Review: Simms Vapor Wading Boot

There is a considerable amount of diversity in the world of wading boots. Simms alone has 10 different boot models for men, with other manufacturers also offering a mixed bag of options. And, although it might not seem like it at first glance, most of this diversity is meaningful. Rather than these models being differentiated by little more than purposeless bells and whistles or aesthetic differences, most of these boots have substantive differences in design that tailor them best to decidedly different purposes. As a result, most of these boots are tailored best to different anglers as well, dependent on what each angler seeks to accomplish with said boots.

Simms Vapor Boot
The Simms Vapor Boot.

None of this is to suggest that there aren't boots that can do it all. There most certainly are. In fact, most can. But some boots do some things better than others, as a result of how they've been designed. Some boots scream winter steelheading, with roomy foot boxes that will generously accept thick neoprene booties underlaid by a couple pairs of wool hiking socks. Others are built with guides in mind, where the durability demanded by what can sometimes be hundreds of days per year on the water trumps other design concerns such as shedding weight. Still others are built for the flats, where studdability, slip-protection and ankle support take a back seat to things like puncture resistance against shells and other hazards of the salt.

Hike Your Own Hike

When you're two miles in with thirty pounds on your back you realize two things. First, thirty pounds weighs more on the trail than it did in your dining room. Second, two miles on foot has no relationship whatsoever with two miles in any conveyance. You also realize that leaving behind the rod, reel and fly box just to save a pound or two may have been the wrong decision though that's an easy regret to have when faced with a startling green pool in a fast moving mountain river. Such regrets will evaporate twenty miles onward when the ounces crush your arches and leaden the spirit.

Hike Your Own Hike
Photo: Chad Shmukler.

On a recent Friday evening, my son and I camped along the banks of the Housatonic River. The relatively short hike into the Ten Mile River campground allowed us a jump off point for an early start on Saturday. Sam has aspirations to do a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail after high school. He has read alluring tales of the AT penned by AWOL and Bryson and his mind has been captured with the epic adventure of it all. I figured a taste of the reality of an encumbered walk in the woods would provide data for a more informed decision. We planned to go north as far as we could muster. At a minimum we'd get to test out knees and muscles and equipment against a fine summer day or two on the AT.

Buy a Shirt, Help Simms and TRCP Preserve Fish Habitat

Simms Fishing and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) are teaming up in an effort to raise money to fuel efforts to conserve what the two companies call critical fish habitat. For a limited time, Simms will donate a portion of the proceeds from sales one of its best-selling fishing shirts to the TRCP.

The Simms Ebbtide fishing shirt.
The Simms Ebbtide fishing shirt.

Until August 28th, Simms will send a full 50 percent its revenue from sales of its Ebbtide fishing shirts (retail price $59.95) to the TRCP, with that money specifically slated for fish habitat conservation efforts. Regarding the partnership effort, Simms' president K.C. Walsh noted, “Helping conserve critical fishing habitat is something we are very concerned about at SIMMS. TRCP has always been at the forefront of assuring anglers will have great fisheries for generations to come.”