While Patagonia’s Aluminum Replacement Bar Kits were designed to replace old worn-down bars, they are can also be used to “supe” up a pair of old rubber-soled wading boots. Check out the visual step-by-step instructions to see how this is done here. Of all the cleats, studs, and bars on the market, we’ve found these do the best job at keeping you dry and on your feet.
If you’re like me, there’s a good chance you have some old, worn down rubber-soled wading boots lying around the garage that are in decent condition except the soles have become slicker than snot. Rather than throw them away, (or give them to your worst enemy), why not convert them into a pair of incredibly sticky wade fishing boots, especially if it only costs you an extra $40 and a little time? Here’s a simple visual step-by-step on how to convert your throw away boots from “slick to stick…”
You will need:
Pair of old rubber-soled bootsPatagonia Aluminum Replacement Bars KitSharpie MarkerPower Drill5/16 drill bit3/16 Allen wrench (#5)Loctite-Blue 242 (If handy) 45 min – an hour of time
Step 1: Start off with some-worn down rubber boots. These could be a pair of old Simms AquaStealths, Simms Vibrams, Patagonia RiverWalker stickies, Patagonia Rock Grips, or any other rubber-soled boot that has been significantly worn-out… You could probably even supe up a pair of old Air Jordansif you wanted to…
Step 2: Buy a pack of Patagonia Aluminum Replacement Bars at your local fly shop or order them from our online catalog. The cost is $39.95 plus shipping. We’ve tried several other stud kits (the Simms Hardbite Star Cleats being our next favorite), however, it seems we get a slightly superior grip (at least for the Yellowstone River and the spring creeks) with Patagonia’s Aluminum Bars than other brands.
Step 3: Decide where your bars will be placed (use the three-hole bars for your toe and heels). Use a sharpie marker to mark the middle of each hole. I used a regular Patagonia Bar boot for my template however placing the bars evenly would work find. You won’t need any bars in the middle since that part of the sole won’t get used much, (hence the less wear in the photos there).
Step 4: Use a 5/16 drill bit to drill the holes for your brass fittings. Take your time during this step to make sure you are centered on your marker spots and drill straight down into your rubber sole. Be sure not to drill too far, or you might drill through your sole and into your footbed. You want to drill just enough for the brass fittings to screw in. Be sure to get your holes drilled the exact distance apart as the holes in the aluminum bars – there is a bit of room for error, but you definitely don’t want to be off by more than 1/8th of an inch. You’ll have quite a bit of excess rubber that gets “screwed” out, so be sure to do this step over a hard surface area that can be wiped clean easily.
Step 5: Use a size 3/16 Allen wrench (Patagonia calls it a #5 Allen wrench) to screw in the brass fittings until they are flush with the rubber sole.
Step 6: If you have some Loctite-Blue 242 lying around, place a small drop of it on the tip of the screw, only enough to cover the first 3-4 threads. (I didn’t have any around and have not had a problem with the screws coming out yet, knock on wood). Start with the screws on the outside edges first and work into the middle. This ensures a more snug fit between the bar and the rubber sole. If you don’t tighten the screws down all the way immediately found you’ll have a little more “play” which helps if one of your drilled holes is slightly off.
Step 7: Go fishing and test out your “new” boots! A fair warning, you’ll probably feel indestructible with these aluminum bars on your feet, but even the best aluminum bars on the market are no match for the worst slimy bedrock, especially in waist-deep rapids. Be smart about where you are wading and always wear a wading belt.