Podcast Interview: Patagonia’s Bart Bonime on River Crampons & Aluminum Bar Wading Boots

Crampons, for the river?

Bart Bonime, director of fishing at Patagonia, talks to MidCurrent about product evolution in grippy boot technology and why Yvon Chouinard chose to stick pieces of metal to the bottom of his newest wading boots. The Patagonia River Crampons and Rock Grip Aluminum Bar wading boots both utilize corrosion resistant aluminum to stick you to the bottom of the river.

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Direct download: MidCurrent Interviews Bart Bonime of Patagonia

Bonime says that, “Yvon Chouinard had an ah-ha moment” after thinking about his early climbing gear and how aluminum could stick to rocks in that regard. He then, “started tinkering in his tin shed on the Patagonia campus” and took his prototype boots to BC for a season and, “returned with his eyes the size of golf balls” not believing the traction that the boots afforded him. Bonime goes on to tell the story of how the new products came to be, revealing much of the design process behind the company’s new ideas.

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  • Riverwalker

    The use of aluminum as a traction solution has been around for quite some time in the fishing business.  Companies such as Korkers, Dan Bailey’s, Bite, and others all have provided aluminum based solutions to the industry over the years.  It is interesting to hear how recycled ideas come back into popularity and are perceived to be new or a revelation.

  • Grip Studs

    The new aluminum bar traction products from Patagonia are worth getting excited about! They are certainly an innovative solution to wader boot traction. However, there are a few potential issues, the aluminum bars don’t provide any penetration into rock like a pointed stud does. This could cause traction lapses in fast flows or heavy weed/algae growth. Also, the soft aluminum just isn’t going to hold up anything like carbide, one of the hardest substances known to man. 

    We’re excited about this product but, if you’re not interested in forking out $200+, Grip Studs are still your best bet. With a solid Tungsten Carbide tip and core, Grip Studs dig into rock and are extremely durable. In fact, these are the same design as what we sell for heavy equipment tires and hiking boots, meaning that they last years, no matter what you do to them. Grip Studs are also easily removable, for your boating buddies sake…