Ask anyone here in the shop, I am huge supporter of the Patagonia aluminum bar boots. From he moment that the Rock Grip Bar boot came out, I was immediately intrigued by the traction offered by this innovative footwear. Wading in the state of Utah can be extremely tough at times when the riverbed is covered in a nice green moss. I would not consider myself the most stable of angler when it comes to wading so I have always gone into a day of fishing with the notion that I may take a spill during the day.
The long story short is that I wore my original Rock Grip Aluminum Bar Boots into the ground. As much as I love these boots, they were honestly far from perfect. I believed that the original boots could have improved on two key features:
- Overall comfort – The original bar boots had no cushioning in the form of a midsole. When wearing the boots you were standing directly on the aluminum bars. After a long day this left me with sore feet.
- Traction – The aluminum bars were a game changer however the otherwise slick outsole made for some difficult situations on the river.
In 2014, the fine folks over at Patagonia introduced the second iteration of the bar boots with the Foot Tractor series. I recently picked up a pair of these boots and have to say that Patagonia has vastly improved on the original bar boot. I can honestly say that they improved on most of the features that I found to be detrimental to the original bar boot model.
- Overall Comfort – The foot bed of these boots sits on a completely redesigned midsole for added cushioning and support. A day spent in these boots no longer leaves me with sore feet. The toe box on these boots also is a lot roomier than the previous model for added comfort.
- Traction – These boots no feature a sticky rubber lug outsole in conjunction with the aluminum bars. An added benefit to these boots is that the jagged aluminum bars are recessed into the sole for even all around traction.
Just like their predecessors these boots continue to raise the bar of innovation in wading boots. These boots are still considered to be quite heavy (4.1lbs) however after a day of fishing I have rarely noticed the weight. These boots have allowed me to wade with much more confidence than I ever have. It is apparent that Patagonia has learned from the shortcomings of the Rock Grip Aluminum Bar Boots. It will be interesting to see what Patagonia does to improve on these boots in the future.