If you are looking for fly fishing gear for beginners its easy to get overwhelmed, fishing gear can be expensive and its hard to figure out if your getting your moneys worth.
Before I could afford wading boots my beginner fly fishing gear was some thick wool socks with my hiking boots. This worked ok, however to wade rivers safely, slip protection, ankle and toe protection, durability, drainage and of course comfort are key. Boots can be expensive but, from my own experience, the cheapest way can come back to bite you. My first pair was the cheapest I could find and they didn’t even last a year. After that I went for the most expensive and as they worked out incredibly, with technology, innovation as well as competition there are many boots, for a decent price, that will last for many years.
Boots are kind of personal, they are like any foot ware, style can be important but comfort, functionality and durability are also key. Obviously support and protection are important but the type of sole can be the most confusing. There are basically three types of soles.
- Felt soles. Felt is great for wading in slippery conditions, however if you’re hiking to get to your next fishing spot felt can be challenging footing over dry rocks and tree limbs as well as sticky mud. Felt wears down quickly and can separate from the boot altogether. Although felt bottoms can be replaced, it’s inconvenient and comes at a price. One other thing to be aware of is that some states have banned felt. Researches have found that Invasive species or AIS can be transferred, from river to river, easier with felt because they are highly absorbent and dry slowly.
- Rubber soles. Rubber is obviously better for all types of hiking to get to your favorite fishing hole but they don’t grip quite as well as felt in slippery river bottoms.
- Rubber or felt soles with studs. Studs give that ultra traction and confidence when wading those very slippery river bottoms. The downfall is they are horrible on boat bottoms.
As always we have done tons of research and have come up with a few that we highly suggest.
This is a quality boot for $95.95 – $119.99. This is one of Redingtons most popular wading boots and I really like the construction, I like how its one piece of rubber from the toe to heel, it’s got ankle padding and a rubber toe cap. The soles come in felt or sticky rubber and both are stud compatible. This means you can screw in some studs to the soles kind of like spikes in golf shoes. The mesh panels make it great for drainage and fast drying. This is a semi lightweight boot with good construction and is a very good entry level boot unfortunately it doesn’t come in women’s or kids sizes. Free shipping. Redington goat head sole spikes are available at check out for $23.95. Click on the heading or image to purchase.
This is a comfortable and durable boot and for $119.00 it’s a great deal. This boot has a rubber sole which has great grip and is stud compatible. It has a reinforced toe and ankle padding and it is quick drying. This is a great boot for the comfort and durability as well as style. This same boot also comes in felt bottoms only for $98.00, however the felt sole is not stud compatible. You really can’t beat the comfort and quality of this boot for the price and I really like that it’s also available in women’s and kids sizes. Free Shipping. Orvis posigrip studs are available at check out for 29.99. Click on the heading or image to purchase.
These boots are innovative with their OmniTrax Interchangeable Sole System. This system allows you to
change the type of sole depending on the various conditions that you may encounter while fishing, it’s simple and easy to do. The boot itself is comfortable, lightweight and stylish. It’s made of hydrophobic materials, which relates to faster drying time (this helps to lessen the chance of spreading invasive species). The durability is amazing for the price, from around $140.00 to $160.00 depending on the types of soles you choose. This makes sense for the beginner angler because you will only have to purchase one pair of boots and it will allow you to be able to adjust to different conditions. This is a fantastic boot and comes with two interchangeable soles, at purchase you can choose between felt and Kling-on rubber or Kling-on rubber and studded Kling-on. Although felt is probably the best sole for wading we suggest going with the Kling-on rubber and studded Kling-on, only because some states have banned felt due to the invasive species problem, and we are concerned about it as well. Korkers offer six additional soles to choose from as you progress in your journey. Unfortunately Korkers has not figured out that women and kids need wading boots too so the BuckSkin only comes in men’s sizes. We highly suggest this boot for the more serious angler, it has the ability to last and with the capability to adapt its a game changer. Click on the heading or image to purchase.
Simms Headwaters Boots
Simms is known for their quality boots, waders and accessories. Simms construction and durability are also known to be some of the best in the industry. For around $180.00 this lightweight, stable and well constructed boot comes with Vibram soles to provide a slip-resistant grip as well as felt soles. The inner neoprene lining, which I think is a great idea, provides added cushion and comfort while hiking and wading. Although the boots do not come with Simms studs or cleats they are stud and cleat compatible. Studs come in a 20 pack for around $30.00 and cleats come in a 10 pack for around $30.00. (See studs and cleats below). This is a fantastic boot for the price and comes in all sizes for both men and women. Check out my friends @ Fish West to purchase these boots.
Simms G3 Guide Boot
This boot is for the long haul, It’s construction, durability and comfort are unmatched as far as wading boots go. They do cost a bit more but for around $230.00 it’s a boot that will last for years to come and will definitely not disappoint. The G3 Guide Boot cant be beat If you are serious about fly fishing and you know that you will be spending a lot of time and long days on the water. I’m talking 4 to 8 hour days and still feeling the comfort. This lightweight boot bottoms are comprised with a River Tread platform sole and Vibram outsoles to provide great grip, traction and feel and you will not believe how they don’t feel rigid. All the bells and whistle with this boot. They are stud and cleat compatible and come in men’s and women’s sizes. The G3 is also stud and cleat compatible. (See below). Check out my friends @ Fish West to purchase these boots.
Studs and Cleats
The Redington goat head studs can be used with felt or rubber soles. The Orvis posigrip studs are available with rubber bottoms only. The Simms Hardbite studs can be used on any of the vibram boots and can be configured on the boot as you please. The Star Cleats are going to fit into each boot the way simms has designed. They are both going to really get the job done and are kind of a personal preference from that standpoint. Also I want to note that you can use the hardbite studs and the star cleats together.
As I have pointed out, wading boots can be personal and, with technology, an inexpensive boot can do just fine for the beginner, novice or even expert angler. When making a purchase try to think of how many days you will be on the water throughout the year and what you can afford right now. The Redington or Orvis boot for around $120.00 should last 2 to 3 years on average. The more expensive boots will last a few years longer but for my money I will want to spend a little less and upgrade to the new technology in a couple years anyway. You wont go wrong with any decision you make, in my mind, have fun and happy fishing.
We hope you like our suggestions and if you have any questions regarding these boots or any fly fishing gear for beginners, just let us know.