The Best Men's Wading Boots

To test these men’s wading boots, we alternated different models on my left and right feet through multiple days of testing. For instance, one day, we wore the Korkers boot on a left foot and the Simms on a right foot while fishing in low water winter conditions with slime-covered river rocks.

We fished multiple rivers and streams in Utah and Wyoming, many of which required walking on snow and in muddy areas. We walked roughly two miles on average, fishing along the way and walked the entire length back to the parking area on multiple occasions.

The Patagonia Ultralight Wading Boots earned Best in Class honors after proving themselves capable of providing good comfort, durability, and grip in all conditions. The Ultralight Wading Boots fit like a comfortable pair of walking shoes, provide hiking boot-like support, and offered traction as good as any in the class.

The Korker Buckskin boots, also earned praise, earning Best Value accolades due to their low price and high performance in most rating categories. Indeed, we found the Buckskins — despite being the lowest price boot in the class — to be the most versatile of all the wading boots we tested.

The Simms and Cabelas boots, meanwhile, offered yeoman-like performance. Decent performance and features without being flashy or overwhelming in any category or rating set.

Review Year
Best in Class
Overall Rating
Price
Name Overall Rating Ratings The Good The Bad Price
Patagonia Ultralight Wading Boot
86
Best in Class
2014
Grip 8
Comfort 8
Wet Weight 7
Durability 7
Treadlife 8
Value 8

Ultralight when dry

Best “hiking boot” feel

Best grip on slimy river rocks

Well padded to prevent stone bruises

Most weight-gain when wet

Durability may be an issue

MSRP
$149.00
BEST DEAL
$189.00
Korkers Buckskin Wading Boot
84
Grip 7
Comfort 7
Wet Weight 8
Durability 7
Treadlife 7
Value 8

Soles can be tread-matched to conditions

One of the lightest boot when dry and wet

Effective interior drainage

Risk of failure of the interchangeable sole system

Fabrics on tongue, laces and uppers can snag fly

Traditional lacing rather than Boa system

MSRP
$149.00
BEST DEAL
N/A
Cabela’s Guidewater BOA Wading Boot
79
Grip 4
Comfort 7
Wet Weight 5
Durability 8
Treadlife 8
Value 7

BOA lace system

Secure, comfortable fit

Solid footing on uneven surfaces

Durable construction

Effective interior drainage

The boot feels heavy and clunky while walking

Heaviest boot out of the box and out of the drink

Slippery on slimy rocks if studs not applied

MSRP
$149.00
BEST DEAL
N/A
Simms Vapor Wading Boot
78
Grip 8
Comfort 7
Wet Weight 9
Durability 7
Treadlife 7
Value 0

Only boot in the class to under 2 pounds when wet

One of most slip-resistant boots in the class

Durable synthetic leather and rubber upper

Lace hooks are solid and deep for easy tying

Neoprene padding in the ankle area is too thin

Doesn't drain well

Somewhat noisy while walking when wet

MSRP
$149.00
BEST DEAL
$179.95
Patagonia Ultralight Wading Boot

Patagonia Ultralight Wading Boots upholds the company’s reputation for quality lightweight gear. It seems everything in the outdoor gear world has become lighter over the years and Patagonia made a special effort to bring that focus to wading boots. The Ultralights are comfortable, functional and, well, light. The Ultralight Wading Boots allow anglers who like to go walkabout to stick with one boot during the day rather than trading their hiking boots for wading boots once they reach their destination.

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