Lets take a look at flats boots. When I lived in the Northeast, I never bothered to own a pair. Why? I rarely fished flats and when I did, I used my conventional waders. If I got lucky enough to go on a bonefishing trip, I brought along an a old pair of sneakers. But as time when on, I move to Florida and having a pair of flats boots became a necessity.
For a couple of years I used the Orvis Christmas Island Wading Boot. (No longer available. although there are similar products on the market.)) They were light-weight, under a hundred dollars, comfortable, and packed into a suitcase nicely. All good stuff. But there was a downside. I had the largest size, but unfortunately they were still a bit small for my size 13 feet. So I had to struggle to get them on and off. If I were only using them a couple times a year, that would have been fine. But I was using them nearly everyday. And all the tugging and pulling gradually broke the boot down – as you can see in the photo. Using good old “Goop” I patched them many times and got many more days on the water.
Eventually I had to replace them. So I looked around for something that came in larger sizes. That brought me to the Simms Flats Sneaker, which I bought from Bears Den about two months ago. Yes, at 120 smackeroos, they were more expensive. But this time a size 13 fit me great. Easy on, easy off, even with a pair of socks. Note, I could not get them, however, to accept my stocking foot waders.
This boot is heavier than the one above. (The Orvis, with Goop, weighed in at 2lbs.5 oz; The Simms weights at 3lbs 7 ounces) and does not pack down as easily. But it is far sturdier, with thicker soles (non-marking), and more support all around. They are also very, very comfortable.
I like the Simms Flat Sneaker, but see one small issue, and one potential issue. Unlike the Orvis boot, the Simms uses laces. I’m not against laces, but I have noted one problem. If you’re standing in shallow water of a foot or so, any fly line lying on the water can droop down and tangle in the laces. That’s a nuisance. An intermediate fly line would make matters worst. Now the potential issue. Note the collar on the boot on the right. The white material is puckering up. Hopefully it will not tear. We’ll see*******. (See important update date for problems with this shoe)