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Fly Fishing Review

Simms "Lightweight Stockingfoot" waders are designed for anglers on the go (continued)

On the Water Performance: Getting into the LWS waders was quick and easy. They felt thin and lightweight and seem to run just a tad large, so that it is effortless to layer up and still slide in and out of the waders. Once I began trekking along the rivers edge I began to really appreciate the LWS's lightweight characteristics. The waders feel like a pair of workout pants, and because there is no thick padding on the lower half of the wader my bum knee was spared aggravation. The waters I fished in during the test were all at a high elevations and while the weather was nice during the day the water was still very cold. The LWS is not as thick as other waders and doesn't trap heat as well. This is great for warm water fishing but up in the mountains I found it necessary to wear thermals underneath. On the plus side mobility in the water was excellent. I was able to move around in every angle without restriction.


Optional gravel guards are a must in rocky streambeds


The two options I selected (upgraded wading belt and gravel guards) both proved to be very valuable. The large wading belt is very comfortable and provides more safety in fast moving deeper water. Trust me I have stepped in holes before and swamped my waders....it is not fun, and nothing ruins a fishing trip faster. A quality wading belt will give those extra few seconds to get out safely. The second option is the gravel guards which velcro in place, then hook onto the laces so they don't creep up. Without the gravel guards I was getting mud and small pebbles in the boots which was not only uncomfortable but could also do damage to the bottoms of the neoprene stockingfoots, which can potentially cause leakage. These optional gravel guards are good, but the system still does not offer as much protection as waders with integrated guards.


While not recommended we deliberately rubbed the waders knees against both hard rocky river bottoms and gravel lined beds. While the waders remained intact and waterproof they can get dirty


Durability & Applications: I subjected the waders to unnecessary wear and tear during our tests by fishing on my knees and deliberately scuffing up the surface of the front. The waders did scratch, and they did get a bit dirty, but remained 100% waterproof through it all. The lower portion of the LWS is reinforced but still remains thin in comparison to the company's higher models. Thus anglers will sacrifice some durability in the major wear and tear areas for the overall lighter weight and more mobility. For this reason the LWS is best suited towards weekend warriors and anglers that travel and put a premium on portability rather. Any angler or guide that goes on more than one trip a month will want to pay a bit more and invest in the thicker layered Classic Guide Stockingfoot model instead.


The Simms Lighfoot Stockingfoots effectively sealed out the cold water allowing waist deep fishing and greater access to hard to fish areas. The result... more fish.


Price & Warranty: The LWS is priced at 199.95 for all sizes up to XL and 229.95 for all sizes up to XXLK. This pricing is very affordable for a Simms product. The non Gore-Tex Freestone waders positioned below the LWS costs 149.95, and the Classic Guide model positioned above the LWS ranges in price from 39.95 to 349.95. For 50 dollars more than the Freestone you are getting superior construction and materials. Given all these factors I feel like the LWS really is the best bang for the buck in the Simms lineup.


Simms offers further peace of mind by including a Lifetime Warranty. If the waders fail due to workmanship or materials the waders will be repaired or replaced. This warranty does not cover damage caused by accidents or natural breakdown of materials, but Simms does offer the first repair free. If during the first year you damage the LWS with a fishhook or a tumble in the pursuit of fish the first patch up will be on Simms.



Simms Lightweight Stockingfoot Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality While not as many layers of Gore-Tex as premium offerings the Simms Lightweight Stockingfoots is built with the same Simms quality. These waders are built as good as they look 9
Performance Performance is top notch and with the exception of long term durability this wader is near as good as the Guide series 9
Price A reasonable price for a Gore-Tex based wader, and a downright great one when you consider the Simms quality and strong warranty 8
Features The LWS doesn't have that many features other than the suspender belt conversion capabilities. We would have loved to see integrated or included gravel guards and a included carry bag 8
Design (Ergonomics) The ergonomics of this wader are very good. While this wader does not offer as much warmth protection as some other waders it is easy to layer up and still slip these on. Due to the lack of padding they are extremely lightweight and offer exceptional mobility 8
Application On the go? Then this wader is for you. The LWS packs small and has what it takes to deal with even saltwater conditions. Recommended for all anglers up the guide level 9

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Simms proven quality L Less durable lower portion than some waders
J Gore-Tex construction L No gravel guards or carry bag included
J Extremely lightweight L Pricier than some competitors
J Excellent mobility  
J Lifetime Warranty  

Conclusion: So who should consider the Simms LWS? Any angler that is looking for a best bang for the buck in the Simms lineup. They are also ideal for anglers that travel and require a portable pair of waders. Weaknesses of the product include less warmth in extremely cold water than a neoprene or more heavily armored pair of waders, and less durability from punctures than higher end products. But if you are looking for the best pair of travel Gore-Tex waders the LWS is hard to beat. I have no trouble recommending these waders to any angler that fishes up to 12 times a year, if you wade-fish more than that, or are a guide, then the extra 150 dollars to step up to the 5 layer Gore-Tex fabric based Guide series will be your best bet. For me the LWS is heaven sent, as the lack of padding on the lower portion provides less pressure on my knees, giving me back the mobility I once had when fishing even in fast moving mountain streams. If you are looking for an excellent pair of Gore-Tex waders under 200 dollars the Simms LightWeight Stockingfoots should be on your short list.










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