Expert Review: Simms Freestone Waders

This review is my own honest opinion of the waders, which I bought with my own money in November 2020.

Photo of Curated Expert Rylyn Small in the Simms Freestone Waders.

Photo by Rylyn Small

Published on

About this review This review is my own honest opinion of the waders, which I bought with my own money in November 2020.

My take

The Simms Freestone Waders have comfortability, functionality, and durability, and come with an extensive sizing chart for a perfect fit! These waders are great for anyone looking to purchase an affordable, breathable wader option that is built to last.

Photo of Curated Expert Rylyn Small in the Simms Freestone Waders.

Photo by Rylyn Small

About the waders

  • Model: Simms Freestone Stockingfoot Wader - Mens
  • Size: Medium King
  • Material: Breathable 4-layer Toray waterproof shell
  • Type: Chest Waders
  • Boot Style: Stockingfoot

About me

  • Height: 6’1”
  • Weight: 195 lbs
  • Preferred type of fishing: Fly Fishing and a rainy tournament week for bass fishing
  • Preferred fishing style: Nymphing
  • Experience: 20+ years

Test conditions

  • When I bought this: November 2020
  • Days tested: 145
  • Waters I’ve used it on: Rugged terrain with brush and obstacles to climb over and work in between
  • Boots paired with waders: Simms Freestone Wading Boots, Size 12

How it performs

Durability
5/5
Fit
4/5
Performance
5/5
Quality
5/5
Versatility
4/5

What I was looking for

When on the hunt for waders, I was looking for a pair that could be used in the mild winters and hot summers to fish in the spring-fed streams and rivers of Missouri and Arkansas Ozarks. I was also looking for something affordable, durable, packable, and would handle the rugged riverbank that the Ozarks has to offer.

Why I chose this gear

I chose this gear because it met my criteria of affordability, durability, and packability. For me, these waders are above all other waders in their price classification. I considered buying the Simms Tributary but wanted something a little more durable and more of an articulated fit. I was tired of going through a pair of waders a year and decided it was time to upgrade to a wader brand that was known for its dependability great for the cooler days as much as those warm days.

What I love about it

  • Quality: Sometimes when I purchase something from a company that is “middle of the road” in terms of options, I wonder if I will lose in quality. With Simms' heavy-duty engineered fabric technology, you know that all of their fishing gear is going to be quality, especially in their breathable neoprene stockingfeet models. With these Simms waders, they have the same technology as their “higher-end” options, with a comfortable fit and back leg seams as seen in all of Simms waders which provide natural mobility when wading. Do I lose some features (like storage)? Yes. Does it affect functionality? No. It still has the secure chest pocket and hand warmers that are needed in a pair of breathable waders for those cold fingers. I do not feel that the lack of features drastically affects my experience. I prefer a sling pack for my gear and feel that even though the freestone waders have less storage and pockets, it did not affect their performance on the river. These waders also have the zipper for the Simms tender pocket with tippet spool sleeves right on the inside of the wader behind the handwarmer pocket. Also, the zippered chest pocket provides the space for essential tools and fly boxes on the water and in my case even a firearm. They also have the perfect dedicated fly patch on the front of the wader for drying and for temporary attachment of flies in a convenient location.
  • Versatility: As far as versatility, this wader can be used in large rivers, floating in drift boats, and even in the smaller creek and streams. They are breathable which allows me to stay cool all while keeping warm when needed. I got this wader in the “Freestone Z” which has a zipper. It adds $100 to the cost, which is worth the extra investment for added versatility which made a big difference.
  • Use Case: These waders are used in all types of waters, even saltwater. A lot of saltwater anglers turn to these but suggest spraying them off after each use to prevent salt residue.
  • Materials: The breathable Toray fabric is a great way to stay both cool and warm if needed. It is designed exactly for that.
  • Fit: The fit runs just a tad small. I suggest going a size up or choosing the king option. Make sure to check the sizing chart! These waders are also known for their anatomically correct stocking feet. It is like putting on a shirt and your best pair of jeans.
  • Literal Weight: These waders are super lightweight. I often have them packed away in my Flycraft for use later down the river.
  • Suspender System: The suspender system of Simms is in its own class and I can attest to this. When walking and wading miles along rivers and streams, I can feel that the suspender and wading belt system is designed to flex when walking, climbing, and hiking providing natural mobility. It is extremely comfortable compared to other non-flexible polyester material wading belts. And the chest waders are specially designed to allow users to turn them into wading pants by using the suspender system like a belt.
  • Wading Belt: The wading belt is made out of a flexible polyester elastic waist belt material, which allows for greater flexibility and mobility. The belt loops are also super durable and wide for various-sized wading belts.
  • Packability: The waders do not come with a storage pack like the other models, but can easily be packed away in a storage compartment or drawstring bag.
  • Durability: Simms’ waders have seams in front rather than the sides (like jeans). This workmanship allows for areas that are more sensitive to wear and tear to not to get much rubbing even when climbing over logs, rocks, or falling down gravel. They are built to handle the elements. The gravel guards with the boot hook on these waders are also designed to fit snugly on boots with the elastic bottom hem to prevent gravel from entering. This saves on the wear and tear of the stockings. To watch out for the stockings, I do not walk across rocky areas without wading boots on as they can puncture through the stockings. These waders are built to last, but I would say that the wading belt may have to be replaced due to fraying and loss of flexibility. It fits great around the waist with plenty of give while in the water or on the trail.
  • Warranty: No issues with the warranty because it’s the best of its kind! After the initial 365-day warranty, Simms will repair defective or leaky waders for a reasonable fee. Simms is a USA company and can get you back on the water quickly with the best wader repairs and replacement on the market. Simms does not cover the natural breakdown of materials over time or excessive wear. Keep these waders away from heat like campfires and in your truck during hot summers.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Sub-Zero Temperatures: These waders are not made for sub-zero fishing temperatures. These are breathable laminate and non-insulated.
  • High Heat and Humidity: Do not use these on the beach in hot weather or places that are hot and humid—you will get hot. Go wet wading instead! Four-layer toray is breathable but there is a limit to breathability.Toray
  • Insulation: The waders are non-insulated, but if anglers are looking for extra insulation, they can easily purchase a pair of thermals like my pair of large fleece Simms base layers! Some people suggest making this model insulated with an in-boot foot. I do not agree because the separate wading boot option provides more stability.
  • Storage: Front pocket, fly patch, and a hand-warming pocket in the front. I wish there was an inside pocket to protect a phone, keys, etc. The pocket on the outside is great but I have almost lost a phone and keys with cold hands trying to unzip the pocket. These waders are also not at packable as the Gore-tex waders by Simms.
  • Additional accessories: There were no additional accessories. It would be nice if it came with a carrying bag and the tippet tender however, it’s not a big issue due to the affordability. At this price point, Simms has to save money somewhere, and I am thankful they didn’t skimp on the durability. I suggest purchasing the Simms Taco Bag to keep the waders in. This allows me to transport them easily and provides a surface to change into and out of them to prevent damage to the stockings due to sharp rocks. You can also purchase the Simms retractor which is great for attaching essential tools to your waders.

Favorite moment with this gear

My favorite moment with these waders was when I took 25+ high students with me to the Missouri Ozarks as part of a conservation class that I teach. These waders kept me comfortable all day from walking miles upon miles up and down the river, checking on students, and providing them with help for anything from netting a fish, to tying on extra tippet. These waders are built to be comfortable and I would not leave without them before heading out on an outdoor fly fishing adventure with my students.

Value for the money vs. other options

This wader is in its own class, and Simms has the best wader guarantee. It is in the middle of the road for affordability and the money I spent on them is worth every bit of the investment. I also looked at the Simms Tributary, but if I were to go back and choose waders again, these would be the ones that I would have picked. Super affordable and have the most durability for a wader under the $400 range.

Final verdict

If anglers are looking for an affordable yet high-quality wader, look no further than the Simms Freestones. They are built for comfortability due to their anatomically correct design and durability due to the Toray breathable outer layer, the unique patented seam design, and the overall rugged proven, and field-tested construction. If their is not a size available for you, get the inseam measurement, waist, and height to check out Simms custom options.

Selling Simms on Curated.com
Simms Men's Freestone Stockingfoot Waders
$299.95
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Written By
Hey There! My name is Rylyn Small. I am a High School Agriculture and FFA/Outdoor Teacher that teaches fly-fishing, angler education, hunter education, veterinary science, agricultural welding, and woodworking. I am also thankful to be the Coach for the EPHS Bass Fishing Team where we compete in the...

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