I am an angler that constantly struggles with my love/hate relationship with my waders. Don’t get me wrong, I am LOVING them in the middle of Winter, Spring, and Fall when their layers of Gore-Tex are keeping me warm and allowing me to fish when and wherever I want. But man, I am HATING them when its 80 and sunny and I will have nothing to do with them past the middle of June.
In fact, I look forward to wet wading into that cool, crisp and flowing water for the first time every year. It wakes me up, it viscerally connects me to the water and makes me feel at ease and comfortable with the river again. It is almost perfect in every way.
Unfortunately, there has always been this element that hasn’t been quite perfect. This part of the routine that seems compromised. This parlay between total freedom and protection called the “Wading Boot”.
I’ve tried to overcome it in many different ways. I’ve tried Chacos, with and without socks, and learned how devastating a small pebble can be when its stuck under your arch all day. I’ve tried water shoes, hiking boots and even flip flops. They all fail on some level.
In the end, I always return to my oversized, heavy and uncomfortable wading boots. I’ve had pairs that are better than others, but lets be honest. They’ve never been designed for this purpose alone.
Until now | The Simms Intruder
This year, Simms has introduced the Intruder, a product that claims to have been exclusively designed for the “Wet Wader” in all of us.
Bridging the Gap
Functionally, I have been impressed with almost every one of the boot’s unique design features. The built in neoprene cuff works flawlessly. Not too tight and not too loose. I have had zero debris enter my boots. Sizing is spot on with my street shoes and the lacing system is good. They feel light and athletic and the construction is minimalist in nature with no unnecessary materials to absorb and hold water. They have a slim profile and the Vibram sole is grippy, by far the best of any rubber sole I’ve used. It is also available in a hybrid rubber/felt variation.
Most importantly, the comfort level is off the charts for a wading boot. I have seen some reviewers compare them to a light 3/4 top hiking boot. I would take it a step further and compare them to a nice pair of high top sneakers. In fact I’m going to start calling them my “Stream Jordan’s”.
Durability seems adequate and I have not seen any signs of premature wear and tear. Time will tell. I will update this post when the season begins to wind down.
On the slight downside, it took me a minute to figure out the best way to get them off and on. The cuff isn’t the easiest thing to get your foot into while standing on one leg and it definitely requires a tailgate or bumper assist to slip them on. Really, a small price to pay.
Ultimately, I have been profoundly satisfied with these boots. My feet feel good after a long day on the river and I feel somewhat liberated in my pursuit of a perfect wet wading boot.
I recommend them to guides and weekend warriors alike. They are available at simmsfishing.com and retail for 179.95.