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Started by GROUSEBUGGER, August 14, 2011, 20:44:23 PM
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I need a new pair of wading boots and have liked Simms in the past. All Simms has now are vibram soles. How do they compare to felts. I have read some pro/con and am never sure about proprietary bias. The South Holston and Watauga have a lot of slick shelf rock Thanks.
They will change the way you wade, more cautiously if anything. They do have traction but it is quite different from felt! I've been using L.L. Bean's Aquastealth boots for a decade, my latest boots have studs, and I've grown quite comfortable using them on the Watauga and S. Holston. I also have a pair of Simms with the Vibram soles, I also have the Hard-bite star cleats, although I've not put them on yet. I've waded the TN tailwaters without too much difficulty, I've taken a few spills, but most likely would have had the same number or more with felt.
Vibram is useless without cleats/studs. You will slip and slide on your arse more often than you would like...
Simms is bring back felt on a couple models next year. If you can't wait, there are several companies that still use felt.
I have Simms Freestone wading boots, but imho hard bite star studs are a must. Never waded without the studs, but with the studs on the vibram bottoms, they are about as good as felt bottoms.
Here is a little more that I have noticed regarding the studs. You have 4 options.
Option 1: Use the rubber soles as is, without any studs or cleats.Findings: You'd be just as good wearing an old pair of tennis shoes.
Option 2: Using the Carbide Hardbite Studs.Findings: These actually work pretty well. They work just as good as the cleats, IMO, but they are harder to find since they were really made for felt. Maybe they will bring them back since they are bringing felt back.
Option 3: Alumabite CleatsFindings: I haven't actually used these, but they are designed to let hard rock dig into the softer aluminum and gain traction that way, instead of having the hardness of the carbide dig into the rocks. My guess is that they would wear out much quicker since they are a softer metal, so you would go through them quicker, plus I'm guessing they would not grip on particularly smooth rocks since there is no texture to dig into the cleat.
Option 4: Carbide Hardbit CleatsFindings: I have used these with success and they work as well as the studs, or perhaps a tad better. I actually buy two boxes of cleats and use half of the second box to supplement the number of cleats per boot and the other half of the box for spares. They grip on 90% of the rocks I encounter in WNC and only slip on the very hardest of rocks. Here is the one drawback with the cleats, though.......they are designed to fit into the holes created by the lugs on the rubber sole. I do a lot of hiking and wear the lugs (aka tread) down on the rubber soles in one season. This allows the cleats to "spin around" on the bottom of the sole since is it smooth and there are no lugs to keep the cleat in place. I have had a few slips when I try to get a grip on a rock because the cleat dug in, but it spun around and came loose. The solution would be to have the soles re-treaded, but that seems like a lot of effort cost to do on an annual basis since you can retread the rubber soles by yourself the way you can with felt. I think you need to send the boots off to an authorized repair center.
At this point, I am actually considering using a base of star cleats, and then supplement them with the carbid studs so I can get some extra mileage out of the soles before having to get them retreaded. I still feel more comfortable at the stream (both in and out of the water) and hiking to and from the stream with my rubber soles and studs/cleats than I ever did with felt (even felt w/studs).
I hope this might help, but it was probably confusing, as I tend to ramble sometimes.
No question Simms makes good stuff - my waders wear like iron - but check Chota STL boots for an alternative wading boot. Had really good luck with them, have felt bottoms, and are more comfortable than Simms boots, at least the ones I've tried. Chotas feel more like hiking boots.
I don't fish tail waters very often so cleats are not as attractive to me, plus not as concerned about dragging diddy'mo with me. That being said, I still wash boots felt boots after every wearing. Frankly, although rubber soles are reportedly better than felt to reduce hitch hiking bad bugs, the bugs still can attach to other parts of the boots and be introduced where you don't want them unless you wash the boots after use.
At $125, Chotas ain't cheap, but neither are Simms.
Have had the Simms for a few months and swapped to the vibrams after felt. Will be getting studs for them soon. Have come close to swimming too many times.
Quote from: troutboy_II on August 15, 2011, 11:44:33 AMbut check Chota STL boots for an alternative wading boot. Had really good luck with them, have felt bottoms, and are more comfortable than Simms boots, at least the ones I've tried. Chotas feel more like hiking boots.
At $125, Chotas ain't cheap, but neither are Simms.
but check Chota STL boots for an alternative wading boot. Had really good luck with them, have felt bottoms, and are more comfortable than Simms boots, at least the ones I've tried. Chotas feel more like hiking boots.
I got the Simms vibram sandals, and damn near broke my ankle before installing the carbide studs. I agree with Tranny that the studs (or cleats) are absolutely essential with vibram, at least on the Simms version I've tried.
And Troutboy, I just got another pair of the Chota's for my son for considerably cheaper, as they're being cleared out for the newer model (the way I buy all my gear). SHD