Patagonia’s new Forra Wading Boot offers a lightweight, aggressive looking, and competitive wading boot in terms of its construction. Made by Fitwells in Italy, they feature a sticky Vibram sole which is great for hiking and wading. Both boots weigh in at an impressively light 41 oz. They retail at $299, which, in my opinion, is a steal for a boot of this quality. Studs can be added to these boots as well.
For destinations where you cannot wear felt, and may be hiking a lot, this boot excels. It is extremely lightweight and its streamlined design reduces bulk making it a great travel boot. Despite its minimalist design, the webbing running off each lace loop offers a significant amount of lateral support. The snug fit at the ankle helps support your ankles in the most slick conditions and aids in reducing the amount of sediment that gets into your boots, thus saving your wader booties. The sole is wide with knobby edges that grip when you need them to most. They are also made with non-corrosive components meaning they are saltwater safe.
Sizing for this boot was a little tricky as they run small. I was debating between sizing one or two whole sizes up from my previous boot. I ended up sizing up one size and am happy with my choice. Keep in mind you will likely have to size up at least one size. We have a wide stock of sizes at the shop to help you figure out what works best.
I put this boot to the test in several different environments and wading conditions. The initial test was in Central Oregon and I put about 20,000 steps in each day for two days of fishing. This roughly comes out to about 10 miles each day. During those days I waded on rocky and mossy riverbeds, slippery slopes, and walked through the mud and muck at the inlet of a reservoir. I knew pretty soon into the first day that these were hands down the best wading boot I have hiked long distances in. The Cordura upper dries, and sheds water quickly reducing weight for walking long distances. I do wish these boots came in felt, but if you really need additional grip, these boots can be studded.
I have also been fishing in the surf on the Oregon coast lately, and have taken these to the beaches several times. I’ve found fishing for surfperch on the fly requires a significant amount of walking, and these boots are great for that. The aggressive, wide sole provides a solid foundation for wading in the surf: a place where staying upright on your two feet is crucial. The snug upper fit helps sand keep sand out when compared to other boots. Standing on rocky outcroppings, and the jetty can be dicey; the grippy vibram sole really makes a significant difference.
Overall, this is one of the best boots I’ve had the chance to test myself. I do wish they had a felt option for our slippery rivers, and you must keep in mind the sizing when purchasing, especially online. These are a phenomenal boot, made by a company that will take care of you and your gear for the long haul. Stop by the shop and try them on if you’re interested, or give us a call with any questions if you’re from out of town; we’re happy to help.