User-installed studs and cleats on Vibram-soled wading boots - Where to put 'em?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Kent Lufkin, Jun 24, 2011.

  1. My gear closet now contains a pair of new Simms boots with Vibram Streamtread soles. As a primarily stillwater fisher, I'll keep my felts for use with fins, but these new boots will help keep me from taking an unintended swim thanks to snot-slick rocks when I do fish moving water.

    I also bought an assortment of screw-in carbide studs and star cleats that I'll install myself. But the question is how many and where? The Simms site shows several options ( and states: "There is no right or wrong placement . . . "

    If you've had any experience with user-installed studs or cleats, I'd appreciate your input about what combination and/or placement pattern works best for you.


  2. I'm a big guy, falling sucks for me, it usually ends up with broken bones. My wife bought me some new Simms Vibram soled boots last xmas. I installed the Star Cleats as I didn't have a lot of confidence in the idea that rubber would not slip on rocks. So far they've worked great, I often forget they're not felt. I screwed them in much like the pattern in the first (left) pic in the link you provided. I think I had moved the center pair towards the toe just a little more then they do, but besides that, same layout.
  3. You should put them in a swastika on your right foot.
  4. I have installed them in dozens of pairs of Simms boots and have been wearing them for about a year and a half now. They work very well in a variety of conditions and rivers. The best pattern is something like 8 or 9star cleats per boot with 3-4 on the heal and 5 in the front with 2-5 of the smaller studs mixed in too. A couple studs in the instep helps.

    The total number of cleats/studs also depends on the size of your boots. The bigger the boot the more surface area to cover. The only thing I avoid is putting any studs near the ball of the foot or center of the heal. Isn't going to feel so hot walking.
  5. Kent - I went the other way for boot application. My felts get used on the rare day I want to fish moving water. I trust felt on slippery river rock. My rubber soled (in this case Patagonia) boots get used all the time when I fish lakes and I don't bother with adding studs. Rubber soles are lighter, take up less space in your fins, and get better traction on trails than my felts. Just something to consider.
  6. Yeah, what he said.

    But seriously Kent, I have experimented a bit and have come to one conclusion: Just use the star cleats and spread out a pack and a half across your boots (at least, my size 12's needed that many), making sure you have some all around the outside edges of your boots to be able to side-step and toe-step with good traction. The star cleats are recessed such that when they are installed the metal is at the same level as the surrounding rubber tread. This seems to keep traction more consistent. On the other hand, when I tried plain studs once (Simms was backordered a few years ago on star cleats), the studs jutted out well above the level of the rubber tread. This was fine most of the time, but occasionally when you step on a big smooth rock with just studs, the studs will abruptly lose traction and skate down the rock face. It happened often enough that I switched to 100% star cleats.
  7. I think they should ban studs , they scratch the rocks and deface the enviorment. I believe one should leave no trace of ever beening there!!!
  8. I only wear mine in driftboats.
  9. ibn.....they need to ban drift boats! Not only do they scratch the rocks but they leave toxic paint on the rocks as they slip over them. Then there's the problem of dipping those petroleum based fly lines in the water but I digress........;)
  10. I only hang out in trailer'd driftboats.
  11. Fixed that for ya'.
  12. There is no need for studs in the Simms vibram boots. Those boots have been tested by some of the best in the business and they all have deemed them just as grippy as felt. Test after test proved that the vibram sole on the Simms boots are just as stable of gripping platform as traditional felt but does not transfer invasive species as felt does.

    Simms vibram is superior to felt any every aspect.
  13. Of course Simms says they're better. Last time I checked they don't offer any other options. They sure wouldn't sell many boots if they said they sucked. Last year I put em to the test without cleats, with the star cleat, and a combo of star cleat and hardbite studs. The combo outperforms the plain vibram sole on the waters I fish here in sw Washington. I guess it depends on the type of water you're fishing. This fact is a huge selling point for the interchangeable korkers system. As far as number and pattern you can't go wrong with Simms recommendation. I think next time you wade, take your felt and the vibrams and put em to the test for yourself. Id be interested to see if you really think non-studded rubber outperforms felt and/or studs. Let us know.
  14. I'm just guessing that if the rubber soles outperformed the felts that there wouldn't be much need to sell studs. What do you think the profit margin is on the studs? Talking out loud to myself.
  15. Well...these guys at Simms missed out on a perfect opportunity to 'ride the coattails' of Sage.
    These boots should have a name that strikes fear into trodden ground everywhere. Hows about "The Pair" :)
  16. I slip and fall with or without felt soles. That's why I put 3 soft pan head sheet metal screws in the heels of mine. I've said this before, the softer the stud/screw is the better it will grip the rocks. Ask anybody with an aluminum drift boat, they know what happens if the bottom of their boat isn't coated with gluvit or similar. It sticks to rocks like glue! SS
  17. Yeah, if this were true Simms wouldn't be selling studs and star cleats, now would they?

    When felt is outlawed, only outlaws will wear felt.

    Outlaw Sg
  18. I've been wearing my Simms Rivershed Vibrams for a few months now. I honestly don't think they're as grippy as felt; but they're not that bad either. I've been able to wade just fine in all of my regular haunts, many of which have some pretty slimy rocks. If anything, it's made me a better, more cautious wader. I've been able to do river crossings in knee deep swift water on slick rocks just fine. One thing I've noticed: They get a LOT grippier after you use them a few times. Right out of the box, they don't grip much of anything. Wear them a bit, and get that newness worked out of them, and they improve tenfold.

    I haven't used studs yet. Largely because I haven't needed to. Felts are grippier on most rocks, but there's still plenty that felt slides right over too.
  19. When they ban studs ,only the studs will still be fishing!!!
  20. No lie. I think I paid 11 cents for thirty of them. The EXACT screw, is a sheet metal screw for HVAC installs. But I'm sure there's no markup, those screws are "special".

    Kent, I put 5 of them in an "X" pattern in the arch of the foot. If I begin to slip, the center of my boot (center of my body weight) catches. I tried the ball of the foot and the heel, but as others have said, sometimes awkward to walk and scratches things way more than the X pattern.

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