Re: durability felt vs rubber?
I've been looking into all this as I'll likely have a new pair of rubber soled boots before our winter trout season.
In my opinion, after using both studded and non-studded felt soles over the last few years, the ONLY disadvantage of studs is marring up the inside of a boat. If this isn't an issue, I say studs are the way to go.
Studded felt may remain the best possible option for traction, but they've got their downsides as well. We've already mentioned transporting microbes, which include both trout crippling Whirling Disease, potentially angler crippling Didymo, and many others. For folks that will be using them in snowy/frozen conditions you've got the bother of toting around 4" of ice on the bottom of your felt boots while hiking through the snow. (Doesn't really sound like a fun "day off" to me) In addition to all that weight attached to your legs, it seems to me like having 5lbs of ice stuck to the bottom of your boot can't possibly help keep your feet warm. Going back to weight, since a rubber sole necessarily doesn't absorb water (or develop ice) like a felt sole, there's a difference you'll feel while hiking that isn't reflected in the weight difference of boots when dry.
Since I basically never am fishing in waders out of a drift boat, I'll be getting rubber soled boots and adding studs. The studs will go around the perimeter of the sole, and likely a few in the middle as well.
Here's another huge advantage of rubber soled boots that rarely gets brought up: one pair of boots for both salt and fresh water! I do most of my saltwater wading in weather warm enough for flats boots and wet wading, but its not always warm enough here on the TX coast for that to be comfortable. With rubber soled wading boots, I'll be able to wear my waders at the coast without having to shell out another $??? for salt boots that will fit over the waders so I'm not thrashing my felts on oysters and such. Sure I'll have to rinse them EXTREMELY well to get all the saltwater off the metal hardware, but I'd still rather have to do that than need a 3rd pair of boots.
I'll likely be buying a Simms boot, but LL Bean makes a sticky rubber boot that looks like a pretty great value as well. Korkers might be the best possible option for the hiking angler, but I can't speak from any experience with them.