SAND WALKERS - boot foot wader question... [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: SAND WALKERS - boot foot wader question...

04-15-2006, 09:47 AM
I have a fairly new pair of simms guide waders but am considering investing in another pair of high end goretex BOOT foot this striper season. I have a very good system for sand prevention in the boot but am starting to think that having a pair of stocking waders dedicated to sweetwater would be nice, and so would not putting on gaitors.

However I am concerned that the boots are designed for sweetwater and either have felt or frankenstein feet not suitable for sand walking.

I will walk over 10 miles in a day on hot sand, and when I last shopped around I didn't find anything suitable for death marches on the beach.

Has anything new developed? Are boot foot waders available now that can compare to the beach ninja feet I have over the stocking feet waders?

Thanks in advance for your testimonials and no direct links to non-sponsors please.

04-15-2006, 12:10 PM
I had the lace up orvis bootfoot for four or five years. First pair lasted into the fourth season before they started leaking in the crotch. Orvis replaced with a pair of "value engineered" waders of the same model. Leaked around the boot attachment almost immediately. I asked for my money back or a gift cert and got the gift cert. Threw in another $115 and got the new Tailwaters. After one season I'm impressed. Nice integrated wading shoe and the waders have some features like the beefed up knees and seat and the conversion to waist highs. They look rugged, maybe a bit heavy. We shall see.

04-15-2006, 03:59 PM
I got a pair of Proline waders from Goose Hummock . Cleats not felt. Had to return them after of year because of cracking in the boot. However, got a new pair at no charge. I'm happy with them . They are not at all a high end Boot. One thing to consider, is to have a custom made pair of boots to your inseam when you do find the right boot. Goose Hummock told me that it was their best selling waders, so I took a chance on them and they work for me.

LL Bean West Branch Integrated Boot-Foot Waders, Aqua Stealth sole . Juro I think this would work better. Disclaimer. I do not own these but they will be my next pair of bootfoot waders.
You know how good Bean is on returns. I don't think you could go wrong with these. Hope this helps. FishHawk

04-15-2006, 04:31 PM
Juro.....I know of the desires and problems that you talk about...I'm not sure that there is a perfect solution. But here is my experience and adaptations:
1. Boot foot....can't beat for no sand in the boots and ease of putting them on....but, after 2 years on walking multiple miles of SB per time....the boot cracked repeatedly on the top above the base joints of the toes. I really don't believe that any boot foot will stand up to the constant walking most of us, you really don't get the right foot support which makes one tire easier...I got rid of them;
2. I have avoided the integrated boot/waders because of what has already been reported...leaks where the sock attaches to the boot....I've heard many complaints.
3. Next pair were LLBean West Branch Stocking Foot Waders....loved them and the fit, as well as integrated belt and front pocket......multiple sizes, not just S/M/L/XL as well as multiple foot size options.....2 years ago I paired them with a light weight Patagonia boot, which is incredible and durable....those, I'm totally pleased with and would buy again....light, but great arch and side support and very well padded on the tongue and around the ankle, durable...great boots but pricy but comfy! The waders lasted 2 seasons until I developed frequent leaks in the neoprene sock part....that wasn't due to poor quality, it was due to high mileage ...wear and tear of neoprene rubbing on the inside of the boot when walking long distances frequentlly as you do as well. So...I returned the waders to LL Bean and they gladly gave me a replacement pair for no cost.
Adaptation....What I decided to do was to realize and accept that waders of any brand are not designed to walk 6 to 10 miles per outing and to compensate Ive purchaced a pair of fleece lined neoprene socks to put over my stocking foot to protect it. I got the fleece lined ones for ease of putting them on (neoprene on neoprene is not a good idea....tried various sizes till I could do it without getting a hernia :-) I really think that this last one is the best route to go......of course, I will have to get to the lot 10 earlier to be able to put on my extra sock so as not to miss the shuttle:)
PS: Juro, I inquired about the goretex waders....but LL's waders have a goretex foot...the saleperson said that in no way would that sock, with it's lack of structure, hold up to the type of walking I's that for honesty, given that they were 100 bucks more......that's why I will return!

04-15-2006, 04:47 PM
I had a similar experience to Fred and now wear the same tailwater brand. A few more weeks and we'll see how they hold up to the South Beach death march.

04-15-2006, 06:36 PM
Thanks for the replies, keep them coming!

Tailwater shoes look like a good option... far from the conventional frankenstein boot.

However I am not a big fan of the bib design having owned one and why the stark contrast in color from the wader to the shoe? Not my favorite look on a flat... who cares about people, I mean that's what the fish see.

Fishhawk -

I've never seen a breathable Proline - something new? Last I heard the Goose was flying the coop on flyfishing stuff... any updates? (might save me a drive this spring)

04-15-2006, 10:55 PM
Ron -

Do you find the addition of the lined neoprene sock adds to the heating up of the feet on warm days?

The ultimate feet for warm weather waders is the OS Systems rubber sock. It is sooo comfortable and durable as could be. Unfortunately their waders don't breathe.

Since the feet leak on my oldest goretex I just might try to bond the two together - the OS Systems feet are available separately.

04-16-2006, 06:15 AM
Juro they have them just give them a call . They cater more to the surf fishermen. At least they had them last year. FishHawk

04-16-2006, 07:41 AM
Fishhawk -

I appreciate the reply, however does your lug boot look like this? This is the only photo of the bootfoot I could find. Also found out it's insulated.

04-16-2006, 08:53 AM
Juro.....I'm sure that the extra layer of neoprene will result in hotter feet...but not when in the water. The other option is to reinforce with the tape (patch repair stuff) all the seams on the stocking was the seams that began to part and leak...not the neoprene stocking...if you do this option, I would also reinforce the back of the heal. It's not sand that did in my socks, it was the rubbing of the inside of the shoe on the seams. I also wear a quickdry thin sock which takes away the moisture from the feet. Hot, but dry.
PS: if you find something better, please share!

04-16-2006, 04:14 PM
Dude I told you what to do :)

Get the simms travel waders and a pair of the Bite Primal Flats Shoe. The waders have a fabric bootie so they are not hot and you do not need to upsize the shoe to fit the neoprene booties in them.

The waders fit in a small stuff sack so you can slip them off and do the death march down south beach and then put them back on once you get to the point where you are going to start fishing.

The waders are about $125 and you can pick up the boots for ~$80. Pretty cheap and I really liked how it worked out for me last year.


04-16-2006, 08:25 PM
My stocking foot solution is pretty good already, and I am looking for a boot foot option - but I like the stuff sack idea. How do you dry and clean off to get into them? Bring a towel too? :lildevl:

For stocking foots, my boots are a unique thin neoprene slipover boot with a sneaker sole and tightening straps, they rarely come off my stocking foots except for an occasional cleaning sometimes weeks apart. I call them my ninja boots, hard to find no longer available but the two pairs I have won't last forever.

BUT because I am wearing the simms guide wader the shoes are upsized, so wearing them without the waders is not a good option to your point - the goretex feet would allow me to choose shoes the actual size as you say. It would be nice to have the same size boot with/without.

This is why I am going to contact OS systems to buy their latex "sock" which are the feet for their dry suits and travel wader.

I have tried goretex feet waders before and they leaked really bad in the feet. I trust Simms though and think I will give your approach a try if I can not find a good bootfoot option.

04-16-2006, 08:28 PM
Sean -

I just looked up the waders, the nylon fabric stocking feet sound pretty solid. Not going to give up on the search for the ease of boot foot just yet but if I don't succeed I will definitely go with these - good find!

Greg Pavlov
04-17-2006, 02:35 AM
Thanks for the replies, keep them coming!

However I am not a big fan of the bib design having owned one and why the stark contrast in color from the wader to the shoe?

My guess is its to emphasize that these are more like separate
boots than integrated boot foots.

I bought a pair of these last spring, before hitting the Cape. I
have some arthritis so I have problems if my feet/ankles don't
have good support. These seem to, tho I walk only a fraction
of the distance you do: my longest was on the order of 6 miles
last year.

04-17-2006, 04:00 AM
Juro the boot foot does look like that . The boots are not insulated that much. The search continues. FishHawk:D

04-17-2006, 09:53 AM
I have tried goretex feet waders before and they leaked really bad in the feet. I trust Simms though and think I will give your approach a try if I can not find a good bootfoot option.


I have been casually reading this thread but I figured that I would chime in on your comment regarding goretex feet waders.

I have been wearing my L.L. Bean GQS Gore-Tex waders for 5 years now without a single leak in the feet. I used to hit the Cape more often than I do now and at that time I did embark on frequent death marches down South Beach. I never had a problem with the waders and I still expect to get another few seasons out of them (at least).

Up North I often walk 2 miles oversand down Salisbury Beach. When I do not walk much I am usually "walking" over slippery rocks and cramming my feet (unwillingly) between rocks as I stumble out to breaking pods of bass.

My point: I beat on these waders a lot and they are still in great shape.

Maybe it's not the waders that work well for me. Maybe it is the shoe I wear.

After being inspired by your ninja shoes my brother and I bought the NRS ATB Wetshoe. These are like neoprene workboots with awesome arch support. I never leave the boots on the waders when I take the waders off. The boots have a zipper on the side and they are easy to get on and off. The boots fill with water and I always want to separate boot from wader after a trip so that both the boot and the waders dry out.

And I do not need gaitors with this wader/shoe combo. I have never had a problem with sand in the waders - even after 5 mile walks on the Chatham sands.

Note that I still feel the need to upsize one shoe size with Gore-Tex foot waders. The waders are not comfy without wearing thin socks under the feet. The sock + Gore-Tex bootie warrant an upsize in shoe size for maximum comfort.

We have chatted about this wader shoe combo before but I am documenting my good experiences for others to ponder.

Good luck in your quest,


04-17-2006, 10:35 AM
Thanks to all who have replied!

I am going to check out all of these great suggestions and also try a couple of "out there" things to see how they pan out. I will post results.

It might be that I will stick with the stockingfoot afterall, but with the striper season encroaching...

04-17-2006, 03:11 PM
Juro , I read closely the 06 Simms catalog and there is a Lug sole Gore-Tex Bootfoot wader available. However, it's insulated. Perhaps you could get the boots unlined. I know that Simms will probably honor that request as long as you don't return them . They would probably charge you extra for the non lined boots. Worth a call to Simms. FishHawk.

04-19-2006, 08:06 AM
I am on my third pair of tailwater xt ( first two pairs leaked in the same place.) Very comfortable waders. However, if you can find the silver label lace-up boot foot- that's the one for beach walking. Much lighter than the xt ( and cheaper) Walking the beach and the flats, the ability to bushwack and hold up is not an issue. I had a pair of those waders that lasted for 5 seasons, now I'm on my 4th in the past 4 :confused:

06-30-2006, 03:35 PM
I am now in the market for waders.... mine leak..... grrrrrrr

I read over an old thread and the system that Sean found..
Simms Travel Waders and separate Boots sounded interesting....
Sean also stated that you could put on the waders once you got to your fishing spot... which would make for easier walking but I would worry about getting the waders on once you got to your spot.... Sand etc... Sean how have overcome getting the waders on and not getting sand in them etc... did it work for you...thanks for any advice ?

Any help here on which waders (boot or stocking foot) for walking long distances any of you have found that worked this season ?


06-30-2006, 04:24 PM
As I posted on the Gear Talk I saw an brilliant solution by Wayne from NJ to this problem. He simply made a Velcro strap which he attached to his Simms bootfoot waders. The strap gives him the support he needs which is a problem with bootfoot waders. He showed his idea to the Simms rep. who was very impressed with this idea. Something to think about. FishHawk

06-30-2006, 04:29 PM
I just wish teh bootfoots were more compfortable for all day walking. THe thin I like about the bite sandals is the orthopedic insoles they come with. Very nice.

For the sand changing problem I have a hack solution. I just bring a white kitchen trash bag and stand on it when changing into my waders after a long walk. It compresses to almost nothing and does not add any extra weight to carry around in my pack.


06-30-2006, 05:18 PM
Juro....I have to sing the praises of LLBean......great waders and when they tire...a no hassle exchange.....the rep at Ll did not recommend the gore tex stocking foot for contiinuouis long walking as the rubbing will eventually break apart the seems....however, I have their neoprene feet and where a wool sock over them to prevent wear, esp in the works, it's cheap and you never have to pay for another pair. My 2 pairs of boot foots craked about the joints of the toes after 2 years...I really wouldn't recommend boot foots.

06-30-2006, 07:22 PM
Update -

I have purchased the materials to replace the velcro on the two pairs of ninja boots (with full sneaker soles and no zipper, hightop stretch neoprene etc) to snaps.

I have also ordered a pair of the bite primals to see how they rate (a Father's Day present).

So I will have three pairs of non-zipper fully neoprene sleeved sneaker soled flats shoes and that should give me a lot of mileage for the next few years without any concerns.

BTW - the stretch neo hightops stay on my stockingfoot waders between trips, they fit quite literally like a glove and are virtually the same as bootfoots until I pull them off to use river shoes or cleats.

When they make boot foot for flats guys I will check them out but for now I think I am set for a few years.

Thanks for all the feedback.

07-04-2006, 06:52 AM
I've used Reddington Stocking Foot (like the warranty) with these the Chota Wading shoe. It slips on very easily and has draw shoe laces. It's the most comfortable I've used to date. They also have a pair of sand boots - but I have not personally tried them.

Going on my third year - but I know I don't get the mileage on them that the Ninja does!:hihi:


07-07-2006, 05:56 AM
Bite Primals arrived, very impressive boots.

First impressions...

Immediately the ortho sole Sean talks about strikes me as an advantage. The neoprene gusset rides plenty high to do the job. I like the more neutral color however someone in the design department must have worked for a fashion shoe company, he/she was not a flats angler what with all the nike-like slashes and cuts.

The boot, as light as it is, is notably heavier and bulkier than my discontinued river runner boots (aka 'ninja boots'), which have a stretch neoprene gusset hightop and sneaker soles.

Regular wading shoes, including flats sneaker and marlwalkers, can't handle northeast surf and sand or at least can't keep it out. Yes I own both and tried both. Gaitors help with standard boot designs but I am looking for a boot that does not require emptying during the trip, and barely has any sand at the end of even the sloppiest backside beach day.

Gotta have sole....

The Bite ortho sole does seem like a better distance walking sole although I do several miles with what I got with no problems. I wouldn't mind gellin like magellan with these bite ortho soles though and can't wait to try them.

Diver booties have no sole - with any support to speak of. Both the Bite and ninja boots have full soles, with the edge going to Bite for the more thorough ortho design.

Gusset me...

The bite gusset has a velcro seal up it's length. My experience with velcro says that's a sand liability, however I trust those who say this one wont let me down. Well until I find out otherwise, which I hope I never do. It is a very large pad area of hook and loop.

In comparison, my ninja boots are one-piece and stretch over the wader foot tightly without letting any sand in at all, tested hard for a couple of years now. It's a built-in gaitor of sorts, one-pc stretch over and part of the boot itself as a high-top.

Other designs use a zipper, which inevitably binds with sand granules. Zippers suck.


These run small so two sizes over will not fit the neoprene stocking feet as I had hoped. I will have to decide whether to return them for a size up or pick up some Simms travel waders with the thin foot material.

I would suggest three sizes over. The downside is this means a heavier, bulkier shoe to fit the socks and stockingfeet into - unless you buy a new pair of waders with thin feet which kind of defeats the purpose of stockingfoot waders and the flexibility to wear different show configurations. The frankenstein factor could play into my decision.

Since I have two pairs of ninja boots (one tired, the other new), flats sneakers (several years old and still fine tropical use), patagonia marlwalkers (yah baby great on the marl) which are my primary bonefish shoes, I'm not sure I have a place for these right now but hey it was a father's day gift and you should see how many shoes my wife has ;)

Biggest advantage of the ninja boots over Bite boots...

The stretch neoprene gusset embraces the stockingfeet of my waders and I can slip my feet in and out of the exactly as if they were bootfoot one-pc waders. I do not have to remove my boots from the waders in fact my waders are hung up with them still on from the weekend as we speak.

The bites require removal each time you get in and out of the waders.

Biggest advantage of the bite over the n/b...

The Bite Ortho soles are probably the best walking soles in any wading shoe period, of any type. The stretch cord laces are fast and sand-free where the ninja boots have velcro enclosures over the instep which can open in surf (unless replaced with something else).

Remains to be seen...

If the velcro seal up the gusset does not allow sand penetration on a post-storm incoming on Nauset then I will be duly impressed. Also curious whether the shock cord and plastic keeper clip loosens after a 9 mile day.


I am either going to return them for my natural foot size and use them as northeast wet wading shoes or return them and get the next size up to get the premium soles between my arches and the beach.

I can't see buying another pair of waders to keep what I have in hand at the moment. Although there will be a time when that will be a welcomed option since Simms has a new fabric sock option in their lightweight travel wader.

If you haven't already found a solution to your flats shoe enigma I would say that these Bite Primals could be the best thing to come along. Definitely a step above no pun intended!

07-09-2006, 08:12 AM
Juro, I am into my fourth season iwth a pair of Simms Goretex Bootfoots with the lug soles. Best waders I have ever owned and never a leak.

I think if I tried to walk ten-miles in them, my feet would fall off, though!

Has anyone tried the Chota's with the lace-up integrated boots?