Patagonia Riverwalker Sticky Wading Boot
by John V.
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.
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