Question: I recall that you were using a pair of wading boots that had Auqa Stealth soles. Do you still have as high an opinion of them as you did a year ago? Have you had any problem with them? Feel the traction is adequate? David.
Gday David,Yes I really do like the Simms L2 with the aquastealth. But you should know Simms whole boot lineup is being revamped for ’08, we are expecting our first stocks in at the end of March, but more on that in a minute.
I have put some wear on them now, as you can imagine I spent a lot more time on the water than the average fly fisher so they are now losing a little grip on some surface but still wearable.
There has been lots of debate on the Flylife magazine website and I have written a fair bit about Aquastealth for my gear column “Latest and Greatest” so Ive spent a fair amount of time pondering this. To my mind there are a few rules.
Remember no sole is perfect on all surfaces, they all slip on something, whether its felt, AS or studs.What sort of wading do you do most of the time? What is the bottom like? Do you have lots of gravel like a lot of the White, heavy algae, that superslick limestone like at Roundhouse and patches at Wildcat?
The next thing to consider seriously is what sort of wader are you? Do you slip and slide a lot, take a lot of spills, or do you have great natural coordination and feel, lots of lower body strength. For the former categories I’d look for a boot with the widest felt or AS platform and perhaps recommend a wading staff. The latter can get away with almost any boot even rubber and still stay upright. Most of us fall somewhere between the two.
Now personally Aquastealth has equal grip to felt on a lot of gravel, better on grass etc, and pretty decent on most of the White. Its grip doesn’t for far short of felt, for me, but Ive always been fairly clumsy so slipping doesn’t concern me too much! I have good recovery skills hehehe. Then the environmental issue with didymo makes me feel better, even though Im in didymo water all the time. Put it this way Ill be buying AS again.
Finally look for fit. Taking your waders into the store and your normal socks is a great idea. All neoprene feet aren’t equal, so you need to know what you are getting.
Now back to the Simms lineup. The L2 with straight Aquastealth is a great boot (and we have some limited sizes left in stock). But under the new lineup the only Aquastealth without studs will be the totally new Headwaters Boot pictured at left.
The L2 is a great boot but it was built for people with narrow feet. I was one it fitted really well but for a lot of people it wasn’t wide enough. From what we have heard the Headwaters will fit a lot more people.
Its light, easy to clean and will be $10 cheaper than the L2 was with the same sole. Actually I had given Simms a bit of a spray over not offering AS in cheaper boots in the next issue of Flylife, but I do think this is a step in the right direction, to reduce the spread of things like didymo.
The rest of the boot lineup looks good too, even the entry level Freestone now have a modern touch.
Here are the specs on the Headwaters from Simms. I hope this all helps.
Lace up our lightest boots without taking a hit to your budget. The Headwaters carry a featherweight price tag and deliver rugged performance.
- CleanStream™ design utilizes synthetic leather upper for easy cleaning and lightweight comfort
- Schoeller®-dynatec mesh panels with NanoSphere® treatment for easy cleaning
- Fully gusseted neoprene tongue prevents entry of debris
- EVA wedge midsole construction offers super lightweight footbed protection
- Molded rubber toe and heel wraps provide abrasion resistance
- High quality, non-corrosive hardware
- Pull-on heel loop
- Contoured speed lacing system and high quality nylon laces
- AquaStealth® sole features “sticky rubber” for exceptional tracking and durability; these soles are particularly good for backcountry fishing and easy cleaning