In 2018 Simms released their G3 Stockingfoot wader, and 4 years later the Simms G3 Stockingfoot wader is still the best-selling pair of waders on the market. When it comes to waders, boots, and apparel there is no question that Simms has set the standard for other companies to follow. Heck, Simms is (at the time of this posting) the only U.S. company and one out of three companies in the world to have the ability to use and license Gore-Tex materials. Over the years Simms has offered a wide variety of fishing waders and angler-specific gear, however, to this day the Simms G3 Guide Stockingfoot wader might be the most iconic pair of fishing waders of all time. I bet if you were to take a survey down at Decker I'd venture out to say that more than 75% of the individuals own a pair of the Simms G3 Guide Wader. It sounds corny to say but, these waders are like a fine wine that only gets better with age. So naturally, I thought it would be a good idea to do a review of these bad boys and remind you how the Simms G3 Guide Wader changed the game.
Back in 2018, when I heard Simms was making some upgrades to their previous wader models, my initial reaction was somewhere between intrigue and what for? In many ways, a good pair of waders is like a honda accord from the 1990s, buy it once and it will last indefinitely. At times you think to yourself "gee will this thing ever give out so I can get something new?". Regardless, after my initial impressions subdued and I saw their promotional content, I was bought in. Then, coworkers and friends came back from ICAST with resoundingly positive feedback. Mix all of that up and you can say for better or worse I drank the Kool-aid. I fell victim to the buzz and I couldn't wait to get my hands on a pair. A few weeks and a couple of nicely worded emails later a pair of brand new Simms G3 Guide Waders found their way on my desk. Not soon after they found their way on my desk did they find their way into a Rocky Mountain Stream. Over the years these waders have spent time in just about every situation imaginable. From high elevation alpine lakes and small streams in Colorado when bushwhacking is a necessity to brutally windy days in Wyoming where the handwarmer pocket was like a gift from God and how could I forget the times spent sitting on a drift boat in a downpour in Montana where the only thing keeping me dry was the 4 layers of Gore-Tex. It is safe to say me and these waders have been through the wringer and it's a wringer that would have faulted other inferior brands. Quality aside, the aesthetics and performance in the G3 Guide Waders were the two most notable differences for me back in 2018. The differences that these waders brought to the table are now standards in wader construction 4 years later.
But what made these waders so great?
First, let’s get to the aesthetics. Simms has made some major upgrades to their stockingfoot waders back in 2018. Of those, the biggest changes were mainly in the realm of breathability, puncture resistance, and weight. Which, by today's standards are hallmarks of a good or great pair of waders. A new 4-Layer Gore-Tex membrane that is exclusive to Simms. Specifically their proprietary 3 layer GORE-TEX® Pro Shell in upper (to reduce weight) and a 4-layer GORE-TEX® Pro Shell in seat & legs. Patented front & back leg seams deliver articulated fit, improved mobility & increased durability
It is easy to get lost in the exhaustive list of new features the updated G3s brought to the table in 2018 but, here is a rundown of what it all means. The extension of the heavier, 4 Layer Gore-Tex around the backside resembled much of what you find in the G4 models, which means durability and reduced signs of wear over time. In the aesthetics department, you also noticed an overall lighter muted tone in the color of the waders, which too resembled the G4s. If you were unaware, the 4-layer Gore-Tex technology used by Simms is 100% patented and nothing like you'll find anywhere on the market and is reflected across Simms's entire selection of waders. This is a change from the former 5-layer Gore-Tex of the old G3 Stockingfoots, reducing weight and more durability is a hard combo to find but the minds at Simms were able to achieve it. For most, it would seem that losing a layer in the Gore-Tex would have a negative impact on the durability of the wader however, the exact opposite is true. The implementation of the new 4-Layer Gore-Tex has made the G3 Guide Stockingfoot Waders, 190% more breathable, 31% more puncture-resistant, and 30% lighter. In laymen's terms, the decrease in layers of Gore-Tex material provides more bang for the buck. The biggest feature that was implemented was a new zippered chest pocket that is micro-fleeced lined. This improved pocket is better suited for colder days and high alpine lakes. Another key change in the Simms G3 Guide Stockingfoot Wader is the optimized overall fit of the wader. This eliminates some of the baggage throughout the wader, giving an upgraded true-to-size fit. And honestly, this is the first time I've heard my girlfriend tell me "Those waders look good on you."
Simply put, the best features that make Simms what Simms is, remain the same. The upper half of the G3 is still the 3-Layer Gore-Tex Pro Shell they had implemented in the previous model. The opposing suspender buckles also remain the same. Is it just me or do the opposing suspender buckles make life so much easier when wadering up for the day? After all, it is the simple things, right? All the good things Simms has implemented in the lower half of their previous styles remain essentially the same as well. The articulated knees and patented front and back leg seams being the two most important factors when it comes to waders. This means the G3 Guide Stockingfoot Waders will still have all the flexibility and comfort we are all accustomed to when fishing in Simms Waders.
Improvements always sound great on paper, so when looking at the specs of the G3 Guide Stockingfoot Waders, it’s easy to understand why these waders have generated such a buzz throughout the industry for years now. However, how they perform on the water is what really matters. That's the limitless test we give everything in the fly fishing world. As I mentioned before, once I got my hands on a pair it was my goal to put them through the wringer. After spending more hours than id like to admit in these waders, whether I was bushwhacking in attempts to find some Colorado Natives, sitting on a drift boat, standing waist-deep in water hucking streamers all day, or just simply riding in my truck to the next stretch of water, the word "comfort", was my immediate takeaway. On the warmer days, the improved breathability and lighter weight were more than welcome improvements. On the colder days, the G3 Guide Stockingfoot Waders handled the elements with ease. The second biggest takeaway for me was the durability of the new 4-Layer Gore-Tex and the extended section of that Gore-Tex on the lower half of the wader. Colorado fisheries are littered with boulders and gravel trails that we all at some point, fall on, crawl over or slide down. And if you aren't...well you ain't fishing hard enough. While I am not encouraging any of you to just go out and fall down on every rough patch you can find, the new Simms G3 Guide Stockingfoot Waders would be able to if (read: when) you do. In my opinion, having confidence in gear is the most underrated factor in having success on the water. The less you have to worry about while fishing, the better fishing generally is. I hate to be the guy to say it but, some days it is all about mindset. But, back to waders. The 2018 Simms G3 Guide Stockingfoot Wader delivers as advertised and is a wader that I (and thousands of others) have the utmost confidence in when they hit the water, no matter what the day may throw at them.