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A Very Timely Test & Review of Grip Studs
A Very Timely Test & Review of Grip Studs
Another Solution for Wading Traction? Read On......
Published by Hardyreels
06-14-2012
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Default A Very Timely Test & Review of Grip Studs

This field test was timely indeed. As you all know over the past months we have had several threads that were focused on the banning of felt soled wading boots and the shift to Vibram rubber soles. This 'shift' in and of itself has left many folks concerned about not only traction issues when fly fishing but even personal safety as well. In an unsolicited twist of fate I was ask by the good people at 'Grip Studs' a division of Deardorff Fitzsimmons Corporation, Merlin OR. to test their new stud product.

I had very recently purchased a new pair of Simms Rivershed boots and with them the Simms Hard Bite Star Cleat and had not yet installed the product to the boots. When I was alerted of this opportunity to test the 'Grip Studs' product I decided to hold off on installing the Simms cleats. Once I got the package from Grip Studs, I elected to install a set of each; one on the left boot and the other product on the right. This was I figured a true side by side field test.

Click the image to open in full size.

First thing you will notice is the unique thread design and the cool little lug tool supplied with the Grip Studs. The Simms product is applied using Phillips head screws and your own sharp pointed screw driver.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Before ever taking a step into a stream or river I had to install the two different types of cleats. The first thing I / you, notice is that the Grip Stud cleat snaps smartly into the lug tool and there is very little chance of either failed insertions or dropped studs. Also there is no fear of a minor stab wound as there always is when applying pressure to a Phillips head screw with a driver. This was a + 10 for me on the Grip Stud product.

A stud snapped onto the tool ready for insertion;

Click the image to open in full size.

With either product a fair level of force is needed to properly insert the studs / cleat screws but during the work I dropped several screws when they popped sideways under the force on the screw driver. No slips occurred with the Grip Stud insertion. I used an identical pattern on both boot soles and then I took them fishing.

Field / stream observations were as follows: Due to the fact that the Grip Studs protrude a bit farther above the Vibram rubber they seemed to grip better. I rated this difference at about 25 - 30% better especially on mossy surfaces. While the Simms cleats held well I could get them to shift and slip somewhat easier than I could do the same with the Grip Stud foot under equal pressure. I photographed the studs / cleats at an angle perpendicular with their position in the boot soles to demonstrate this height difference.

The simms Star Cleat;notice that it sits almost flush with the surrounding rubber cleats around it.

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The Grip Stud; You can see the stud protruding above the rubber cleats and depending on the surfaces you encounter this additional height can mean a better bite.

Click the image to open in full size.

Will this height result in more or quicker wear? I can not answer that after only a couple weeks but will report back at seasons end on this issue. In truth, we are talking about traction and safety here not how long a set of studs will last. Based on prior experience with carbide steel studs I would expect to get several years service from a pair of these. Of course if you hike them along the sides of asphalt roadways they will wear quicker I presume.

This shows wear after a couple weeks of fishing. I did not hike the studs / cleats.

Click the image to open in full size.

All scores are tens huh? I have been using rubber soled boots since I first discovered their availability. I've had the interchangeable sole type, the solid Vibram type and have trusted my safety and that of my tackle to steel cleats on the boot soles. This product is as good as any traction device I've ever had on a wading boot and because they can be replaced if and when they wear down, better than most I've ever waded with. If you are having to buy new wading boots either to comply with regulations or because yours are worn out I suggest the Grip Studs product as your grip on the stream bed.

So we reach the bottom line............. Pricing:
Grip Stud 20 stud kit with insertion tool = $39.49
The Simms 16 cleat product retails at $39.95

For my money I like the Grip Studs, when you run the numbers 20 studs vs. 16 cleats, and a very safe tool to use for insertian the gulf widens a little more.

Ard


Suggested use pattern;

Click the image to open in full size.
Featured Reviews
  #1 (permalink)  
By jaybo41 on 06-14-2012, 02:35 PM
Default Re: A Very Timely Test & Review of Grip Studs

Interesting comparison between the two Ard. This was another well written and well thought out field test. Thanks for sharing the info!
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  #2 (permalink)  
By jpbfly on 06-14-2012, 03:05 PM
Default Re: A Very Timely Test & Review of Grip Studs

Interesting test end review Ard....will remember it next time I change my wading boots
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  #3 (permalink)  
By Noiso on 06-14-2012, 04:07 PM
Default Re: A Very Timely Test & Review of Grip Studs

Great review, thanks for bringing it to my attention - I ought to peruse this section of the FFF more often.

I am curious, with either product would you be able to extract the worn studs and replace them?
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  #4 (permalink)  
By BigCliff on 06-14-2012, 05:02 PM
Default Re: A Very Timely Test & Review of Grip Studs

Great review of a well designed product here.

It looks like the auger style screw head would really anchor them in the boot's sole.
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  #5 (permalink)  
By Hardyreels on 06-14-2012, 05:10 PM
Default Re: A Very Timely Test & Review of Grip Studs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noiso View Post
Great review, thanks for bringing it to my attention - I ought to peruse this section of the FFF more often.

I am curious, with either product would you be able to extract the worn studs and replace them?
Indeed, both are retractable via the application tools required.
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  #6 (permalink)  
By fyshstykr on 06-15-2012, 11:17 PM
Default Re: A Very Timely Test & Review of Grip Studs

Ard,
What are the grip studs made of?

And do they come in different colors?

It'll be interesting to see what your review shows at the end of the season.
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  #7 (permalink)  
By fredaevans on 06-16-2012, 01:13 AM
Default Re: A Very Timely Test & Review of Grip Studs

Quote:
Originally Posted by fyshstykr View Post
Ard,
What are the grip studs made of?

And do they come in different colors?

It'll be interesting to see what your review shows at the end of the season.
Tungsten carbide for the first, and no to the second.
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  #8 (permalink)  
By Hardyreels on 06-16-2012, 06:18 AM
Default Re: A Very Timely Test & Review of Grip Studs

The company says "durable" so time will tell, we're leaving now for the river and I'll wade around some more on them.
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  #9 (permalink)  
By FrankB2 on 06-16-2012, 02:48 PM
Default Re: A Very Timely Test & Review of Grip Studs

Thanks Ard. I was thinking about Simms Star Cleat or Alumibite studs. The Alumibites stand WAY proud of the Vibram lugs, and that looks awkward. Can you feel the Grip studs pushing into the sole of your foot? Do either brand effect your grip on dry rocks: more or less slippery? Is one noisier than the other. The bluegills I fish for are spooky.

Hope you had a good day on the river!
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