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Fly Fishing Review

Go clean with the Simms new StreamTread enabled G4 Guide Boots (continued)

While the StreamTread soles felt very tacky on normal rocks some of that was lost on slick surfaces. While I didnít slip on any slick rocks during testing I found I had to slow down in mossy or weeded areas as I had to think more about my feet placement, and really make sure each foot was properly planted before moving the next with the StreamTread soles. I wanted to make sure I wasnít imagining things so I changed back to my felt soled boots and sure enough there was a perceptible difference, I could feel more grip with the felt. If I had to quantify the difference I would say that the StreamTread soles are not as grippy on slick surfaces and the same if not better on normal rocks and gravel.

On sand and gravel the StreamTread soles offered better "feel" than felt

So how is this grip achieved with rubber? Simms StreamTread makes use of Vibram IdroGrip technology which uses a proprietary rubber formulation in combination with a uniquely designed 360 degree lugs that are designed to grip in all directions on a wide range of surfaces versus conforming to the object like felt. The interesting thing about this design is that while it provides grip it doesnít pick up any bits of sand or rock in between the lugs. We verified this by wading on sandy river banks and pebble lined lakes.

Wading in the Truckee river with the G4 boots

In cases where I had to chase hooked fish downstream I found the G4 boots performed well as long as their wasnít too much vegetation. It is really slimy vegetation that causes issues, because in fast moving water on normal rocks I found the G4 boots were just as good as felt. There are areas where the G4 boots are superior to felt and the major improvement is the ability to keep the boots clean after your done fishing. Unless there is a lot of mud on the bottom of the boots a quick scrub with a kitchen brush and a wipe with a towel is usually enough to ensure the boots are clean and ANS (Aquatic Nuisance Species) free. The bottoms of the boots dry out far faster as well making it easier to transport the boots when done fishing. I would leave them in the back of the truck and by the time I got home on each evening they would be just about dry and ready to go for the next trip.

We tested in fast moving water and found the StreamTread soles surprisingly grippy

Durability: Other than a few superficial scuff marks from sharp rocks on the rubber surrounding the StreamTread soles the G4 showed no signs of wear and tear whatsoever. I was impressed how new the boots looked after deliberate abuse and the upper mesh panels held up extremely well, there were no tears or any signs of loops or burrs in the fabric. We did rinse down the G4 boots after fishing in the alkaline waters of Pyramid Lake and a single quick blast after each trip was enough to keep the lacing hardware looking as good as new.

Vegetation on dirt or gravel was not an issue, only the really slick stuff on rocks

Price & Applications: Retail price for the G4 Guide Boots is $219.95 per pair, this puts the boots at a 10-15% premium over a comparable pair of felt boots of the same positioning and quality. Simms doesnít offer the G4 in felt and the next step down is their G3 Guide boots in felt which retails for 30 dollars less. The next StreamTread enabled pair of boots in the lineup is the more traditional looking Guide Boots which retail for $199.95 and 20 dollars less for the felt version. Is the G4 boots worth the 30 or so dollar premium over felt boots? Absolutely. While I didnít find the G4 boots offered quite as much grip in extremely slick mossy conditions it surpassed the performance of felt in so many other areas and on top of the performance aspects the CleanStream design is also good for the environment.

With a good grip it is easier to move around while setting and fighting fish both in lakes and river

During the field tests I talked to other fly anglers fishing round me that were also making use of StreamTread traction soles. The majority of them felt that the soles offered similar traction to felt but a number of them also observed that on very slick surfaces they still had more confidence that felt would keep them standing. When I asked them if they preferred felt over the new rubber based soles the overwhelming response was they were happy they had transitioned to the new material. I tried fishing out of a Clackercraft drift boat for a few hours on one trip and found the boots offered exceptional grip in the boat as well, and didnít track in nearly as much grit as felt based boots.

Worry less about staying upright and focus on fishing all while reducing aquatic nuisance species and fish killing disease with the G4 Guide Boots


Simms G4 Guide Boots Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Excellent construction, something we have come to expect from Simms and the  company doesn't disappoint with this pair of boots 9
Performance Performance on most surfaces meets or exceeds felt but we didn't feel as confident on rocks covered with slick vegetation, overall a worthy trade off since these boots are easier to clean and much more comfortable to hike in than felt 8
Price Not cheap but reasonably priced versus other premium boots and only a small price premium over felt 7
Features Plenty of features that all add up to increased performance. Though the boot looked wide at first I found everything in this boot was done with purpose 8
Design (Ergonomics) Easy to put on, excellent ankle support and very comfortable to hike in. I wish some of my hiking boots were as comfortable as the G4 9
Application Good for a wide range of situations, sure there are some areas where felt still outperforms the Vibram sole but this is a more well rounded boot 8

Total Score

Ratings Key: Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
(For a detailed explanation of the ratings go here)

Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Top notch construction L Not as grippy as felt on some slick vegetation
J Easier and more comfortable to hike in than felt boots  
J Superior "feel"  
J Easy to clean and reduces transfer of ANS  
J Reasonable price versus felt boots  

Conclusion: While the StreamTread soles did not beat felt in every single test they do offer greater feel, are more comfortable to hike in and are far easier to clean and inspect for residue. Simms should be commended for doing their part to stem the spread of aquatic hitchhikers, and for most anglers in the majority of applications the G4 Guide Boots will deliver superior performance. Detail in design is what wins me over with this product, and while I found the boots peculiarly shaped early on I discovered that they were designed this way with a purpose. So unless your favorite stream or lake is inundated with slick vegetation the G4 offers excellent performance for serious wade and drift boat fishing. I would definitely buy these boots again, the G4 is truly a premium product that delivers benefits for both anglers and fish habitats, now thatís a win-win.










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