Flats boots [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Flats boots

01-30-2007, 06:41 PM
Hi all
I need a new pair of flats boots mine are pretty ugly.
I plan on doing a LOT of walking on an up coming trip.
I'm not too up on what is out there, any suggestions? :confused:

01-30-2007, 06:48 PM
Simms. Light and comfy. Mine last about 100 days. Avoid Orvis at all cost, we had several guys with bad foot problems after a week in them last season.

01-30-2007, 08:26 PM
Two summers ago I picked up a pair of Keen river sandals in Montana for river rafting and wet wading. I have been using them ever since in my home waters of the Virgin Islands while wading the flats. They are still in good shape! I have literally abused them in the rough marls on our south shore while wading for permit. When, that is if, I wear them out I will definitly purchase another pair. Plus...I can wear them all the time, even travel in them, so I don't have to pack them. With the travel problems nowadays that's a big plus while island hopping!

01-30-2007, 08:36 PM
I agree with Bob, go with the Simms. Unbelievably comfortable, no problems what-so-ever. I'm too much of a wuss to wear sandals on the flats.

01-30-2007, 10:03 PM
Try the Simms first, before buying. They were very uncomfortable on me. I got a much better fit with the Patagonia Marlwalker IIs. Much more comfortable. And they look to be as rugged as the Simms. Also, although I haven't had a pair on, the new ones from Bite Primal Flats Wading boots look incredible. But, at all costs, try before buying. You'll spend a lot of time in them.

01-30-2007, 10:40 PM
I own the simms, patagonia and bite shoes. Here's what I have experienced...

The Simms are sturdy and well designed for people with narrow feet. I would not recommend them for people with wide feet. Also they must be purchased a couple of sizes over - at least 1.5 over your normal shoe size if you are going to wear socks to protect your skin from chafing in marl dust. try before you buy for size but otherwise a very good shoe.

The patagonias are very comfortable for people with wide feet and IMHO the best of the bunch. Some cracking around the radius of the ball of the foot may occur but this is mostly cosmetic and can be repaired. I haven't bothered to fix mine as it's cosmetic. The first day before these relief cracks occur might be a little uncomfortable right there while there is still rigidity. Everything else is amazing and I've walked several miles in them without any discomfort.

I haven't given the bites a fair road test yet. Several members have them and swear by them in northern beach situations where the granularity of the sand is much larger than the tropics sand and marl. However they do have some velcro which is not used in the other two and it's performance may be compromised by the typical sludge-like consistency of the tropical marl.

If you have a wider foot go with the Patagonia. Narrower foot go consider the Simmsas well. I will defer to others on the bite primals for bonefishing. Mine will be used on striper beaches in the future.

01-30-2007, 11:50 PM

Did the "I've walked several miles in them without any discomfort" have anything to do with "adventures with a bass boat in the carribean"?

01-31-2007, 12:56 AM
Hi Joe
I have used Orvis, Simms and Patagonia.
The Orvis I have had have been the old style neopreen booties with a zip up side.
They are Ok on flat sand and do not let any sand in . On Hard coral they are useless as they have no ankle support and can get ripped up by sharp coral. They also have a very flat foot bed and after a long day on the flats you can get back ache. I threw mine away after a one weeks trip.
Having said that I also have a pair of Orvis Christmas Island booties that are great to carry along when fishing from a skiff. They can be easily slipped on for a short walk on the flats. For a longer stint they would be uncomfortable.

The Simms boots are very well made, give good ankle support and are very rugged. They are good in all situations. They have one drawback in as much as they fill up with sand when fishing on softer sandy bottoms or on the edges of beaches where there are small waves.

Patagonia Marlwalkers are my favourites as they are very well made like the Simms but do not let in as much sand.

One thing that is very important when wearing flats boots is Socks. If you do not wear decent socks then the sand in the boots can cause serious blisters on your feet.
You can just wear a pair of thick hicking socks but they may wear out.
I use Simms wading socks which I think are great. Some friends of mine swear by 1000 mile socks.

Another tip: When you eventually buy some boots, they will feel stiff and uncomfortable when you put them on in the dry. Do not make the mistake of trying to wear them in, on land. It doesn't work and you will get blisters. Wet boots are totaly different to dry boots.

I am being long winded here as I have almost ruined a couple of trips by wearing poor footwear which as caused blisters. Blisters on your feet in the salt do not heal and seem to get continuously worse.


01-31-2007, 05:03 AM
Thanks everyone
As usual the experiance on this site is as good as gold to me!
I have a pretty narrow foot so I guess I'll start with the Simm's.
I also see Cabelas has a wading shoe that seems to be a knock off of either the Simm's or Marlwalker does anyone have any experiance with them?
Looks like I'll have something to do this weekend!

01-31-2007, 07:38 AM
The simms and the patagonia are both excellent boots. As Petevicar said, sand in the boots can be a problem. As for socks, I use a neoprene surfing sock inside my flats boots. It's fairly thin neoprene, and has a velcro strap across the top so you can close it up tp prevent sand from infiltrating your boot. Works very well and eliminates most of the sand--you will still get some, but I have not had blister in two years when wearing these. Also very comfortable to wear. It is made by H2Odessy. (got it from a surf shop in San Diego)

01-31-2007, 07:40 AM
Pete, the sand in the shoes can be iliminated by using light neoprene socks with a bit of duck tape, or as Terry does, a pair of Cabelas neoprene socks that have a built in gator. I had a tough time a few years ago with sand packing in while fishing the sandy, wavy, lagoon edges on Bikini, to the point I lost my big toe nails!

I also agree the old soft "booty"style that Chota and Orvis produce are the worst, heavy, no support and get shreded on coral and rock.

Last year I was forced to use sandals on a trip as on other guy had forgot all his footwear save a pair of leather shoes! My feet were trashed for weeks...never again.

01-31-2007, 08:37 AM
Hey Bob
wil you be around on Acklins in March?
If so I would be very pleased to meet you.


01-31-2007, 09:15 AM

Did the "I've walked several miles in them without any discomfort" have anything to do with "adventures with a bass boat in the carribean"?

:chuckle: I was nominated for a "McGiver" award after that incident.

On the socks...

I use the expensive reinforced thorlo hiking socks instead. They are durable, formed to the foot and allow the water to squish out unlike neoprenes.

I tried neoprenes and it was like wearing bags on my feet because the water doesn't come out of them where the fabric breathes and allows the water in the shoe to circulate and exit the holes in the boot.

Trevor B
01-31-2007, 09:52 AM
I have purchased a pair of the Bite Primal flats boots for my upcoming trip.
Obviously I have not had the chance to wear them on the flats yet, but they seem to be very well made and are very comfortable, (I wear them every time I take the dogs for a walk just to get used to them) also they seem to be made for a bit wider foot than some. Under jeans or the like they just look like regular boots, a little ugly maybe but you could for sure travel in them if need be.
A week of fishing will tell the whole story I am sure, though I am still unsure what to wear with them, Neoprene boots or just socks?

01-31-2007, 10:39 AM
I use lightweight sock liners and lightweight neoprene socks. On the outside of the boot I use neoprene gaitors with pants tucked in. No sand in shoes.

01-31-2007, 11:08 AM
I have been using white cotton sube socks wiith the Simms Flats Sneakers and have never had a blister. You can roll the socks down over your laces to keep them out of the way and create a gravel gaurd of sorts between your leg and the top of the boots. At the end of the trip I just leave the wet and sandy socks behind.

Just another option...

01-31-2007, 11:23 AM
With the neoprenes, you can poke a couple startegic holes in them for drainage.

01-31-2007, 12:38 PM
Hi Joe
It's interesting to see that this thread has developed from what boots to wear to what socks to wear.
It shows the importance.


01-31-2007, 01:25 PM
Hey Bob
wil you be around on Acklins in March?
If so I would be very pleased to meet you.


I'll be there from this Saturday through April 11. We should get together.

02-01-2007, 12:18 AM

One of our Acklins fishing partners uses the Cabelas flats boots and hasn't seemed to have had any problems. They look alot like the Simms and seem to be well made. I don't know about the sizing - whether they run large, small, wide, narrow, etc.

02-01-2007, 05:47 AM
I have a Cabelas fairly close to me so guess thats were I'll start at least I'll be able to compare sizes and fit with socks on. I've had a couple situations were my feet were not to happy at different times and it's not fun.
What is that old saying? "An army travel's on it's feet" or wait, maybe it's "An Army travels on it's stomach"
I find they both need to be kept comfortable :-)
Great info!

Vince we met at the NJ fly fishing show attended your lecture on SAT. morning and stopped by the booth.
Thanks for your help and insight it looks like our trip to Acklins is coming together.

02-03-2007, 08:31 AM
Primal Bites have been by far the best flats boot I have had after 20+ years looking. I have had a pair for about 1 year, and as a result bought some for my son, brother, and a couple of buddies. They are almost like a running shoe as far as arch and lateral support goes. I have no problem walking long distances in them (which would not happen with the standard Orvis, Shimano, Cabelas, or Simms flats boot.They handle sharp oysters/coral and absolutely will not pull off in muck. They also do well in beach sand.

02-05-2007, 09:22 AM
I've been using the original Marlwalkers for some time now, and think it's an extremely well-designed boot for the conditions. I'm also impressed with how well they're lasting. I wear thin liner socks inside, and haven't had any problems with sand or mud.

02-08-2007, 06:55 PM
I used the Cabellas for a week on realy heavy coral on Farquar in the Seychells for a week last year with no problem, but would strongly advise neoprene socks and gaiters to keep the sand out.

02-09-2007, 10:53 AM
Just to toss another opinion into the mix.
I have been wearing Chota boots on a weekly basis down here in the Bahamas and am very satisfied. Good protection, good support, no problem with sand intrusion, they wear well and are resonably priced.