I need a new pair of boots. What are you using, are they good or bad, how long have you been using them? Rubber with cleats is how I'll end up but if I have to screw the cleats in that's OK. I don't need them tearing up the bottom of the boat so I'll put them in when I need them.
I'm looking at Orvis & Simms at this time but want to hear about more brands, pro's & con's of them would be a good thing.
Thinking they were built to last, so far the G4 simms guide boots have held up. They are going on 2 years old but I might spend only 30 days a year on the water. They are heavy but I don't walk miles upon miles. I did screw in some screws in the bottom plus the hard bite cleats. I'm happy with them.
Like Van's mentioned, there are a lot of Korker fans out there, along with Patagonia. I like my Simms Rivershed's and I know a place that has them for $116 right now. Just got back from IP area and Yellowstone and one of the shops has them on clearance. PM me if you want to know who it is.
perfect timing on this thread, I am also looking for a new pair. I have been researching, talking to shop folks, and recently tried a few pairs on. Patagonia, Simms, and Chota, are the ones I have tried. Chota were ok, felt snug in the toe box in a size up and there are a lot of seems on this boot. overall they were the cheepest and a good boot for the money but I dont think i will go with them. I have a fishing buddy who seems to feel like high price boots will break down as fast at mid price boots so more than 200 is too much. Then I slipped on the patagonia rock grip. By far the lightest boot, fit very well and felt like a sneaker. I like to hike and explore small rivers so this boot felt like I could do that, however it also felt like if I stub my toe or get stuck this boot would not do much good in a more major accident. Overall they are pricey but feel great on your foot and have a good repair policy as far as I have heard. Next is simms, I tried headwater and rivershed. Both fit well in a size up, felt very sturdy, well made, heavy, especialy the rivershed. Felt like a boot you could wade through anything in, not much play in the boot, much more of a shat kicker than the patagonia rockhopping boot. The last 2 boots I want to try are Korkers, and Reddington. Im happy this thread popped up when it did, I really want to hear some recomends and get myself into a new pair of....
I just made this journey, I'll relay my thoughts and choices-
I confined myself to the Simms products mainly. Back when I was guiding I purchased some Orvis boots on their pro-program, they lasted 6 months. Sure they replaced them but I had a bad taste from the experience- they were the top line boots as well.
Anyhoo- Here is what I demand in a boot- Mountaineering construction and support but soled for wading. I want them to be reasonably light weight and have carbide studs or the ability to have studs added.
From the Simms lineup I narrowed my search to two models- the G4 and the Rivershed. This is how I saw each-
Rivershed- great construction similar to a La Sportiva mountaineering boot with the protective shielding covering much of the boot and a generous toe box. Excellent ankle support and light enough for days of equal hiking to wading.
G4- much like the Rivershed the G4 is like a fine mountain boot with great support. The G4 has a noticeably wider sole than the Rivershed- more surface area to grip the streamed. The boot is also heavier, that wider sole comes with a price. The G4 has roller lacing- kinda cool but not needed.
In the end I chose the Riversheds because they were lighter and not as bulky. The G4's wider sole would be great if you needed maximum traction in a non-studed sole. For instance- if you were in a Mac boat and didn't want the studs in the boat. But the wider sole adds weight and impairs agility IMO and I need a boot that is capable of rock hopping and other high risk activities. Price wise they are nearly the same with only a forty dollar difference so I would have readily purchased either, I just needed the boot that fit my needs.
Simms fan here too. Went with the G4s recently. Vibram with screw in studs, though I have yet to use the studs. The boots are serious tanks and, as Russell says, wide of sole. Try them on before buying, if you can, to get the size right.
Shortly after buying them, I picked up a pair of felt Freestones at a ridiculously cheap price on one of the online clearance sites - just before Simms announced its return to felt. Perfect for my tricky footing warm water bass river. Felt bites like nothing else.
I have been doing a lot of reading on the different soles with and without steel/aluminum cleats and (my opinion only) the boots with good sole flex combined with proper cleat placement will stand out from the rest. I think Orvis has the best cleat placement and suggest copying their design.
The boots with a good sole flex appear to have the ability to slightly wrap around a rock giving you more surface contact. If your cleats are placed in the middle of the sole your contact is reduced to the size of the cleat, it will probably put uncomfortable pressure on the ball of your foot also . Cleats that remind you of a bunch of bb's welded together can't grip as well because they will crush the stone as opposed to a sharp edge that can slightly penetrate without crushing. (drilling bit experience ) But you will have to replace the cleats more often.
As I see it the flexing sole gives more surface contact and the sharp cleats on the perimeter dig in and hold you in place.
This is a copy from a post I made earlier this year.
Recently, I went through the 'new boots buying process' after my old felt bottom ones disintegrated. I wear a size 11 to 11.5 in street shoes so the comments are all focused on a size 12 wading boot. My feet are what one would consider normal (nothing special) - mid arches, neither wide nor narrow, no foot / bone issues
1) Patagonia Rock Grip: Supremely comfortable, they open up quite big so putting them on while wearing waders is ridiculously easy. They are really lightweight & have a full rubber rand that offers great protection against sharp objects encountered while wading. They come with the studs for the price $170.
Their rubber sole is very good.
2) Simms Rivershed: Priced to compete with the Paragonia Rock Grips. Again very comfortable, nice arch support. The studs are not included in the price ($170)
3) Simms Headwaters: Extremely light (comparable to the Patagonia's); great arch support and very comfortable great Vibram sole, studs are not included but I found these at a great price ($119) so decided to go with them. I screwed in the studs last night & will be evaluating them on a local stream this afternoon. I will provide some 'in use' comments shortly.
If I fished a lot, I would have chosen the Patagonia's w/o a doubt. However, due to family obligations I can only get out ~ once / month so the Simms Headwaters were ideal.