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I am in need of some new wading boots and am interested in hearing your opinions on which ones are best. My Simms have finally worn out after somewhere around 8 years of use. Because of the comfort and longevity I am leaning towards Simms again, but I would like to hear about some possible alternatives. Of course I wear a size 14 so that may limit my options. I am also leaning towards a non-felt sole since some states may make felts vorboten in the near future and I don't want to buy new boots again.

Thanks.
 

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I don't know if they have non felt sole boots, or size 14 boots, but Chiota makes really comfortable boots. I have a wide ball, high arch, and narrow heel, and finding boots that fit me is always a challenge. They also have outstanding customer service (I sent my boots back to have them resoled, and they far exceeded my expectations for repair service).
 

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Another one for Korkers. I have tried many boots and found the Korkers "Guide Wading Boot" to be the best fit for me. I love the Boa lacing system. You have several types of soles to boot so to speak. I'm sure there are some good brands out there but you can't go wrong with Korkers.

:thumb:
 

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Joe Streamer
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Whatever brand you choose, if you get the new generation of rubber soled boots, adding cleats or studs is a must-do. I have Simms Riversheds with Vibram soles. Without metal on the bottom, they were like ice skates on teflon. After adding the Simms Star Cleats, they are about as good as felt...overall.

They do, however, feel different than felt and you do need to get used to the different way they grip. For example, with felt you usually know right away if the boot is going to grip. With rubber/cleats, you may slide a millimeter or an inch before grabbing traction. This can initially be unsettling but you get used to it quickly.
 

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Just an Old Man
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Just so you know I ain't going to tell you to buy these, but Don't get those Hodgman's with the felts and the studs. I had a pair and when they got wet they were the heaviest boots I ever wore.
 

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Fish or Ski...Fish or ski....fish!
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If you get the Korkers, definately get the felt sole option. I was on a river last weekend with my buddy who was very proud of his new Korkers but didn't get the felt option, just the rubber soles. He was slipping every other step, where my studded felts gave me lot's of traction.
 

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I really enjoy my Korkers guide boots with the BOA closure. The Kling-On studded sole has proven grippy enough for me. I have just about all the soles and spares of some of them. I have older Simms boots with felts, they are great also. No experience with any other new boots with the "sticky" rubber soles.
 

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I'm in the same position, and same boot size, it will probably be another pair of simms for me, or possibly patagonia's. Studded Felt. After testing the studded rubber, myself and quite a few local guides here on various rivers our overwhelming opinion is they frankly suck.....and they wear out fast....
 

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My recommendation here is pretty different. I am notoriously tough on wading gear (and I tend to walk / hike a lot in my wading boots) so I think about it a lot.

I strongly advocate the LL Bean wading boots. I have a light pair and a heavy pair. The heavy ones are five years old, the light ones were a new wet wading addition a year ago. LL Bean were the first to put Aquastealth rubber on the boots back in the mid 90's, and you can get most of their styles with cleats (I recommend that as well). The Bean boots come from hiking styles and are very comfortable and fit well to me.

I have busted through a pair of Chota's in a week (never again) of fishing on the Dean. I busted through a pair of Korkers (never again) fishing a long weekend on the Thompson. My LL Bean boots have never let me down. I bought a pair of Cabela's boots for one summer and they are OK not great.

I have never worn Simms boots long enough to have much of an opinion on them, and their styles are all new anyway so I can't comment much on recent styles.

I know several NZ fishing guides that only wear LL Bean also giving the amount of walking they put in over there.
 

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Your first impression, to go with simms is in my opinion the correct one:

I can only recommend simms guide boots, due to the much more durable mostly leather construction. Put aquaseal over the exposed seams. Make sure you try them on to pick the right size, they are a little wider, and a little shorter, than the simms G4 (or former G3).

Pretty much every other brand of wading shoe (and the other non-leather simms models with more fabric and no leather), lasts about one tenth as long, and you will rip them to shreads on the first sharp rock - where leather results in only a scratch.

Simms does not offer felt, altho you may be able to score something on fleabay in that huge size which some places still have leftover. You are not supposed to be wearing felt in MT and in a few years in AK and VT.

There's not a whole bunch of traction with the rubber, and you do damage to rafts/driftboats/bushplane floats, with studs. So you'll either be slipping around or buying two pairs of boots (I do the latter). You can't really take off and put on studs in Simms shoes more than 3-4 times before they start to fall out.

I got the feeling from talking with a Simms rep recently that they are still working on newer and better rubber sole products, but the sole is going to be the same at least through 2011. You might wanna wait to see what is up with the 2011 line sole-wise.
 

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i love my Simms freestone sz 12 wading boots. im an 11 EE and with a wick away underliner sock and heavy boot sock my i've been in all day comfort. Very roomy, and they cinch up tight. I love lacing them up. Glad i chose them. i just added 6 studs per shoe but haven't fished using the studs yet.
 
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