Wading boots: Newbie learned a lesson today

City Rat

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Ok this is me calling "Uncle". I was determined not to buy any wading gear for fly fishing as I had a good set of boot waders, both neoprene and breathable for waterfowl. I went fishing today along the Potomac and picking my way through the boulders and rocks and I felt EVERY SINGLE EDGE AND POINT just like I was walking barefoot. Climbing out to rocky points from which to cast away from trees and the traction just wasn't there. The boot foot waders are fine for walking around in the duck swamps and standing in the muck but they just aren't made for this. This would have been nothing in my hiking boots. I should add here that I normally hike in GTX type hiking boots so essentially I am looking for wading versions of those.
Ok so I have narrowed down the choices as I need a rubber soled boot that is as much like a hiking boot in construction as possible, i.e. great traction on trails and rocks and good ankle support. I'm not BOA lace fan, very old school here, more gadgety the thing is the more apt it is, at least with my luck, to break in the field leaving me to McGyver some "fix" to get home. After looking at rubber soled versions of :
Orvis Ultralight
Patagonia Ultralight
Simms Freestone
Simms G3 Guide

I am currently leaning towards the Simms Freestone. It seems like that for the price point you get a lot of the items on my list with that boot. I would very much welcome hearing some ground/river truth from folks here who have put these boots through their paces. My current concerns both from Google machine based research and speaking to others:
Orvis Ultralight - lower cut at the ankle and might not have the same support as the others
Patagonia Ultralight- rubber layer looks so thin like it might delaminate
Simms Freestone- I like the cut in the plastic sheet that allows it to flex like my hiking boots
Simms G3 Guide- not sure why they are $60-70 more than the Freestones

Again ground truth is appreciated and corrections to any mis-impressions that I have would be welcome as well. Thanks.
 

Ard

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I've been using the G3 boot for about 9 seasons now and am on my second pair. While I do have to deal with some tricky wading areas I seldom walk more than a mile in them at a time because I travel rivers by boat. I can't say how the Freestone will preform but am satisfied with the G3. I also sprang for 2 sets of the aluminum star cleats for the bottoms and use ten on each sole and am happy with them also. I tried the Hard Bite cleats on my first paid and do not believe they are better.

Those cleats will drive up the cost to you but I think they end up being worth it because I don't fall down due to slipping. Something else to consider is a decent collapsible wading staff for when you find yourself in a tricky spot. They are not made to support your total weight but they will supply an added element of balance when the going gets tough.
 

ia_trouter

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I have very little quality fly gear, but I have Simms G3 Guide boots. I have also worn cheap boots such as Cabela's you can find on sale for $99. Even that is a whole different world above a boot not designed for fly fishing at all. If that is all I ever wore it wouldn't wreck my fishing. A better boot is worth the money though. Deals can be found, and they will outlive a cheap wading boot long enough to make them a better value in the end.

Put a wading jacket on your list too. I received one as a gift from a very kind friend. I can't even describe what a difference that makes in my comfort. Prior to that I wore military gear, the best they have. Quality fly gear is just as warm, and literally 1/3rd the bulk. It's hard to fish when you are overly bulked.

For the cost of one high end fly rod and reel, you can buy a nice set of clothes but you'll have to go a little easy on the first set of waders. You can fix that in a year or two. I don't long for a $1000 rod. I now want a full set of of way above average clothes that will make me comfortable for 5-10 years.

And BTW my first noobie lesson was thinking $20 fly lines were more than good enough.
 
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flav

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I wore Simms boots for years, but I've been wearing Patagonia Ultralights for three years and they're awesome. Mine are felts, though, so I have no idea how well the rubber soles hold up. The uppers are very comfortable, have held up better than any Simms boots I've owned, and they're so light I can hike for miles with no problems.
 

stater61

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I have Simms G3 Boot foot waders and I'm extremely happy with them although they are damn pricey. The boot is excellent not flimsy and although I have to wear thin orthopedic socks due to DVT, my feet have never been cold in them.

Talking to a Simms rep on Saturday I found out that they are coming out with a boot foot in the Freestone series around the end of the year. I don't know the exact price range but it should be quite a bit cheaper.
 

City Rat

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I have Simms G3 Boot foot waders and I'm extremely happy with them although they are damn pricey. The boot is excellent not flimsy and although I have to wear thin orthopedic socks due to DVT, my feet have never been cold in them.

Talking to a Simms rep on Saturday I found out that they are coming out with a boot foot in the Freestone series around the end of the year. I don't know the exact price range but it should be quite a bit cheaper.
In terms of waders I was looking at the G4 guide waders Vs. the G3s. They seem really to be the same except for an extra layer of Gtex in the lower area. I just saw a quick ad for Freestone waders this morning and I will dig in and see how they size up against the G3s and G4s. In terms of wading boots the solid consensus seems to be the G3s are the way to go, with gravel guards. The info on peoples experience with these boots is invaluable. Thank you.
 
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reels

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Since you mentioned wanting the boots to be "hiking like" you might also consider the Simms Flyweights.
I wrote my initial impressions over here: https://www.theflyfishingforum.com/...ight-rubber-sole-wading-boot.html#post1331864

I think the G3 and Freestones are good boots too, but they will certainly be a bit more bulky than the Flyweights.
You can also still get the Simms Vapor (tho discontinued); I've been happy with them as well.
 

City Rat

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So to finish this up, just in case somebody else comes along and searches the same topic, I ended up with the G3s, they just felt right for me. that said That same day I tried on Simms, G3, Orvis Guide boots and Simms Flyweight boots. All are nice, well made boots and depending on where you fish, one will be a better choice than the other. Just in terms of weight from heaviest to lightest, G3, Orvis Pro, Simms Flyweights with the Orvis Pro being an excellent compromise between sturdy and light weight. I hope that helps.
 

Monello

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Where were you fishing? Did you get anything?

Years ago I fished down at Fletcher's Boathouse. Great shad run in the spring down there.
 

City Rat

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Where were you fishing? Did you get anything?

Years ago I fished down at Fletcher's Boathouse. Great shad run in the spring down there.
I ended up with the G3s and am very happy.

In terms of fishing, the shad run on the Potomac still rolls, though this year hard rains upstream have really been blowing the river out right during what should be the run. The first fish that I caught was a very frisky shad on spin tackle as a teenager form one of Fletcher's rented row boats. Hope still springs that things will jump off this year as soon as the river quiets down. Otherwise in this area, I have been putting time in working the upper reaches of the Rapidan in the Shenandoah National Park and the Big Stoney, Stoney, Little Stoney, in and around the George Washington National Forest. In addition to working and learning those streams around here I am deciding on a third, lots of options, the Conway, Hughes, North and South Fork of the Shenandoah. Sooner or later one of them will sing to me and I'll go jump in it. Aside from locally, I had a chance to fish the Salmon River, in NY and am headed over to the Sandy in Oregon in about six weeks.
 
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