Patagonia Riverwalker Sticky Wading Boot

by John V.
(Claremont, CA)

Ok, I have taken the leap of faith and switched to rubber soled wading boots this summer. I have been averaging 3 days of fishing per week since June 2010. I feel that I have spent enough time wearing these boots that I can form an objective opinion about them.

When I set out to purchase my first pair of rubber soled (non felt) wading boots I spent a lot of time researching both online and in local fly shops before I purchased.

My criteria that I used for narrowing down the many great new boots available this season were as follows:

1. Comfort and fit. I am tired of having to buy boots that feel huge on my feet. I want something that feels more like a normal boot.

2. Boot materials. Synthetic uppers that dry quickly and are durable.

3. Light weight. Why do so many wading boots have to weigh 3 pounds each? (That may be a slight exaggeration).

4. Fantastic warranty support.

5. Good ankle support and a sole that treks well overland.

6. Sole material performance in the water. (That is totally subjective but these soles have met or exceeded my performance expectations).

7. Price or value for dollar vs. performance.

At the end of my searching, I found that the Patagonia Riverwalker Sticky Rubber boots met all of my personal criteria for a new pair of rubber soled wading boots.

They fit my feet well both when dry and wet.

They have been holding up fantastically. I have been using them a lot since I purchased them and the upper boot shows no wear and the soles show very minimal wear. I was worried that because the sole rubber is so soft that it would wear out early on.

The boots have huge tough rubber like bumper material that effectively covers both the toe box and also the heel. It did not seem like a big deal when I initially purchased the boots but now that I have spent some quality water time in them, the bumpers are a nice touch.

The Patagonias feel in my hand at least, to be about half the weight of the Simms Guide series boots (the close second in my comparison search).

Sizing is better for my feet in these boots than all the others I tried on with my waders and wading socks. Patagonia says that you can purchase these boots in your street shoe size and they are good to go. With my Simms waders and Simms wading socks, I purchased my boots one size larger than my street shoes and the fit is perfect and comfortable.

In the end, I found a great pair of wading boots that suit all of my personal needs and I would not hesitate to purchase another pair in the future.

Your milage may vary but I sure like these boots.

A quick side note: I would strongly recommend a good wading staff for any of the rubber soled wading boots. Despite the marketing hype by boot manufacturers, they are not quite felt soled grippy in the water yet. The future looks bright for this new and emerging technology but they still have some work to do.

Comments for Patagonia Riverwalker Sticky Wading Boot

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Oct 31, 2010
Wish I had them, too.
by: TenkaraBum

You were right to buy one size larger than your street shoes. I made the mistake of interpreting Patagonia's comment that they are "Sized to accommodate neoprene stocking-foot waders" to mean that I should buy the same size as my street shoes. I bought them on line and when they came they were too small and I had to send them back. The shop where I bought them didn't have my size in stock so I got the Simms Headwaters instead. They're also light but they aren't also sticky - their Vibram soles don't seem to grip as well as the soles on the Patagonias. I wish I'd waited until they could get the Patagonias in stock.

The Patagonia Riverwalker Sticky boots are on sale (at this writing) for $109 plus free shipping at North Platte River Fly Shop.

Nov 05, 2010
Thanks, good info.
by: tnitz

I've spent more on wading boots this season than ever before, and wish I had tried these. I've gone back to felt, but with an awareness that allows me to avoid contributing to spread of exotic species, but this week a non-fishing colleague looked at my felts while in Montana and expressed his disappointment. Clearly the word is getting out and I fear that felt's days are numbered.

With that in mind, I appreciate hearing reviews of other approaches to the substitution issue. Are the soles replaceable?

It also appears that the price is VERY good on these compared to the competition.

Nov 05, 2010
Soles are replaceable
by: TenkaraBum

According to the Patagonia website, the soles are replaceable.

Feb 19, 2011
Patagonia Riverwalkers
by: Anonymous

Did you/would you use cleats on the Riverwalkers?

Feb 19, 2011
Cleats on Riverwalkers
by: TenkaraBum

Hopefully John V will respond. I do not have the Riverwalkers. The sticky rubber Riverwalkers do not come with studs (although Patagonia now sells studs that I suppose you could use on the Riverwalkers). They also have a new boot that comes with a small bag of cleats (which you install yourself if you want them - and they are removeable in case you are going to be in a driftboat).

I personally would not use the cleats, but I am a special case. I put on my wading boots at home (on our hardwood floor!) and wear them in the subway and the commuter trains, where I suspect the cleats would tear up the linoleum floors, plus walking to the subway, across Grand Central's polished marble floors and on the roads from the train stations to the streams. I think I'll stay with the rubber soles.


Mar 22, 2011
Studs on Riverwalkers
by: Anonymous

I don't use studded boots and I guess that you could install some of the do it yourself studs. Patagonia offers a boot with rubber soles and studs.

The sticky sole rubber on the Riverwalkers is not very thick and the midsole material is quite soft (like the midsole of a good running shoe).

Most of the aftermarket studs I have seen are too long and I am not certain that the combination of soft/thin sticky rubber sole and softer midsole can hang on to screw in studs without ripping the soles of the boots apart.

If you want a studded soled boot then the safe bet is to buy a boot designed for studs.

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