Apr 4, 2014

Simms G4 Boa Boots VS. Simms G3 Guide Boots

“Decisions, decisions…which wading boot should I buy?”

Products: Simms G4 Boa Boots and Simms G3 Guide Boots
So, you’re in the market for a new pair of wading boots. You walk into the Gorge Fly Shop or sit down and log onto the Gorge Fly Shops website (www.gorgeflyshop.com) and you’re either staring at the back wall with all the latest boots on display or you’re looking at multiple pages of wading boot options on your display screen. Either way, if you’re anything like me when my wife sends me to the supermarket for children’s cold medicine and I stand in the isle looking like a deer caught in the headlights, drool dripping out of one side of my mouth, right eye twitching all the while trying to figure out what it is exactly that she wanted. Maybe just maybe this review can help you make a sound decision. In my opinion sometimes we have too many choices. The beautiful thing, in my opinion, is there’s never been a better time to buy top quality wading boots with the latest and greatest in state of the art materials. I had the pleasure of testing out the New Simms G4 Boa Boot and the New Simms G3 Guide Boots…and here is my review…

The New - Award winning Simms G4 Boa Boot is Space Age…Darth Vader would have worn these if he could!

THE G4 BOA BOOT: Description

According to: Simms, in their words: Step into Simms’ G4 Boa® Boot and elevate your fishing experience thanks to an asymmetrical Boa® system that delivers an articulated, secure fit over and across the instep. Underneath the G4 chassis you’ll find an advanced RiverTread™ platform that minimizes rigid materials in exchange for maximized proprioception—your ability to feel and adapt to an ever-changing underfoot environment. In addition, Vibram® Idrogrip outsoles provide great grip across slick underwater obstacles via multi-directional lugs—compatible with all Simms’ AlumiBite™ and HardBite™ cleats and studs. Inside the boot is an environment hardwired for warmth and comfort, featuring a lined neoprene finish, cushioned where you need it most and ultra-smooth for easy on/off performance.


  • Simms NEW RiverTread™ Platform for guide-ready wading performance, support & traction
  • Waterproof PU-coated leather & TPU-coated textile upper for maximum abrasion-resistance & durability
  • Fully-lined with neoprene for wading warmth, cushioning & easy-on/easy-off 
  • Boa® Closure System for easy-on/easy-off & a precision, on-demand fit
  • Also see the G4 Boa® Replacement Kit 
  • MATERIAL TECH: A waterproof PU-coated leather & TPU-coated textile upper with an asymmetrical Boa® Closure System & full neoprene lining; Built on the Simms RiverTread™ Platform with a 4.0mm Vibram® Idrogrip rubber outsole
  • APPROX. PAIR WEIGHT (size 10): 57.6 oz.
  • SIZES: 07-14, whole sizes, EEE width
  • PRICE TAG: $239.95


Of the two boots I tested, I first tried the G4 Boa Boot. I fished them pretty hard for nearly three weeks. This was the first time I had ever tried a Boa style wading boot. I’ve always liked the idea of the Boa system but I’m old school enough to be a bit stubborn and stick with shoe laces. I was excited to try something new. Everything about the G4 Boa Boot screams technology. Space age technology I would say. The Simms G4 Boa Boot has all the latest in materials and features (see features list above).

All I can say about these boots is that, in nearly every area of concern that I would have in a wading boot, it excelled, they were awesome. I had lots of toe room, which helps keep your feet warm, and the NEW RiverTread™ Platform definitely was noticeably more comfortable than any other sole on any other wading boot that I have ever used! They were light while walking and wading, which is important to a man who has had five knee surgeries. I love the little gravel guard clip near the toe which secures your gravel guard around the top of the boot. I love the sole pattern which includes spots for your Alumabite Cleats. It takes the guess work out of where you should put the studs (see photo below with studs). I love the look of the boots. You know that that’s important to the fish…

Your boots will be one of the last things they see as you let em go.

Now, I said nearly every area of concern they excelled. So, what didn’t I like about the Simms G4 Boa Boot you ask. Well, honestly it was the tightening of the Boa System. I struggled with getting the fit I wanted to get. If I started to crank on the Boa gear knob, I couldn’t get the toe area snug before the area above my ankle was too tight and it would cut my circulation off in my feet. When your circulation is impeded your feet will become very cold very quickly while wading. I tried to pull on the Boa cable near the toes and tighten the Boa crank as I pulled on the cable and I still couldn’t get the toe area snug before the area above my ankle was too tight. Trying to pull on the cable as I tightened the Boa crank began to defeat its purpose of being quick and easy and having an on demand fit, to being cumbersome and a pain in the-you- know- what.

Last thing is that you really need to carry a Boa Repair Kit. Unlike traditional shoe string systems, if you snap a string where you can just tie a square not in the shoe string and get back to fishing, with the Boa system, if they break your outta luck. Now the system does have a lifetime warranty and they do stand behind it, but if you’re in the middle of a trip and snap a cable and you’re without the repair kit, well let’s just say you’re not going to be none too happy.


I don’t want to trash the boots because everything else about them was awesome. They didn’t win the 2014 New Product Showcase Award for nothing. I wish they made this boot with a shoe lace system. I’d buy it in a heartbeat! I talked to a few guys who have the G4 Boa boot and they absolutely love them. They love everything about them. My research revealed that if you’re a smaller footed person, say less than a size 12, the Simms G4 Boa Boot in all areas and cases excelled. In other words, the boot fit and performed as they said it would. If you happen to have larger feet, size 12 and above, then you might take a longer, harder look at the New Simms G3 Guide boot instead. Now, I am not a guy with thick ankles. As a matter of fact, for my size, at 6’5”, 250 pounds and a size 14 wading boot, I have pretty skinny ankles.

All in all, I would buy the boot in a New York second, if I could try them on and everything felt good. In other words if you can tighten the Boa System to the point it is comfortable to you and your foot. Be sure when you purchase the Simms G4 Boa Boot that you also buy the G4 Boa Repair Kit and two boxes of Alumabite Cleats, there’s 10 to a pack and you will need two packs to stud both boots (see photo below of my G3 Guide Boots with studs). The Alumabite Cleats are super sticky while wading and I prefer them over the other types of studs, even though they wear out quicker because they’re aluminum and aluminum is softer than the other types. Have you ever seen an aluminum drift boat stuck on a gravel bar? Have you ever tried to pull or push said drift boat from the said gravel bar? Enough said. Now on to the Simms G3 Guide Boot
The New Simms G3 Guide Boot is much lighter than the older discontinued model.


According to: Simms, in their words: Description Central Montana is home to cowboys, roughnecks, and fly fishers, all with three defining traits—spurs, steel toes, and Simms. For those occupying the latter category, Simms’ G3 Guides™ raise the bar with a RiverTread™ platform bolstered by proprioception, which minimizes rigid underfoot materials in order to enhance feel whether on the trail or in the water. The felt G3 combines all day wading comfort with the angler-appreciated underwater traction of a 12mm felt outsole, compatible with all Simms’ AlumiBite™ and HardBite™ cleats and studs. Additional features include TPU molded heel clips that lock in fit, while the neoprene lining stacks cushioning where it counts, keeping feet warm and delivering easy on/off performance.


  • A 12mm felt outsole version of the Guide Boot for a lighter, yet more durable balance of wet trail & all-day wading 
  • Simms NEW RiverTread™ platform for guide-ready wading comfort, support & traction 
  • TPU molded heel clip for positive heel fit & hiking security 
  • Partially-lined with neoprene for wading warmth, cushioning & easy-on/easy-off 
  • MATERIAL TECH: Waterproof Nubuck leather & TPU-coated textile upper, RiverTread™ platform/12mm Felt outsole
  • APPROX. PAIR WEIGHT (size 10): 60.8 oz.
  • SIZES: 07-14, whole sizes, EEE width
  • PRICE TAG: $199.95


I didn’t start out nor did I intend this to be a Dual Boot Review, it’s just how it ended up and I hope that it helps you make the right decision when buying a premium wading boot. Having owned a pair of the old, discontinued G3 Guide Boots and using them for a number of years before retiring them, the first thing I want to say about the NEW SIMMS G3 GUIDE BOOTS is that they are incredibly lighter than the older model. I kid you not, without putting them on a scale and actually weighing them, I’d say they feel at least 25% lighter if not more. Anyone who has owned a pair of the old G3 Guide Boots knows that, although durable, it seemed like they came with ankle weights inside them. They were heavy!

After getting the New Simms G3 Guide Boots all studded up and ready for the testing, I was immediately encouraged by the fit and feel of the boot. As I said earlier, I am a fan of the shoe lace system. To me it just seems easier and dare I say quicker to lace up and go. Just like anything though, laces have their drawbacks. A few being, they get dirty, and they break to name a few. But they also have their pluses, which include a steady snug fit throughout the boot, and if they break, just tie a square knot in them and go about your business.

With the incredible Simms NEW RiverTread™ platform the Simms G3 Guide Boot as well as the G4 Boa Boot both had the most comfortable wading sole I have ever used. I seriously could tell the difference right away while wading. I could feel the sole flex and fit and form around rocks as I would wade. I thought about how an Octopus’s suction cups grab as the slither along the ocean bottom. As I said earlier, I have had five knee surgeries and because of that if I stand too long on anything that is too rigid, my knees begin to scream at me and let me know exactly how they feel.

With the New Simms G3 Guide Boot, I was able to achieve the fit and feel that I look for in a wading boot. A hint for those who may not know this… while lacing up your wading boots using a shoe lace system, cross the laces and pull them snug as you lace up. In other words you should have the left side of the lace in your right hand and your right side of the lace in your left hand. This is way easier, and more efficient in lacing up.

I love the ankle support of both the G4 Boa Boot and the G3 Guide Boot. This is especially beneficial if you have ankle problems and need the extra support. Every feature (listed above) performed as they said it would. To date, these are the most comfortable wading boots I’ve owned. The only difference when I say this between the G4 Boa Boot and the G3 Guide Boot as far as fit goes was the lacing system. The G4 Boa Boot was just as comfortable as the G3 other than the top part of the Boa system being too tight at the top and too loose in the toe area. The comfort of the New Simms G3 Guide Boot is stellar. For a guy like me, they are a perfect match.
My G3 Guide boots ready for the testing…complete with AlumiBite™ studs.


I’ll start with this, either way you choose, you can’t lose. If you want the space age New Simms G4 Boa Boot, try them on before buying them. Get your foot in there and crank down the Boa system and if they feel good, rock ‘em. If they don’t, and they fit you like they fit me, put them back on the display rack and pick up the New Simms G3 Guide Boot and rock them.

I’ll end with this, if you’re shopping online with the Gorge Fly Shop (gorgeflyshop.com) and you can’t just stroll in and try them on, let me say this and hope it helps you make the right decision on which boot you should get. If you’re a size 12 or smaller and want the G4 Boa Boot, go for it. You will probably be happy that you did. If you are a size 12 or larger, go with the New G3 Guide Boot and have peace of mind knowing that you’ve made the right choice. I’ll end with this. The only way you’ll make a bad decision is if you don’t get one or the other. Are they expensive? Yes! Are they worth it? Yes! Are you gonna hide the credit card receipt from your better half? Yes! Okay…I’m just playin now. I’ll stop…

"There will be days when the fishing is better than one's most optimistic forecast, others when it is far worse. Either is gain over just staying home." - Roderick Haig-Brown

By John Garrett – Gorge Fly Shop
March 22, 2014

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

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