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Old 10-12-2013, 04:20 PM   #1
Dougly
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Default What Kind of Wading Boots?

Just wondering which type of wading boots I should look for and the types I should avoid. I will be getting Columbia Umpqua waders to go with them.

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Old 10-12-2013, 05:54 PM   #2
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Default Re: What Kind of Wading Boots?

Some with lugs or felt, and a size bigger than you usually wear if the stockings are neoprene, and with drainage holes.
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Old 10-12-2013, 08:09 PM   #3
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Default Re: What Kind of Wading Boots?

Simm's Guide, etc?....Redington Skagit?...Korker Metalhead?...
Go try some on...good excuse to go to the shop for a few...
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Old 10-13-2013, 04:27 AM   #4
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Default Re: What Kind of Wading Boots?

I second what Tim said, if the boots don't fit you well and cramp your feet you are going to have cold feet.
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Old 10-13-2013, 05:19 AM   #5
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Default Re: What Kind of Wading Boots?

as stated, first and foremost, FIT is the most important thing when looking at a pair of wading boots. Second, I'd look for something that will last (this is where you're going to get many many different opinions to sift through). In my experience, if you go cheap, you're typically sacrificing on fit (not always, but usually) and durability (always). Here's what has worked for me regarding durability: Patagonia=terrible durability; Simms=excellent durability, but on the heavy side (I had a middle of the road model); Korkers(what I have now)=decent durability, excellent design (it should be noted that it's only the soles that wear quickly--which you can replace easily and relatively cheap), the uppers look like they do the day I bought them two years ago. I have the Chrome with the Boa system--love it. I've also had in the past a pair of the first generation Korkers and they were terrible (design-wise). Oddly enough though, my boots I use for wet wading are an old pair of Dan Bailey canvas that are still going strong after 8 years (I wet wade almost exclusively from May/June through about now).

That's what I've experienced with the various brands...I purposely made no mention of warranty because that's a whole separate threads worth (that, and I've never used it for any of the above).

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Old 10-13-2013, 07:18 AM   #6
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Default Re: What Kind of Wading Boots?

As stated, fit is the key. Buy waders first then take waders along with socks you anticipate wearing and try boots on at local fly shop. Order boots there or Cabela's. If you choose hard soles, the studs from Simms ($29 for 20) are a must for most rivers. Son has owned Patagonia waders for many years. When they develop problems he sends them in and gets new pair free! No hassles. I disliked their new bar aluminum soles, others like them. Spendy mistake. Alaska has ban on felt, consider.
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Old 10-13-2013, 08:12 AM   #7
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Default Re: What Kind of Wading Boots?

I've had good luck with Chota.
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Old 10-13-2013, 10:12 AM   #8
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Default Re: What Kind of Wading Boots?

I really like my felt soles and have some concerns that some jurisdictions may begin to prohibit them because of worry about transfer of invasive species. I removed the studs from my wading shoes years ago and don't miss them. I do rely heavily on my wading staff (old ski pole). Wouldn't enter the river without it.

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Old 10-13-2013, 10:33 AM   #9
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Default Re: What Kind of Wading Boots?

I used a pair that had the rubber rain boots already built into them and they were horrible imo, with very bad maneuverability. What about those neoprene zip up boots?
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Old 10-13-2013, 08:35 PM   #10
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Doug: If you're talking about the neoprene booties that zip up and have a thin rubber sole, those I use over my stocking foot waders before I put my flippers on for float tubing. You can walk around without damaging your waders. You weren't going to wade in a river with them were you? Won't work.
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Old 10-14-2013, 12:04 AM   #11
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Default Re: What Kind of Wading Boots?

i love my orvis waders and boots (all in one)
just to make it clear im not trying to brag just they were a gift.
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Old 10-14-2013, 12:23 AM   #12
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Default Re: What Kind of Wading Boots?

I'm not sure what these guys are talking about but you definitely don't want just neoprene under your feet. I would second the motion to go try on some shoes at your local fly shop, they really don't have to be anything special. I would suggest felt though. Rubber wading boots like the ones built into a lot of duck hunting waders are built more for mud and uck instead of slippery rocks. Studs would be another option if you're worried about felt transmitting invasive species. As long as they're comfortable on your feet. Depending on how deep you wade, it's never comfortable for me, the pressure of the water always gets to me after a while, but I think that's only if your waders are on the larger side for your fit. You could probably make a pair of wading shoes with some old shoes and felt, but remember, your wading shoes are going to have to be a bit larger than the shoes you would normally wear since you have a nice layer of neoprene on your feet, and depending on if you layer under that it can get even bulky-er. Don't want it too loose, but you don't want it too tight either, both will result in cold and possibly numb feet, which you REALLY don't want when you're trying to cross a river.


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Old 10-14-2013, 11:01 AM   #13
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Default Re: What Kind of Wading Boots?

Here is my experience for what it is worth:

- Cheap wading boots are like cheap shoes. They probably won't last that long but if you are not on the river regularly you should get years out of them. They are often heavy when compared to more expensive boots in a similar "model"

- Quality boots are the best choice if you are going to use them regularly. They fit better and last longer.

Simms: I have 2 pair, one felt, one rubber. Felt are an older mid-range boot and they have worn very well. Nothing but great things to say about them. They are light. I've got the Guide rubber sole which I love (had to have rubber for Alaska). If there are long hikes in they are hard to beat, give fantastic support, and are built extraordinarily well. Only complaint is they wear through laces very quickly.

Corkers:
Bought Metalheads for my son and Chrome for my wife. A great choice if you only want one pair of boots and have to change between rubber and felt. The system for changing soles is very good and we have had no issues. They are light and comfortable. BOA makes on/off very easy as is tightening things up on the river after the boots are wet.

"discount brand" I think Caddis: Bought these for my daughter in rubber sole. Figure she will grow out of them before they wear out. They weigh more than my Simms Guide boots. Price was ok and she won't wade heavy water, but they are very heavy.
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Old 10-14-2013, 02:30 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ironhed View Post
I've had good luck with Chota.
Me too!! I also have Chota waders!!
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Old 10-14-2013, 02:38 PM   #15
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Default Re: What Kind of Wading Boots?

One other thing to consider is the boot weight.
I own two pairs of Simms. I have the Headwater and the Freestones both in felt.
Simms post the weight of a pair of size 10's for each model on their website.
I like to wear the Headwaters when I do a lot of hiking or saltwater beach fishing since they are the lightest pair Simms produces. Ankle support isn't great, but I like how light they are.
I wear the Freestones for everything else.
It may not seem like much, but the weight really adds up, especially when they get wet and you wear size 14.
Here are the weight differences on several different models based on a pair of size 10's. In some of the models the Vibram soles adds quite a bit more additional weight.
Just another thing to consider.
SF

Felt Headwaters - 35 oz
Felt Freestones - 48 oz
Felt Guide - 56 oz

Felt Headwaters - 35 oz
Felt Freestones - 67.2 oz
Felt Guide - 65.8 oz
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Old 10-14-2013, 02:56 PM   #16
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Default Re: What Kind of Wading Boots?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stonedfish View Post
One other thing to consider is the boot weight.
I own two pairs of Simms. I have the Headwater and the Freestones both in felt.
Simms post the weight of a pair of size 10's for each model on their website.
I like to wear the Headwaters when I do a lot of hiking or saltwater beach fishing since they are the lightest pair Simms produces. Ankle support isn't great, but I like how light they are.
I wear the Freestones for everything else.
It may not seem like much, but the weight really adds up, especially when they get wet and you wear size 14.
Here are the weight differences on several different models based on a pair of size 10's. In some of the models the Vibram soles adds quite a bit more additional weight.
Just another thing to consider.
SF

Felt Headwaters - 35 oz
Felt Freestones - 48 oz
Felt Guide - 56 oz

Felt Headwaters - 35 oz
Felt Freestones - 67.2 oz
Felt Guide - 65.8 oz
+1

Weight for me is a major item when selecting wading boots.
"Wet weight" is just as important.
I have some Columbias that are light when dry, but heavy dogs when wet.
Wore out some Patagonia Lights (no longer made) that were light even when wet.
I need to upgrade...will be looking at Simms Headwaters.
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Old 10-14-2013, 03:40 PM   #17
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Default Re: What Kind of Wading Boots?

I swore by felt soles and studs for years. Then I tried Patagonia rubber soles with aluminum bars and love them. They are comfortable walking on dry ground and the best traction wading I have ever had. Spendy but worth it in my opinion.

Last edited by Snapt; 10-14-2013 at 03:42 PM.
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Old 10-14-2013, 08:12 PM   #18
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Default Re: What Kind of Wading Boots?

WELL, Dougly, that should make your choice easier. The only thing you can rule out is neoprene booties. After you consider fit, weight, price, durability, felt vs rubber vs aluminum, ankle support, reputation, felt regulations, and laces(they make these wire crank up models some guys swear by) you should be able to get by with about 3 pairs. Oh, don't forget boots for wading the flats, too. This is an expensive sport you've chosen.
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Old 10-15-2013, 03:36 PM   #19
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Default Re: What Kind of Wading Boots?

I blew out the cables on the BOA system in three months so take that for what it's worth. Simms makes the best stuff IMO. Guide boot is pretty durable and has a good fit, a bit heavy.
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Old 10-18-2013, 02:46 PM   #20
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Default Re: What Kind of Wading Boots?

My suggestion is to get mid to high end quality boots if you are going to spend time on the river. I have used Chotas and Simms with great success. Unfortunately they did not help me catch any more fish, but my feet were comfortable. The Chotas have an excellent foot box that is on the roomier side and did have to down size to get the right fit. My Simms I have been using the past four years with lots of miles on them. Spendy at first, but considering only having to replace the laces one time, well worth the investment. I fish year round and average 8-10 trips to the river each month. Sad part is that I don't have a full catch card.
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Old 10-18-2013, 06:25 PM   #21
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Quote:
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I swore by felt soles and studs for years. Then I tried Patagonia rubber soles with aluminum bars and love them. They are comfortable walking on dry ground and the best traction wading I have ever had. Spendy but worth it in my opinion.
Yeah, that. They grip rocks so well you will have to change how you walk.
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Old 10-21-2013, 12:58 PM   #22
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Default Re: What Kind of Wading Boots?

For those interested in Patagonia aluminum bar system: Madison River Fishing Co. Catalog has river crampons that fit over boots on sale now. Steep discount. Also under their ad for the boots with the bars built in, they have an aluminum bar replacement kit for $38.95. Is that just one bar or a whole set you could put on some old boots to try out? Might want to check it out if you're considering, not my choice.
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Old 10-23-2013, 05:32 AM   #23
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I DOUBLE CHECKED ON THOSE Patagonia REPLACEMENT BAR KITS. tHEY INCLUDE ALL THE BARS AND SCREWS NECESSARY TO do a pair of boots. there ARE INSTRUCTIONS ON THE INTERNET FOR INSTALLATION. Cheaper way to go if you have some old boots you want to experiment with. I also noticed Simms studs (which I highly recommend) are made differently for felt soles and hard rubber soles. My first experiment with studs was a qualified success. I installed them on felt boots and they were amazing until I walked a few dozen miles and the studs on the balls of my feet poked thru my waders. Install along the edges and heels where material is thicker. I savaged boots by simply moving studs and using gel inserts. I'm not the smartest guy in the world ( no comments , please) but studs are an incredible upgrade from felt alone.
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Old 10-23-2013, 06:31 AM   #24
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Default Re: What Kind of Wading Boots?

I've used hardware store aluminum self-tapping screws (short!) for many years--never had a problem with traction--cheap to replace if they pull out. I lose very few--just occasionally replaced as the heads wear down. Patagonia here--love the Boots 2 + years and no signifigant wear--drain well and light wet. Just got the Rio Gallegos waders--lots of neat features including a removable neoprene knee pad sandwiched between the Gore layers.
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Old 10-23-2013, 06:51 AM   #25
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Default Re: What Kind of Wading Boots?

Not a fan of studs.
Seems that my back takes a toll with them because I wade and perch in places that I wouldn't with my felt, perhaps.

They can skate on hard pan.
They suck on pavement and in boats or on anything that you don't want marked up.
They change the when and where I saddled up.

The above is in reference to steel studs...aluminum is more forgiving but wears out faster.

YMMV
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Old 10-23-2013, 07:14 AM   #26
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Excellent pro and con exchange for the fisher selecting new or used boots. I'll stick to my guns and go with studs or screws. How fast are the bars wearing down for guys that bought the Patagonias? At least there is a simple replacement system. That replacement was not available initially, at least when I wanted just the bars and wanted to try them on an old pair of boots. Was Patagonia getting complaints of rapid wear? Has anyone tried the crampons?
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Old 10-23-2013, 10:33 AM   #27
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Default Re: What Kind of Wading Boots?

Quote:
Originally Posted by puckfisher View Post
Excellent pro and con exchange for the fisher selecting new or used boots. I'll stick to my guns and go with studs or screws. How fast are the bars wearing down for guys that bought the Patagonias? At least there is a simple replacement system. That replacement was not available initially, at least when I wanted just the bars and wanted to try them on an old pair of boots. Was Patagonia getting complaints of rapid wear? Has anyone tried the crampons?
I'll try not to offend anyone but Patagonia makes the crapiest least durable boot on the market...just saying.

If you fish 50-100 days a year, you'll wear the aluminum off the bottoms.
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Old 10-23-2013, 10:44 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puckfisher View Post
Excellent pro and con exchange for the fisher selecting new or used boots. I'll stick to my guns and go with studs or screws. How fast are the bars wearing down for guys that bought the Patagonias? At least there is a simple replacement system. That replacement was not available initially, at least when I wanted just the bars and wanted to try them on an old pair of boots. Was Patagonia getting complaints of rapid wear? Has anyone tried the crampons?
I have the boots. I've probably got 30 days on them and the bars look to have a lot of life left. I think it's known that aluminum is going to wear out faster than other materials because it's softer but that's also what makes it really grippy.

My understanding is that the replacement bars don't work with the crampons, but I could be mistaken.
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Old 10-23-2013, 10:46 AM   #29
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Patagonia makes the crapiest least durable boot on the market...just saying.
That's been my experience as well. I love the way they fit and feel, but if I can't get more than a season's worth (~50 days that year) out of a pair of boots, they're not worth a darn.

So far, the best (wear-wise) that I've ever had were Simms. I didn't like them because they were pretty heavy.

I currently have a pair of Korkers Chromes, going into year 3 (probably have around 100 days in them). I love the fit (and lack of weight) and so far, boa laces are doing fine (I've heard plenty of negatives about the longevity of those). Only downside is that the felt soles don't seem to last as long as other boots...easily solved by just buying new soles at $25 a pop instead of getting all new boots.

Of course all that said, I still have an old (really old) pair of Dan Baileys that I use for wet wading and have probably 350+ days worth in them. felts still look great, but the uppers (canvas) are finally starting to show some wear.

Last edited by clarkman23; 10-23-2013 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 10-23-2013, 05:32 PM   #30
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Default Re: What Kind of Wading Boots?

As much as I appreciate all the new bells and whistles, I really miss my old Danner hi top boots--don't miss presoaking the petrified(between uses) boots just to get them on!
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Old 10-23-2013, 07:04 PM   #31
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Default Re: What Kind of Wading Boots?

OPnly buy Simms, as their boots fit me great.
Simms Freestone is a great price point boot, less then $100 if you look around.
Simms Guide is 2x the price, and is a great top of the line hike all day boot.
A little tip on wading boots, any footwear for that matter: If you have a stocky foot with a higher arch, look for a boot that has a wider curved sole.
Narrower feet with lower arch, look for a boot that has a straighter outline to the sole.
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Old 10-24-2013, 06:05 AM   #32
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don't miss presoaking the petrified(between uses) boots just to get them on!
Gallon of water in a jug every trip. Nope, me neither! Now days though seems my stuff never dries out.
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Old 10-24-2013, 06:16 AM   #33
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As much as I appreciate all the new bells and whistles, I really miss my old Danner hi top boots--don't miss presoaking the petrified(between uses) boots just to get them on!
I've got the low-tops.
Carbide studs, just serviced by Danner. They oiled them with something.
I'll prolly Ebay them someday.
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Old 10-24-2013, 08:04 AM   #34
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Default Re: What Kind of Wading Boots?

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As much as I appreciate all the new bells and whistles, I really miss my old Danner hi top boots--don't miss presoaking the petrified(between uses) boots just to get them on!
Now that brings back some memories! Picture in my office of me sporting my old Danners holding a chromer. Man I look young...what has happened!?
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Old 10-24-2013, 08:46 PM   #35
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Default Re: What Kind of Wading Boots?

chota gets my vote. I have owned many and they are my favorites.
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Old 10-25-2013, 08:12 AM   #36
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Dougly: Might want to wait a couple months for Simms new Vapor boot. Looks like it may be the answer to a lot of the problems we've been addressing.
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