Get a grip
It had been a couple seasons since I bought a pair of new wading boots, mainly due to the fact I never seem to wear them out. Yes, buying a pair of quality wade boots is not cheap, but the great part is you have them for awhile, and don't really have to worry about them having failure issues. My go-to boots have been a pair felt soled Simms G3's for a number of years lined with full pack of the Simms Hardbite Studs, the name Spiderman comes to mind when I wear those. The other boots I wear frequently are the Patagonia Tractor Boots, a favorite of mine for the winter months and runoff conditions when I need a super sturdy, super grippy boots. The Patagonia's though are bit much for the low water conditions of summer and take awhile a to dry, but that is my opinion.
With a recent trip to Yellowstone Park where felt sole boots were banned earlier this year, I was due for another pair of non-felt soled boots so I thought I'd give the new Simms G3 Guide Vibrams a try. Now with numerous days, and many hours, spent in the Simms G3 Vibrams from Yellowstone Park rivers, to streams in Wyoming, the St. Joe, and the dreaded Spokane River I have come to love the new Vibram soles on the redesigned G3 Boots.
The ultra popular G3 Boot series was re-designed this season featuring even more durability and improved fit. Compared to my older model G3 Boots (which I had for at least two plus years) the added scratch rubber and improved fit has been extremely comfortable and durable for all day rock hopping, boulder scrambling pursuits. With all the added rubber around the sides, toe box, and achilles, there are no signs of wear and I expect to get many, many hours of hard use out of the boots. With the reduced surface area of leather, I also don't suspect these boots to shrink up over time like the older G3 Boots were prone to do. The Simms G3 Boots provide a lot of support without feeling bulky, or flimsy like others on the market.
While I don't like to risky my life with just straight rubber soles and no studs, I opted for the least aggressive option, the Alumibite Cleats from Simms. The Alumibites give enough traction due to the soft, grippy nature of aluminum while keep noise down to a minimum. I know walking next to Mike when he is wearing traditionally cleated boots, he sounds like a tap dancer, and my boots hardly make a noise even on pavement surfaces. The boots have more ports for other studs like the Vibram Hardbites, which I'm sure will add even more traction, but currently I have been satisfied with the aluminum cleats.
What I also like about the Vibram soles are two additional things. One, is that I do a lot of boulder hopping on dry rocks. Rubber, lug soles always outperform felt on dry land. These are no exception and have been ultra tacky on dry rocks on every river tested. The second is, what Simms calls "proprioception" which allows you, the wader, to feel rocks and the the ground surface texture in the center of the boot. The extra give, or flex, of the rubber in this center sole region of the boot relays from your foot to your brain what you are stepping on, aiding in traction and stability.
Overall I've been extremely satisfied with the Simms G3 Vibram soles combined with Alumibite Cleats. So much that every time Mike and I fish that I keep blabbing to him about how good the boots are. I'm sure he is pretty annoyed with hearing about it, so now he can read about it. :)
Shop G3 Guide Boot - Vibram