Simms Headwaters Pro Wading Boot Review
The Best of Both Worlds
Simms has filled in the gaps with their newest addition to their wading boot collection with the Headwaters Pro Boot. The Headwaters Pro fits between the Simms universal and lightweight Vaportread Boot and the infamous G3 Guide Boot. The Headwaters Pro design features aspects of both of these high end wading boots, making it the most versatile wading boot we’ve seen yet. It has the same scratch rubber surrounding the toe box as the VaporTread that extends above the entire midsole of the boot and into the heel/achilles. This durable material is designed to take a beating from rocks and sticks in the water and on the trail.
For the upper portion of the Headwaters Pro, Simms has utilized the same waterproof nubuck leather as the G3 Guide, which gives it the required rigidity needed for ankle support while wading. The nubuck also gives the boot the same great aesthetic appeal that G3 Guide boot owners love.
When you line these three boots up next to each other you can see how the Headwaters Pro fits well into the Simms boot lineup. The G3 Guide boot is a tall boot best suited for full-time wading where an angler is in and out of the boat, but not hiking long distances. The Vaportread is much better suited for wet wading and hiking along the river over longer distances. The height of the Headwaters Pro sits right in the middle of the two, making it a suitable option for everyday wading, hiking and jumping out of the boat in a hurry with the confidence that your feet are protected.
It’s All About Comfort
A boot can look great on the outside, but the truth of the matter is how it feels on the inside. As fly anglers, we want to be in our boots all day without any discomfort. The interior of this boot features Simms’ angler-appreciate Headwaters platform to maximize underfoot stability. This means they’ve incorporated a dual-density EVA midsole designed to minimize shock. Think about this as cushion for your feet as you stomp around. Simms has also made these boots completely compatible with neoprene booties by lining the interior of the boot with it. This makes getting the boot on and off a breeze and reduces any chance of blisters.
A Sole For Any Occasion
The debate of felt vs. rubber will go on forever. Quite frankly, we’ve heard it all and we realize that each angler has a different preference. Thankfully, Simms is offering stud-compatible soles in both felt and Vibram Idrogrip. The image above indicates the location of the stud plates for each sole.
The Vibram Idrogrip is inspired by free climbers to improve grip in slippery terrain on wet surfaces. This soft, but durable material works well in the water, but also provides maximum traction when you’re hiking into a spot. Below the midsole, Simm’s has placed their ESS plates in the heel and forefoot of the boot for maximum stud retention. The other option is Simm’s 12mm felt outsole. The felt features a retention plate above it to allow anglers to place studs anywhere they please. This full-coverage plate is necessary on the felt and not the Virbram because felt alone does not provide the rigidity needed while wading a river.
There is nothing more annoying than buying a wading boot that is two sizes too big because “they run small”. Simms has taken the lead in accurate boot sizing over the last few years. It has been our experience that more often than not, Simms’s footwear fits true to size. It should be said though that these boots are sized to be worn with neoprene booties. If you plan to wet wade mostly with regular socks on, you may need to go down a size. The Headwaters Pro does not come in half sizes, which so far hasn’t seemed to be an issue with customers here in the shop.
It’s no secret that Simms produces the highest quality waders and boots on the market. Looking at the new Headwaters Pro Boot, it is clear that this boot is no exception. The craftsmanship that has gone into this boot is very apparent making it one of the most comfortable, versatile and durable wading boots to come out in 2017. If you want a boot that will serve you well for several seasons, look no further than the Headwaters Pro Boot.