Although expensive, the Patagonia Women’s Ultralight Wading Boots offers best-in-test fit, support, traction and comfort.
Fit This is Patagonia’s first truly women’s-specific wading boot, and the difference is immediately obvious. Unlike the boxy, overly-roomy dimensions of many women’s wading boots, these feel comfortably snug, with a foot-cradling wrap throughout. Even the heel pocket is optimized for women (we tend to have narrower heels than men) so I experienced zero heel slippage while hiking. I have a broad, C-width foot and found this to be comfortable; anglers with narrow feet or low arches will find best-in-test fit from the Patagonia Women’s Ultralight Wading Boots.
Traction Patagonia’s Rock Grip rubber lives up to its name. It delivers surprisingly grip on hiking trails and slime-coated river rocks. Most rubber soles don’t compete with felt or studs for clawlike traction, yet somehow, these come close: Only studded models matched it for secure, non-slip purchase.
Support Soft, conformable panels around the Achilles tendon allow for easy striding. Yet stiff panels on the sides of the ankle cuff stabilize that joint, and sturdy panels on the sides of the boot kept my feet from rolling off rounded rocks. The comfortably snug, foot-hugging fit also contributed to this boot’s standout stability: Every step felt secure because my foot wasn’t sliding around within the boot.
Weight Not the lightest, but not the heaviest, the Patagonia Women’s Ultralight Wading Boots offer an appealing compromise between durability and easy of wear.
Features A small band of nylon webbing secures the laces at the base of the ankle and keeps them from loosening over hours of walking. No hook for gravel guards.
Durability Only the instep gussets use mesh (which doubles at this boot’s drainage ports). The rest of the upper features rugged synthetic leather and rubber.
Mountain-dweller Kelly Bastone became a writer so she could stop asking the boss for permission to take a powder morning, enjoy extra-long lunch breaks to fish or mountain bike, and clock out early when the hatch is on.