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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have had a pair of simms freestones for a couple years, and while I like their durability and the studded/ felt sole, they have shrunk so much that I can no longer wear them with my waders. They are great for wet-wading but I need a new pair of wading boots that will NOT shrink. Anyone have any recomendations? I had the same shrinkage issues with a pair of cabelas boots as well. You would think the R&D guys would fix a problem like this, but apparently not so.
 

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I can tell you to stay away from Hodgman’s. I brought one of their “expensive” pairs, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that I got 3 trips out of them before they started coming apart at the seams. I can tell you that Cheech loves the Patagonia boots and he is a big guy that’s hard on equipment. I think they will be my next pair.
 

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I fished with some high end Hodgman's also with the same results.
They lasted 1 season, but were starting to come apart after only a few trips.
I now use a brand called BITE.
I got them at Sportsman's and after 1 year, they are still holding up quite well.
They don't shrink, and the felt is staying on very well.
I would recommend them to anyone.
 

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Grandpa D said:
I fished with some high end Hodgman's also with the same results.
They lasted 1 season, but were starting to come apart after only a few trips.
I now use a brand called BITE.
I got them at Sportsman's and after 1 year, they are still holding up quite well.
They don't shrink, and the felt is staying on very well.
I would recommend them to anyone.
Very nice to know! I don't mind spending a bit more for something that is going to last.

Thanks!
Ben
 

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I picked up a Pair of Hodgman "Lakestream Lite"($59.99) wading boots at SW last week on my way up to Big Cottonwood- I wore them for 3 hours while I fished ( about a dozen- all +/- 10"- all browns...) and the seams blew out...I took them back and they gave me store credit for another pair...I picked out a pair of Proline "Brooks".. for the same price-they looked a bit better made...I'll tell you how they work out... normally I could care less about wading boots, they're just consumable items to me (they all seem to wear out pretty fast) - but I do expect to get more than a few hours out of them...
 

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I have also had a pair of Freestones. I got a size to big when I bought them and I think I am finishing up the 5th year of use and they still fit good and they are still in great shape. I would not hesitate to get them again but would recommend getting one size to big when you do. If I were to go for another brand I would probably go with Orvis, Patagonia, or Dan Baily. They may be consumables as mentioned before but Im on my same pair of simms and some of my buddies have been through 2 or 3 pairs of the cheap ones now. I would recommend going one size big on wading boots anyways because they all seem to shrink unless you go Hodgman because they won't last long enough to shrink.
 

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I have had experience with the following:

Hodgman: two pair, One pair lasted about a year, but by the time that year was up they went from a size 12 to a 10. all in all... they suck.

Cabelas: Lightweight. Terribly constructed boot. The glues they used to put this thing together don't cut it. I took them back for a better pair, and they were WAY too rigid. They never broke in, and then the loops for the laces broke. Took them back for a Cabela's wind stopper fleece which I love.

William Joseph: Haven't put the proper amount of miles on them, but they feel really cheesy on my feet. I have them as a backup and nothing more than that. I have heard reports on them blowing out rather easily. They have a pretty good R&D dept, so hopefully they will fix it for the next go round.

Dan Bailey: These are actually pretty dang good boots. They don't necesarily look like air jordans, but they are very comfortable and durable. I have put a HEAVY beating on them this year and they are not showing any of the common signs of wear.

Patagonia: I have had 2 pair. I had the old beefy wading shoe, and it was the king of comfort, but they didn't last very long. I sent them back to show them what a lot of fishing does to them, and they sent me back their latest pair. These things are rock solid, and they have held their shape and size very well. They are also VERY lightweight and comfortable. They are by far my fave pair of wading boots.

My $.02

i am in NO WAY claiming to be an expert on this subject. I am just an idiot who fishes and is very hard on gear.
 

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Cheech, great field test report.
Have you ever tried the Bite brand boots?
They have been the best pair for me.
Bottom line:
Pay a little more up front and don't buy Hodgman Wading Boots!
 

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I have been using some wading sandals I got at cabella's this year for wet wading that have held up really well. I only wear waders/boots in the spring and fall I would prefer to wet wade with shorts and sandals!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I think I'm going to go with Korkers but I need to order them online (no one seems to keep 14's in stock around here). My simms are still getting me by for now but I have to pre- soak them the night before so they don't kill my feet. As I said before, they are my favorite wet-wading option and all around good, rugged boots for a good price and they totally sold me on the idea of studded soles. I just needed them in a 14 instead of a 13 (my normal shoe size is 12 1/2).
 

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I've had Korkers for about 4 years now and I put a fair amount of wear and tear on them. I've got the older model and they have proved to be a good boot, not sure how the new model will be but aren't new models supposed to be better? I don't use the option of changing soles very often at all. I just put in the felt or felt studded sole (whichever one I last bought) and keep it in there. I hike up and down trails and haven't had any issues. I like to be able to just buy a new insert once it wears out rather than going with a whole new boot.
 

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I agree- Hodgmann ( and some other manufacturers...) makes an inferior product...USUALLY only inexperienced folks, or cheapskates are buying the stuff- and are usually disappointed. But some of the lower end stuff had its uses...I generally wade wet- and for stealth reasons try to stay out of the water anyway- AND I do most of my fishing in streams small enough that I usually wouldn't wade anyway, as well as hiking in to fish where any but the lightest weight gear isn't going to go with me...So I usually buy cheap light boots, for use in the cold times of year when wading wet is impractical and uncomfortable- and save some money for rods, flies, and gas ...the cheap stuff is fine for a NARROW range of uses- but do not fool yourself into thinking that you can treat it the same way as good quality stuff , I always have some Aquaseal, patches, nylon thread and needles with me and sometimes that isn't enough to keep the crappy gear going ( I am thinking of the shrinking and shredding that most of us have experienced...)....anyway I just wanted to clarify my earlier statement- I didn't but Hodgman out of ignorance...Being a snobby and altogether elitist fisherman I do like the good stuff, but I feel I don't usually NEED it...at least not wading boots...though as I age I do seem to like the feeling of wading a little more comfortably so maybe I'll have a look at the Bite and Simms catalogs this winter...
 

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BITE that is the brand of wading sandals and boots that I have, not the most expensive but they work. The sandals have a toe guard I really like and they stay on your feet in the mud unlike the orvis sandals I had before.
 

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Scotty, I'm on my 7th or so year with the old Simms leather Guide boot- studded 5-10 soles. They're not as bad as your's-yet, I think I have some years left in the things.
The wife has the newer Simms Guide. Lighter weight and the studs are screw in. She really likes them. I figure when I get some new ones, that's what I'll go for. Had the Hodgmans- good for float tubing and kickboats but that's all. Have a couple Orvis wading boots. Nothing to write home about though. The Simms have worked great for both of us so I guess in a round about way, that's my recommendation.
 

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Fatbass-Sunset Sports!(...been awhile since I heard that place mentioned...)...Chucks!...Awesome!...In fact that seems like a good idea...maybe Tevas with felt soles...Hmm?...
 

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I have been using the same pair of Gary Borgen boots for 15 years, now the felt is worn down and the studs are almost flat. The upper portion is still great. I would buy some again. I have a pair of Reddington studs very uncomfortable. Does anyone know where I could get the Borgen resoled? Can it even be done?
 

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Fishing31 said:
I have been using the same pair of Gary Borgen boots for 15 years, now the felt is worn down and the studs are almost flat. The upper portion is still great. I would buy some again. I have a pair of Reddington studs very uncomfortable. Does anyone know where I could get the Borgen resoled? Can it even be done?
It can be done , and maybe - depending on the boot, it can be done at home...the fly shops will usually have felt soles ( with or without studs) that can be glued on or stitched..I have never done this , but I bet they guys at the fly shop could tell you what you need to do or have done...good luck !
 

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I have a pair of Orvis's for 4 years now and are still in great shape. With all of the walking and wading I have done, I have been very impressed. I am not that big on the brand name game, but for fishing i think a little money needs to be spent.
 
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