Rated 1 out of 5 Original flyweights were good. New version is not.
These are not the flyweight waders that Bean sold previously under the same name, (flyweight).
I bought a pair of the original flyweights in 2012. I liked them so much and had such a good experience with them that when they needed to be replaced, I decided to go with the wader of the same name: flyweight. I didn't realize that Bean had changed quite a few things in the new version of the flyweight waders. When I tried the new ones at the store, they were obviously made of a different material. I decided to buy them anyway because I figured LL Bean wouldn't have changed the waders so drastically that I'd have a different experience.
Little did I know that these waders share the same name as my old waders, but not much else.
First, the good: the material is different from the original flyweights, and it's better. It's more breathable, and seems like it would be more durable.
Unfortunately, the good aspects end there. The worst first:
The heels on the new version are much smaller than the previous version -- as a matter of fact, they're too small for safely walking in rocky areas. I rolled my ankle 4 times on the 1/8 mile walk from the parking lot to the fishing area at south trestle on the Salmon River. That was my first trip with these boots, and I was glad that I wasn't injured before I was on notice: that rolling ankle isn't unusual -- the narrow heel makes it happen way too often. ...and I've been walking in streams and wearing waders for over 2 decades now.
Secondly, because of the small heel, there isn't a way to secure my lace-on Korkers -- these Korkers fit fine on the original flyweight boot, (and pretty much any boot, they're genuine Korkers), but they fall off on the new version, and there seems to be no way to secure them; the heel is indented too far versus the back of the boot so that if the Korker slips off the back of the foot section and in to the heel section, the laces are no longer tight enough and the korkers fall off.
The next problem: there isn't a stiff shank in the foot, and in waders this is more than a comfort thing, especially on rocky streams. It's like wading and standing on rocks with sneakers. Easy for a few hours but not comfortable past that.
Next, the cut of the leg is too straight and doesn't leave room for your leg to bend, say getting in and out of a car. Pulling the waders down slightly (stretching the suspenders), doesn't work. The previous flyweights weren't great at this, but this new version doesn't cut it. With the previous version, when I pulled the waders down, it was easy to get in and out of the car. With the new version, it doesn't work as well -- there just isn't enough space in the front leg for a 90 degree bent knee.
The chest pocket is smaller, which isn't a problem but it was already small enough. It should have gotten bigger if anything.
The original version of the flyweights were great for the price. If I had tried this "new" version of the flyweights back in 2012, there's no way I would have purchased these. They just aren't up to snuff -- it seems like the new version was designed by a person who has never used waders. Actually that seems like the only possible explanation for these dis-improvements to what was a solid product.
I am in the process of finding a different wader, and this experience has been educational. After years of wearing waders, I thought I knew about waders; but after wearing these below par flyweights, now I know how important each of these elements really is for an adequate wader.
October 10, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5áby Putailgater Waders
Waders were great, stayed dry the entire two days I was fly fishing for King Salmon. They fit me just fine, very light weight, we move around the river all day, never really got out of the water, and I had no issues. I can not wait to go out again. I would man the net for my partner and the freedom of movement was perfect to land all the fish we caught.
October 9, 2014
Rated 4 out of 5
áby SmallBass Flyweight Waders
This is my third pair L.L.Bean breathable waders. I have had much more success with L.L.Bean waders than anyone else's. I like their warranty policy and they stand behind everything they sell. I have only worn these one time so far and they are very light and easy to get on and off. I noticed that this pair has had the boot changed and they seem a little lighter than my other pair. I hope they hold up as well as previous waders. I use these for freshwater fishing on Marylaand's eastern shore.
June 28, 2014
Rated 4 out of 5áby Marmota Liked them but too small
I really liked these waders. They're lightweight, yet seemed very tough. But I had to return them because the boots were too snug for my size 13 feet. If they were available in a 14, I would have simply exchanged them.
May 14, 2014