Simms Freestone vs G3 vs???

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Hey y'all,


I hate to ask yet another iteration of this question on this forum, but I'm looking to fish trout in Tennessee, North Georgia, and Maryland (where I live during the school year because of graduate school) and need to make a wading boot purchase.
The most relevant rivers are probably: Gunpowder (MD), Hiwassee (TN), Upper Toccoa (Georgia), and Jacks (Georgia), and maybe Mossy Creek (VA). So there could be a good deal of hiking involved in some cases, little to none in others.

The fishing in GA/TN will be primarily from May-August; Maryland and Virginia the rest of the year.

As a grad student, I'm obviously trying to get the best value, but also something that is up for the job and will last, that's why I have been taking people's advice and been looking at Simms.
However, I cannot decide if the G3, Headwaters, or Freestone (or maybe something else entirely) seems best for the rivers I mentioned. The price of the G3 is somewhat galling, but I'd hate to be uncomfortable, lack ankle support, or get a boot that doesn't last as long. I've heard the Freestones feel heavy compared to the G3's, which is why I'm leaning toward ponying up the $229 for the G3's. The Headwaters' Boa system looks cool, but I'd need to get extra field repair kits in case the "laces" snap. That about kills the $30 discount that comes with going that route. So if I went with the Headwaters, it'd have to be for a different reason.

Anyways, I'll quit rambling and look forward to your input.
 

flytie09

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I have 2x older pairs of the Headwaters and a G3. You can’t go wrong with the quality, support and price of the lace up Headwaters. As a grad student, save your money and go this route and then splurge down the road.
 

jbcissell

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I have a pair of the freestones and they're good but I don't do lots of hiking. I have no problem with the shorter walks I do (up to maybe a mile).

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
 

Redrock

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I fished a lot of the waters you mentioned many moons ago. The Jacks is a slippery place. The Hiwassee is just big, and scrambling over the ledges can be tricky. Back when I fished those places I opted for a light boot over support as I was, for example, hiking a long way along the tracks to get to spots I like on the Hiwassee. I think good soles minimize the need for rigid boots, unless you are prone to turned ankles. Sort of like hiking, I only wear my heavy duty boots when I am carrying weight. Otherwise I wear a light hiker. My advice is soles first, weight second, price third. I’m not a BOA fan. If they fail, you are SOL — unless you have some duct tape handy!
 

flav

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I like the quality of Simms boots, but they've always been too heavy for my liking because I do a lot of hiking. I wore through a couple pairs of Simms L2's, their lightweight boot, and loved them. They discontinued them, however, and I switched to Patagonia ultralights, which I like even more. I did notice that Simms once again offer a lightweight boot, the Flyweight. If you do a lot of hiking, I'd check that model out as well.
 

hollisd

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I have the Freestones and they're phenomenal. I will purchase the G3s next time simply because I know they'll be incrementally superior plus a Vibram sole.

If you want to save $15 you can order at TCO fly shop with the coupon SAVE15 plus free shipping over $50

Waders & Boots – TCO Fly Shop

I highly recommend you purchase the gravel guards at the same time and try on the boots if you can

Simms Guide Guard Socks – TCO Fly Shop

Absolutely recommend these lace up Vibram Headwaters if you can find them on sale:

Headwaters Boot - Simms Fishing Products
 

duker

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I'm currently wearing an older pair of Rivershed boots; they replaced a pair of G3s that I had just plumb worn out. I don't think you can really go wrong with any of those boots--Simms makes good ones, IMHO, and they'll last you for a while. I do like the Vibram sole, which the Riversheds had.

I'm not a fan of the BOA or other alternative lacing systems--good old laces have always worked for me, and are easier to repair or jury-rig in the field if they break.

Scott
 
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Tried on some Headwaters with the BOA laces today at Bass Pro, with a pair of waders on. I really don't care for the lacing system even in terms of feel. Unfortunately, there were no Freestones in a size close to me to try on, or G3's at all.

Something I found interesting was that the fit felt much better in a size 12 (my actual boot size) rather than a size 13. I have been told that one generally wants a really thick sock inside the neoprene (which I didn't have while "dry-trying" the boots today), and that might help fill up the boot if I go up a size. Not sure how true this is, but if I did any reasonable amount of hiking with the boots on, I would think I would be better off just hiking to the spot, keeping my wading boots and waders and gear in a backpack, then "suiting up" by the riverbank. Otherwise, either the boot will still be too roomy and uncomfortable, or I'll perspire enough to soak my socks before I even get in the water.

Further complicating my thought process (don't worry, I'll quit rambling after this), especially based on your advice, Redrock, I'm wondering if I should go with a Vapor(trek), instead. One potential drawback could be less durability, but people who have owned them would have to weigh in.
But seeing as this is a boot designed to have some tighter "fit" to it, I wonder what the sizing rationale would be, there, or if the boot is simply more snugly fitted in general, but the same "go up a size" rule still applies.
 
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Just found the Freestones for $120 this is a good price

Simms Freestone Wading Boot Rubber - New 2018 - Madison River Outfitters

Here's the Headwaters for $126 if you wear 8 or 10:

Simms Headwaters Boot - Duranglers Fly Fishing Shop & Guides
I appreciate the link, but they're fresh out of size 13's. Drat! Those are some great deals, though. If I could get away with a size 12 it'd be great...if all I need to wear during the summer is the wader's neoprene sock and no other stuff, then I probably could. But I don't know if I can, since I've never gone, before.
 

Lotsoftrouts

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A little bit of continuation on the thread...
Finally I need to retire my old, like 10 years old, Freestone boots, and I was aming on G3 boots this time for a super comfort thay offer I heard about. However the plastic "V" thing on* the ancle region in the
new G3 model is confusing. Some people report it may be harmful and
not a good feature at all... as I heard about...
So, how about Headwaters (not the Boa model)? Would they be fine in terms of plain walking comfort, not hiking?
 

hollisd

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I have the Freestones and G3 Guide boots. I don't notice the plastic tab on the heel so it's a nonfactor fishing.

As someone who owns both boots, and considering you're coming off a decade with your last pair, why don't you double dip and go with the Freestones again?

The Freestone is a phenomenal boot with 90% of the performance of the G3 Guide, so I would go there again, or try the new Flyweight.
 

Lotsoftrouts

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This is a good point, but.... I have tried freestone and headwaters yesterday (G3 were unavailable). I like new Freestones, they seem to have better cushioning then Headwaters, which is on plus, but in turn there is a massive toe protection in Headwaters when compared to Freestones. Additionally Headwaters' shoe tongue is wider and fits better around front of the ancle...
 

hollisd

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Simms doesn't make the Headwaters without the Boa dial so the pair you tried on sans Boa must've been a previous model with laces only. If you like the Headwaters incrementally more than the Freestones it's safe to say the G3 Guide likely won't disappoint you unless you're strapped for cash. The wading boot you would have to try on is the new Flyweight. You're splitting hairs they're all great boots just the pick the one that fits your budget and don't second guess. Once on the water you won't give a flip about any of the points brought up here.
 

JDR

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I wear Freestone boots and fish throughout Appalachia. They are a good boot. I would caution to stay away from the BOA (Bogus On Anything) lacing system. Good old laces are far more reliable and adjustable for a good fit.
 

City Rat

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I own the G3s and have been hiking a lot. I did a thread on here that compared the G3s, Freestones and the Orvis Pros.

https://www.theflyfishingforum.com/...esson-today.html?highlight=orvis+wading+boots

I was really worried that the G3's would be clunky and heavy hiking up trails. I can now say after a couple of months that the G3s hike no differently than any other pair of Vibram soled GTX boots that I have owned. For the reasons stated in the thread I'd get the G3s. On the issue of price yes they are the top of the line for Simms, that said, "buy once, cry once."
 

fffl

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I have a pair of g3 boots and like them fine but just bought a pair of Simms featherweight boots. they are the best boots iv'e ever had, also only $199 if you go with the featherweights make sure you have the studs put in.
 

proheli

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The OP has the full range from hot to cold, so one pair might not really do the trick. I have the freestone/felt and they are great for the cold, but no real hiking. As the water gets warmer I use the freestone boots with the gravel socks, no waders, and then finally just tennis shoes in the heat. Simms has their new flats shoe, its like a high top, light weight but protection.

I think it all just matters how cold it is and how much you are going to hike. I’ve never had a complaint about the freestsones, in winter or even in the heat, because your feet are in the water, duh, so its just about hiking for me at that point. If you don’t hike, get the freestones, if you do, get the freestones and something else too.
 

strmanglr scott

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I just got the Headwaters with the BOA lacing system. I wasn't sure about the system when I first saw it.

I did some research on it, those BOA laces are stupid strong. I never carried an extra set of laces for my old boots with regular laces.

They're lighter than my old Simms boots. I love em so far. Getting in and out is much easier, especially getting out. It's gonna be real nice in the colder months using them.
 
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