Call Me Simms Boy, I Love My G4Z Waders

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Photo by Kent Klewein

Photo by Kent Klewein

When our BF Goodrich video finally comes out, and we are told it will be soon, you are going to notice Kent and I wearing a lot more Simms gear.

Simms, generously, stepped up and outfitted us for the shoot. This has lead to at least one of my friends calling me Simms Boy, but I don’t care. It was great having the right gear for the trip and knowing we could count on it but for me it was something more. It was a first. Believe it or not, I’ve never owned a pair of Simms waders.

I’ve used a ton of Simms products over the years and gotten really good service out of just about all of them but I’ve never ponied up and bought a pair of their waders. I know they are the best and the most durable and the most comfortable but honestly, I’m just a cheap bastard. More to the point maybe, I’m a poor bastard and $799 for a pair of waders has always seemed insane.

If Simms had not given me a pair of G4Zs, I don’t know if I would have ever known what I was missing. Sure, they are comfortable. They fit great, they’re really well designed but the thing is, I think they are a better bargain. Really! Even if I’d paid for them and I’ll tell you why.

Durability and Value

Only time will tell if I’m right but these waders feel indestructible. You can feel the quality pulling them on. The five layers of actual Gortex, that come to the waist, feel like the sheet metal of a 1960s American made car. Thanks to the the front and rear center seams the legs move freely and the new Gortex is 25% more breathable. The result is a pair of bulletproof waders that fit Iike pants.

The material in the sock feet is thick. Really thick, and the sole continues up the back of the leg in an hour-glass design that enhances both freedom of movement and durability. The combination of smart design and made-in-America craftsmanship pays off in a wader that wears like armor and feels like pajamas.

Best of all is the YKK waterproof zipper. Just like the YKK zipper in my leather jacket, which I have worn for twenty-five years, you feel the quality. I have been wearing zip front waders for about the last three years and I will never go back. Zip front is just the way to go and not just when you have to go. But here’s the thing. For the last three years I’ve been wearing another company’s zip front waders ($399) and in three years I’ve been through three pairs. One the sock feet wore out and two the zipper broke.

So what the hell have I been thinking? That’s $1200 in three years for waders! If my instinct is right these Simms G4Zs will last me three years easy. That saves me $400 and I will enjoy them a lot more in the meantime. How can that be anything but a bargain?


The thoughtful design of the new G4Z waders shows a real understanding of the conditions encountered by anglers on the river. This is a wader designed on the rivers of Montana not in a factory in China. Every need has been anticipated to ensure that the G4Z performs when and where you need it. When fishing we alway struggle with less than ideal conditions. Simms has made sure we don’t have to struggle with our waders. Here are a few of the design features that I like.

5-layer Gortex seat

In the process of shooting photos, I spend a lot of time mistreating my waders. I crawl around on my knees, slide around on my ass, climb through places where I don’t belong and it all takes a toll on my waders. The 5-layer Gortex lowers on the G4Zs give me optimum protection all the way to my waist. I love that.

Perfect fit

There are two components that make the G4Z waders the best fitting wader on the market. The pattern this wader is made to, offers an impressive range of motion. Features like the front and rear leg seams and hourglass ankle panel show that Simms has really given some thought to this issue. The result is a wader that is really well articulated, so when you’re squatting down to hide from fish or climbing over a deadfall none of your ‘essential gear’ is getting pinched or pulled. In addition, Simms offers 12 stock sizes so if you have an irregular body type, you basically get a custom wader. Bottom line, you can’t beat the fit.


There are six waterproof zippers on the G4Zs. Five pockets and the big front zipper. The pockets are all waterproof to the very top so if you have water in your pockets you have water in your socks. The front zipper is extra long so when you’ve got to go there’s no unwanted zipper involvement. All of the zippers are of the highest quality. Good waterproof zippers are expensive and that’s a lot of what you’re paying for. When other companies offer cheaper zip front waders, that’s where they’ve cut the cost. I spent a miserable week steelheading in Oregon with a broken zipper in February. I don’t recommend it.


The G4Zs have five zippered pockets. Four on the outside, including two lined with fast drying micro fleece for cold wet hands. There is also an inside pocket that looks conspicuously as if it were made for an iPhone. The pockets are nicely laid out and very useful. There are also tool docks designed for nippers, hemostats, fly patches and even a net.

Suspenders and belt

The suspenders on the G4Z are the nicest I’ve ever seen. They have adjustable pads to distribute weight that feature breathable webbing underneath. They are extremely comfortable. The belt is heavy duty with just the right amount of stretch. The fasteners are all quite beefy. Touches like this are a testament to Simms’ determination to make the best wader possible.

Breathability and Versatility

When you add it up, the G4Z is incredibly versatile when it comes to keeping you comfortable, no matter how the day turns out. Enjoy the fleece-lined pockets in the frosty morning and be ready for a sweltering afternoon with new Gortex, 25% more breathable than before, and the a front zipper to really let the steam out. It’s the perfect year-round wader.

So call me Simms Boy. I don’t mind. I can take anything in my new G4Zs.


Here’s a great video review.

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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22 thoughts on “Call Me Simms Boy, I Love My G4Z Waders

  1. Great review Louis

    Can you describe the net dock you refer to? Sounds interesting

    Yellowstone anglers recently reviewed most of the waders on the market and found the G3 better for breathability and features than the G4:

    Alos back on 11th February, Simms and Gore were on Zach Matthews podacast and made some very interesting points about how Gore-tex works and how the G4 differs from G3 and why:

    I have a pair of G3s that are 4 years old now and look brand new – I love them

    When are we going to see (hear) you (or Kent) on Zachs podcast???

  2. I’m on my 3rd year with a pair of Simms Freestone waders. They are by far the best pair I have ever owned.

    Great review and nice video. Can you turn them down to waist high? The ability to do so makes summer fishing here in the Midwest a bit cooler.

  3. I got some of the lower end waders from simms and i cant really say many good things about them. I miss my redington sonic waders. Plus for the price difference…..

    • I have to agree. In the year and a half that I have had my mid-range Simms waders I have had three leaks. Two have been multiple pinhole problems, but one of the times I had to send them in to get a seam sealed back up. With two kids, I am fishing far less that you would think for that kind of wear and tear. I guess you could say “you get what you pay for,” but I still paid $400+ so you would think they would last more than the fifteen or so times I have been fishing in the past 18 months.

      • Pinholes happen in any waders. Fortunately they are easy to fix. Seams, sock feet, zippers, those are the things I worry about. I have learned the hard way to treat my waders better. Including storing them safely. I had squirrels chew thru a pair once. Not good.

  4. I’ve been telling my friends and family about these waders for years. It’s funny every time I see them they are wearing a new pair of waders. I recently had issues with a brand new pair of G4Z’s they sewed brand new socks on them and returned just like new. If your concerned about money you truly should have these waders they are just as you say. I had my first pair for 5 years and at least 350 days on the water. Nice write up!

  5. I totally agree with this post, Louis. I finally broke down and bought my first pair of Simms waders after 20 years of flyfishing. Only thind I regret is that I didn’t do it sooner. I got the G3 Guide model as I didn’t see the zipper as critical but the materials and build quality are the same. These make all my other waders feel like a cheap garbage bag! They keep building them like this and we may need to start a Simms Boys Choir!

  6. I absolutely agree 110% Simms makes some amazing gear. This last spring I got into the Rocky mountain regional qualifier for team usa. Upon which deciding I needed to get some better gear and waders was top on my list. Soon after I had my own pair of G4 waders, they have been a great investment and worth every penny. My only problem is now a year later I have made some dramatic life changes and have lost 100 pounds. my $800 waders now fit like the Goodyear blimp lol. I called sounds hoping I could send them in maybe even pay a small fee and have them taken in to fit me. No dice, they told me of a site I could sell them if New and in the box for at the most $250-$300. I can’t tell you how disappointed I am these waders are awesome and just like all of my have been well taken care of but now I’m stuck rocking$800 parachute waders lol. saving my allowance for a fitting pair maybe by next winter.

  7. hi Louis, how are the G4z’s doing. i’d be interested to hear if you’ve experienced any leaks in the zipper system?
    we’ve been having a debate over here about whether or not leaks develop after a bit of usage wear and tear on the zips.

  8. Update on the waders? I’ve been guiding 5 seasons in G3 waders and after 800 or so days they are finally going to be retired. I’m just wondering if the G4 is worth the extra moolah. I had 2 pairs of zippered waders in the far past and both failed miserably.
    By the way, never got more than a season out of a pair until I went to Simms…

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