Here's one of my posts on how to judge boot construction from several years ago. The boot models shown are probably no longer currently made but you can use the information below to judge the quality of construction.
Here's information you can use to judge boot construction when looking at catalog photos.
of boot is the attachment point of the sole of the boot. The sole of the boot can be just glued to the welt or it can be both sewn and glued. The sewn welt can be single stitched or double stitched. A sewn welt prevents the sole from becoming separated at the edges. This is where most separations start.
Better boots like the Borger Boots will have a sewn and glued welt and sole
. Cheaper boots will have only a glued welt and sole.
Here is an example of sewn welt construction from the Weingbrenner Borger Boot:
There is more to a quality boot than just a sewn welt but it is a good place to start. If you look very carefully at the welt - that bottom of the boot that attaches the upper to the sole - you will notice that you do not need to see the sole of the boot to see if the welt is sewn or molded.
Look at the Hodgman and Patagonia boots and you will see that there is no "lip" to the welt and therefore there is no place to sew the welt to the sole. Note that the Borger boots has a lip on the welt which almost always indicates a sewn welt.
Here's Hodgman with just a glued felt and no lip
Patagonia - ditto - no sewn felt and no lip. Just as bad is that fact that this boot has a flat sole with no attempt to produce even a one piece heel.
You cannot judge by brand name. You need to examine the model of the boot and see if the welt is sewn and glued.
Here are two Orivis boots, one with a glued sole and one with a sewn and glued sole construction.
Cheappie model Orvis Clearwater - no sewn felt and no lip.
More expensive Orvis Battenkill - sewn felt with a lip.
Look carefully at the catalog photos. Even if there is no photo of the sole of the boot, you can tell if the soles are probably just glued by looking for the "lip" of the welt
where the upper and lower boots are joined.
Here's the result of a glued rather than a sewn welt. A review from 2009.
"Let's just say the rubber toe is not working out so well. As of this report I have stopped wearing these boots to send them back to Simms. The sole has begun peeling away from the boot and the laces are shot to hell. If I did not have 5 pairs of boots I'd be pissed.'
2008-09 Simms Rivershed Wading Boot Fishing Product Preview/Review - Fly Fishing Blog - Colorado Fly Fishing
Current Grey's Wading boot with poor stud pattern in my opinion.
Greys Platinum Wading Boots – Glasgow Angling Centre