I don’t mind spending days on my boots. Some of the boots are so good here that you will have a hard time getting back to any other fly fishing footwear. But you won’t have to do that. You can just cherry-pick the best wading boots for slippery rocks from the list.
And there is also a guide to help you find a boot perfected for the best traction. I know those boots, and I know many people wearing them for ages.
There are also some budget options. But I suggest you pick the best in the market for the best fishing time.
Top Wading Boot Reviews for Slippery Situations
You will see a lot of felt boots here because we are focusing on slippery surfaces. But I can guarantee that these are the best quality wading boot you will find in the market.
1. Korkers Devil’s Canyon Wading Boot
- Interchangeable soles: Felt and Rubber (Option for studded soles)
- Hydrophobic upper material
- M2 Boa lacing
- Weight: 3.5 pounds
These were tested for three years. And trying it became a habit.
The first thing you will notice is the boa lacing system. The convenience of this system separates it from any other fly fishing boots. It is a game-changer in the cold when you have gloves on.
My friends and I fish both the east and west coast. But almost no issues with sand and water, even in the sandy rivers of Oregon. It was even strong in Alaska.
The interchangeable soles have been the biggest marketing points for Korker. Because ideally, you need rubber in every situation other than walking in deep water and other slippery situations. But for wading in slippery rocks, felt is the best material. Moreover, it is also very easy to change the soles even in the middle of the river.
There are specific drainage channels beneath the sole. Most high performance felt fishing boots lack this feature. I can also see double stitching in places where pressure is the most. The toe is protected by molded rubber, and you have a nice hug in the ankle area.
- Convenient lacing even with gloves
- Very light and comfortable
- Solid protection
- Stiff yet stretchy
- Best wading boot on the list
- The rubber kling-on studs are not the best
2. Simms Men’s Freestone Wading Boots
- Waterproof synthetic leather upper
- Right angle footbed technology
- Weight: 3.75 pounds
If you want a reliable fishing boot, Simms is the brand you are looking for. It is a company dedicated to producing the best fishing gear.
The freestone is a very solid boot. It has an excellent grip on every kind of surface, including slippery rocks. Even if you are wading in freezing water, it prevents ice buildup in the bottom.
They can take all kinds of abrasive surfaces. You can go with it season after season with no problem.
The leather on the upper is infused with rubber. And the EVA midsole works as a cushion for shocks. I didn’t understand the mechanics of right angle footbed technology, but it sure reduces fatigue.
It was also very comfortable to get on and off. And the inner padding doesn’t make you feel that you are wearing a wading shoe.
- Best traction in the most slippery places
- Most durable
- Enable fishing for a long time
- Clear warranty policy
- Rubber is not the best sole for the price
3. Korkers BuckSkin Wading Boot with Felt and Kling-On Outsoles
- Interchangeable soles: Felt and Kling-on rubber
- Hydrophobic materials
- Weight: 3.98 pounds
Even after five years of use, this boot didn’t have much change in it. It is almost like the Devil’s Canyon without the boa lacing. But the traditional lacing saves you a lot of money. However, after a few years, I also noticed some sand in the boot.
You also have the interchangeable outsoles here. And there are dozens of options to choose from. They are very easy to change. You can probably have the sweet sound of the sole snapping in place just with the help of one hand.
The insole is also removable. And you can always customize your sole choice with Korker. The studs could have been better. But all of the soles give you the best traction. Use the felt in slippery waters and the rubber in other surfaces.
It has a good hug. Our ankle and toe are well protected. You have triple stitching and rubber reinforcements. Drainage channels are visible when you get the sole out. All in all, if you cant get the Devil’s Canyon, this is your next best Korkers.
- Very comfortable
- Great looks
- One of the best traction
- It should have more side protection
4. Redington SKAGIT RIVER Wading Boots
- Two versions: Sticky rubber sole / Felt sole
- Thick rubber toe cap
- Mesh upper with synthetic overlays
- Weight: 3.35 pounds
Yes, I know rubber is not that good for rocks. Not because it gives you less traction, but it is not as durable in rocky situations. On the contrary, rubber is one of the best materials for underwater grip.
People who go out in boats will need it. Moreover, this is one of the best boots under 100 dollars you can get in 2020. Anyway, it also has a version of this boot with felt.
It is very durable for the price. The upper has a rubber reinforcement all around the body with triple stitching. There was no delamination of the sole after three years.
The sizes are accurate. They have a comfortable fit. I also loved the drainage. However, they take their sweet time drying. They don’t have studs, but you can add external studs with ease.
- Low price
- Good mesh panel drainage
- Very stable
- Rubber gets very sticky when wet
- The lace broke in the third season under heavy use
5. Compass 360 Tailwater II Cleated Wading Shoe
- Nylon and PU upper
- LSG outsole
- Weight: 3.94 pounds
This is our cheapest version. It is absolutely the best value. People love it. But you have to consider that there gonna be some tradeoffs for the lower price. Not that I have found any, but it is how the wading boot market works.
You can use the Compass 360 for hiking and hunting. That’s a little bonus value on top of the lower price. However, the weight is more than most other men’s hiking boots. You can have a decent fishing day with it as long as you are not overstretching yourself.
The upper is made of nylon, so you don’t have to think about shrinking. You have removable studs that give you the best friction with slippery rocks. The inside is really comfortable with all the padding. And you also have heel caps and toe protection in the boot.
I also loved the locking lace hooks. These little convenience factors elevate this boot from most other products in the market.
- Versatile boot
- Very comfortable and good looking
- Less infiltration of debris
- Best boot in the price range
- One year warranty
- A little heavy
- Only three sizes available
Wading Boots for slippery rocks Buying Guide
You are walking on the street, and you saw a boot shop. Then you suddenly feel like buying a new wading boot.
Wading boots are not like that. You have to sit down and read a little bit before picking one. And that is what you are gonna do now.
Outsoles and traction
Felt vs. Rubber
This is the first thing that comes to mind when considering boots, especially if you are new. So, read this section and bury the discussion once and for all.
Firstly, rubber is very versatile and can go on many terrains. It grips onto rocks, mud, sand, grassy slopes, and possibly anything you can throw at it. Moreover, wading boots has a pattern that is best for underwater gripping.
Felt is the traditional material. They are great for traction and durability on flat slippery surfaces like slippery rocks and logs in a stream. However, you can have problems with mud and sand. It also builds up ice underneath in the winter. So, I highly recommend studs if you are gonna go to the bank.
Both of these materials go with studs. You can have built-in studs or removable studs. You can even buy them separately and install them yourself. So, studs are not a big concern.
Typically we recommend upsizing from your regular shoe size. Especially if you are not planning to wear any botties because most of them are designed for wearing with neoprene booties.
Your ankle and toe need a lot of protection when they are underwater. You will be kicking rocks and slipping on them.
To ensure the best protection, certain places should have extra backing with rubber or other hard materials. The ankle should have some solid support so that it is virtually impossible to topple when angling. There should also be padding to alleviate stress. I am also in favor of high ankle boots.
We have already seen boots that can last way more than five season under some serious abuse. So, it is a matter of price when it comes to durability. Because a durable boot will have triple stitching, better material, a thick rubber backing, and many other features like it.
I would also like to add that rubber soles are more durable than felt if they are not encountering sharp rocks. And you should also check for the quality of your lace. And the metal parts of your boot should always be corrosion resistant. Too bad manufacturers don’t give this much detail of their boots.
If you are going out fly fishing for long hours, give extra focus on the weight. More weight means your feet are gonna get tried quickly.
For fly fishing wading, you want fast drainage in your boots. For that, manufacturers make channels where water can run down. Uppers made of hydrophobic materials also help. They should also dry faster to prevent bacterial buildup.
Sand in the boot
Sands will get into your boot no matter how good they are. However, neoprene and sealed lips help to minimize the amount. Long boots are the best in this case. See if the tongue is sewn to the sides.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are always some questions that can’t be answered in a product review. For those queries, you have the FAQ section.
Q: Can women wear these boots?
A: These boots are primarily for men. You can try the following boots for women.
- Korkers Darkhorse Women’S W/Felt & Kling-On Soles
- Simms Women’s Freestone Felt Sole Wading Boots
Q: Can I use a hiking boot for wading?
A: Some hiking boots can be used for wading, but most of them can’t. Hiking boots will have no drainage channel and the particular pattern to have extra grip underwater. So, it’s better to have separate boots for wading.
Q: Which type of sole is best for stability?
A: Rubber soles are best for stability.
Q: What are wall nut soles?
A: This breed of soles has crushed walnut shells in the rubber sole. It gives them extra stickiness in the water.
Q: How much weight should I be looking for?
A: The lighter, the better. But whatever your size is, don’t go near five pounds. Try to keep it below four pounds.
Q: Which is the best brand for wading boots?
A: I think Korkers is the best brand for its innovative design. And they also have a fantastic customer care policy with six decades of experience.
You don’t go fishing for money; you go there to have a good time. No one wants to put a price tag on leisure time. But the sad part is there are some costs included.
So, here we have the best wading boots for slippery rocks or any kind of surface. They are all the best in their category. Korkers Devil’s Canyon is my top pick. But anyone from the list is going to make your money count.