I grew up wet-wading in Alaskan rivers, not because I was hardcore, but the metabolism of a 16-year old tends to fend off annoyances like being cold when fishing for salmon. It wasn’t until I was in my late 20s that I figured I needed some waders and if I was going to get a pair, I was going to get a good set. I decided on Simms because I saw them as the Nike of fishing, went with the boot-in because Muck boots are no joke I could get in and out of them quick and I didn’t want to have to buy new waders in a year because I went cheap. The Extream Bootfit are rated to 40-degrees below zero and not only are the boots fleece lined, but even the chest pocket. The flip pocket is perfect for a wallet, phone, keys or whatever you want to keep dry. The boots are comfortable, durable and warm. I’ve taken ridiculous tumbles in four states and two countries, but have only small scuffs to show. However, after close to 250 miles of walking, even these $400 waders experience aging. There are two small leaks, one on each of the inner knee seams. This is due to friction during those humps to and from the river. These of course are the types of leaks you would expect and are easily fixed. Part of the right boot was cut by a sharp rock, but does not leak, a testament to the durability of the boot.
Most waders have stocking feet so you have to buy a separate boot. I get really excited when I get to my water, so I prefer not having to lace anything up. Though felt bottomed soles are great for grip, I went with the boot bottom because if they are on sale, most states are banning them anyway.