Over the last few months, I’ve tested different aluminum tread soles for wading boots. Today’s post provides information on the Korker Triple Threat aluminum soles and Rock Treads aluminum traction kit.
From left to right: Rock Treads on Korker Kling-on rubber soles, Korker Triple Threat aluminum bar sole, Korker Triple Threat aluminum hex disc sole.
I purchased new Devil’s Canyon boots in May 2019 (read my post – New Devil’s Canyon Korker Wading Boots) and decided to try out the Triple Threat soles with both options: aluminum bar and hex discs that will fit on the same soles. They are easy to change. Just unscrew one set with an allen wrench and screw on the other.
The main reason I decided to purchase aluminum soles was in preparation of our trip to Yellowstone National Park where felt soles are banned. I knew from previous experience using rubber soles just don’t work for me. It’s like wading on roller skates!
Why use aluminum soles? Aluminum is softer than the rocks you’re wading on, so it grips the rocks as well as cuts through rocks with algae and slime. And yes, it does work!
I’ll discuss the Korker Triple Threat soles first and move to the Rock Tread soles that I’m currently wearing.
The Korker Triple Threat sole system provides an option to easily change between an aluminum bar, hex disc, and carbide spikes. Since I already use studded felt soles, I purchased both the bar and hex discs. My original plan was to use one set and have my wife use the other.
The image above illustrates the two different types of aluminum options available. Obviously, hex heads are on the left and aluminum bars on the right.
Yes, I did wear two different types of soles at the same time for a couple weeks to determine the pros and cons of each. I felt by wearing the mismatched pair, I might be able to easily detect differences in grabbing and slipping between them.
To be honest, I didn’t see much difference. The heavier bars provide much more material to grab onto rocks. I thought they might be better, but it wasn’t noticeable. I did find the bars tended to slip when I climbed onto logs while getting to the river. The hex discs didn’t.
Here is an example of how effective aluminum soles can be.
We fished the West Fork of the Bitterroot River in July 2019. The spot was next to the road with large boulders. I was using aluminum soles and my wife had her normal studded felt soles. She was sliding on the boulders, which made it an unsafe situation. I told her to try the soles I had installed aluminum bars. She said OK and I switched the soles for her. She was amazed the aluminum bars grabbed tight to the boulders. It was a night and day difference. In this situation, it was much safer being close to the river with aluminum soles.
The Triple Threat aluminum sole system from Korkers costs $60. It includes the rubber sole and either aluminum bars or hex discs. Choose which one you think will work better.
Now for my experience with Rock Treads.
Rock Treads are an aluminum traction kit they advertise can be installed on any boot or shoe.
I received an unsolicited email stating a friend and Rock Treads user suggested they contact me to see if I would like to try their product. I said “yes”. Ultimately, they wanted to know what I thought about their aluminum discs.
I had heard about their product, which can be installed on any rubber, felt, or removable soles. Detailed instructions and videos can be found on the Rock Treads website.
Included in the removable soles kit were:
- 6 – small Rock Tread discs
- 8 – medium Rock Tread discs
- 8 – jumbo Rock Tread discs
- 24 – lock down nuts
- 24 – 1/2″ acrylic thread lock dipped screws
- 1 – lock down install drill bit
- 1 – tube of RED thread locking compound
I needed to plan the pattern for my boot. I used the Kling-on rubber sole that came with my Devil’s Canyon boots.
The Rock Treads website provides four different patterns for you to choose from, or you are free to make up your own. Once that was decided, I drilled holes in the sole with the drill bit provided.
For my Korker boots, their instructions stated to avoid the rib/raised plastic area to place the discs. I could see I needed a firm base to securely hold them. For the pattern I wanted, I decided to cut the rib area to create a flat surface.
All that remains is to screw the discs onto the sole and into the lock down nuts. Just apply a drop of the locking compound that is included to secure.
And here is the final version, showing both sides of the Korker sole.
Overall, it was a simple process that took about 45 minutes to complete. I tried to tighten the screws as much as possible.
I did lose one of the discs. I don’t know why it came loose, but was fortunate to find it next to the van. I replaced it with an extra screw when I returned home. I tried to tighten the rest of the screws, but they all seemed tight to me.
Please note – Rock Treads can be installed on any wading boot, not just the Korkers. Installation instruction will be different for those.
Each of the three Rock Treads versions retail for $60.
Here are a few final thoughts.
Any aluminum sole will be heavier than what you are used to. And the aluminum bars are noticeably heavier.
Honestly, I didn’t see much difference when wading between the Korker hex discs and the larger Rock Tread discs. In theory, there is more surface area with the Rock Treads, so I would guess they might be a little more sturdy…but I couldn’t really tell when using one sole of each. Both did a good job of grabbing rocks when wading. Whichever aluminum option I tied, I found myself slipping a little while wading. It’s difficult to explain, but each one tended to briefly slip before grabbing the rocks. It’s something you get used to.
There is a difference between the hardness of the two aluminum products. Rock Treads are definitely harder and don’t show as much wear. I’m guessing the Korker version wouldn’t last quite as long, but I really don’t have any idea how long it would be.
Rock Treads advertises their round discs are acceptable in rafts as they don’t have sharp edges to cut or slice. I don’t have any experience with this.
A couple of days ago, I put the studded felt soles back on my Devils Canyon boots and returned to the river. There is one spot I’ve waded where I carefully place each step when using the Rock Treads. Steps were much more firm with studded felt soles.
If you invest in the Korker Triple Treat soles for $60, additional kits can be purchased for $30.
In conclusion, I would prefer using studded felt for 90 percent of my wading. Having said that, there are times when aluminum sole option are superior. Two examples are fishing when snow is along the river. Snow grabs onto felt soles and quickly makes them useless. The other time is on certain types of stream-side boulders and rocks that the studs slide on. Aluminum soles grab in these much better.
Either of the aluminum options would provide a great traction sole if you can’t use felt. I would probably use the Korker hex disc or Rock Tread discs as I didn’t see much improvement with the Korker bars.
If you have Korker boots and don’t want to mess with drilling and attaching aluminum discs, purchase the Triple Threat system. Otherwise, purchase a set of Rock Treads and attach to the Kling-on rubber soles.
If you don’t have Korker boots, don’t worry. Just pick up a set of Rock Treads and spend about an hour on the install. I think you’ll like them.
(John Kreft is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.)