Fly Fishing Wader Buying Guide: Felt vs. Rubber Soles

When shopping for a fishing trip, it’s important to choose the best breathable waders on a budget, but you should also consider desired wading conditions and styles. In this article, you will find useful information to help you choose the good pants.

During the way, you will know the main features of a wading boot for a fly fishing trip. Moreover, you can decide whether rubber soles or felt soles are ideal with your wading boots.

The wading boot size

Before looking at details, it’s necessary to recognize that stocking foot waders are perfect choices for best wading boots. The stocking foot has heavy neoprene booties so your wading boot has more space inside. As a result, you should know your size wading boot. Most sizes of wading boots match your common shoe size. For instance, if your shoe size is 12, you should wear a size 12 boot. However, there is a little difference of sizes between several brands.

In the case, you prefer shorts than waders in cold streams on hot days, what size boot should you wear? It’s always better to wear only wading boots for a hot summer wading. Then, you should size down or follow the best way that is using neoprene socks for the extra space inside.

Felt soles vs. rubber soles

Your first consideration is choosing between typical felt-soled boots and rubber-soled boots.

  • If you’re in fishing destinations like lakes and rivers that have banned felt soles, you only need rubber soles.
  • In the US, there are some states like that case above, including South Dakota, Rhode Island, Nebraska, Missouri, Maryland, and Alaska.

Why there are bans on felt soles in these states?

  • The reason is that invasive species may be stuck in felt soles and be forced to transport to another waterway. If possible, most waders suffer from low risks, partially as most people can’t fish multiple places in fast succession.
  • Also, if your wanted destinations have invasive species problems in water, you should choose rubber soles, even though your state doesn’t ban felt soles.
  • Certainly, bad critters can be stuck in most gears. When you have problems of wading, you should carefully dry the gear under the sun and check it before a new trip.

Benefits of choosing felt soles on wading boots

The advantage of felt soles is offering the best grip on rocky and slippery grounds. If you’re fishing in small rocks or gravel with gentle shores, there’s no need for the felt advantage. On a ground with flat rocks and slick slime, the felt is always better options since it supports traction under the water.

Except for bans in some countries and states, another disadvantage of the felt is that it’s too thin to walk in a long time on trials or shore until the water.

Benefits of rubber soles on wading boots

Benefits of rubber soles on wading boots

Rubber soles with boots are recently popular choices for a fishing trip. When they’re not quite suitable for most streams, the modern rubber technologies increase advantages and tread designs support the grip. Moreover, the best products have metal studs for extra grip on rocky bottoms.

  • The key benefit of rubber soles is that the grip level is much suitable for the trails and banks around streams and rivers. In fact, wearing rubber soles is safer than felt soles when you walking on a sandy bank.
  • If you’re a professional or serious on wading, you should choose rubber soles for different water and ground environments.

Always try on new wading boots, regardless of the sole type, with socks and waders to ensure they fit your size and fishing needs. Like hiking boots, you need support and comfort.

Many wading boot brands offer boots with both rubber or felt sole choices, so if a felt wading boot fit your personal preferences instead of a rubber or vice versa, you can also find a felt or rubber selection option.

In the case, you have the illness with ankle stability or balance; your most important gear might not be best wading boots. You need to ask good wading staffs to help you know tricky trails and water. Plus, think of an instantly inflatable or automatic life jacket vest for the best safety in deeper or fast water.

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