Review: Simms Flyweight Access Wading Boots | Hatch magazine

Along with the litany of ailments typical of wearing down one’s body, older fishermen also tend to accumulate fond but false memories of days gone by. The sunrises seemed brighter, the air a little sweeter, the best fishing not far from the truck, and our reflexes were much quicker.

Two of those four we are remembering correctly.

Good fishing is farther up the creek each summer as more and more people look to the moving water and its feathered inhabitants to soothe their restless souls. Not so long ago, for me, the first casts, as soon as my feet were in the water, always brought a meal or three, and from strong fish. Nowadays, I often go better than a quarter mile or more to find water that isn’t foaming from the masses.

And, in my neck of the woods, those trips there are fraught with potential danger. Of course, there are cottonmouths, bears and wild boars. But the scariest encounters are – yes, I’m serious – the rocks. Rocks so thickly coated in green algae slime (with a big, sarcastic “thank you” to all those fenceless cows that sat in the water and compounded the problem) that there’s a real chance my foot might slip and to fish for the year that comes to a sudden and painful end with every step. This is not something I would have worried about even 10 years ago. I also fell then. I fell a lot. But the nervous system and tendons and ligaments and bones of the young man I once was effectively nullified the threat of injury … in my mind, anyway. In reality, I was lucky.

I plan to fish for as long as I can, so limiting the potential for falls is essential. To do this, I tend to go a little slower and more carefully now. And I’m always looking for tight shoes. That search led me to Simms’ newest boot – the Flyweight Access Wading Boot with Vibram. Simms says the Access is made for long hikes in good water, and claims these boots offer goat traction even on rocks slicker than a doorknob.


Withdrawal with capital “T”
I’ll start with the big one. According to Simms, the Flyweight Access Wading Boot possesses “best-in-class wet skid resistance.” I’ve always assumed that these kinds of claims are impossible to verify, that they are largely subjective and highly context dependent. But did you know there’s an organization in the UK that actually tests these things with science and numbers and stuff? SATRA (Shoe and Allied Trades Research Association) is its name, and they found that the performance of the Flyweight Access boot on wet surfaces was not only measurable, but outstanding. According to SATRA, “Vibram IdroGrip Grip Flex (exclusive to Simms) offers more slip resistance on wet surfaces than any other rubber shoe sole material. The VIBRAM IDROGRIP FLEX tire is the latest evolution in outdoor decking technology. Its inflatable rubber compound provides added cushioning and is specially designed for added grip on wet surfaces, making it the ideal outsole compound for wet shoes.

So there you have it, and who am I to argue?

Well, I’m the fisherman standing up to my feet in the creek with a steep, slippery sloped obstacle course between me and where I saw a smallmouth sweep a dragonfly, that’s who. But I went into action – and caught the bass – and did not fall. Was the trip made as if I were an amphibious Spiderman? No. There was a slip. The laws of physics still apply, folks. But I was very impressed and felt that the traction in these new Vibram soles was significantly better than other rubber boots I’ve used in the past. Not being an engineer, I have no idea how to define less slip, so I’ll leave it at that – job perfectly done, Simms.

Pretty tough
This is an almost seamless boot with welded covers, so there aren’t many places where it can come off. Time is the ultimate test here, but I feel confident that the boot body will live on for years.

Simms Flyweight Access wading boots

Photo: Johnny Carroll Sain

I was a bit of a shoe nerd back in the day. My favorite kicks were a pair of Nike Air Assaults, white with yellow and gray trim. They were whores. With a long list of other high tops on my resume, it often amazes me how comparable modern outdoor shoes are to the high-performance athletic shoes of my youth. At that time, all the boots were visibly disturbed. But when I slide into the Access trunk, it takes me back to the 1980’s fetch-something-in-the-park games. Access boots are incredibly comfortable. I’ve put a bunch of miles on them in wet and dry combined and my feet haven’t complained once. They are also easy to put on and take off. The Access comes with dual boot straps, but the clamshell tongue allows the boot to open so wide you won’t need them. Lace them up and your foot is enveloped in what can best be described as supportive bliss.

They are not called “Flyweights” for nothing. My size 11s tip the scale at 1.51 pounds per boot. That’s 24.16 ounces. So we’ll say a pair weighs in at 48 ounces. For comparison, my Teva sandals weigh 27 ounces as a pair. The Access is a lightweight boot and that means they are less tiring to wear than most other ankle boots you will come across.

MSRP of $249.95. I say it’s a fair market price.


Sole Mortal
Durability comes at the cost of sole durability. This is a very soft compound and I have no doubt that the creek beds will chew it up in no time. How much is an order missing? This is the big question. No big chunks are missing from the sole so far. Will see. The good news? Simms plans, soon, to introduce a settlement program for Flyweights.

Laces are the bane of wild fishermen. They come loose, catch debris and sometimes catch your other leg. Simms is getting close here. The eyelets on the Access are low-profile mesh (good), the laces are thin (good), and they fit snugly into the boot (good). They seem to want to stay connected (well). But they are still exposed to currents, dead branches and rocks, and they will play havoc with them (bad). Why not kick the BOA into a near-stellar boot, Simms?

Bedding problems
No convertible seats? Really? That said, the boots dry quickly, so maybe I’m making a big deal out of a problem.


With the Flyweight Access Wading Boots, Simms has given the world of dancers an incredible product, just one or two tweaks away from being an absolute game changer. My minor quibbles aside, these are capable and super comfortable boots that will absolutely boost your confidence in any scrambling conditions. People far more qualified than I think so. The Simms Flyweight Access Wading Boot was named Best of Show at the ’22 International Fly Tackle Dealers Show.


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