Wading Boots

Wading Boots

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. 

Orvis Clearwater II $160

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

Patagonia Ultralight $160

For long hikes with easy wading, driftboat fishing where you're in/out of the boat all day (or mostly in), and for long-range trips where weight limits on baggage are a concern, heavy boots can be a burden. There's a reason your favorite sneakers are so comfortable — they are incredibly light. Patagonia used this principle to create its Ultralight wading boots, and at just 38 ounces (size 10), you'll have less fatigue at the end of the day. The boots are made from quick-drying synthetic leather with screened mesh panels that drain water fast, and keep out sand and grit. The boots have the same outsoles as Patagonia's beefier Rock Grip wading boots, with a stiff polypropylene insole for a safe and sturdy base. patagonia.com

Redington Willow River $100

Redington's Willow River wading boots come in women's sizes 5 through 10. Our tester said the narrower footbed made them 'comfortable and light ' but with neoprene-padded ankle support and deep-draw lacing they are still 'work boots ' that can take you into rugged waters. The all-synthetic construction means the boots are quick-drying, and with a rubber rand and rubberized toe cap, both your feet and the boots will survive. The boots are available with a sticky rubber sole impregnated with crushed walnuts, or with a synthetic felt sole ($90). The rubber sole is stud-compatible and Redington recommends tungsten carbide Grip Studs (gripstuds.com), but other brands fit as well. redington.com

Simms OceanTek $200

Why should only freshwater anglers get good boots? The jetty at New Jersey's Barnegat Lighthouse is just as slick, wet, and mossy as the rocks along the Deschutes. And the coral heads and outcrops dotting the flats at Turneffe Atoll can tear through wimpy neoprene booties and leave you seriously injured. For situations like these, Simms OceanTek boots offer the ankle support and foot protection you need to tackle any saltwater wading situation. The boot has a full outside perimeter rubber rand, and a boat-friendly, nonmarking outsole with the same StreamTread pattern as on other Simms premium boots so you can add any Simms studs for extra traction. The boots have new extra-strong nylon laces for toughness against coral and breakwalls, and plastic, noncorrosive lacing hardware to endure the rigors of saltwater. simmsfishing.com

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Breaking the Surface

Breaking the Surface

Attack of the Bass continues as Breaking the Surface attacks bass with fly and lure 12:30pm ET Sunday, April 17th.

Black Beauty

Black Beauty

Master fly tier Charlie Craven discuss the tools and materials needed to tie the Black Beauty.

Casting Backhand in Tight Quarters

Casting Backhand in Tight Quarters

A backhand cast is when you use your backcast to deliver the fly.

Fly Fishing for Taimen in Mongolia

Fly Fishing for Taimen in Mongolia

Finding giant Mongolia taimen and a state of enlightenment.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

American River California United States

American River California

MIchael Wier - March 23, 2017

American River California

The fly fishing communities in the U.S. and Belize are mourning after twin slayings that occurred on what appeared to be a routine guide trip on Sunday, June 23, 2019 in a shallow lagoon near San Pedro, Brazil. Industry

Fly Fishing Community Stunned by Twin Slayings on Belize Saltwater Flat

Fly Fisherman Online Staff - June 27, 2019

The fly fishing communities in the U.S. and Belize are mourning after twin slayings that...

Read about Colorado's backcountry fly fishing in United States

Indian Peaks Wilderness Area Colorado

Steven B. Schweitzer - May 03, 2016

Read about Colorado's backcountry fly fishing in " Indian Peaks Wilderness Area Colorado."

Best Panfish Flies Flies

Best Panfish Flies

Skip Morris

Best Panfish Flies

See More Trending Articles

More Accessories

If you are going to haul a lot of stuff, you need your carry system to be comfortable. Accessories

Umpqua Overlook Zs2 500 Chest Pack Kit

Fly Fisherman - February 25, 2020

If you are going to haul a lot of stuff, you need your carry system to be comfortable.

With the Paxis Twin Lakes backpack you can keep your straps on and never stop moving. Accessories

Paxis Twin Lakes

Fly Fisherman - February 19, 2020

With the Paxis Twin Lakes backpack you can keep your straps on and never stop moving.

They will help your dry flies land right side up. Accessories

Scientific Anglers Micro Swivels

Matt Mccannel

They will help your dry flies land right side up.

The perfect lenses for those low-light conditions. Accessories

Costa Broadbill with Sunrise Silver Mirror 580 lens

George Daniel - January 27, 2020

The perfect lenses for those low-light conditions.

See More Accessories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Fly Fisherman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now