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burns 03-18-2009 01:48 PM

Sticky rubber vs. felt and studded felt
I'm thinking of getting some Patagonia Riverwalkers on sale for $60. They are the variety with the rubber soles. The other boot I've considered is the Simms Freestone w/ studded felt on sale (last year's model) for $69.99. Has anyone used either of these?

How does the traction of rubber compare with felt? Studs make quite a difference, right?

I know that Vibram is going to come out with new soles sometime. When will that be? Will they be expensive? I'm on a budget. I really don't want to spend more than $80 at the most.

My last pair of boots were the lightweight classic old Orvis green boots. I wore them for about 10 years, and have fixed them several times and thrown on new soles a couple of times. They are looking pretty awful - probably the most down and out boots you've ever seen.

I've taken a couple of spills in the past, one of which was pretty bad and, incidentally, I posted about about that fall last year with the topic of "Fly Fishing Injuries." I definitely want something with traction.

The local flyshop is pushing rubber soles because the best stream around has didymo. But if I go with felt, I will be sure to use the wader wash.

Anyway, if anyone has experience in the felt vs. rubber arena, I'd be glad to hear your feedback.



Jimmie 03-18-2009 02:47 PM

Re: Sticky rubber vs. felt and studded felt
Good questions. I'd like to know too. I just bought studded aquastealth rubber based on what folks here were saying about spreading desease. Haven't taken them fishing yet so I don't know a thing about performance.

ezamora 03-18-2009 03:11 PM

Re: Sticky rubber vs. felt and studded felt
jimmie, nice to see you thinking about this spread of didymo in our area though there have been no reports yet. prevention and forward thinking is great though.

as for traction comparison, you have to realize stream beds and rocks one clambers about while fishing are different everywhere. if someone asks for reviews or offers their own experiences, clarification of the type of rock encountered or fishing style would be more useful than "aquastealth is best!". for instance, i don't think studs are the end-all solution for everyone when it comes to traction.

personally, if i found a pair of patagonia rubber soled wading boots on sale for $60, i'd go that route just for the deal (they would work well for my habit of hiking a bit, encountering slopes of fallen needles in the forest and often staying out of the water for small mountain streams). or at least PM me where this deal is found. lol

fresno, ca.

Farnsrocket 03-18-2009 03:24 PM

Re: Sticky rubber vs. felt and studded felt
I love felt!
It literally sticks to mossy rocks where in the same instance, rubber would have had me slipping.
I have the older version of Simms Freestone boots with felt and studs and I really like them. The studs catch at certain times and are just nice insurance.
Personally, I will never go back to an all rubber boot, at least not in a river where I am need to have traction.

Dr. Gonzo 03-18-2009 05:22 PM

Re: Sticky rubber vs. felt and studded felt
I have the Patagonia Riverwalkers with the sitcky rubber soles. So far I've only had the opportunity to use them once but it was on a stream known for slick rocks so it was a good place to gauge the effectiveness of the soles.

Overall I'd say that the traction is fine, but very different from felt. One thing I noticed is that as I was feeling around the bottom with my feet the soles were very slick but once I transferred weight to them they bit right into the rocks and held nicely. With felt the feel is much different, with the felt gripping the rocks with very little weight needed to establish traction. So the Riverwalkers require a bit of faith at first, you just kinda have to find a place to put your feet and go with it. I think as I adjust to the different feel they'll only get better. I'm not going to say that they are as good as felt, but they work just fine for me so far.

burns 03-18-2009 06:21 PM

Re: Sticky rubber vs. felt and studded felt
PM sent. If anyone else wants to know where to get them just let me know. I'm not sure which way to go here. I'm thinking maybe the Simms would be more durable with the felt/studs and firm uppers, as opposed to the fabric lightweight uppers of the Patagonias.

sandfly 03-18-2009 06:22 PM

Re: Sticky rubber vs. felt and studded felt
rubber with studs would be the way to go. i have leg problems and have fished all over the U.S. and would not fish anywhere with out studs. If you wade on any type of rock studs can only help.

burns 03-18-2009 06:34 PM

Re: Sticky rubber vs. felt and studded felt
I COULD just add screw-in studs to the Patagonias.

FISHN50 03-18-2009 06:44 PM

Re: Sticky rubber vs. felt and studded felt
I have fished the same rivers with & without studs . I recently replaced my old Chota's. felt soles with studs with a pair of LL Bean ultralite 11 studded aquastealth boots & I don't think they are any better or worse. The studs are what grips slippery rocks. I've used them both on slippery river bottons & stone jetties in places I would hesitate to go without studs. i would go with the studded boots or get a nonstudded Rubber sole pair & put a set of Chota hardened steel sheet metal screws in them. Because of the possibility of transfering Whirling Disease, Didymo etc. I would go with th rubber soles.

ezamora 03-18-2009 06:54 PM

Re: Sticky rubber vs. felt and studded felt
consider a wading staff too.

fresno, ca.

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