Simms Women’s G3 Guide Stockingfoot ReviewFebruary 18, 2014
- Excellent breathability
- Fabric is soft and quiet
- Flattering, non-bulky fit
- Suitable for frequent, hard use
- Constrictive range of movement
Using top-shelf materials and bulletproof construction, the G3 Guide is as good as you can get with waders—but at a price that is more than double that of most other brands. You do, however, get what you pay for.
Made with Gore-Tex Pro Shell, Simms Women’s G3 Guide Stockingfoot waders are tough, breathable, and tailored for a flattering fit.
The G3 Guide is the only model in our test to use Gore-Tex, and the difference is obvious in both breathability and price. It’s also alone in using five-layer construction, which sandwiches two Gore-Tex Pro Shell membranes plus an additional layer of shell fabric between the outer shell and the lining. Used on the lower legs only, this five-layer fabric protects against abrasion from brush and boulders. Yet the G3 doesn’t feel overbuilt, thanks to a smart, low-bulk fit that’s trim, not sacklike.
These waders feel and fit like my favorite pair of Mountain Khakis. Cut loose between the knees and ankles, the fit loses bulk through the thighs and seat. That trim cut, along with the fabric’s soft, supple feel, makes these waders unusually quiet: They don’t crinkle like a bag of pretzels as I walk.
Seams are placed up the fronts and backs of the legs, so stitches aren’t subject to abrasion from walking. A horizontal seam across the mid-thigh joins the five-layer fabric (on the lower leg) with three-layer material (through the hips and chest). Unfortunately, that seam’s placement and rigidity hinders full freedom of movement. Walking, standing, and sitting feel unconstricted, but I felt the fabric bind when I lunged out of the river to climb up an undercut bank. Perhaps gals with slenderer thighs than mine won’t experience this problem, but personally, I would’ve appreciated a smidge more ease in this zone, given the seaming.
The bib provides full, to-the-armpit coverage, which I appreciated in deep water and in cold, snowy weather. Made of thick (4-mm), high-density neoprene, the booties provide a sculpted, low-bulk fit that slides cleanly into a boot.
You’d expect waders this thick and burly to feel stifling and clammy, but the G3 proved comfortable in all test situations. Although I wasn’t able to test it in summer heat, I evaluated its breathability through cold-weather hiking. Even when post-holing through snow or scrambling among thick brush, these waders kept me from steaming up, thanks to Gore-Tex Pro Shell: Gore’s most durable membrane, it’s now 25 percent more breathable than previous iterations. I expect I’d want to roll down the bib in hot weather, but the G3’s standout breathability should make it serviceable in mid-summer.
The suspenders unclip from the bib, which makes for easy on/off and tidy bio-breaks (fixed shoulder straps are harder to hold out of the way when squatting to answer nature’s call).
A big exterior chest pouch contains a zippered pocket and microfleece-lined handwarmer, which I definitely appreciated after handling trout in icy water. A zip-out interior organizer offers two zippered pockets, two Velcro-fastened tippet compartments, and even a sheath for a retractor or thermometer.
The built-in neoprene gravel guards slide over boots more easily than elasticized fabric versions. And as with almost all Simms waders, the G3 is made in the USA.
The five-layer legs guard against abrasion and make the G3 suitable for heavy-duty use by guides and daily devotees. If the durability of other waders has disappointed you, try these. Yet the low-bulk fit keeps them from feeling overbuilt and makes them practical for casual anglers.
The full coverage and beefy build makes these waders ideal for steelhead fishing in cold, wet weather. But they’re suitable for hot climates, where anglers will appreciate the excellent breathability.
No bones about it, the G3 is an expensive pair of waders. Domestic manufacturing (which is well worth supporting) isn’t likely to be the only factor dictating its price tag: Quality materials and construction techniques also play a role. Still, it may be hard for many casual anglers to justify the expense when they can choose from solid performers that cost half as much. If you wear waders daily, the G3 seems like a smart investment in durability and comfort.