August 18, 2023
Building the perfect wading boot is a challenge. Think about what a ski boot does, or a hiking boot, or a basketball sneaker. They all do one thing very well. A good wading boot has to perform underwater on smooth slate, slimy boulders, shifting sand and mud, erratic granite scoured by ice, and cobbles coated in algae. But also you have to get there, so your wading boots also have to perform as hiking boots, and be durable enough to stand up to all the kneeling, crawling, and climbing that comes with fly fishing, as well as the constant wet/dry cycles and exposure to UV radiation. It’s a lot to ask of a single pair of shoes.
That’s why Patagonia turned to the Italian company Fitwell to make their new Forra wading boots. Since 1979, Fitwell has been handcrafting boots for mountaineering, backcountry hiking, paragliding, canyoneering, and other adventure sports. Now, with the help of fly-fishing designers at Patagonia, they have made a boot that is remarkably light (1,162 g), comfortable, and delivers outstanding stability and protection, not only to keep you upright but to protect your toes and ankles from the rugged twisting, stabbing, scraping nature of an unseen riverbed. They’ve hit a balance here with a boot that is light—even when wet—yet delivers ankle support and toe box protection that exceed expectations.
The keys to finding this middle ground are the quick-drying, quick-draining Cordura uppers and a foundation of sticky Vibram Mars soles with durable HexaBase lugs that provide a wide contact area for wet and dry traction. The adjustable web lacing system provides a secure fit in critical situations and is noncorrosive and abrasion-resistant.
It’s important to note that Patagonia is still selling their premium Foot Tractor wading boot made by Danner. The Forra is in a different weight class, and at a price point that is more accessible to more fly fishers around the globe.
$299 | patagonia.com