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Bmark0610March 11th, 2015, 7:03 pm
Taxachusetts / Cape Cod

Posts: 4
Hey guys I really want to get into fly fishing. I need a good set of waders. I also want to use them when walking the flats so fresh and salt water...

What do you recommend? What is the difference between the waders that have a boot attached vs the ones that come with detachable boots? Some don't have a hard boot, some look like a sock, others look like a sock and include boots...
MartinlfMarch 11th, 2015, 8:35 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2919
Bootfoot waders are easier to get into and out of, but they don't typically offer as much support for walking distances, though some models have a boot you actually can lace up and tighten for more support. You just have to check to see if they have this feature. Stockingfoot waders usually have a neoprene foot/sock, though some non-breathable models may have a coated nylon foot. You have to buy a boot to go with stockingfoot waders, and often need to get a size larger boot if you plan to put wool socks on your feet in the winter. The best way to sort all of this out is to go to a shop that has different waders and boots and try some things on, discussing different options with a knowledgeable clerk. If you get waders that do not fit, they not only may be uncomfortable, they may wear out sooner due to having too much stress on seams. And if the boots are too tight. Well, you can imagine. For walking the flats, I'd recommend a rubber sole on the boots, especially if the areas you fish are muddy. If you fish slick streams you'll need some kind of cleats or studs in the soles so you don't fall (as often). :) Some models have studs that screw in and out. If you are going to be in boats, you'll need to remove the studs, especially if the boat is fiberglass or wood.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Bmark0610March 12th, 2015, 9:00 am
Taxachusetts / Cape Cod

Posts: 4
Are the ones with the separate boots the way to go?

This way you can either walk in the water with just the boots and a pair of swim trunks or something?

Are these boots made of a special material for the water?

Feathers5March 12th, 2015, 9:59 am
Posts: 287That's the way I go. Yes, buy wading shoes to fit over stockingfoot waders.
WbranchMarch 12th, 2015, 11:09 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2506
This way you can either walk in the water with just the boots and a pair of swim trunks or something?


Yes, you can do that but if you plan to wet wade often there are specific foot wear called "Flats Shoes" or "Flats Booties". The booties are typically constructed with neoprene uppers with a side zipper and a ribbed rubber sole. They cost between $40 and $80. The Flats Shoes are constructed more like a wading shoe but only ankle high and have a sole made of material to walk on sand or coral. Much more expensive but more durable and offer more foot protection. $80.00 - $120.00.

Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
PaulRobertsMarch 12th, 2015, 7:01 pm
Colorado

Posts: 1776
I bought my pair of neoprene "flats boots" at Bass Pro Shops for $20.
FlyflingerMarch 12th, 2015, 8:08 pm
Fredericksburg, Virginia

Posts: 30
Let me add a comment to the previous posts. The Godsend product was when reliable, breathable waders became available. I suffered when I wore stockingfoot neoprene or a bootfoot wader made of 1,000 denier impregnated nylon. Thank Goodness nearly all waders are breathable now. Gore-Tex is much pricier, esp. if it is Simms. But their are other waders of quality for a lot less money.

If you plan to buy waders and boots for all kinds of weather and fresh water, go to the store with what you expect to wear under your waders and boots. Get a good fitting and adjustment in the store before you buy. I normally wear light liner socks under heavy wool socks. That means I would wind up with a size larger than my street shoes. Also, check the width for comfort. Some boots are now sized EEE to accommodate heavy socks. If your feet feel constricted in any way, select another boot. Wearing ill-fitting boots in the cold will send your comfort downhill quickly because of constricted blood circulation.

The boots I have are Simms and Korkers. Studs really work well. Embedded within the newer sticky rubber soles, they provide decent grip on snot rocks and grip muddy banks. They've replaced felt soles, which more and more are being banned in some states because they are difficult to clean out invasive species they transport. My Korkers have interchangeable soles so I can use felt, plain sticky rubber, or studded sticky rubber. They also have the Boa lacing system, which I use for local waters only because I don't want one of those stainless steel wires to break on a fly-to-fish trip without any hope of repair. Sand from salt water will jam the Boa system as well.
WbranchMarch 12th, 2015, 9:03 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2506
Let me add a comment to the previous posts. The Godsend product was when reliable, breathable waders became available. I suffered when I wore stockingfoot neoprene or a bootfoot wader made of 1,000 denier impregnated nylon. Thank Goodness nearly all waders are breathable now. Gore-Tex is much pricier, esp. if it is Simms. But their are other waders of quality for a lot less money.

If you plan to buy waders and boots for all kinds of weather and fresh water, go to the store with what you expect to wear under your waders and boots. Get a good fitting and adjustment in the store before you buy. I normally wear light liner socks under heavy wool socks. That means I would wind up with a size larger than my street shoes. Also, check the width for comfort. Some boots are now sized EEE to accommodate heavy socks. If your feet feel constricted in any way, select another boot. Wearing ill-fitting boots in the cold will send your comfort downhill quickly because of constricted blood circulation.

The boots I have are Simms and Korkers. Studs really work well. Embedded within the newer sticky rubber soles, they provide decent grip on snot rocks and grip muddy banks. They've replaced felt soles, which more and more are being banned in some states because they are difficult to clean out invasive species they transport. My Korkers have interchangeable soles so I can use felt, plain sticky rubber, or studded sticky rubber. They also have the Boa lacing system, which I use for local waters only because I don't want one of those stainless steel wires to break on a fly-to-fish trip without any hope of repair. Sand from salt water will jam the Boa system as well.


Very informative post. All very good data.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Bmark0610March 13th, 2015, 4:29 pm
Taxachusetts / Cape Cod

Posts: 4
I am looking at something like THIS

Any opinions?

Cabela's is opening a store soon in my area and I will most likely get the waders there.
MartinlfMarch 13th, 2015, 4:51 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2919
Cabelas would be a good place to shop to be able to try on a variety of waders. The waders you link to (nice job on the link) would be a fine choice for a first pair. I had those boots years ago, and while they seem OK for the money, and might suit your purposes very well, with the materials they were using when I bought mine, they were not particularly durable. Simms boots will likely last a lot longer, especially if you are going to be fishing a lot. Here's a pair of Simms on sale for under 80 bucks:

link to Simms waders
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
WbranchMarch 13th, 2015, 8:07 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2506
The wading shoes that Louis linked you to are the only wading shoe I have owned for the past twenty years. They are a great wading shoe for the money. I wear waders between 90 & 100 days a season so I put a lot of wear on my wading shoes. I am of the opinion that beyond some extra bells and whistles an $80 pair of wading shoes isn't going to be dramatically different than a $140 pair in regard to the most important components; the sole material and the uppers. I make it a point to never spend more than $100 for my wading shoes.

I've had five pairs of the Freestone wading shoes. I still have four of those pairs. As I've gotten older two annoying physical changes are occurring; I've lost almost 2" in height and my feet are getting wider and longer. I started out with a #11 Freestone, then a few years later went to a #12, then about five years after that I went to a #13. They were all felt soles but the old style white felt that wore lousy. Then in 2011 I had a trip to Alaska come up and had to buy a pair of Freestones with the Vibram lug soles and I added $40 worth of the Simms triangle shaped carbide lugs. It is good to note that I kept the #12 so when I wade wet I have a shoe that protects my feet and ankle and fits my feet snugly. I had my wife buy me a brand new closeout #13 Freestone for Christmas with the new woven and double stitched Streamtred soles. I keep two pairs of Freestones at my cabin and the other shoes at home when I fish locally.

I can't say enough good things about the Freestone. But there are surely ten other guys who will say they suck. My newest pair is a EEE width so if you have an narrow foot that may not be a good size for you. I like it so I can wear one pair of poly liner socks over which I wear a pair of 200 weight fleece socks.

On my older pair of #13's (2 yrs old) I went to Home Depot and bought a box of 50 hex head cad plated #10 screws. I laid out a pattern on the sole and heel of both shoes and drilled a 1/16" guide hole twelve places in each boot. Then I insert one screw into each hole until they are just hand tight. I've never had one unscrew and about every three months I replace all 12 of them . a box of 50 screws cost about $6.00 compared to more than $20 for any of the Simms products and going up to $40 for the carbide tips but they should last virtually for the life of the shoe.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
MiltRPowellMarch 13th, 2015, 9:04 pm
Posts: 106 Wbranch, that's to funny, I used to put round furniture protective felts, & a screw threw the middle of felt on my old hip boots. Years ago!!! Those were my beating up the small brook boots in summer. Because as ya stated, some of that stuff ya buy is crazy price wise. Being a carpenter it was all stuff I already had on hand. Falling sucks, slipping at times can be just as bad. Some said, I was being cheap, but later they got screws off me. That slipping thing,got them thinking. I wasn't, they were. Like said years ago. Funny ta look back, your post triggered that laugh. We even made our own tip-ups that fall for ice fishing. Tall ones.
flyfishingthecreekM.R.P.
MartinlfMarch 14th, 2015, 12:38 am
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2919
Matt, I sure like my Freestones. I also have a pair of Riversheds, and had to get a cobbler to restich the sides a while back. The Freestones are still in great shape. I'll probably never buy anything else. I like the Simms star cleats, but like you said, they are pricey. They last a long time, though. That carbide steel is tough, and the textured grit in them grips exceptionally well. But I've done the hardware screw thing with other boots and that works too. You just have to be careful not to get screws that are long enough to work their way through the sole and pierce your waders.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
WbranchMarch 14th, 2015, 1:04 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2506
Louis,

I like the Simms star cleats, but like you said, they are pricey. They last a long time, though. That carbide steel is tough, and the textured grit in them grips exceptionally well. But I've done the hardware screw thing with other boots and that works too. You just have to be careful not to get screws that are long enough to work their way through the sole and pierce your waders


Yep, I bought the star cleats back in 2011 and while I don't wear them as much as the felt soles I still wear them often enough going for steelhead that wear is possible yet so far they are showing virtually no dulling of the sharp carbide grit.

Haha, yes too long screw could "dampen" your day couldn't it? I used to buy longer screws for the heel as it is thicker and shorter ones for the soles but now I just buy 1/2" long for both and they work fine. If anyone tries this first take the time to layout the pattern you want on the soles and the heels with a ruler and a pencil. Place the boots down on a flat surface so you will be able to see where the soles make the most contact with the floor. Then place your pattern there, I think I use six holes for the soles and five for the heels 2/1/2. Then drill your 1/16" pilot holes. I put a piece of masking tape on the drill at a point that will not drill through the felt. It really doesn't matter if you drill through but I'd rather not. Then just use a hex head driver to screw bolts down until the shoulder is just touching the felt or Streamtred. Don't wring them down because if you do you will strip the threads right out and the screw will not stay tight.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
RleePMarch 14th, 2015, 9:19 am
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 382
I'll register a dissent based upon my only experience with the Freestones, but it isn't of much determinative value as it was a long time ago (10-12 years) as well as the only pair of Simms shoes I ever purchased. All the same, halfway through their second season, one of my Freestones separated between the sole and the upper and upon examination of the other one, it was starting to go as well. I ended up finishing the season out with a pair of $40 Redhead (Bass Pro Shop) felt-soled shoes.

But based on what I'm reading here as well as what I heard in general, my less than satisfactory experience with the Freestone shoe was atypical.


FWIW, the best shoes I ever owned were the old Weinbrenners, both the original Borger Boot and their later, lighter version that incorporated some cordura into the uppers, although I had some problems with the latter. Very durable shoes that didn't seem to mind my indifferent maintenance habits. But as I recall, Weinbrenner fled the wading shoe market when the first felt/didymo issues arose.

I've also had good luck with the two pair of mid-range LL Bean shoes I've bought. Finally, I own a pair of the lower end Cabelas shoe mentioned up thread. They are going on their 3rd season and are holding up well for $70 shoes.
FalsiflyMarch 14th, 2015, 10:04 am
Hayward, WI.

Posts: 656
I like the screw idea but I have a question. Do you drill the holes with the boots on or do you take them off first? Also, don't you have to be careful not to drill through the sole? Otherwise they'd leak right?
Falsifly
When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
WbranchMarch 14th, 2015, 10:52 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2506
Do you drill the holes with the boots on or do you take them off first? Also, don't you have to be careful not to drill through the sole? Otherwise they'd leak right?


Well if you are limber enough to drill the holes while wearing the boots them have at it. I lay-out the pattern of holes then get my cordless drill, insert a 1/16" diameter drill, get a little ruler and a piece of masking tape and place the tape on the shank of the drill 1/2" up from the point (of course every wading shoe might have a different thickness sole so the 1/2" is the depth I drill the holes on my Freestones - your depth may be less, or more, if you have another makers wading shoes)

Theoretically it does not matter if you were to drill through the sole and heel because what difference does it make? They are wading shoes. Once you step into the river they are going to fill with water. If anything holes in the sole would assist in water drainage when you get out of the water. My Freestones have two vent holes in the arch area as a design feature. What you do want to be careful of is not buying screws that are longer than the thickness of the sole. Then you would have an uncomfortable problem if the points of the screws protrude through the sole and that would be akin to walking on a bed of nails.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
FlyflingerMarch 15th, 2015, 3:03 pm
Fredericksburg, Virginia

Posts: 30
I like the screw idea but I have a question. Do you drill the holes with the boots on or do you take them off first? Also, don't you have to be careful not to drill through the sole? Otherwise they'd leak right?


??!! I thought I saw a few years ago drilling the soles of one's boots while wearing them featured as a Darwin Award.
WbranchMarch 15th, 2015, 7:30 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2506
I like the screw idea but I have a question. Do you drill the holes with the boots on or do you take them off first? Also, don't you have to be careful not to drill through the sole? Otherwise they'd leak right?


I'm assuming (hoping) Falsifly was kidding about drilling the holes while wearing the boots. But who knows maybe he likes to live on the wild side. I have a picture of my boots somewhere and if I can find it I'll put it up here.

Here is a freshly installed set of six screws in the heel of one of the shoes. The pattern in the sole also has six screws I a similar pattern.

Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Jmd123March 15th, 2015, 9:38 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2381
"Are the ones with the separate boots the way to go?

This way you can either walk in the water with just the boots and a pair of swim trunks or something?"

Yep, Bmark, that's the way to go. When it hits the 80s and 90s F around here I ditch the waders and go wet wading. Swim trunks, neoprene socks/booties, and a good pair of wading shoes/boots sure feels good on those hot, humid summer nights. OK, a bit more of you is exposed to mosquito attack, but I always have a can of repellent on me from May to October anyway. There are many good wading shoes and boots out there, mine are Redingtons with felt soles that were I think about $80 or so. They work good except on slick clay (a hazard especially in the Pine River) and so at times I have thought about cranking some screws/cleats into them. We'll see, if I finally take a swim it will convince me to do so, but haven't yet...

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
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