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Hivemind: I am in the market for new wading boots.  I have been buying Simms boots for the last few years.  I get 18-24 months out of a pair of boots before they completely fall apart.  I put in a lot of footwork every season.  From May until the end of September, I think guessing 20km per week walking the banks would be a completely fair assumption.  

I have worn G3s.  I found them to be heavy and cumbersome.  My favourite boots ever were the Simms Vaportrail (or Vaportread or something like that), but they have been discontinued. These boots were light and comfortable---I was leery of the synthetic materials, but they drain and dry much faster than leather.  The only downsides to the synthetics is during colder conditions.

I have my eye on the Orvis ultralight, but I do not know anyone who has tried them. Does anyone have any experience with them?  In fact, the whole Orvis line of boots looks great, but it seems Simms dominates the market here.

I have owned a couple pairs of Korkers, but I have not found the comfortable, and the first pair barely made it 3months before the upper started falling part.  I like the flexibility, but comfort is paramount.

What boots do you wear?  How do they hold up to walking? 

 

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I am using Simms now too. But I used to buy Chota and I found they were great, a bit warmer I found them more comfortable and seemed to last longer too. I used to buy them at Wholesale but couldn't find them anywhere else.

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Chota's simply cannot be beat for the price - however finding them nowadays isn't easy. Unless you've owned a pair before of course you'll want to try them on first. I know the sportsmen's den in Red Deer did have them, not sure if they still do. I'm sure they can be found online.

 

I've ran Simms freestone the last couple three pairs and been pretty impressed. Normally I wear the sole off the boot before anything else. and after looking into it before replacing the sole would cost more than new boots. I picked up a pair of simms guide boots over the winter on clearance from the fishin hole, they seem pretty similar to the freestone just look a little better built.

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1 hour ago, northfork said:

I've ran Simms freestone the last couple three pairs and been pretty impressed. Normally I wear the sole off the boot before anything else. and after looking into it before replacing the sole would cost more than new boots. I picked up a pair of simms guide boots over the winter on clearance from the fishin hole, they seem pretty similar to the freestone just look a little better built.

I have worn a couple pairs of Freestones.  They were pretty good.  They lasted the the same amount of time as the G3 Guide boots but I found the Freestones to be much more comfortable.  I know some people swear by the G3.

I had never heard of Chota.  They seem to have a similar construction to the Vaportreads.  I will look into them.  Thanks.

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My Simms Freestone boots have been great. My last boot was a pair of Simms G3's. The G3's have been resoled 3 times and are still in good shape. The Freestones are lighter and not cumbersome like the G3's. I suspect they won't last as long as the G3's. 

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I finally wore out my Simms freestone boots last season. I am going to replace them very soon. I found them to be a great boot. Much more durable than Korkers.

 

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Here's a tip if using felt soles. Apply a 5/8"wide layer of ShoeGoo to the toe area of the sole. Not to thick not to thin. Reapply as needed when it wears off. Since I started doing this I get an extra season out of a pair of soles. It's the toe area that always wears out for me. Soles must be clean and dry before applying! Peel away any loose Goo before cleaning and reapplication. Apply on new soles or boots for best results.

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I had Chotas (Felt) and got about 1.5 seasons out of them. Bought them from Springbrook (The TFO guys). Candidly fair for what I paid for them.

I switched to Patagonia Foot Tractors (heavier boot but far better traction) and have been thrilled. Heading into my second season. Patagonia has lighter versions as well (think they are ultra lite). Both Patagonia and Orvis have fair satisfaction assurances on their gear. 

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37 minutes ago, Sage said:

I had Chotas (Felt) and got about 1.5 seasons out of them. Bought them from Springbrook (The TFO guys). Candidly fair for what I paid for them.

I switched to Patagonia Foot Tractors (heavier boot but far better traction) and have been thrilled. Heading into my second season. Patagonia has lighter versions as well (think they are ultra lite). Both Patagonia and Orvis have fair satisfaction assurances on their gear. 

I was intrigued by Patagonia's boots, but $685!!!  Do not get me wrong---I want a pair.  It might be worth it if they are legitimately the last boots that I would need to buy.  Have you looked into what re-soling costs?

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5th season on a pair G3 Guides, right around 300 days and roughly 3500 km. in them. They need to be replaced,  If I was 10 yrs younger I'd buy a set of those  Patagonia/Danners but I ain't so it'll be the new G3 Guides

 

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I wore Simms last 20 yrs , all with good results, a few fell apart, soles wore off but all in all did their job.

Went into a Patagonia last spring, non felt sole ( do not like ) sticky I think they call them. Some deteriorating of rubber around perimeter of sole.

comfortable enough but don't like that they take about 4-5 days to dry out.

 

Heres a thought about Vibram or stickies soles... They probably work better on some rocks & river bottoms better than others. Bow has lots of snot on rocks so not so good.

how about when they make the rubber they put grit of some sort in the mix to give some traction. As the sole wears new grit is exposed and still traction.

 

 

sorry off topic with the above, yes some good boots out there.

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Simms Freestones have been good for me. On my 3rd set of felts. A bit of stitching is finally starting to get a bit worn. I think I will get another set of felts on them.

I use Marine GOOP for adhesive....works great.

 

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Thanks for all the input everyone.  I have a feeling that Simms Freestone boots are likely the a top contender.

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16 hours ago, scel said:

I was intrigued by Patagonia's boots, but $685!!!  Do not get me wrong---I want a pair.  It might be worth it if they are legitimately the last boots that I would need to buy.  Have you looked into what re-soling costs?

^ Hi scel.

Ok those Patagonia Danners are new......crazy expensive and not what I've been wearing!

Try patagonia.ca and then search ultralight boots. There will be felt and sticky versions at more humane pricing!

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I also loved the Chotas but can't find them anymore. Funny how when they finally produce a really good product they stop making them. 

I have Simms freestones (vibram sole) and I"ve had the felt sole version in the past. I find the vibram a little thin and can feel some rocks at the end of the day compared to the felt. You will also need to spend another $62 or so to put star cleats on the vibram sole, otherwise I find the boots dangerously slippery on the stream bed. You also want to buy some extra star cleats because some will fall out and/or loosen during the season. The felt version is definitely more comfortable and ready to go, but the vibram is supposedly better for the environment. 

Adams

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15 hours ago, monger said:

Simms Freestones have been good for me. On my 3rd set of felts. A bit of stitching is finally starting to get a bit worn. I think I will get another set of felts on them.

I use Marine GOOP for adhesive....works great.

 

Hey monger, you've used the marine goop to apply new soles? I am curious if you can spill some more detail on your process to add new felt soles. Do you order new soles from Simms? Thanks in advance.

 

 

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10 hours ago, scel said:

Thanks for all the input everyone.  I have a feeling that Simms Freestone boots are likely the a top contender.

Yup - in my experience best bang for your buck for sure, and if someone has a method to re-sole themselves then that's serious life out of a pair of boots. I can totally see a set of these lasting 4 or 5 soles or more if you look after them. I remember getting quotes to get some resoled and it was crazy. Really interested to see.

 

3 hours ago, adams said:

I also loved the Chotas but can't find them anymore. Funny how when they finally produce a really good product they stop making them. 

I have Simms freestones (vibram sole) and I"ve had the felt sole version in the past. I find the vibram a little thin and can feel some rocks at the end of the day compared to the felt. You will also need to spend another $62 or so to put star cleats on the vibram sole, otherwise I find the boots dangerously slippery on the stream bed. You also want to buy some extra star cleats because some will fall out and/or loosen during the season. The felt version is definitely more comfortable and ready to go, but the vibram is supposedly better for the environment. 

Adams

I want to say I've seen them at the fishin hole too but don't quote me. I have yet to be convinced on switching to vibram with the cleats, I totally understand it's supposed to be better for the rivers but I can't see vibram and cleats being at best comparable to felt. I still use felt and go through a thorough "decontamination" when switching rivers.

 

And as for korkers, they're junk. I bought a pair of them a while back that had the interchangeable felt and vibram soles. Genius idea and easy to "re-sole" but the stitching and seams sure didn't hold up. Not comfortable at all either.

 

Glad to hear mostly good reviews on the G3s, I was a little worried they wouldn't be as good as the freestones.

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Northfork....I am just talking about replacing felt. I got my replacement felt from Springbrook/TFO  outfitters in Calgary. The tube of cement in the package (barge cement?) does not hold up as well as marine GOOP.

Remove all old felt from boot, roughed up sole a bit with a file. Cut out felt a bit bigger than required. Mark edges of boot on felt with a sharpie so you can place boot in exactly the right spot. Stuff the inside of boots with paper/newspaper. Cover soles and felt with a healthy layer of marine goop...check to see if you need to wait a short time before sticking things together. Once boots and new felts attached, I secure them by wrapping the felts to the boots with duct tape with as tight of wraps as you can. Be sure to get arch area very tight. Stuffing the boots with paper makes them stiffer for the tape wrapping process. I use lots of tape wraps so the boot looks like a mummy. Try to make sure you have tension on the felts from every angle. Then I leave them for 24hours

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4 hours ago, northfork said:

Yup - in my experience best bang for your buck for sure, and if someone has a method to re-sole themselves then that's serious life out of a pair of boots. I can totally see a set of these lasting 4 or 5 soles or more if you look after them. I remember getting quotes to get some resoled and it was crazy. Really interested to see.

 

I want to say I've seen them at the fishin hole too but don't quote me. I have yet to be convinced on switching to vibram with the cleats, I totally understand it's supposed to be better for the rivers but I can't see vibram and cleats being at best comparable to felt. I still use felt and go through a thorough "decontamination" when switching rivers.

 

And as for korkers, they're junk. I bought a pair of them a while back that had the interchangeable felt and vibram soles. Genius idea and easy to "re-sole" but the stitching and seams sure didn't hold up. Not comfortable at all either.

 

Glad to hear mostly good reviews on the G3s, I was a little worried they wouldn't be as good as the freestones.

X2 on the korkers. Had some metalheads a few years back and they didn’t even last a single summer.  They felt flimsy and didn’t offer much support.

With the old G3’s the problem was shrinkage of the nubuck material.  I still ended up wearing a hole through it at the hinge point by the toes within 3ish seasons on both pairs I’ve owned. Felt was almost done by then anyways.  I like the look of the all synthetic version they have now and I’ll probably give those a go next year.

Last summer I got a pair of Simms headwaters with vibram For super cheap and put some Simms studs in them.  Vibram is Definitely better for hiking but can be greasy on bow river snot—but better than I thought it would be.  Only issue I’m having with them after 3/4 season is the soft cloth-like material on the sides is fraying and some of the triple stitching looks like it’s coming out. That being said, they weren’t full time use as I still cram into my old g3 felts for the boat.  

I don’t have an issue getting 3 seasons out of boots, as I like the feel of new ones and I do beat the piss out of them... don’t get me started on waders.

 

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Once upon a time, I was very excited about Korkers because of the ease of swapping soles. In the end neither of my pairs lasted long enough to be resoled and broken Boas led to some long and awkward walks out of the bush. I've moved on to the Patagonia River Tractors, which have incredible all around traction but are quite heavy, which gets old because most of my fishing is long walk and wades.

My wife reports that her Vibram Simms boots that I maxed out the Alumabite cleats on have, like the River Tractors, much better traction than felt. That soft aluminium is magic. I really want to get my hands on the new Simms Ultralights with Alumabite cleats. Have any Calgarians noticed them in stores? I was hoping to pick up a pair when I'm up there at the end of the month.

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Sims Guides where nice but too stiff for long walks (my poor aching feet) and only lasted a year and a half the same as the Headwaters which fell apart at the seams and opened up at the sides. Too darn much money for that. I got 2 years out of Korkers Devils Canyons but the entire master soles on both boots let go (a week apart) and failed resulting in a very long and uncomfortable walk over miles of freestone rocks to get back to the truck. Not an experience I want again. I've had it with these so-called top brands.

My backup boots where Chota Abrams Creek,.That pair is now over 10 years old and still in good shape. The year before last my fishing buddy and I after lots of discussion and research picked up the Chota "STL" Plus Wading Boots. I have to say these are by far the most comfortable boots I have had. Don't even feel like I am wearing boots all day long. Another big plus is very easy to slip on at the start of the day and really easy to slip off at the close of the day.  No more tugging and gyrations hopping around like a crazy fool trying to free yourself. Important factors for this old guy. 

Everyone's feet are different and your experience may not be the same, but I do curse the amount of money I've spent on high-end throwaway brands. Might as well have bought regular hiking boots and oiled the heck out of them. A great many years ago my first pair of leather lace-up Hodgeman wading boots. You needed to add waterproofing every 6 months to a year. But I had 18 years out of those boots.

 

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6 hours ago, snuffy said:

My wife reports that her Vibram Simms boots that I maxed out the Alumabite cleats on have, like the River Tractors, much better traction than felt. That soft aluminium is magic. I really want to get my hands on the new Simms Ultralights with Alumabite cleats. Have any Calgarians noticed them in stores? I was hoping to pick up a pair when I'm up there at the end of the month.

My wife is a biologist.  She will not permit me to get felt soles.  To be honest though, getting to the river is far more dangerous than falling into the river itself.  Falling into the river can ruin the day, but the only times that I have fallen and hurt myself have been getting down to the river.  In both cases, my felt soles slipped on the muddy trails or on wet grass. Vibram soles and cleats have been my go-to for 8+ years now.

The Simms Ultralights were de-facto top contenders on my list.  I will be shopping this week.  I will let you know if I see them.

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On 3/17/2019 at 3:06 PM, monger said:

Northfork....I am just talking about replacing felt. I got my replacement felt from Springbrook/TFO  outfitters in Calgary. The tube of cement in the package (barge cement?) does not hold up as well as marine GOOP.

Remove all old felt from boot, roughed up sole a bit with a file. Cut out felt a bit bigger than required. Mark edges of boot on felt with a sharpie so you can place boot in exactly the right spot. Stuff the inside of boots with paper/newspaper. Cover soles and felt with a healthy layer of marine goop...check to see if you need to wait a short time before sticking things together. Once boots and new felts attached, I secure them by wrapping the felts to the boots with duct tape with as tight of wraps as you can. Be sure to get arch area very tight. Stuffing the boots with paper makes them stiffer for the tape wrapping process. I use lots of tape wraps so the boot looks like a mummy. Try to make sure you have tension on the felts from every angle. Then I leave them for 24hours

Thanks Monger!! Some very good information.

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Those Patagonia Danners look killer, but will require some serious saving to afford. But if they last the rest of my wading days, could be good bang for the buck.

I picked up the hodgman H5 http://www.hodgman.com/hodgman-wade-boots/ when wholesale sports was closing everything out. I have one season on them and so far so good. I like that I can swap out the soles for winter time/hiking. I only fish the bow, so I use the felt 99% of the time. The sole is pretty easy to change and I haven't had a sole come loose. Build quality has been good. I wish they had the Vion model in my size when I was buying as I think the nubuck leather would hold up better than the synthetic. The downside is they are way heavier than my old Patagonia river walkers, and more comparable to something from Simms. Not sure if anyone in Calgary is carrying the Hodgman stuff right now.

http://www.hodgman.com/hodgman-wade-boots/

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I gotta defend the Korkers here a bit.  Lots of you are saying 'a while back I had a pair and they were shiite' but they've come a long way.  I bought the Devil's Canyon about 4 years ago, they are triple-stitched and the stitches are recessed into grooves.  I have had 0 problems with the stitching even fraying and 0 problems with the Boa system as Boa is much stronger and more reliable than they used to be.  What I don't like about the Korkers is that the felt sole is a little thin (or packs out a lot) to really grip around rocks and while I like the ease of use of the Boa, it's difficult to tighten different areas of the boot as the cable mostly tightens evenly through all eyelets.  Their stock rubber sole isn't great as it lacks lugs and general grippiness so I only use it if hiking.  The Patagucci Danner's look awesome, and I've heard great things about the river tractors....I even hear guides especially like them in their boats as much as studded soles, just a tip :)

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