Quick-drying and ultralight, the Simms Women’s VaporTread Boot excels at long approach hikes and cold-water angling. The rubber could be stickier for underwater traction.
Fit Surprisingly roomy for a women’s-specific boot, the VaporTread provides more volume than my C-width feet needed. Only when I doubled up my waders’ booties with an additional neoprene sock did I manage to fill the footbox and keep my foot from sliding around inside. Though not wide, both the toe and instep are high, so the excess fabric puckered and gapped when I stepped.
Traction The Vibram IDROGRIP rubber felt secure on dirt trails and gravelly riverbanks, but offered mid-pack grip underwater. I routinely slid off slippery rocks and submerged logs. Surefooted women might find the traction to be sufficient, but others might appreciate the security of a stickier sole.
Support I liked the edge-hold of these boots, which offered enough sensitivity to choose secure footing when contouring across sloping riverbanks. The thin, rather stiff cuff provided good support but created uncomfortable pressure-points on my ankle bones.
Weight This is the VaporTread’s star attraction. The lightest (and fastest-drying) of all the boots tested, it reduced fatigue on long approaches and scrambly hikes. Instead of getting my weighty foot hung up as I clambered over downed trees, I was able to hike with the kind of comfort normally reserved for, well, hiking boots.
Features The gravel-guard hook is conveniently located at the middle of the instep.
Durability A tough layer of rubber wraps all the way around the bottom of the foot, and at the toe, it extends as far as the laces. I’ve muddied these boots, but haven’t succeeded in scuffing them—which is saying a lot for an ultralight boot.
Mountain-dweller Kelly Bastone became a writer so she could stop asking the boss for permission to take a powder morning, enjoy extra-long lunch breaks to fish or mountain bike, and clock out early when the hatch is on.