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Product Review: Chota STL Plus Wading Boots

Published by David on 2009/4/23 (5526 reads)
Product Review: Chota STL Plus Wading Boots
With the family in tow, I was already behind on my schedule to get to the grannom hatch on the Little J. When I finally arrived, there were bugs everywhere…every fly fisherman’s dream scenario. The girls were hanging out the sunroof trying to catch as many grannoms as they could. As I got in my waders and went to grab my wading boots, I realized that my felts were no longer attached to my boots and nowhere to be found!!! Even with bugs flying all around, I was not about to wade the wide, strong “J” with a smooth hard plastic sole. So off we went to Spruce Creek Outfitters for a new pair of boots.

With the mental image of all the rising trout I should already be casting to, I made a quick decision to go with the Chota's STL Plus boots. They were expensive, but time was wasting. Back to the stream, on with the boots, and up the trail…

The first thing I realized was that these were very comfortable boots. There was a little WOW! factor when I first put them on. They were very cushy hiking up the path at Barree, but still gave very good support.

The second thing I realized was that these felts seemed to grip better than felts I’ve had in the past. Having arrived at the stream so late, I mentally debated time vs. traction (cleats come unattached and must be screwed into the “Pivot Holes”). In lieu of the added safety, I decided to forgo the addition of the cleats to get on the water quicker – wouldn’t you? The polypropylene felts more than kept me upright…even in heavy water. My only precarious situations came from me tripping over rocks rather than sliding off them. Traction will only improve with the addition of the cleats.

As the rain began to move in and the day drew to an end, I got out of the river to start the hike back to the car. Even wet, the boots were lightweight and did not retain much water. That cushioning kept the long walk comfortable, even with a three year old on my shoulders going up a steep climb. It was a good day.
I had a pair of Chota’s (STL without the “Plus”) years prior that wore well, but tried other manufactures in recent years that were cheaper…none of them lasted as long as the first pair of Chota’s and none were as comfortable. These new Chota’s initially, are more comfortable and offer better traction in the water than the old Chota pair.

Pros:
Very Comfortable – “a cushy injected PU mid-sole” definitely makes these Chota’s easy to wear all day long.
Polypropylene felts –The ““Dark Grey” Polypropylene felt sole” really seemed to grab the slippery bottom of the Little J very well for me…even better than whatever regular felt is made from. What is regular felt made from, anyway?
Removable Cleats – Included with the boots. Easy to screw in – and remove (in case you are on Flybop’s driftboat) which makes them pretty versatile.
Lightweight – Light for the hike in but also did drain water quickly with the ““Micro-Screen” ports (that) allow for rapid and complete drainage while blocking out screen.”
Quicklace system – Easy to strap up, but also very easy to undo even when wet.

Cons:
Leather: While I like the look of the leather, it will eventually shrink and harden with repetitive soaking / drying cycles; thus making them difficult to put on whenever they have time to dry completely. Fortunately my foot size is 8 ½, so I have always had that little extra space in my boots since they don’t come in half sizes.
Cost: More than I would have liked to spend, but should last longer.
Quicklace System – Wears out a lot quicker than a regular pair of laces (at least on my original pair of Chota’s – and these look and feel the same).

Overall evaluation:
Very comfortable, sturdy, and provides great traction in the water…that is what I want from my wading boots, and these boots provided all 3!

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Poster Thread
fly_flinger
Posted: 2009/4/23 8:05  Updated: 2009/4/23 8:05
Joined: 2006/9/10
From: Schwenksville
Posts: 437
 Re: Product Review: Chota STL Plus Wading Boots
Great review Dave. Just last weekend I got my new pair of the STL Plus boots. I had the old felt sole STL's for over 2 years and loved them. I think I'm going to like these even more. For me, Chota's are the most comfortable boots out there. I've tried boots from several manufacturers and don't think they even come close to the Chota's. They really feel more like a good pair of hiking boots than wading boots.
acristickid
Posted: 2009/4/23 8:51  Updated: 2009/4/23 8:51
Joined: 2007/4/25
From:
Posts: 5757
 Re: Product Review: Chota STL Plus Wading Boots
I really enjoy a comfortable wading boot.
gulfgreyhound
Posted: 2009/4/23 9:10  Updated: 2009/4/23 9:10
Joined: 2007/10/17
From: florida
Posts: 6125
 Re: Product Review: Chota STL Plus Wading Boots
I'm on my second pair of Chotas and they are great.I had the soles come off the first pair and returned them for repair. Since they couldn't be repaired they were replaced for $68. I usually carry spare laces and there is a product that they recommend for treatment of the leather.Overall I,m happy with my Chotas. I'd like to try a pair of the new rubber soled ones with the studs.
gulfgreyhound
Posted: 2009/4/23 17:49  Updated: 2009/4/23 17:49
Joined: 2007/10/17
From: florida
Posts: 6125
 Re: Product Review: Chota STL Plus Wading Boots
The company is Nik Wax, Aqueous wax is the product.
wetwade
Posted: 2009/4/27 9:25  Updated: 2009/4/27 9:25
Joined: 2006/9/9
From: SE PA
Posts: 5
 Re: Product Review: Chota STL Plus Wading Boots
I have to disagree with your assesment of the Chota wading shoes. Unless they have made some serious changes I found them to be the best designed (quick lace,light ,easy on and off ) and worst constructed shoes I have ever had. I have never had a pair of Chotas last 6 months without blowing up, that would be 4 pairs and counting, and I can think of 2 or 3 other guys I fish with who had the same result. I was even asked to test a pair for a local fly shop a couple of years ago, I told him I'd be back in 3 months with busted shoes. I was wrong it took 3 months and 1 week. Good shoes are worth the money and I'll stick with Simms and Patagonia from now on
BIGBRU
Posted: 2009/4/30 15:35  Updated: 2009/4/30 15:35
Joined: 2007/9/29
From:
Posts: 4
 Re: Product Review: Chota STL Plus Wading Boots
When I first bought my Chota Wading shoes, I thought they were the best thing since sliced bread. The traction that I had was very good, for a short time. I quickly learned that the studs were excellant when first installed. They would bite into the rocks. After a few days of use, however, the studs became rounded (as you would expect) and the shoes turned into ice skates. In certain types of rocky streams, they were downright dangerous. You need to keep fresh studs in the boots for them to function properly. I became tired of this after a few years and went with another brand with studs that are builtin and seem to last a lot longer.



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