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Gear Review: Simms G3 Guide Wading Boots (Pre-2024 Model)


Retail Value: $299.95
SALE PRICE (varies by dealer): $179.95-$239.95
Simms G3 Guide Boot Sale

Initial Thoughts

These boots have a dark, rugged appearance that isn't flashy. In fact, I was initially drawn to a different model of boot based on appearance, but my angling friends recommended I stick with the G3 Guide Boot. I'm very thankful I have the G3's, and I am a firm believer that the current sale price of the G3's is an absolute steal of a deal. The Simms brand has my respect since they have personally shown me great customer service over the years. My first waders were Simms waders that I "adopted" from my dad, and while I didn't start with Simms wading boots, once I bought a pair, I never went back to anything else.


In the fall of 2023, this model of boot appears to be on its way to being discontinued by Simms, as retailers have begun to mark down this boot and provide buyers a great deal at the moment. This model of boot has been current in the Simms line for a few years now, since about 2018.


Physical specifications

Waterproof nubuck leather upper

High abrasion textile with full scratch rubber rand

Molded external TPU heel counter & heel clip

Dual-density midsole for shock absorption

ESS plates for improved cleat retention

See the Simms Cleat Compatibility Chart for specifications about cleats.


Bull trout, Simms fishing wading boots

Sizing

Like any footwear company, the Simms brand has a unique fit. I wear a size 9 tennis shoe in most cases. I've worn size 9 Simms Flats Sneakers when fishing saltwater, and they are a snug fit without wearing waders or thick neoprene wading socks (I wear Simms 2.5mm neoprene wading socks when wet wading). I owned the old version (2014-2017 version) of the Simms G3 Guide boots in a size 9 and I got by, but they were too tight. When I would fish in the winter, my toes would go numb very quickly due to how tight my boots were. Even in the warmer weather, my feet didn't quite fit right in the size 9.

Old model Simms G3 Guide Boot (pre-2017) and current Simms G3 Guide Boot (2023)
PICTURED: 2014-2017 G3 Guide Boot (left), and 2018-2023 G3 Guide Boot (right)

I purchased a size 10 in the current model (2017-2023) of the Simms G3 Guide Boot. For me, they are the perfect size to wear with waders. Were I to wear them wet wading, they might be a little roomy, and I'll probably stick to my old size 9's for wet wading. Just know, if you haven't gotten your foot sizing dialed with Simms footwear yet, you should either try these on before you purchase or consider purchasing a size larger than your traditional shoe size if you're planning to wear with waders.


Traction

The treads and rubber "cleats" on the Vibram soles are aggressive and plentiful on the base of the boot. Naturally, some stream bottoms will be more slick than others; having a good, aggressive tread on the bottom of a boot gives you every chance to not slip and drench yourself unnecessarily. I have found the Vibram soles to have as good of a grip as any rubber sole that I have on worn. The Vibram soles are certainly a better tread than I experienced with Korkers interchangeable rubber soles in the past or the rubber soles that I saw on other inexpensive wading boots (say, Frogg Toggs).


I wear these boots on my hikes in to fishing locations on uneven and varied terrain. I wear them wading freestone streams with large cobble, spring creeks with gravel, and Midwestern streams with silt and mud. The boots' traction has been great on all surfaces, both above and below water.


If you are a full-time wading angler, especially on freestone streams, you may want to considder adding studs to these soles. I have personally never pulled the trigger on studs, especially since I'm often in a raft or boat, but Simms also has studs available that you can add to these boots for additional traction.


Vibram Sole of G3 Guide Wading Boot Fly Fishing
Vibram sole of Simms G3 Guide Boot

Comfort/Support

Wearing waders and wading boots often can take its toll on a person with crappy gear. I remember having wading boots from another company that had such weak ankle support that I was constantly rolling my ankles while fishing and hiking.



I can certainly attest to this, as I've never had any issues with ankle support in my G3's. They are comfortable, supportive, and reliable. There is some padding to help with the comfort, and there is the strength in the ankle design to help keep ankles protected. I've spent long days on the water and never had an issue with a lack of comfort or support around my foot and ankle.


LACing System
Simms Fishing Boot Laces

The lacing system of these boots is even and doesn't leave any gaps. There are three sets of laces that the angler is able to adjust easily each time lacing up, which allows for custom fit and security. This system also provides exceptional ankle support to supplement the material around the ankle of the boot.


There is a nice little metal ring on the top of the boot to keep the ankle guard/gaiter of your waders over your boots and keep gravel out. It is minimally intrusive and certainly is useful.



Durability

I have worked in the retail industry for a decade, and I've worked directly with footwear for a good chunk of that time. I've personally worn multiple brands of wading boots and worked with anglers who have disclosed their footwear preferences as well. I can say that from my conversations with others in the industry, Simms has a generally well-respected boot from a durability standpoint.


In my college years, I fished hard. I went through multiple pairs of boots during a 4-year span before I purchased Simms G3 Wading Boots (2014-2017 model). I continued to fish hard and my old model Simms G3 Wading boots are still functional after 5 years of regular use.



My present-day Simms G3 Guide boots (2017-2023 model) have only been in my possession for about two years, so I can't speak to their longevity beyond that. However, I spend a good amount of time wearing these boots around. Of my roughly 170 days on the water, I would estimate that I wear these boots for 30 of them. During that time, I have not noticed any sign of these boots failing. The only hint of any wear is some tiny scratches in the leather and maybe some minimal, almost imperceptible fraying of some of the threads that hold the boots together. The leather uppers protect your foot and also are a durable, long-lasting material to make your investment worthwhile.


Even the shoelaces have been great, durable, and dependable.


Eric, who lives in Alaska and fishes year round wearing G3 Guide boots, says that the boots "hold up well and grip the bottom well."

Comparison to Other Simms Models

(Source: Simms)


Summary

If you are an angler that wants durability, comfort, and support and are a fan of great deals, make sure to pull the trigger on some Simms G3 Guide Boots before they are gone forever. Yes, the newest Simms wading boot models will probably be great as well; but it will probably take a little more cash to aquire brand new boots than buying good boots like the G3 Guide Boots on a clearance sale.


Simms g3 Guide Boot Wading Fly Fishing


Retail Value: $299.95
SALE PRICE (varies by dealer): $179.95-$239.95



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