Simms Flyweight boots review

Simms Flyweight wading boots: Quick verdict 

Lightweight, comfortable and high quality, these wading boots are going to be your new best friend on the water for everyday fishing trips. While an overnighter in remote conditions may be better suited to a boot with more ankle support, the Flyweights are suitable for 99% of fishing situations and are quick to get on and off and kind to your feet and legs. For clarity, I bought the rubber soled version as felt soles aren’t allowed in some of the areas I fish to avoid the transmission of invasive flora.

Pros: 

  • Quality
  • Comfort, convenience
  • Lightweight and can pass them off as hiking boots for post fishing use!

Cons:

  • Reduced ankle support
  • Sole slippery without the addition of studs/screws
  • Compatible with Simms HardBite studs but not cleats

Simms Flyweight wading boots: full review

Simms Flyweight boots review

Introduction

I’ve been a loyal Simms wading boot user for many years.

In recent times I have always used the G3 Guide series.

I loved the Guide’s for their comfort durability – I have had many 20km plus days of wading and walking in these boots without blisters or soreness.

This year, when my Guide’s showing signs of failing, I replaced them with the newish Simms Flyweight model on the advice of some guide friends who spent months on the water each year.

After two big days of fishing with the Flyweights, I am pleased to report back with a review.

First impressions

From the minute you put them on you realise these are a different proposition to the Guides. They are much lighter (the Guides are 50% heavier at 60oz vs 40oz) and feel like a conventional hiking boot more than a wading boot.

They don’t come up quite as high on the ankle as the Guides and, as a result, are much easier to put on and take off and could easily be worn in a bar in most fishing towns if you forget your normal shoes!


The laces are thinner but feel like they are made from durable synthetic material that won’t rot through frequent immersion in the water.

Putting them on for the first time, I was dying to get out on the river and put them to the test and was already thinking ahead to how these might make those long days of wading on your feet less tiring.

However, it is worth nothing there were a couple of areas in which these boots were found wanting compared to a full wading boot – one of which was easily fixed (grip), whereas the other coupld be considered a disadvantage (ankle support). Read on for more details.

Performance on the water

In the river testing out the Simms Flyweight wading boots and my Simms G4Z waders

Comfort: Five stars

Right from the start, these boots just fit. I went one size higher than my shoe size and the fit is perfect with my Simms G4Z waders. They slip on easily and didn’t rub or cause me any pain. They are appreciably lighter than full wading boots and as a result have a much more nimble feel when you are wearing them. The lacing system is great – eyelets for all but the last two lacing positions where Simms has used the same quick-lace hooks that are on the Guides. It makes it easily to just whip those two lacings off and remove the boot without having to unthread the rest of the laces.

Grip: Three stars

To be fair, I gave these boots their first hitout on a river that’s notorious for having a substrate of shiny boulders about the size of soccer balls. If a boot is lacking in grip, it is going to be found out in this environment. The truth of the matter is I did find the grip to be substandard in that environment and river crossings quite hazardous. Simms say these use the same Vibram sole as the Guides, but I found the FlyWeights to offer substandard grip in comparison. The caveat I’d put on that view is that I have had Simms Hardbite studs in the Guides for so long I can’t clearly recall what they were like without them. Anyway, this problem was easily solved by adding 10 Hardbite studs to each boot with a cordless drill, after which the boots offered excellent grip. I’d recommend that you do this too if you fishing in conditions that feature slippery rocks. Please note – the Flyweights, unlike the Guides, are NOT compatible with Simms’ HardBite cleats, only the HardBite studs. For me this isn’t a problem as I find the cleats damage plastic trim in my car when I am wearing the boots traveling between spots.

Support: Three stars

The Simms Flyweight boots offer more support than a conventional shoe, but less than a full boot like the Guides. We are mainly talking about ankle support here. To my mind, there is enough support in the Flyweights for day trips and areas with phone reception or close to roads.

Where I think the support is not quite enough is for multi-day remote missions with a big pack hiking through rocky terrain or grassy tussocks – these are areas where it is easy to roll an ankle and if you are a long way from civilisation, this can be a major problem (especially if you don’t carry a PLB). For that reason, for that kind of trip I will stick with the Simms Guide boots even though the Flyweights are more comfortable and much lighter.

Simms Flyweight specifications

Weight40oz (1.1kg)
SoleVibram Idrogrip (rubber)
LacingConvention laces with speed lace hooks on the upper two positions
UpperSynthetic, reinforced in high abrasion zones
MidsoleHigh cushion dual-density EVA
OptionsSole reinforced for easy addition of studs (not compatible with cleats)

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Other choices:

Simms G3 Guide

Simms says these are designed to get guides through a 200-day season and from our experience that’s about right. They are comfortable, supportive and really durable, although at 60oz there is a penalty in terms of weight to be paid for that extra durability and functionality. We love our Guides and will use them in conjunction with the Flyweights for trips to really remote regions.

One advantage they have over the FlyWeights, along with ankle support, is you can add the Simms HardBite cleats for maximum grip, whereas with the Flyweights you are restricted to the Hardbite studs. To be honest, I am happy enough with the studs, but older anglers or those unsteady on their feet might want the extra grip the cleats provide. 

The boot features big-time ankle support and an enhanced feel underfoot to help you get to hard-to-reach places. Our RiverTread® build gives you more feeling under your boot, so the unseen becomes easier to navigate without compromising on the overall support or traction of the boot. With proven durability to handle the wear and tear of hiking and wading day in and day out, the G3 Guide Wading Boots gives you confidence to move across rocky river bottoms anywhere in the world.

Simms G4 Pro

Simms top-end wading boot has a few features over and above the Guides – these include threaded holes for screw-in cleats that are simpler to remove than the Hardbite versions and a protective molded toe cap.

We haven’t used the G4 Pros before and aren’t sure that these features are enough to justify the extra cost espeically given the G3 Guides and the Flyweights are such great boots.

However when it comes to waders, we did go the high-end G4 zipper models because we reckon it never pays to skimp on wader quality and we like coffee too much to use unzipper waders!!

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