I recently needed a new pair of wading boots, I found myself in a dilemma.
I wanted a boot I could fish anywhere, which took felt out of the game with the recent bans on felt soled wading boots.
I wanted something that would grip well on slimy rocks and that took the new rubber soled wading boots out of the game.
I also wanted something that wouldn't destroy the floor on my boat which took studded rubber soled wading boots out of the game.
Basically the only option I was left with was the newer Patagonia boots which utilize aluminum bars as a traction device. I was pretty skeptical of how well they would perform, but I knew if I didn't like them, Patagonia would take them back.
Then I seen the price and was sticker shocked to say the least, however, I thought, what other choice do I really have.
So I ordered a pair and have now used them quite a few times in a variety of situations and to put it bluntly, they are the best boots I have ever used. Extremely comfy and they stick like glue to even the slickest of rocks. The build quality is typical of Patagonia, very good and if you ever have an issue, my experiences with their customer service have always been stellar.
Just thought some people would appreciate a review of sorts on what I consider to be the solution to my dilemma...
Guys, allie-mum-um on the bottom of boots is 'old school.' Dan Bailey had there 'Stream Cleats' out years ago (no longer make them) but you could run up the side of a tree with these 'over-boot' things. Clunky? Without question. Did you go for long walks (save for in the water) with them on your regular wading boots? Not a chance. Pain to put on when needed? So yes.
But for fifty bucks the best life insurance policy you could buy. The soft allie-bars on the bottom would grab-hold on to anything ... including the polished lava slab rock bottom on the North Umpqua or Deschutes here in Oregon.
Posted this up before (where-ever) and retrofitting existing boots with allie-bars is total simples. Hit a big box hardware store and get a flat bit of alli bar (1/4" thick is best) and (if you don't already have same) two drill bits. One to drill through the bar (thread of screw size) and one to counter-sink the screw head.
Screw length is 3/4 of the thickness of the bar and 3/4 into the bottom of your boot bottom. (Give or take!)
Measure/cut the bar to boot width (two for heel, 3 or four for the rest. Drill the screw holes, counter sink so screw head is below the bar and zip in. Almost forgot: a small bottle of Gorilla Glue (or water proof) and put a squirt of that on the screw heads. Once that sets up, the screws/bars aren't going anywhere unless you want.
Compared to the Patagonia Riverwalker sticky rubber boots, they do well in freestone waters.
Beware that if you step on a branch right in the instep of the boot you can slip and fall..there's just smooth rubber in that area.
The metal clasps for the laces up around the ankle are a little bit too close together. When lacing them up sometimes the laces get around the wrong clasps. Small inconvenience.
I gave it a value of 6, now that I know I can probably turn my old sticky bottom rock grips into aluminum bar rock grips. I may try that this summer.
I've found them to be heavy. Going to get a new pair of their ultralight felt bottom boots and add on the River crampons if I feel like I need it.
Starting to not like these boots. Whenever my foot get's sideways on a inclined bank where the bars are parallel to the upward slope of the bank, you can't help but SLIDE. There is just NO traction between the bars.
Also the hooks that hold the lace have actually cut one of the laces.
Really, really thinking of dumping these boots this year.
Last edited by shotgunfly; 02-08-2014 at 10:02 PM..
I just bought a pair of these based on all the reviews on line, but I did find out that Patagonia will sell you the entire system -- bars, threaded inserts and bolts -- as replacements, for both boots for $29. They have very detailed instructions on line as a pdf. The problem I saw in checking this out is that the Patagonia boot is entirely flat-soled under the aluminium, but any lugged boot is going to have spaces under some of the bolt holes, and I wasn't sure how much of a problem that might be. So I bit the bullet and bought the new boots. Have not received them yet.
I also found these boots pretty heavy. I used to own them (gottem for a trip to AK) but sold them soon after. They worked fine for the alaska trip, and I'd definitely recommend them to anyone that primarily fishes from a drift boat and wants to occassionally wade, but for the guy/gal that primarily wades- these are definitely too expensive to recommend. The alum. bars "skate" across most rocks unless your weight is absolutely centered on them (which isn't usually the case). Got Korkers metalheads, and those coupled w/ the svelte 2 soles are the best traction I've ever had.