When I first heard about the Patagonia Foot Tractor Wading Boots, I was excited about the enthusiasm I was hearing from the team at Patagonia while also very interested in learning more about the boots. It was really three things that provoked the interest:
1. Decades of being impressed with Patagonia products
2. The high level stoke I was hearing from people at Patagonia
3. The $499 (and up) sticker price! (We’ll get to that.)
For many, the Patagonia Foot Tractor Wading Boots are a game changer, and there’s a compelling case for that. At first glance, these conservatively styled boots look a bit like what we’ve seen from boot makers for decades. However, after wearing these boots, there’s much more going on here.
The Patagonia Foot Tractor Wading Boots should be considered by any angler looking for wading boots. And these superior boots should be recognized for impressive design, comfort, durability, and the longevity factor that comes into play.
I’ll be honest: Comfort is key for me, and this was also my initial concern with these boots. When you pick up the boots, the first thing you might notice is how heavy they feel. Additionally, there seems to be less ankle support. However, wearing them is a different story. The weight is all directed toward the sole of the boot. When wading, this seems to enhance feelings of balance and comfort, especially in slippery areas. As someone with an artificial hip, I don’t mess around with footwear that might contribute to discomfort. These boots are comfortable to wear, and they have a nice padded, well-designed insole to help support comfort for all-day walking and wading.
Only time will tell, but it’s possible that the Patagonia Foot Tractor Wading Boots are the most durable and longest-lasting wading boots ever built. I’ve always been partial to cheap, heavy, well-constructed boots that might be able to handle the river better than more athletic boots with more features. (And such boots are more easily replaceable.) But Patagonia took a head-turning approach with this design and also did so in collaboration with Danner. Danner doesn’t mess around with boots, and they have a long history of what knowing works and what doesn’t. To have Patagonia and Danner go through years of R&D on these boots is about as demanding as it gets. (To only have been in the room for the design and testing!)
These boots have been in anglers’ hands for more than a year. A number of well-traveled anglers are posting photos on social media to show how well these boots are standing up to month after month of abuse. It’s pretty impressive. And side note: Nothing I’ve ever owned takes as much abuse as my Danner hunting boots, and those are still going strong too.
The points about durability are important, but to add (and this is where the price factors in), the Patagonia Foot Tractor Wading Boots might possibly the last boots you ever buy. This was part of the messaging from Patagonia, but it might be true. These U.S.A.-made boots are designed to be repaired for life. Patagonia hopes to avoid waste and landfills and that anglers will send the boots in for repairs rather than ever buy a new pair of boots again. Bravo!
Finally, while there are other points about the boots that are compelling, the Vibram sole is another standout feature. For traction and durability, use of Vibram soles is as good as it gets as far as I’m concerned, and this sole only adds to the value. This in effect eliminates any question about what boots I want to wear at the end of the day.
The Patagonia Foot Tractor Wading Boots are Forge Grey (in color) and come in Rubber ($499), Aluminum ($549), and Felt ($499) sole options.
– Tim Harden
Disclosure: Patagonia is in a professional relationship with the The Venturing Angler. Though potentially benefiting from this relationship, we do not post what we do not believe to be true. To read more, click here.