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Simms Men’s Freestone Z Stockingfoot Waders

“Trickle-down technology” comes to the mid-price wader market.
Andrew Steketee author.
Andrew Steketee
March 19, 2024
Simms | Men’s Freestone Z Stockingfoot Waders
product description
“Loaded with smart features and built for years of abuse, breathable, mobility-friendly Freestone Z Stockingfoot waders come equipped with a convenient zippered construction for easy on/off and quick relief when nature comes knocking.” – Simms
company ethos
“Like you, we’ve come to realize that fishing isn’t a pastime. It’s not a hobby. And it’s not a sport. Fishing is our way of life. And we firmly believe we all owe it to ourselves to make as much time as possible to do the things we truly live for. After all, you get one life. #FishItWell.” – Simms

From Simms: “Loaded with smart features and built for years of abuse, breathable, mobility-friendly Freestone Z Stockingfoot waders come equipped with a convenient zippered construction for easy on/off and quick relief when nature comes knocking.

Product features: 1. In front of fleece-lined hand warmer pockets, stretch-woven pockets fit gear that you need to get to quickly, like floatant or tippet. 2. Quick, easy waist-high conversion via stretch-elastic suspenders with opposing male and female buckles. 3. Patented neoprene gravel guards cinch tight over your wading boots, protecting your stocking feet from gravel and debris.”

Product story

For years, Simms has led the wader market with durable, utilitarian and design-friendly waders meant to take the day-in and day-out abuse of long seasons on the water. I can remember back in the mid-90s when every guide at Tim Heng’s Taylor Creek Fly Shop in Basalt, CO was wearing Simms waders, as a core element of the daily guide uniform. Back then, the waders weren’t necessarily rich with features (just front zipper pockets and gravel guards), but the expense of owning a pair of Simms was easily offset by their durability–simple, relatively expensive, but worth it.

The company’s current marketing claims, with respect to waders, hasn’t changed a whole lot in twenty years: the entire product line should provide durable, season-proof reliability, while different models are constructed to provide more feature-rich specificity and enhanced fitting and comfort. In the case of the Freestone Z Stockingfoots: “The intention behind the Freestone Z was to deliver a performance-driven wader with great fit, function and features at an accessible price point.” This current iteration was designed, in many ways, to resemble their “workhorse” wader, the G3 Guide Wader.


Simms likes to call it “trickle-down technology,” but one of the important design considerations of the Freestone Z was to incorporate their “G3 fit block” (clothing design tech speak you’re not supposed to understand) on both the men’s and women’s designs. “This improved fit not only enhances mobility and comfort (by eliminating bunching, creasing and abrasion areas), it also dramatically increases the longevity of the wader itself.” Simms also incorporated their patented front-and-back leg seams from the G3s and G4s into the Freestone collection for the first time.  

Another point of focus was the gravel guard–earlier generations of the wader line utilized a “self-fabric gravel guard,” which was basically a continuation of the wader’s fabric. The new Freestones have a built-in neoprene gravel guard with the stockingfoot wader construction, intended to provide greater comfort and durability. In short, these gravel guards should fit, work and hold up better than the older versions.


We hunted down Jacob Friesen, a great young guide from Idaho, who works for Two Rivers Fishing CO. in Pinedale, WY during the summer to put a beating on the Freestone Zs. After we jammed them in his dory to work out last fall, he said, “I can fish these fifty days in September and October–does that work?” Yup, Jacob, that works.

We had a number of strong (positive) feelings about the Freestone Zs before we handed them over to Jacob: 1. We loved the zipper and zipper handle. 2. We liked the snugness of the gravel guards. 3. Tool caddy loops, ergonomic pockets, vertical pockets were great design decisions. We also had some questions: 1. Would the gravel guards work without a lace hook? 2. The wader upper seemed baggy. 3. How would the zipper hold up? 

Jacob’s takeaways after fifty days on the Henry’s Fork:

  • “Gravel guards work really well, despite no lace hook.”
  • “Kind of wish there was a cinch at the top of the waders–feel baggy when I’m only wearing a single layer.”
  • “Really like the tool caddy loops, especially for boat fishing.” 
  • “The hanger loop is great, so I don’t have to hang them by the suspenders (and stretch them out).”
  • “Zipper handle is ergonomic and smooth.”
  • “Pockets are well-placed and warm. Also convenient for phones and terminal tackle.”

For $479.95, Simms has done a nice job constructing a close-to-premium wader with great features, while also delivering at a modest (in today’s economy) price point.


We loved the “techy” features: smart loops, tool caddies, fly patch, intelligent pockets.

Like all of Simms waders, the uppers and lowers breathe and hold up well (made from durable Toray®).

Zipper is ergonomic and functional.


Red accents are a bit much for aesthetics, but we’re nitpicking.

The bottom fringe seam on one gravel guard started to separate–not the standard Simms construction we’ve come to appreciate. Simms has a great warranty, but still disappointing.

Gravel guard seam separation:


At $479.95 not quite a “bargain,” but in the (new) world of $1,000 waders–a solid value.


Overall, Simms stuck the landing with design and performance.


For the most part, you can rely on Simms waders to deliver, though we had the gravel guard seam separation issue. In these cases, you send them back and let Simms repair the issue, or replace. They’re made in Bozeman, Montana, by great people. All waders are going to leak if you walk them into barbed wire, but Simms tends to deliver reliable durability.

  • Price: $479.95
  • Weight: 50 ounces
  • Construction/Materials: Durable & breathable Toray® QuadraLam™ 4-layer upper & lower
  • Zipper: TIZIP® waterproof center front zipper
  • Gravel Guards: Patented neoprene to cinch over wading boots
  • Warranty information: Simms wader warranty

Simms wader warranty.

“If your SIMMS product fails due to a defect in workmanship or materials, SIMMS will repair or replace your gear and get you back on the water as soon as possible. If your SIMMS product fails due to excessive wear, accidents involving barbed wire or campfires, or the natural breakdown of materials over extended time, SIMMS will make every effort to repair your gear for a reasonable fee.”

Wader Warranty Details

60-days : wader replacement for leaks, “no questions asked.”

365-days : wader issues, “repairs on us.”

Likely buyers

Anglers looking for a breathable, durable and smartly-constructed pair of working waders that won’t break the bank. Think 50-70 days on the water per year, not 200+ as a working guide. We’re not saying they won’t hold up with that many days, but we need to see it.

What others say

“Overall, great waders. Would grab another pair.” – Jacob Friesen, guide


We really like these waders (construction, fit, design) and are buying into the manufacturer’s “trickle-down technology” pitch, but we also have some serious questions about the meltdown of the gravel guard. If you’ve built a long-term reputation on “quality,” “durability” and “made in America,” it’s your job to deliver.

Find the Freestone Z Stockingfoot Waders with our trusted partner:

Simms Men's Freestone Z Stockingfoot waders lifestyle shot man rowing boat
Simms Men's Freestone Z Stockingfoot waders lifestyle shot man zipping up waders
Simms Men's Freestone Z Stockingfoot waders lifestyle shot man stadning in river
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