During my life as a fly fisherman wading boots have always been a trial. Whether this is due to the fact that I am incredibly cheap and wouldn’t ever pony up for the expensive boots, or because I am incredibly hard on footwear I couldn’t tell you. What I can tell you is that for the first time ever I am replacing the laces on a pair of wading boots before I am replacing the boots. I know, crazy right?
The Patagonia Rock Grip Wading Boots with the rubber sole are easily the most durable wading boots I have ever owned. They have lasted me either 2 or 3 years at this point (I’ve had them so long I can’t even remember when I got them!) which equates to 200+ days on the water. These boots excel on all river bank surfaces, they give you great grip on mud, grass, snow and ice. I typically walk a lot when I fish, I generally move fairly quickly and cover a lot of water, this means that I am constantly walking on the bank and this is where the Rock Grip Boots really excel. They are sturdy and comfortable and give you awesome traction on the surfaces that typically make unwary fisherman eat crap. While your buddies are picking up six inches of snow on the bottoms of their boots, or are slipping down that grassy bank again you are walking in serious comfort.
In the river I would say the rubber sole has 10-15% less grip than a felt sole, but to be perfectly honest I have been wading just on rubber soles for so long that I don’t notice the difference anymore. If you have trouble wading with rubber soles Patagonia does include screw in cleats with the boots. Aimee recently took a 2 week trip up to Labrador with Grey Ghost Productions and used the boots with cleats and had fantastic traction. The cleats are easy to insert and remove, but we would recommend using a socket set, not a screwdriver.
If you need any additional convincing you can take the fact that Patagonia has been through a few versions of their lightweight wading boots in the last several years, but the Rock Grip Wading boot has stayed the same. If you are looking for more grip with the same great, durable, comfortable boot you can also check out the Aluminum Bar Rock Grip Wading boot, Chris bought a pair of these so we will try to have a review for your soon!