I do go grocery shopping on occasion. But my wife accuses me of not knowing how much things cost. In fact, even though I really don’t want to admit it, she is right. As go groceries, so do wading boots. My brother and I were recently discussing his purchasing some wading boots and I told him he could buy really good ones for $60-70. I was wrong. I have not purchased any for quite a while. When I looked online, it appears they now cost $90-100.
I have owned quite a few pair in now my 50+ years of fly fishing. You can easily pay $250+ for a pair depending on the name. I have several different brands. For longevity and comfort, I believe the Hodgman brand are the best. You can find cheaper, but they do not last as long. You can get felt soles, rubber soles or studded felt/rubber soles. There are some streams that do not allow felt and likewise, there are some guides that will not allow studs in their boats for they do a number on the fiberglass floor. So I have a pair of each.
If you opt to put your own studs onto your rubber soled boots, which I would suggest, there are multiple sources for the studs. Most fly shops and guide huts will charge you about $30 for 25 studs. If you look around though, one can find titanium screw studs for about $5 for 25. If you want to go really cheap, 3/8” (or 1/4") hex head sheet metal screws you can get for pennies. Beware though the sheet metal screws will rust.
Go to You Tube for video instructions. I have provided for you the optimal position for your studs. 12 studs in each shoe. Make sure you buy a boot that is 1 size larger than your dress shoes. There are several reasons for this, not the least of which is your foot gets larger as you age. I like boots that fit over neoprene footed waders, but some folks like the boot built in. That’s okay, but that means you may have to buy 2 pair of waders—one with felt soles and one with rubber/studs. Your call.
I hope this helps you in making your decision. Come and fly fish Idaho soon. The season will begin very soon and I for one am fishing more this year. Hard takes, tight lines, screaming reels and comfortable wading boots to all.