After three years, over 200 hundred days fishing and close to 300 miles of walking, my Simms boot-in wading boots were beyond repair. Well, not beyond repair, but I had the money to get new ones, so I did.
This time I went to stocking foot waders and the freestone boots.
The boots are heavy-duty, which they would have to be to survive the harsh elements they’ve been through since I received them in June. Low-tide barnacles near Whale Pass put some scratches into the reinforced toe, which makes this upgrade from the previous model great. The boots are heavy, but not clunky. Some of the trails to the best spots on the Thorne River are close to a mile, but I did not feel like I was wearing leg weights. I had a couple stretches where I wore them for 12 or more days straight. But there was no lingering effect. The soles have remarkably good grip. I was encouraged to buy studs, but have yet to use them.
The only part of the boot that broke down were the laces. By day 40, the casing of the lace had torn and while fishing on the Upper Sacramento River upon my return, both laces broke. However, I was prepared and the Simms replacement laces seem better than the ones that come with the boot.
Without a doubt, try the boots on with socks and the waders you wish to pair them with. Some guides and sales reps recommend getting boots that are two sizes larger than your shoe size, but that’s for you to decide, so try them on for yourself.