Andrew Harding Reviews the Simms Flyweight Boots
It doesn’t really matter where I buy a pair of wading boots from, I always hear the subtle murmurs as I walk out the door “here we go, he’ll be back in a month with them completely destroyed”! So it may come as a surprise to find I’ve gone from the revered back country stalwart, the Simms G3 Guide Boot, to a lightweight boot! The new Simms Flyweights. And I could not be happier! As I head towards my mid-forties, the continual uphill grind of fishing the lower North Island is starting to take effect on my body, fuelled by pies and V on a pre-dawn sortie. I need every advantage I can get over the ever-increasing crop of fit, young anglers! Now I must admit, wading boots are required to be dual-purpose for me, I like to travel light, and boot choice must fulfil two roles, a full-on tramping, and a full-on wading boot.
Right away when you put the Flyweights on your feet you’ll notice the weight, or lack thereof, it’s like slipping on a pair of jandals (or thongs to you Aussies, but that word is just weird!). The effort required for each step is just non-existent, it’s a bit like when you’ve been walking for hours on end and you get back to the car and put on a pair of sneakers, it literally feels like you can do ballet on the bonnet! Just soooo good! I could so see myself in these at 3am in Courtenay Place on the dance floor.
Now I have put the Flyweights through their paces over the past few months on all sorts of terrain, day trips and overnighters, and in some of the worst country you can through a boot at, the razor sharp fault-line rocks of Wellington’s riverbeds! These incredibly sharp, million year old rocks, thrust from beneath the earth’s crust, litter our rivers and make short work of any boot, and more commonly boot stitching, something the Flyweights lacks in favour of welded TPU patches on high abrasion areas. The Flyweights are standing up extremely well, no cuts or nicks what-so-ever and the almost “Kevlar-like” material they use seems very durable. I’m very impressed at the grip from the Vibram Idrogrip soles. I’m a steady wader and seldom take a tumble, but even in high-summer algae conditions and a swift crossing, the grip has been sensational, and they seem equally happy traversing a slip face or beech-lined tramping track. I’d go so far as to say they are closest thing I have experienced to the good ‘ol grippy days of felt soles.
The Flyweights are also extremely fast drying and won’t bake to a cardboard-like texture in the summer sun, something I have been guilty of on more than one occasion with my old G3’s, they don’t appear to hold much odour (or water) either being synthetic which is a good thing when your wife has a nose like a bloodhound. The Flyweights did away with the metal lace hole thingees (my technical term) opting for webbing, it works well, the little touches such as this no doubt contributing to their feather weight status. A neoprene gusset makes for lots of comfort and protection to the upper foot, a great thing to have when your fishing mate always eggs you on to play a game of kick-the-pine-cone on the long walk out.
The Flyweight’s offer great ankle support and the sizing seems true to Simms past boots, if a little on the large size, they are a tad generous and allow for a 3mm wading sock, you want them to be snug, but never loose, so it pays to take a wading sock to your retailer to try for yourself. I also tend to use a moulded off-the-shelf foot bed for added comfort in my wading boots. Modern boots are just getting better and better and advancements in adhesives, welding and materials just goes from strength to strength each year. I estimate after about 150-200kms on the boots I am seeing absolutely NO lifting of the sole anywhere and the only casualty is a few missing tread lugs which is to be expected. If there is one criticism it would be the laces are a tad short, but not really a deal breaker on what is otherwise my absolute favourite tramp / wade hybrid boot from the Simms stable in recent years.
Now I haven’t been back into the tackle store, so they must be good.