Patagonia Ultralight Wading Boot ReviewApril 30, 2014
- 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
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.
I found the Patagonia Ultralights slipped the least when tested side-by-side with the others. Part of the official name of the boots is “Sticky” and they proved to be just that. RockGrip soles, the sticky part, provide lugged tread patterns on the edges for teetering on rocks and star-shaped tread on the rest of the sole for gripability on flat areas. I found the combination effective in all wading situations.
I slipped my feet into the Ultralights and nearly forgot they were wading boots. The Ultralights’ solid ankle support came in handy when leaping across boulder fields and a reinforced toe box protected my toes from rollers and stubbing injuries. There also seemed to be no break-in time required. While it can take multiple trips to figure out if some wading boots will work for your feet, the Patagonia Ultralights felt comfortably broken in right out of the box.
The Patagonia Ultralights went from being the lightest out of the box (1.5 pounds) to the second heaviest (2.35 pounds) after they had been worn in water. But the wet-weight wasn’t excessive and they dried quickly.
While I experienced no problems with the construction myself, I did hear some user concerns about the stitching on the Ultralights.
Making the boots lightweight has likely reduced the tread life in–that’ been the case with Patagonia’s previous models. But the RockGrip sole design with the more durable lugs around the sticky sections should drastically improve the life of the boots.
The Ultralights came in as the highest priced of the four models I field tested but they were within $50 of the cheapest model (Korkers).
We field tested the boots in a variety of conditions, from the pebbly beaches of Puget Sound while chasing Sea-Run Cutthroats, to the fast waters of the Salmon River in Idaho. We wore each pair of boots for multiple days, and wore mixed pairs on multiple occasions – that is, one model on our left foot, another on our right – to get direct side-by-side comparisons.
Brett Prettyman has been an outdoor writer at the Salt Lake Tribune since 1990 and also freelances for a number of outdoor-related publications. He tests fly fishing boots and waders for the Gear Institute.