Wanna go fishing? looking for studded wading boots? And worried if wading boots studs are necessary for freestone rivers and streams? if your favorite wading boots will hold up against slippery rocks? Or will you fall on your face and spend the rest of the season icing those bruises?
Nope, I won’t let that happen to you!
With years of experience, I have gathered quite a lot of wisdom, traction-wise. I know for a fact what lifesaver studded wading boots can be. They give phenomenal grip and are pretty simple to use once you are educated right.
I was once an amateur fly fisher too; have had my fair share of tumbles and injuries due to losing grip over those evil slick rocks. I don’t know how those little devils do it- you lose focus for a second, and these rocks push your feet into the water. And with time I have realized the importance of wading boots studs.
With this guide on studded wading boots, you’ll be able to wade through any stream without fear.
- What Are Studded Wading Boots?
- How to Install Studs in Your Wading Boots?
What Are Studded Wading Boots?
All wading boots have the sole purpose of helping keep you steady while you stand tall on a wet and low-friction rock. It’s common sense!
So what’s so special about studded wading boots?
Well, all doctors could treat diarrhea. But only someone who specializes in gut problems can treat it REALLY well. The same is with wading boots.
When you tread on highly slick surfaces, you need extreme measures. Studded boots have tiny steel or carbide screws installed in their soles to help produce a more uneven surface beneath your boot.
Recall the fifth-grade science lesson here: the more uneven a surface is, the more friction it will produce. And friction, my friends, is an angler’s best mate. With added friction, stud boots hold on to the surfaces better, and there is less chance of slipping.
Check our guide on Best wading boots for slippery rocks
Where Are Studded Boots Best Used?
Ice, slippery rocks, wet grass, and muddy areas require additional help when wading through them. Here, felt or rubber sole alone usually fail. Felt studded wading boots are the best combination to use in a rocky river bed, while the rubber sole boots with studs are your best bet against ice during winter fishing.
Where Studs Are Better Avoided?
If you plan on fishing from a drift boat, wading boot studs are a big NO. They can wreck your boat deck’s floor unless you place rubber mats all over it. Wader studs can also puncture inflatable tubes and cut fly lines. Plus, they are a bit noisy. But, the massive addition in traction makes it easier to overlook all these minor inconveniences. You only need to take a little extra care or maybe have two pairs of wading boots to switch between for different fishing scenarios. The Korkers Buckskin Men’s studded wading boot are an excellent choice due to their interchangeable rubber and stud shoe soles.
Types of Studs
Studs for wading boots come in a variety of shapes and materials. What type you need depends upon where you are wading. You may face hard rocks or soft rocks.
What are hard rocks? They are the ones that have hardness enough to put scratches on steel and glass. Generally, Aluminium studs are better for hard stones. Examples include marble, basalt, granite, and quartz.
Steel and carbide studs are better suited for gaining traction over softer rocks. These rocks cannot abrade glass or steel but are enough to score your fingernails. Coal, limestone, slate, and sandstone fall into this category.
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How to Install Studs in Your Wading Boots?
Not everyone enjoys wet wading. Some anglers prefer to have a dry torso while they are fishing. Studded fishing boots are one way to avoid slipping into the water and getting drenched.
Installing studs in your wading boots is a pretty simple task. But before we go into the step-by-step guide, let’s start with some basics first.
Choosing the Right Studs For Wading Boots
What kind of studs will work with your wading boot? It largely depends on your budget, the efficiency you desire, and, well, your wading boots. Here are some ideas about the best studs for wading boots.
1. Brands Studs
Some well-known brands such as Korkers, Simms, and Orvis produce studs perfectly compatible with their wading boots. If you are a perfectionist and a bit brand conscious, I recommend getting a set from these big brands to match your shoes. This way, you can be sure of maximum performance.
Korkers omnitrax studded felt sole with carbide spikes is suitable with all korkers wading boots, and the perfect choice where felt is banned.
2. Universal Studs
Then, there are other universal options. These studs are designed to go in most wading boot soles. My best pick among such studs is Goat Head Spikes. They are very effective, and the cost isn’t that hefty as that of big brands. You can easily find them on Amazon.
3. DIY Studs
If you want to go even cheaper, I have some DIY studs ideas too. They perform better than you’d think at a fraction of what the branded studs cost.
- Get yourself some Aluminum rock screws from a local hardware shop. The ones with a hexagonal head and half-inch length work seamlessly over moss-covered surfaces. You can get a handful of them at an insanely low price.
- When looking for cheap studs options, I came across a sport of bike racing on ice. These dirt bikes use steel studs by Kold Kutters on their tires, to gain traction while speeding on ice and snow. I have found that the same screws can pair perfectly with your wading boots and give you superb grip over surfaces as slippery as ice. Just look for ⅜ inch screws, which you can get for peanuts. Also, these steel studs are almost indestructible.
Where To Put Studs on Wading Boots
Planning the Right Pattern for Studs Placement is very important.
Grabbing the studs and screwing them in your wading boots sole randomly may not be the best idea. You’ll need some brainstorming to think of the most efficient wading boot stud pattern performance-wise.
In my experience, studs density should be more in the outer edges of your boots. Also, the heels and the area where the ball of your foot goes need more traction since these areas make the most contact with the ground. So stud these areas well. All other areas should be evenly studded. And remember not to go crazy! You need some rubber sole too for traction, so don’t fill it all up with steel.
Like the 8 Fans Men’s Fishing Hunting Wading Boots, many best wading boots provide a predefined pattern for studs placements. The circular grooves have a notch in between; that is where your studs should go.
How Many Studs Do I Need?
There is no fixed amount. You’ll have to judge your wading conditions for this. The slickest of rocks demand 10-12 studs in each studded wading boot. For better friction levels, fewer may do the job. When shopping for studs for wading boots, check the number of studs you get in a package. You’ll need around 20 for solid traction.
Studs Installation: Step-by-Step Guide
When you buy prepackaged studs, often a manual or power installation tool is included in the kit. If not, you will need to buy one separately.
Here’s how you can install a stud in your rubber or felt sole wading boots:
- Place the head of the stud on the tip of the installation bit.
- Hold the tail of your stud against the boot sole in the desired location. Press down firmly.
- Now start screwing in the stud slowly while applying constant pressure in a direction perpendicular to the boot sole.
- When the prongs of your installation bit penetrate the sole, remove the bit from the stud.
- Check if the collar of the stud makes firm contact with the boot sole. If it does, you’ll know that the stud is secured into its place.
- Repeat the same steps on the remaining studs.
- If the studs are not embedded in the boot sole properly, they may come out.
- Avoid over-tightening as this can make a hole within your boot.
- Make sure you screw in the studs straight and not at an angle.
- Always cross-check the thickness of your wading boot sole and the length of the studs to confirm their compatibility.
Wading Boots Cleats: an Overview
Once you are all caught up on studded fishing shoes, wading cleats are no rocket science. They do pretty much a similar job and are installed with the same steps.
The only difference is their shape. Cleats offer a larger surface area and come in several shapes ranging from a star shape to bars.
Regardless, all studs and cleats for wading boots are designed to serve one fly fishing god only, TRACTION! The size, form, material, and edges are designed to grip the surfaces where gripping is impossible.
So there you are! All educated about the basics of wading boots studs. They are a sure-shot way of achieving traction in places where even the best felt or rubber bottom wading boots don’t stand a chance. They are the little gems that’ll help to make you rich in fly fishing.
The market is flowing with options. But the best studs for wading boots are durable, easy to install and take out, a killer at their job, and can also be very cheap if you have a little DIY passion in yourself.
So what are you wading for? Give your wading boots a studded makeover today!