Fly fishing hacks: self-studded rubber-soled wading boots

Self-studded wondersAs much as I like those Weinbrenner wading boots I picked up a few months back, the fact remains they have rubber soles. Rubber soles just don’t grip like felt, but with the latter quickly going the way of the buggy whip I thought I’d make a few tweaks to mine. The improvement? Studs.

Materials/tools I used

– Weinbrenner Propex boots with Goodyear Aquastealth soles
– #6 x 3/8″ zinc sheet metal screws
– A drill with a 5/64″ bit
– A socket wrench

What I did

I first marked a pattern across the boot bottom. I chose eleven spots on each boot – fairly sparse, guaranteeing I’ll still have some rubber on the road. Next, I drilled holes at each mark just a 1/4″ into the boot (slightly less than the screw length) – I wrapped the bit with masking tape that 1/4″ above the tip to ensure I didn’t drill through the sole. I started each screw by hand, and then finished each off with the socket.


MG signing off (to test them on the river full of slimy rocks)


I believe the toe cap on the Weinbrenners is leather – or something that doesn’t react all that well to repeated dunkings. The toe box on my last two pairs shrank in size by half (my dogs weren’t happy), and the local fly shop guy said he’s heard that from a bunch of folks.

Keep an eye on it, or you’ll be testing another pair of boots sooner than you might like.

Ingenious! I love your creative thinking! I’ll be interested to see if it actually improved your grip or perhaps, dare I say, even made it worse? Look forward to hearing your. Good luck!

Sorry, I meant to say: Look forward to hearing your results.

@Tom – Yea, the toe on the boots is something leather-like. I haven’t seen any signs of shrinkage, at least not yet (I’ve only been out in them like eight times). These are not really a test set though – they are the only pair I’m wearing right now. So I’ll know before long what’s up, barring winter hibernation on the owner’s part.

@FlyFishingUK – Thanks, although I’m not sure whether it was a sign of being creative, or just being a cheapskate.

I’ve fished two full days with the makeshift studs, including miles of hiking. The location was one I hit just a week prior, and was loaded with slick, round, mossy rocks. The difference in traction was very very noticeable, and the low profile of the screws kept “ice skating” on dry rocks to an absolute minimum. Didn’t lose a single screw, nor did the screws show any signs of wear. So far, so good.

Ah, cheapskate…… a man after my own heart! 🙂 Sounds like they were a success anyway. Good for you! Perhaps you should patent the idea.

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