How Many Studs Should I Add To My Wading Boot?

An angler takes a break and puts his feet up, showing the Michelin-designed outsole of the PRO wader boot.

For the fisherman who primarily is wading, adding studs to your boot is something that should top your list when it comes to wading safety. Both felt and rubber wading boots could use a helping hand when it comes to extra traction. Let's face it, rivers are slick and dangerous, and wading around can be tough even under the easiest of substrate conditions. Adding studs to your boot helps to give you that little extra bite when it comes to wading traction and safety.

Most boots do not come pre-studded with metal studs because the placement and number of studs depends largely upon the personal preference of the angler and their own wading needs. However, boots may come pre-studded which may not be a bad place to start out if you want to see for yourself if studs really make a difference (trust us, they do!). Here are some things to consider when placing studs on your boot.


  • Avoid placing studs in the dead center of the sole's arch and in the dead center of the heel.
  • You will get more extra traction by using an uneven pattern of the stud layout. Scatter the studs as much sole allows rather than juxtaposing them in rows along the sole.
  • Concentrate the placement of the studs around the edges of the sole rather than the middle. The studs are intended to give extra gripping power, not be primary contact of the boot with the bottom.
  • Outer edge placement of studs ensures that the sole will contact the bottom of the river softly, but when you begin to slip or loose traction, the studs around the edge help to kick and provide extra traction.


  • More isn't necessarily better. Focus on the placement of the stud rather than filling the entire sole of the boot with metal.
  • If your studs protrude significantly past your highest tread knob, the more studs you add, the less overall sole surface area will contact the wading surface.
  • Wading on rocks with rubber soles is slippery, but replacing the sole's entire rubber contact surface with an all-metal contact surface can be just as slippery and dangerous.
  • Stud quantity should increase the traction of the rubber surface, not create a completely new surface of metal spikes only.

There Are a Few Things About Studs That Should Be Considered

  • Walking and hiking all day and studs can be tough on your back.
  • Studs can create a lot of noise on the rocks, avoid studded boots when you are in calm and spooky water.
  • Studs can mar the bottom of fiberglass and metal drift boats. Studs can even tear the PVC of a raft floor. Always ask a boat owner if it is ok you are in studs. If it is not ok, you can always take the boots off while in the boat and then slip them on when you need to wade.
  • Studs can be very slippery while on tile. Avoid going into stores or homes while wearing them.
  • While hiking, stay off the pavement of roads and walk in the dirt or grass. This will also extend the life of your well placed stud.

When you are placing studs in your boot, you can use a power drill on a very low speed and torque setting. Do not try to just drill the studs into the sole quickly, go slow and steady and make sure you are installing them perpendicular to the sole of the boot. A stud that's been placed at an angle will surely come out after some use. Studs put in perfectly straight and slowly should last for many fishing sessions. If the demanding nature of wading is taking away from your fishing experience, spend the time studding up your boots and you may be amazed at the difference it can create. Safety is number one while on the water, and some well-placed studs on your boot could mean the difference between a day spent fishing and a day spent drying out on the banks after a swim.

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