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Simms Rivershed Wading Boot Review

Simms Rivershed Wading Boot


All synthetic construction
Rubber coated ballistic nylon mesh panels
Full perimeter rubber rand
Fully neoprene lined
Eco-friendly “CleanStream” Design
Dual-density EVA midsole
Asymmetrical molded toe box with rubber cap
Non-corrosive hardware
Pull-on heel loop
Durable nylon laces
Men’s whole sizes 7 – 14 EEE
Sole material: Choice of Vibram StreamTread rubber or synthetic felt
Retail Price: $150 (felt) or $180 (StreamTread)

What’s the Word…?

The Simms Rivershed Wading Boot is among the “next generation” of wading shoes from the world leader in quality wading footwear. New for 2008, The Rivershed boot is designed to withstand the brutally rocky world of cascading rivers, and to comfortably protect your feet in the process of maneuvering around in this ungainly and difficult environment. Unlike most of the other Simms models that employ all-leather, or partial leather uppers, the Rivershed Boot is made entirely of high-tech synthetic materials, allowing for less water absorption, quicker drying time, and a little less weight on your feet, which can be a big help if you have some trail walking to do.Simms, as a fly fishing industry leader, has responsibly pioneered “CleanStream” Design into the Rivershed Boot, and their other wading shoe models.“CleanStream” helps prevent the spread of invasive species, such as New Zealand Mud Snails and Didymo Algae, which have the potential to cause severe environmental damage to your favorite river or stream. These boots have minimal places to harbor these pests and are designed to clean-up quickly. Like other sports shoes, construction techniques for wading shoes have entered a modern era with molded high density EVA foam midsoles joining the lower and upper parts together with seamless durability, replacing the more failure prone stitched welts of the past.Even the fit is new, with Simms adapting an asymmetrical front toe box design with a profile that reminds me a little like that of a bulbous Birkenstock. A fully lined Neoprene closed cell foam interior cushions your foot in comfort while absorbing minimal water.

Features, Fit and Function…?

I’ve worn out more pairs of wading shoes than I can remember, and the one thing I can tell you after the thirty five years since buying my first pair, is that the wading boots nowadays are built a lot tougher, overall, than those in the past thanks to modern materials and construction techniques. I’ve worn my Simms Riversheds for about 6 months now, with probably over 40 days in the river, and they’re holding up darn well. When I first tried on the Riversheds, I was somewhat surprised by the relatively comfortable fit right out of the box, particularly for a robust all-synthetic boot. Full grain leather is usually the top choice for boots, as it not only wears extremely well, it’s also more supple, with a tendency to conform to the foot more readily. However, due to the accurate profile of the Rivershed’s synthetic exterior and the cushioning of the fully lined neoprene interior, along with a locking lacing system, the Rivershed Boots felt very good. I have a very narrow foot, which usually doesn’t match well with most wading shoes. Simms, and others, are usually around EEE width to accommodate a standard foot, a medium pair of socks and the neoprene bootie of a stocking foot wader. I get a much better fit,personally, by inserting a pair of Green Superfeet insoles inside the boots to take up additional volume, and I’d suggest others with narrow feet try additional insoles, as well.

I fish primarily in Northern California,which has some of the toughest wading conditions found in the country,so my shoes usually get a pretty good workout. I found the Riversheds protected my feet, and particularly my toes, extremely well from rock impact. Basically, the only materials that are subject to abrasion on the lower perimeter of the boot are thick rubber end caps and a bombproof, thick rubber rand which encapsulate the shoe, essentially, in a protective sheath. This stuff turned away rock cuts with ease. The only exposed stitching on this boot are the few seams along the lacing system and the upper ankle area. Durable nylon laces angle lock for secure adjustments from the quality, non-corrosive hardware. The Simms
Rivershed is available with either a synthetic felt outsole, or the brand new Vibram StreamTread Rubber. The StreamTread offers the greatest sole durability for extended hiking capabilities, but it’s so new, I haven’t been able to try it out yet. So, I opted for the felt soles and then added some optional Simms screw-in HardBite Studs for the ultimate traction combo. The grip of my shoes was superior, even on Pit River rock. I did find that the EVA midsole, while offering better cushioning
and strength than older designs, took away a bit of the tactile feel of the bottom I had enjoyed with thinner, softer midsoles of the past. I also found that while soaking wet Riversheds do weigh less than some of their leather counterpart Simms boot models, I still found myself on extended walks wishing for a few ounces less on my feet. Ah well, the price one
pays for better durability. I really like the beefy toe molded toe and heel caps which have molded protruding lugs, sort of like a tire, which added extra bite when going up or down steep dirt banks.

100% Synthetic leather construction is lightweight and easy to clean Rubber coated ballistic nylon mesh panels Full perimeter rubber rand offers superior durability and ease of cleaning Fully neoprene lined Dual-density EVA midsole Sturdy asymmetrical molded toe box with rubber cap for protection and durability High quality, non-corrosive hardware Pull-on heel loop High quality nylon laces Soles: Felt or Vibram StreamTread Rubber (HardBite Studs can be added to either sole)

Company Profile … Warranty

Here’s what Simms says about their warranty;
“At Simms, we stand behind everything we make. If your Simms product fails due to workmanship or material defect during the life of the product,please return it to us for repair or replacement. This warranty does not cover damages caused by improper care, accidents or the natural breakdown of materials over extended use and time. All defective or damaged products should be returned to Simms for evaluation and will be repaired or replaced at the discretion of Simms Fishing Products.”

Simms was the pioneer in the fly fishing world, creating the first waterproof/ breathable Gore-Tex waders in 1993. Since then, they have successfully grown to become the largest domestic supplier of waders,boots, and fly fishing clothing in the fly fishing industry. Simms is one of only three manufacturers worldwide licensed to make Gore-Tex waders, and the only one that does so in the United States. Simms’ staff is largely comprised of committed anglers and they’re located in the heart of trout country; Bozeman, Montana. In a continuing effort to improve their products, at any given time, Simms has two to three hundred prototypes being tested in the field by professional male and female fishing guides, and other outdoor professionals. I can’t think of many other manufacturers that are that dedicated to getting things right. On this success, so far, I would
guess that Simms will be around to back their warranties for a long time.

Overall Rating – 4 out of 5 Stars

This all synthetic medium weight wading shoe should fit most feet comfortably and will perform well in a variety of wading situations, including the toughest ones. The durable outer materials,molded caps and cushioned lining provide for a rugged boot that offers superior protection and comfort for the foot. The quick drying,CleanStream design cleans up easily while deterring hitchhiking nuisance species.


Sturdy, all-synthetic construction, with full perimeter rubber rand and full neoprene lining, provides durability,comfort,and ease of cleaning to prevent the spread of invasive species.Well designed, asymmetrical rubber-capped toe box is roomy and increases traction while protecting your digits. Available either in plain synthetic felt soles, or durable Vibram StreamTread rubber.


Although lighter than some other wading boot models, I wouldn’t mind if Simms could still shave a few more ounces off the Rivershed without sacrificing durability. But, that’s always the trade-off, isn’t it?

Bottom Line

Although new for ‘08, the Rivershed, with its robust rubber rand and rubber coated ballistic nylon mesh panels,appears to be a boot that’s constructed to withstand a lot of abuse. And so far, so good with my pair. The neoprene lining molds cozily to your feet and the new Simms toe box is awesome. My feet have never felt so comfortable, or as well protected in a wading shoe.

Reviewer. . .

Having been in the fly fishing industry for over 25 years as a professional guide, fly fishing school director, writer,and manufacturers sales representative, I’ve been fortunate to fish with a wide array of equipment from almost all of the top makers.