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.
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.
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
|Score (out of 5)
|Comfort and Fit
|Adequately comfortable with a soft collar around the ankle and on the tongue.
|Flexibility of Sole
|Highly flexible, more than preferred.
|Traction and Grip
|Adequate grip but noticeable wear after just three outings.
|Sole Material (Felt)
|Felt provides better grip.
|Provisions for Cleats and Studs
|Studs not included, and no instructions provided for placement.
|Value and Cost
|At $55, they are among the cheapest, but there are better options for just a bit more.
|Vague warranty information.
|Weight and Drainage
|Adequate drainage with two rivet openings, but could be better positioned.
|Concerns about long-term durability, especially with reports of sole delamination.
|Basic boots without additional features.
|Quick lacing hooks and metal eyelets, but laces show signs of wear.
|Overall Star Rating (Weighted Average)
|Based 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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
More Resources and References from Around the Web
- Washington Fly Fishing Forum Discussion: A detailed discussion on the Hodgman brand and their customer service. A great place to get insights from real users and their experiences. https://www.washingtonflyfishing.com/threads/hodgman-came-through.161909/
- Official Hodgman H3 Product Page: Dive into the official product specifications, features, and details directly from the manufacturer. https://www.purefishing.com/h3-wading-boot-felt-1347871
- Trident Fly Fishing Review: An independent review of the Hodgman H3 boots, offering another perspective on their performance and value. https://www.tridentflyfishing.com/blog/hodgman-h3-wading-boot-review
- Fly Fisherman’s Guide to Wading Boots: A comprehensive guide that provides insights into what to look for in wading boots, including mentions of the Hodgman brand. https://www.flyfisherman.com/gear-accessories/wading-boots/