Photo By: Matt Bornhorst
My old felt-soled wading boots have been thrashed and trashed over the years and I was forced to retire them after many years of service. The uppers were stretched out to the point that when I tightened the laces, the eyelets on the left side and right side of the ankle would touch and the boots wouldn't be tight enough to support my ankle or keep my toes from smashing into the ends of the boots on any downhill terrain.
I knew I wanted a heavy duty boot (I tend to be tougher on my gear than most) and I knew that I wanted a rubber sole instead of felt. With these requirements in mind, I began my quest to find my perfect boot. I checked out the local shops and compared the boots I was considering. I hijacked the checkbook from the wife and ended up getting a solid deal on a pair of the Simms Guide Boots.
In the field: They...are....AWESOME! They are like Cadillac’s compared to the old, tired Yugo’s I was wearing. I got a rare opportunity to fish on a weekday and put a solid 3 miles on the boots over various terrains. I purposely didn't put the studs in the soles to see how well the Vibram soles perform in the water and dry ground. I hit up two separate streams on Wednesday, one having a considerable amount of slickness to it and the other being more pristine. I had a bit of trouble in the slicker stream, but as long as I paid attention to my foot placement, all was well. In the more pristine stream, these things were amazing. I will be putting some studs on them in the near future and that should take care of those slick streams I frequent.
Simms website says that you should order 1 size bigger than what you wear in street shoes, and they couldn't be more right. These boots fit perfectly when I have on a pair of medium-weight wool socks under my waders.
Words of caution: 1) These things are heavy...seriously heavy....but I wanted to heavy duty boot that was going to last me a few years and I think these tanks are more than capable to live up to that challenge. 2) These boots do need some break in time. It was a short, 200 yard walk to the first stream I got into Wednesday, and the stiffness of these boots had me concerned. But by the end of the day, those concerns flew completely out the window. As they break in, you will find yourself re-tying the boots to keep them snug.
Pros: Tank-like build, good ankle support, comfort is just as good out of the water as in it, good sizing, well padded, soft foot bed and excellent ankle support.
Cons: Heavy (tank-like build) and they need to be broken in.