January 01, 2013
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.