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Old 03-20-2017, 07:50 PM
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Default Patagonia Foot Tractor Boots

I was in the market for a new pair of wading boots. I have various boots for my fishing needs - wet wading boots, easy terrain wading boots without a lot of boulder, moss, difficult terrain, and a pair that I use to the tough stuff - slick river bottoms, a lot of moss, big boulders, swift currents in and around the aforementioned obstacles. For years I have traditionally gone with the Simms Guide Models. I've been fishing Simms G4, G3, Guide wading boots for 10+ years. The problem is I've had 5 pair in that time period. To be clear, I am a staunch supporter of Simms waders. In my opinion, they're the best in the business. But my last pair of Simms Guide Series boots, paired with Simms Aluminum Cleats, lasted me two years.

I almost bought another pair when at the fly shop Saturday. But I paused, and spent some time looking at the new Patagonia Foot Tractor (strange name) boots. I know from using the Simms Aluminum cleats vs the old Hard Bite cleats that aluminum is a better metal for the hard wading. But entire rows of aluminum... that seemed unusual. With respect the boot itself, it has to be robust enough to offer my feet protection from slamming into boulders and jamming my feet between rocks as I work my way across a swift slick river. That's what I liked about the Simms - they protected my feet - but didn't last.

Enter Sunday's trip to try out my new boots. They're priced high... but after adding the aluminum cleats to the Simms - pricing is comparable. Initial impression? Wow. These things are unbelievable - to the point that it caused me to write this post. The traction in the slick, swift, boulder laden river was off the charts. Towards the end of the 8 hour day of fishing I was taking calculated risks jumping from one moss laden boulder to another in the stream with no worries about losing my footing. The boot is robust too, providing me protection that I need when doing my "dirty work" wading. A side benefit was the traction I had while traversing granite boulders that were out of the water and were my pathway up the hill from the river to the service roads.

I can't say enough about the first impression I have of these boots. Now time will tell if I can actually get more than 2 years out of them.
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Old 03-21-2017, 08:34 AM
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Default Re: Patagonia Foot Tractor Boots

They'll get better as they break in. For the first dozen trips or so, the aluminum bars stick out past the sole. As they wear down, they come even and that gives you better feel--in the beginning they're almost too grippy on rocks.

The downsides are that they are terrible on wet wood (as is anything but felt) and they're a little heavy/clunky. I had a fall on a dry rock while fishing a coastal river in Oregon--landed on my back and scared the **** out of myself. Bought the Foot Tractors the next day. Some of the best money I've ever spent on fly fishing gear.
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Old 03-21-2017, 05:04 PM
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Default Re: Patagonia Foot Tractor Boots

Several of the guides I spoke with have nothing but praise for these but did say that with heavy use the aluminum bars wear out and need replacement. Granted, they are putting in far more days on the water than the average angler.
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Old 03-21-2017, 05:40 PM
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Default Re: Patagonia Foot Tractor Boots

I use a pair of Patagonia's River Crampons which lets me hike in somewhere without wearing them and then strap up when I get ready to fish. A touch heavier, but it's a system that's worked really well for me for two years already.

I'll echo what's been said, the aluminum bars take a little breaking in and getting used to, but the traction they provide on slick, nasty rock is remarkable. I was talking to the manager of the Patagonia store in Ventura (location of the Tin Shed), and he said they can easily replace the bars on the River Crampons as well.

Pricey, but one of the best purchases I've made. I picked up a pair of their Ultralight wading boots for this season... we'll see if they hold up better than my Simms boots have.
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Old 03-24-2017, 12:04 AM
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Default Re: Patagonia Foot Tractor Boots

I have had mine for a year and a half and they show no concerning wear. The laces didn't last long and they seem to dry slowly are the only two drawbacks I have found.
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