Patagonia Yulex vs Simms Wading Socks

I don’t do waders. Maybe it’s the $700 price tag for a good pair of Simms. But regardless of the weather or the river, I’m always in the water without them. That means snow falling and frigid water. From the South Holston in TN to the Madison River in MT.

So when you’re addicted to wet wading, you definitely need incredible boots and socks. To date, Simms has supplied me with both. I wouldn’t trade my Simms Guide Boots for anything. Well, the new Sage LL might convince me.

Patagonia Yulex vs Simms

On a recent outing I left my old Simms socks wet for too long and they mildewed. I’m talking the kind of smell which rivals a dead animal. They went in the trash.

Ordered a new pair of Simms Guard Socks and decided to also take a look at the Patagonia Yulex. Why? Initially for shallow reasons: They come in black. But there’s more to it than that…

The Patagonia Yulex and Simms Wading Socks. See what I mean about the black?

Materials Used

So here’s the big difference in the two: Simms is made of neoprene. It’s been around forever, and it’s made by DuPont. You know, the company featured in the film Dark Waters that polluted American lands and attempted to cover it up. If you haven’t watched the movie, watch it.

But back to fly fishing: The Patagonias are made of natural rubber. Not the DuPont neoprene that never breaks down. Patagonia champions environmental health while companies like DuPont don’t have the same track record.

BTW — The neoprene debacle is a growing concern with the likes of surfers and free divers. They know their old neoprene suits are going to sit in a land fill forever.

General Comfort & Fit

Okay, so here’s where things really matter, right? I mean, we’re human. And though we love the idea of saving the planet, unfortunately we need a little more than that. The good news is that Patagonia delivers.

The Patagonia Yulex screen left and the Simms Guard Sock screen right.

The Patagonias are made for right or left foot while the Simms are now anatomically correct (My old Simms Guard Socks were not like this). Personally, I don’t want to try and figure out which is left and right when heading to the stream at 4AM. But whatever.

Initial Sock Comfort

The Patagonia Yulex wins hands down for initial comfort. The Simms have very noticeable seams on the inside of the sock. Sure, if you’re wearing additional socks inside the guard socks it probably wouldn’t matter. But if you pull these onto your bare feet like I do, those seems are a tad annoying. The Patagonia Yulex feel great. No noticeable seams.

Size and Fit

I wear size 9 in Altra running shoes and size 8.5 in classic Converse Chuck Taylors. Simms rates their medium as a men’s US 6-9 which I think is quite the span. Patagonia’s medium is rated at 8-9 which is more dialed in IMHO. Both mediums fit perfectly. So the sizing seems to be good.

Using the Patagonia Yulex while night fishing for large browns on the South Holston in October.


Something I enjoy about the Simms are the small holes throughout the lower sock. This allows water and air to move in and out keeping your feet fresh. Not so much that it changes the temperature or anything crazy. But just nice to have, especially in warmer weather.

All Day Performance

I’ve fished the Simms more, but have fished both in the cold waters of the South Holston. My initial thoughts are that the Patagonias are totally comfortable. However, the Simms Guard Socks do feel slightly “springier” than the Yulex. The Yulex don’t feel bad at all. In fact, the day I put them on to fish, my initial thoughts were, “These feel great.” But when you pull one pair off and put the others on and walk around, you can notice a difference between them. I think the Simms have a little more cushion.

Update: After fishing these socks more I’ve discovered something regarding the Patagonias: They are VERY difficult to put back on when wet. Dry, they slide right on. But damp from a previous day of fishing? Not fun. The Simms go on much easier when wet.

The Simms Guard Socks look normal pulled up. Not the Patagonias.

Winter Wet Wading

The entire idea of a guard sock is the fold-over design that keeps crud out of your wading boot. Got it. But for those of us in 45-degree water, sometimes it’s nice to pull those bad boys up for a bit of leg insulation.

The Simms Guard Socks are made to do this. You pull them up and there’s another Simms logo ready to shine. But Patagonia printed like the entire company roster on the inside of their sock. Do the trout care? But if you’re into how you look tromping around a stream, there it is.

Price Comparison

Both guard sock options are priced closely. The Patagonia Yulex rings in at $45 direct from Patagonia, and the Simms Guard Socks ring in at $50 direct from the Simms website.

Patagonia vs Simms – The Verdict

So what’s my opinion? The Patagonia Yulex perform and they’re made of more natural materials by a company not destroying the planet. I do like the springy feel of the Simms Guard Socks, but I don’t like the left and right foot stuff. It doesn’t make a difference IMO. The seams inside the Simms Guard Socks are also slightly annoying while the Patagonias feel perfect on bare feet.

The Young Living Purification essential oil blend will help keep your boots fresh like nothing else.

Bonus Tip: Extend Wading Boot Life

Another tip for those of you who like clean smelling wading boots: Use an essential oil blend.

Of course you’re religious about immediately rinsing your boots upon arriving home (you do this, right?). But something I’ve been doing for a few years now is adding a few drops of Young Living’s Purification essential oil blend to the process. Essential oils are an entire topic on their own, but trust me — incredible stuff.

The Purification blend uses Citronella, Lavandin, Lemongrass, Myrtle, Rosemary, and Tea Tree to fight the bad stuff that will grow in wet boots. I add 2-3 drops per boot, fill them up with water and let it slosh around. Then rinse out the boot and let them dry.

I kid you not, if you picked up one of my boots and took a nice whiff, you’d never know I’ve put hours and hours on them in all types of water! Use this link to order, and if you do it helps one of our home businesss:

Once there, search for “Purification” and get a bottle or two. You’ll love it. I’ve been using the same pair of Simms Guide boots for about 5 years now.