The new for 2019 Simms Flyweight Wading Boots are the lightest wading boots Simms has ever made. They’re aimed at fly fishers who like to cover a lot of ground while wading and hiking, but they’re also great for traveling fishers who want to shed weight.
As for me, I prefer lightweight boots with lower ankle heights — I want nimble boots that let me scramble over riprap, big boulders and drop down steep banks. And wade into rivers, of course.
When Simms released its new Flyweight Wading Boots, I promptly nabbed a pair. I wore them in a river on an early season fishing trip complete with fast water, slick rocks, and steep, rocky banks. This is what I learned:
Simms Flyweight Wading Boot Review
I’ve been testing a lot of wading boots the last few years, and I’ve learned that I appreciate lighter, more nimble wading boot designs. Burly boots that will last forever are great for some fishers, but I find that I stumble less when I have a more flexible boot that delivers feedback to my foot. So I’m willing to give up some overall bomb-proof durability in favor of a lighter, more nimble experience.
And that’s why I’m a big fan of the new Simms Flyweight Wading Boots.
The Flyweight weighs in at just 40 ounces for a pair in a size 11. I wear a size 14, which weighs in at just 48 ounces. It’s definitely one of the lightest wading boots available these days.
At the same time, the Flyweight fit and support is fantastic. First, the toe box and width is spot-on. The Flyweights fit perfectly with stockingfoot waders or a neoprene wading sock. The lacing system extends down toward the toe of the boot, which gives you excellent adjustment options.
When you can adjust the fit for your forefoot, you can also improve ankle stability. Some boots pair a sloppy forefoot with overbuilt ankle support, which results in good ankle support. Simms, on the other hand, constructed a boot that fits well throughout your foot, which results in a stable fit.
The relatively low-profile ankle portion of the boot is fairly flexible and lightweight — but I still felt as if I had great ankle support while sliding down loose rocky banks and scrambling over boulders.
I was surprised and impressed.
Protective overlay and toe rand.
Top view, plenty of lace adjustment.
Forefoot flex looks odd but feels great.
After the first test.
Mud and larger rocks don’t get stuck in the tread pattern.
Simms partnered with Vibram to create a lightweight sole with a grippy new tread pattern. The Vibram “IdroGrip” compound sole material has been available for wet wading shoes and boots for a few years, and it’s one of the best materials for grip (aside from felt and studs, of course).
The tread pattern has wide-open, self-cleaning lugs with multi-directional edges for grip. Some of the lugs extend to the outer corners of the sole, but on the whole, the tread design seems downright understated.
I was skeptical at how they might perform in the wild. Here’s what happened though: The tread didn’t seem to catch as much as deeper tread patterns sometimes do when you step on a sharp rock edge and then step off. The flatter overall design seemed to exit sharp riprap riverbank rocks well — less drag, so to speak. Of course, this is a relatively minor point that guys who pick their way along riverbanks with more care probably don’t need to worry about. I’m not that guy. I’m the guy who’s watching the water looking for fish and hatches and not watching where he’s walking.
In the water on slick rocks, I was surprised at how well the soles gripped. Of course, rivers change over time each year, and some drainages are slicker than others, but like I said: I was surprised at how well the rubber soles gripped.
Still, if you need more grip, the rubber soles are stud-compatible.
Simms Flyweight Wading Boot Review: The Uppers
The upper is a modern gray, charcoal and black lightweight synthetic. Simms added a welded TPU film across key abrasion areas. A rubber toe rand adds protection for kicking rocks. The lacing system uses nylon loops to cut down on weight. As I mentioned, the laces extend down nearly to the toe box, which lets you adjust the fit. The laces themselves are even a bit thinner than what I usually see, either to drop weight or improve movement through the nylon eyelets.
The front tongue has a handy finger loop, as does the back of the ankle. As you age — or get tired and sore after a few long days on the water — you’ll appreciate these loops for easy entry.
At first glance, the streamlined designed seems as if it might be stiff because it’s unclear where the typical forefoot bend point might be. Don’t worry about it — you’ll naturally create a crease and the boots aren’t stiff. In use, the Flyweight wears more like a lightweight hiking boot than a typical wading boot.
As for sizing, you’ll want to choose your normal street shoe size — do not size up. A size 12 street shoe is a size 12 Flyweight with room for stocking foot waders.
Simms Flyweight Wading Boot Review: The Verdict
With such a new boot on the market, it’s hard to know how many miles or seasons the Simms Flyweight Wading Boots will deliver, but upon first impressions, they’re damn good wading boots. I am already a big fan. Any concerns? The only possible worry could be that the tread isn’t particularly deep. How might it wear over time? Hard to say, but right out of the gate, it’s fantastic. Overall, the Simms Flyweight Wading Boots are lightweight but sturdy, grippy and nimble. Awesome so far, actually. Very highly recommended.