Felt vs. rubber soled boots [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Felt vs. rubber soled boots

08-06-2002, 04:59 PM
Do aquastealth soles (made by 5 10, and used on many wading boots, including Simms and LL Bean) grip as well as felt soles do? Or do they slip a little more?
Also, can anyone recommend a good wading boot for New England streams and rivers? (Simms vs. Chota vs. LL Bean vs ???) Thanks.

08-06-2002, 05:26 PM
You forgot to add cleats to your poll. Simms was one of our sponsors for the Sweden competition and provided their cleated Aquastealth guide boots. The water was tea stained and running hard due to some recent rains. Sweden has a ton of granite so the streams were like wading in greased bowling balls while someone held a fire hose on you. Those boots litteraly saved our lives a few times. I'll never wear anything else as long as I live. If that's not a ringing endorsement I'll put it in bold letters.;)


Dble Haul
08-06-2002, 06:59 PM
Since I fish in a variety of environs, I'd have to vote for the Hodgeman nipple-soled boots. They're great for walking the beach or flats, and readily take a pair of Korkers for jetty fishing and the like. I also use them in trout and smallmouth streams with no problems. They're quite light for their size.

By the way, nice to have the governor of Maine online with us. ;)

08-06-2002, 08:30 PM
Assuming this is a river wading poll (based on the choices) I would say that few streams are accomodating enough for aquastealth soles. Most require felt, and anything even slightly challenging require studs.

I've fished w/ people wearing aquastealth and they couldn't even come close to keeping up with me in studded felts.

I purchased a pair of Danner felt studded boots about 10 years ago and although the stitching on the side panels (aesthetic) came out they are my go-to, brick-sh*thouse river boots.

Above accomodating and challenging is the Thompson. You need felt, studs, and a damn good wading staff just to stay on your feet on such rivers.

Another important factor is structural integrity - the shoe that is good on the flats is useless between two boulders when the ankle is crushed. The sole itself must be rigid enough to avoid compression between boulders, and in a current stepping into the crevices between rocks can be agony or worse. People have drowned when the current knocks them down with their ankle caught between rocks in a hard current.

In summary, the wading boots you need depend on the situation. In moderate to challenging rivers, a solid structural boot with felt and studs are the best medicine IMHO.

08-06-2002, 09:19 PM
I think that different boots work better with different rivers. The Deschutes has a soft volcanic rock and studs really stick to it.
The Mcloud river has really hard smooth rocks and I find that studs tend to skate there.
5-10 rubber(AquaStealth) is a little slick and needs the studs I think. I like them for when I am doing a lot of scrambling and walking. They(Sims) were great in New Zealand. I think that your best bet would be to ask people what they use on your specific river/s.

08-06-2002, 10:19 PM

Is there a way to install your own studs in a felt sole boot that some one has tried successfully ?

In our GL rivers normally felts are enough but there are a couple of rivers where I think the studs would help.

Want to keep my 10 year record of no dunkings intact.

08-07-2002, 01:05 AM

one of the easiest and most effective is to go to the local hardware store and buy some aluminum sheet metal screws that are about 1/4 or 3/8 long. Simply screw them into the felt soles with a little Sportman;s Goop or Aquaseal on the threads and you're in business. Fast, cheap, effective, and simple. Just make sure that they are aluminum and not steel.

08-07-2002, 08:01 AM

Thanks, I thought there would be a way to do this just needed some one to start me on the right path. Will put the HW store on my saturday morning to do list.

How are the studs on your feet for those long river trail walks ? These are all forest trails with dirt no gravel and not even many rocks to negotiate here in the Great lakes area.


08-07-2002, 08:18 AM
I have always worn boot foot waders with felt soles. Maybe it's just a matter of experience and the amount of days I spend fishing every year, but I usually just tromp right across any water that is below my waist. I remember wearing rubber soles once when I had no other choice not too long ago and I was not happy at all. I have never worn the rubber studs but can't see hwo they would be much better than regular rubber soles and no way can it match felt soles. I have used corkers. Don't like the metal spikes for regular trout fishing situations. Would not leave home without them for winter fishing however.
Good day, Governor.

08-07-2002, 10:43 AM
What a great group - I feel more sure-footed already, and I'm not even on the water yet.

Sorry for the confusion - the governor is buying the boots, but they're a birthday present for me, his son (we have the same name). I'll pass along your regards, anyway, and will hopefully get him out on the water soon after his schedule opens up next year.

08-07-2002, 03:22 PM
There is athird option which I would like to add Orvis makes a convertable boot that has felt, felt w/ studs, and rubber soles which is like buying all three in one boot;)


08-08-2002, 01:36 AM

The screws pick up dirt and love to collect mud, but the dirt or mud is easy to take care of in the water when you enter the river.

The felts cushion your feet somewhat from the sheet metal screws but I souldn't recommend wearing them for mile long walks. Overall adding aluminum sheet metal screws is a lot like wearing felts wading shoes with the carbide studs in them. Not exactly the most comfortable but they do help you stay on your feet in really slippery conditions.

08-08-2002, 02:23 AM
Unless you're in a boat. Then studs will put you on your backside and/or in the water. Not to mention the boat owner will probably give you the "what for". :whoa: