2>Orvis Clearwater II $160</h2>Orvis’s newest wading boot has EcoTraX sticky rubber soles with a lug pattern highlighted with sharp edges intended to cut through mud, moss, and slime and provide better grip. And here’s another great idea: The boots come with 20 pre-installed PosiGrip Screw-In Studs for added security. It’s like buying chocolate chip cookies with the chocolate chips already in there. Why doesn’t everyone do this? (Orvis also sells Shoe In Over Boot Stud Covers, which are like giant sandals you wear over your boots to protect the fiberglass hull against studs while inside a drift boat.) The boots are constructed from durable polyurethane and high-density nylon mesh so they are easy to clean and dry quickly. orvis.com