Purchased Date: September 2011
Review Date: April 2013
Price: $180 USD / $210 CAD (before taxes)
Length of Ownership: 18 months
Number of days used (approx): 150+ days
Frequency of Use: Avid Salmon (Chinook/Coho) and Steelheader fishing from September to May and throughout the winter months or roughly 8 months of year.
Care: Simms Rivertek boots and waders rinsed after each fishing day and properly cleaned at end of season prior to storage.
When I was looking at replacing my torn up old wading boots, I thought I would spend the money for a pair of Simms. I saw the Rivertek BOA in the store and decided to give these a try since Simms has a reputation for quality. Also, everyone who I have spoken too also recommended the Simms wading boots based on their experience with the Guide boots.
What attracted me to the Rivertek were a couple of features that I was looking for in a wading boot:
1. Lightweight and comfortable since I do a lot of hiking to get to my steelheading holes.
2. Fast draining and fast drying.
3. Ankle and lateral support for times when wading in rocky and uneven riverbeds.
4. Quick, easy, and simple BOA lacing system.
5. Vibram sole which has a reputation of quality and durability.
1. BOA lacing system: great for adjusting when fingers are cold and wet. Easy on/off even with gloves or mitts.
2. Good ankle and lateral support.
3. Drains reasonable fast.
4. Dries fairly fast as long as the boots are not left in the car overnight when it's below zero degrees.
5. Light weight and very comfortable.
6. Vibram sole gives good traction but only when the ground is dry. Studs/cleats are mandatory when wading in rivers that have have high presence of algae and rocks/boulders. Also, studs are required when fishing during the cold months when there is a presence of ice on the ground and river.
7. The flexibility to vary the stud/cleat pattern and usage with the different types available from Simms.
1. BOA lacing system: not durable and the stainless steel wire needs to be replaced at least once per year. (TIP: carry spares)
2. Trim material near the toe cap is poor quality and cracks which affects the performance of the boot (see pics).
3. Stitching of the trim near toe cap prematurely wears out and is of poor quality and workmanship which severely affects the use of the boot (see pics).
4. Vibram sole is not as durable as what I was expecting and is showing considerable wear after 150+ days of use (see pics). There are signs of separation from the upper boot and the stitching that holds the sole to the boot has been worn through (see pics).
Always carry spare BOA laces and dials with you while on the river. I had a BOA blow-out while steelheading and it was not fun having my day end early and hiking back to the car with one loose boot. I had to wait 2 weeks for my free replacement BOA laces in the middle of peak season so I decided to use zip-ties to secure the boot so I could continue to fish until my replacements arrived.
For Rivertek BOA owners, order a set of replacement laces NOW and carry them with you while fishing. Also, carry several zip-ties in a small thickness since this is what I had to use until my replacement laces arrived from BOA. ALWAYS replace the dials the same time you replace the laces. BUY your replacement laces directly from BOA since they are FREE and have a Lifetime Warranty (link below). Also, I recommend ordering a new set every time you replace the laces/dials on your BOA boots as a backup.
Would I recommend this boot to my friends? NO because most of them are avid steelheaders and they will eventually have the same quality/material issues that I have experienced. However, if you are a casual steelheader and do less than 30 days a year, this boot will serve you well and should give you several years of use and enjoyment.
For a rating and based on my usage and experience, I would have to give the Rivertek-BOA a 2 star from an avid steelheader's point of view because of the poor quality in materials and workmanship as noted above.
However, if I was a casual angler, the rating would most likely be higher because of the occasional use which would have resulted in a longer lasting wading boot and less material/workmanship quality issues.
Now in the early 2013 spring season of steelheading, I will have to use my defective Rivertek BOA boots until I can find a replacement.
[Response from Simms Customer Care Team]
Thanks for the straightforward review. At Simms, we are always looking for ways to improve our products, and hearing from our customers is a great way to find out how we can build better gear. To talk to us or provide more feedback, ring us at 888.585.3570 or email [email protected]
(Posted on 4/10/2013)