Hodgman H3 Felt Sole Wading Boots Review

Hodgman H3 Felt Sole Wading Boots Review

After spending countless hours in various rivers and streams, I’ve come to appreciate the nuances of a good wading boot. Hodgman, a brand I’ve encountered before, offers the H3 Felt Sole Wading Boots.

At a glance, they seem to promise a lot for their price point. But do they deliver? Let’s wade in.

TL;DR: The Hodgman H3 Felt Sole Wading Boots are an affordable option with decent comfort and grip. However, concerns about durability, especially sole delamination, and limited provisions for studs make them suitable for occasional users. For regular outings, investing a bit more in a higher-quality boot might be a wiser choice.

Initial Impressions

The first thing I noticed about the Hodgman H3 boots was the material. It felt thin, which made me wonder about its durability. However, the thinness should reduce the weight, which is a plus for those long treks to the fishing spot. The speed lacing hooks and metal eyelets for the shoe laces were a nice touch.

Hodgman H3 Wading Boots
Hodgman H3 Wading Boots

The design was simple, with minimal seams, which is always a good sign. The felt sole felt soft to the touch, and while I was sure it would grip well on slimy rocks, I had concerns about its longevity.

Guide Pro Tip: For just a little more $$ (like $25) you can get better boots that won’t have the risk of the soles delaminating. I personally recommend the Paramount Outdoors Deep Eddy’s for a superior wading experience.  Check the price on Amazon with this shortcut link 👉 Paramount Outdoors Deep Eddy Wading Boot

Fit and Comfort of the H3’s

The fit was decent, though the sole was more flexible than I would have liked. I prefer a bit of rigidity in my wading boots. However, the soft collar around the ankle and on the tongue added to the comfort. Following the sizing guide, I ordered one size up, and the fit was spot-on with my neoprene stocking boot waders.

Scoring the Hodgman H3’s

The Hodgman H3 Felt Sole Wading Boots caught my attention due to their affordability and the brand’s reputation. But how do they stack up when put to the test?

Let’s break down the specifics with a detailed scoring table.

Overall Score of the Hodgman H3 = 2.8 out of 5

CharacteristicScore (out of 5)Comments
Comfort and Fit4Adequately comfortable with a soft collar around the ankle and on the tongue.
Walking Comfort4
Flexibility of Sole2Highly flexible, more than preferred.
Ankle Support3
Traction and Grip3Adequate grip but noticeable wear after just three outings.
Traction Score3
Sole Material (Felt)4Felt provides better grip.
Provisions for Cleats and Studs1Studs not included, and no instructions provided for placement.
Value and Cost2At $55, they are among the cheapest, but there are better options for just a bit more.
Warranty0Vague warranty information.
Weight and Drainage2Adequate drainage with two rivet openings, but could be better positioned.
Durability1Concerns about long-term durability, especially with reports of sole delamination.
Versatility2Basic boots without additional features.
Lacing System3Quick lacing hooks and metal eyelets, but laces show signs of wear.
Overall Star Rating (Weighted Average)2.8Based on the average of the scores provided.

Performance in the Water

In the water, the Hodgman H3s performed adequately. The felt sole provided decent grip, though I noticed some wear after just three outings. The boots are stud-compatible, but no studs are provided, and there’s a lack of clear instructions on where to place them if you decide to add them.

Drain Holes on the H3's
Drain Holes on the H3’s

Grip and Traction form a Fly Fishers Viewpoint

Navigating through slippery riverbeds and uneven terrains requires a boot that can confidently grip the surface. The Hodgman H3, with its felt sole, offers decent traction, especially on slimy rocks. However, the softness of the felt raises concerns about its long-term durability.

While the boots are stud-compatible, it’s worth noting that they don’t come with studs, and there’s a lack of clear instructions on where to place them.

Guide Pro Tip: While a good pair of wading boots is essential for stability in the water, the value of a wading staff shouldn’t be overlooked. As I’ve highlighted in my article on the best wading staffs, these tools can be lifesavers.

Durability Concerns

While I haven’t had the chance to put these boots through the wringer.  Only tested for 3 trips, but I’ve seen numerous reviews online mentioning durability issues, particularly with the sole delaminating. This is concerning, especially if you’re planning multiple fishing trips.

Image being on a trip and having the soles delaminate, I could potential ruin the trip of a lifetime.

Delamination concerns reported on the Hodgman H3 wading boots
Delamination concerns reported on the Hodgman H3 wading boots

Value for Money

Priced at $55, the Hodgman H3s are among the cheapest wading boots I’ve reviewed. They might be suitable for occasional trips, but if you’re a regular angler, I’d recommend investing a bit more for a pair that offers better durability and performance.

What Others Are Saying About the H3’s

It’s important to hear from those who’ve put these boots to the test in real-world conditions. Let’s see what other anglers and outdoor enthusiasts have to say about their experiences with these wading boots.

I’ve shorten the actual review for quicker reading.

  • Reviewer #1 – 5 Stars: mentioned their impressive experience with the boots during a fly expedition in Bolivia. Despite the boots being cheaper than others, they held up remarkably well.
  • Reviewer #2 – 4 Stars: found the boots lightweight and comfortable but raised concerns about their durability, especially in saltwater environments.
  • Reviewer #3 – 3 Stars: appreciated the protection and traction the H3s provided but was disappointed with the sole coming apart after just a week in the river.

Note you can find these reviews on Amazon following this LINK and on Pure Fishing (maker of H3’s) with this LINK.

For the money check out the Paramount Outdoors Deep Eddy
For the money check out the Paramount Outdoors Deep Eddy 👈 Link to Amazon

One More Cast in the Hodgman H3’s

While the Hodgman H3 Felt Sole Wading Boots have some positive aspects, especially for their price point, there are better options out there. If you’re on a tight budget and need something for occasional use, they might fit the bill.

If your heart is truly set on the Hodgman H3’s you can find them on Amazon with this link 👉 Hodgman H3 Wading Boot

However, for just a bit more, you can get boots that offer better comfort, durability, and overall performance. I’d recommend checking out the Paramount Outdoors Deep Eddy’s Wading Boots (👈 link to Amazon) as a more reliable alternative in a similar price range.

Hi David Humphries Owner of Guide Recommended. I love everything to do with fly fishing. Casting, Tying, YouTube, writing about it and even teaching. I’ve got a FREE video workshop teaching how to dry fly fish at this link How to Fly Fish

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