Reviewing the Simms Freestone Wading Boots

Simms Freestone Wading Boots Review (Worth the Hype?)

Wading rocky rivers and slippery streams on over two dozen trips with the Simms Freestone Wading Boots over the past four years, I believe it’s high time I shared my insights about them. While they may no longer be my first choice for wading adventures, they’ve certainly stood the test of time and terrain.

Testing the Simms Freestone Wading Boots
Testing the Simms Freestone Wading Boots

My Simms Freestone Wading Boots have seen some challenging waters, from long days hiking into the Smoky Mountains to cobble stone streams in my home waters of Michigan. They’re sturdy and durable, but their stiffness and sizing can be a challenge for long treks. While they offer decent protection and grip with their felt soles, there are more comfortable options in the market. If you’re set on the Simms brand, I’d recommend the Simms Flyweight over the Freestones for the same $$.

Guide Pro Tip: Concerned about wading in ultra-slippery rivers? A twisted ankle can quickly ruin a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Discover the boots I swear by and equip yourself with the right gear. Dive into my full review 👉 The Best Wading Boots for the Slippery Rocks

Initial Impressions

The very first pair of Simms wading boots I ever got were the Freestones. I was excited, feeling like I was stepping up in the world of wading gear. However, the sizing was a bit off for me.

Even though I followed Simms’ sizing guide, the boots were too large. The stiff materials, reminiscent of downhill ski boots, were immediately noticeable. On the plus side, the rugged construction seemed promising for durability.

Simms Freestone Wading Boots after 4 years and dozens of trips
Simms Freestone Wading Boots after 4 years and dozens of trips

Comfort and Fit – Lacking Compared to Others

Freestones weight 4.64 lbs
Minimal cushioning
Minimal cushioning

After over two dozen outings, I can say that the Freestones aren’t the most comfortable boots for long fishing trips. Their lack of flexibility and minimal cushioning can make long fishing days feel even longer.

The boots are also on the heavier side, weighing in at 4.6 lbs when wet. Putting them on and taking them off can be a bit of a struggle due to the stiff materials and the speed laces not extending far enough.

Traction and Grip – Adequate

The felt soles provide decent grip, but not any more than other felt boots I’ve tested. While you can add studs to the boots, they aren’t provided, and there are no instructions or provisions for their placement.

Durability – A Strong Point

The Freestones are built tough. The double and triple stitching, combined with the rugged materials, suggest they’ll last a long time. After over two dozen trips, they show very little signs of wear. However, I don’t wear them much anymore, which might be a testament to their lack of comfort rather than their durability.

Versatility of the Freestone’s

The Freestones score a 3 out of 5 in versatility – basically a middle of the road rating. The large sizing might be suitable for colder days, but felt soles can be troublesome in snowy conditions.

Lacing System

Lacing up the Freestones
Lacing up the Freestones
Quick lacing hooks do not extend low enough
Quick lacing hooks do not extend low enough

The lacing system on the Freestones leaves something to be desired. The added eye loops catch on debris and collect mud, making them difficult to loosen. The speed lacing hooks don’t extend far enough down on the boots to be effective.

Simms Freestone Wading Boots: Pros and Cons

Let’s take a quick glance at the pros and cons of the Simms Freestone Wading Boots.

Durable materialsBoots run large
Double and triple stitchingVery stiff materials
Good protection from rocksMinimal cushioning
Available in sizes 5 to 15Difficult to put on and take off
Metal hardware for lacingHeavy (4.6 lbs when wet)
Boots still look good after 2 dozen tripsLacing system can be problematic
Adequate felt traction 

What Other Waders are Saying

On Amazon, the Freestones have a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. Here’s a snapshot of what some reviewers had to say:

Reviewer #1: 5 Stars

This reviewer praised the boots for their durability, even after being run over by a truck. They also appreciated the easy return process when initially receiving the wrong sole type.

Reviewer #2: 5 Stars

For this user, the sizing was perfect, and they found the boots to be the most comfortable they’ve ever owned, even after 9 hours of wear.

Reviewer #3: 4 Stars

This reviewer found the boots protective and non-slip, but felt they looked and felt bulky, comparing them to “Frankenstein boots.”

Reviewer #4: 1 Star

An avid fisherman found the quality of the Freestones lacking, with the felt bottoms starting to separate after extensive use.

Guide’s Choice: If you’re heart is set on the Simms brand, the Freestone wading boots deserve your attention. They’re not only durable but also offer excellent foot protection, ensuring longevity. Wade into the Simms experience and snag your pair on Amazon using this shortcut link 👉 Simms Freestone Wading Boots.

My Recommendation

For the $200 price tag, there are better wading boots I’d recommend. The Simms Flyweight, for instance, offers more comfort at a similar price point. For those on a budget, the Paramount Deep Eddy’s are a solid choice. For a comprehensive comparison of wading boots, check out my full head-to-head comparison. 👉 The Best Wading Boots for the Slipperiest Rivers.

One Last Cast with the Freestone Wading Boots

In wrapping up my experience with the Simms Freestone Wading Boots, it’s evident that while they stand strong in durability and protection, they fall short in comfort and flexibility. Their oversized fit and rigid materials made them less than ideal for extended fishing trips.

For those prioritizing sturdiness and a wide range of sizes, these boots might be a fit. However, for the price point, I believe there are more comfortable and versatile options out there.

Hi David Humphries Owner of Guide Recommended. I love everything to do with fly fishing. Casting, Tying, YouTube, writing about it and even teaching. I’ve got a FREE video workshop teaching how to dry fly fish at this link How to Fly Fish

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