Simms Vapor Wading Boot ReviewApril 30, 2014
- Only boot in the class to under 2 pounds when wet
- One of most slip-resistant boots in the class
- Durable synthetic leather and rubber upper
- Lace hooks are solid and deep for easy tying
- Neoprene padding in the ankle area is too thin
- Doesn't drain well
- Somewhat noisy while walking when wet
Patagonia Ultralight Wading Boots upholds the company’s reputation for quality lightweight gear. It seems everything in the outdoor gear world has become lighter over the years and Patagonia made a special effort to bring that focus to wading boots. The Ultralights are comfortable, functional and, well, light. The Ultralight Wading Boots allow anglers who like to go walkabout to stick with one boot during the day rather than trading their hiking boots for wading boots once they reach their destination.
Simms has introduced new RiverTread and VaporTread outsoles for Spring 2014. The theory behind the new sole to form to the ground and riverbed features the angler is walking on. I’m not sure I can attribute the solid grip of the Vapors to the sole technology, but these boots did not slip as much as two of the others I tested.
The Vapors feature a molded footbed and a heel clip with extra support running in an angle across the top of the ankle. I found that creates a more comfortable fit and less slippage. The EVA foam midsole proved a nice comfortable on long days in the river.
The neoprene and synthetic leather in the Vapor’s upper helps stave off water so The Vapor boots remains light when others would be waterlogged.
The Simms Vapor boots feel like hiking boots designed to go in the water and stay there. They feature support in the right places without the pressure points frequently found in other wading boots.
The Vibram Megagrip outsole works in both the hiking and wading worlds. Expect better-than-average life on these treads.
The not as pricey as Simms’ upper-end boots, The Vapor Wading boot performs as well as its premium cousins. The lightweight, hiking style might reduce the life of the boots, but trekkers will appreciate the fit and performance.
We field tested the boots in a variety of conditions, from the pebbly beaches of Puget Sound while chasing Sea-Run Cutthroats, to the fast waters of the Salmon River in Idaho. We wore each pair of boots for multiple days, and wore mixed pairs on multiple occasions – that is, one model on our left foot, another on our right – to get direct side-by-side comparisons.
Brett Prettyman has been an outdoor writer at the Salt Lake Tribune since 1990 and also freelances for a number of outdoor-related publications. He tests fly fishing boots and waders for the Gear Institute.