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.
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 $$.
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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.
Comfort and Fit – Lacking Compared to Others
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.
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 materials||Boots run large|
|Double and triple stitching||Very stiff materials|
|Good protection from rocks||Minimal cushioning|
|Available in sizes 5 to 15||Difficult to put on and take off|
|Metal hardware for lacing||Heavy (4.6 lbs when wet)|
|Boots still look good after 2 dozen trips||Lacing system can be problematic|
|Adequate felt traction|
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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.
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.