Best Fishing Waders
Sometimes fishing from the banks or from a boat just isn’t sufficient and you need to get a little closer to the action. And that is where a set of waders can help. But with different types available, how do you know which ones would suit you and your particular style of fishing?
Well, that is where we can help. We’ve put together a guide that will help you choose the best waders for fishing and hopefully you’ll discover why they might be useful for your next fly fishing trip.
At a Glance: Top Waders For Fishing
(links take you over to the waders on Amazon - more on each further below)
What Are Fishing Waders And Why Would I Use Them?
Fishing waders - as the name might suggest - allow you to wade into the water without getting your feet or legs wet. This means they can be particularly handy if you’re trying to get closer to the fish and, most importantly, to other areas of the river or lake that might not be accessible otherwise.
Sometimes there might be a section of the river or lake that you just can’t access by car or by boat, and this is where a good pair of waterproofs could come in handy. They will allow you to enter the water and stay dry, while fishing in zones that other anglers may not be able to get to, meaning you may have a more successful day.
Plus, you will be able to cross over shallow streams or rivers to fish from the opposite banks. Depending on the soles on your boots, you might be more able to wade through weeds or over slippery rocks to get to a better fishing spot.
A good set of waders can also mean you can enter muddy or marshy zones along the riverbanks or shores of a lake, while your feet and legs remain dry. Depending on the materials you choose, you can also extend your fishing season to last all year, allowing you to stay warm in the water, even in winter.
Main Types Of Waders
There are a few different types of waders, each of which may be useful to you, depending on your style of fishing as well as the environmental conditions. To give you a better idea of what you might be looking for we’ll go over some of the main types.
With a name like bootfoot, you might already be able to tell that these ones come with boots built into the waders. Bootfoot ones can be a good idea if you’re looking for something that’s not too expensive, especially if you’re not planning on using them too often.
Having a rubber boot attached can offer you a simple solution for wading out into the water by just having to pull on the one garment. However, the boots that are attached may not allow you to wade into certain environments due to the quality of the boot, for example, rocky or slippery areas.
This is because they may offer less ankle support and may not be as durable or sturdy as separate fishing boots. Another disadvantage of bootfoot ones is that you may not get a good overall fit, as the boots are attached to the pants, which could cause problems with sizing.
Stockingfoot waders are just like they sound; with stockings (or socks) attached, instead of rubber boots. The sock is usually made from waterproof neoprene, allowing you to purchase separate wading boots in your correct size, with the functionality that you are going to need on your fishing trip.
Stockingfoot ones can be a good choice if you’re planning on using them regularly and in different types of environment, as you’ll be able to use your own special boots that will give you more support and more traction in whatever conditions you’re fishing in.
They can be more expensive overall because of the additional cost of buying separate boots but in the end, you are probably more likely to end up with a more durable combination.
The Different Styles
Hip waders can be a good choice if you’re planning to fish only in shallow waters where there’s not much current. They are usually bootfoot, but can also be found as stockingfoots, and will keep your legs dry, reaching up to your hips, where they will attach to your belt.
Waist High Waders
Waist high waders are designed to be more like waterproof pants. Similar to hip waders, these ones are better suited to shallower waters, as the waterproof protection will only come up to your waist, just like a pair of pants.
Chest High Waders
Chest high waders are by far the most versatile of the three styles, as they can be worn in a wider range of environments, from shallow waters to areas that are a little deeper. This may also be why chest high ones tend to be the most common type of wader on the market.
These ones can be more expensive but there is a little more to them than the other styles. They give you waterproof protection up to your chest, in a similar design to a pair of overalls, with buckle fastenings that go over your shoulders and clip at your chest.
Which Waders To Use, When To Use Them, And Where…
The type of waders that you choose will depend on where and when you plan to fish. For example, will you be fishing in cold winter months? Do you plan to fish in all seasons? In shallow or deep water, or both?
Once you’ve considered these questions, you’ll have a better idea of which waders you’ll need.
Neoprene waders can provide excellent insulation in the colder months but they can be a little less easy to move in because of their bulkier nature. The high levels of insulation comes with a price, in that they are not breathable, meaning you may be uncomfortably warm during the hotter summer months.
If you only plan to fish in cold water or in winter, then neoprene waders could be your best choice, as they are designed to keep you warm and keep the cold out. The fabric comes in various thicknesses, usually from 3 millimeters to 5 millimeters, with the thicker fabric being better suited to colder water.
Breathable waders come in a range of different fabrics but they all tend to be lighter in weight, which makes them a lot more comfortable to wear than the non-breathable ones, as well as being easier to move in.
While some breathable ones can be quite expensive, they can be more versatile than non-breathable waders, as you can wear them in a wider range of climates by either losing or adding layers to your outfit. Because they are lighter weight, adding warmer layers for winter generally won’t be adding too much extra bulk.
With different fabrics available, for example Gore-Tex, you will generally be getting a more durable pair of waders that should last you longer because of their higher performance standards.
Breathable fabrics come in a range of layers, with the higher number of layers being able to offer more durability, not necessarily more warmth, in the case of the non-breathable ones.
The soles of your boots are important and will affect where you are able to fish. You may find boots with studded soles, which can be attached to the waders or purchased separately.
Studded or cleated soles should give you good traction and may work well in stronger currents or over slippery rocks in or out of the water. Boots with felt soles are designed to give traction on slippery surfaces but may not be best used on other types of terrain, or for walking to your fishing spot.
You will probably find a lot of boots that have rubber soles, which can be strong at covering a range of terrains and particularly if you have a bit of a distance to walk on the land between your truck and your favorite fishing spot.
So it’s a good idea to consider the types of terrain that you may have to walk on while wearing your waders. With stockingfoot waders you will be able to choose boots designed for different types of terrain and if you fish in different environments, you may find it beneficial to have a pair of boots for each of the terrains.
Best Fishing Waders
1: Redington Sonic-Pro HDZ Wader Boots
These Sonic-Pro chest high waders are made with a breathable 4 layer fabric, designed to be worn in all seasons, in both cold and warm weather, so they could be a good choice for versatility.
They are a stockingfoot style, with an ergonomically designed 3.5 millimeter neoprene sock that benefits from having a thicker layer of 4 millimeter neoprene fabric on the bottom for added durability and comfort.
They are crafted with minimal bulk, with a chest front zippered pocket with fleece lined hand pockets on the sides to keep your hands warm. There’s also a zippered pocket that flips out from inside, which is handy for storing small essentials.
Another feature of these ones is that they benefit from having a buckled waist belt, that is designed to be compatible with various brands of pliers and accessories.
2: Frogg Toggs Amphib Camo Bootfoot Wader
These ones are bootfoot, so they come ready to wear with no separate boots to have to purchase. They are chest high, with their waterproof reach coming slightly higher than other chest high ones and they are crafted with 3.5 millimeter neoprene fabric with a camouflage design.
These waders are designed to keep you warm in colder weather, with the attached rubber boots featuring added insulation. They have a fleece lined chest front pocket and storage pocket as well as adjustable neoprene suspenders for a more comfortable fit.
Another feature for added durability is the triple finished seams, that have been glued, stitched and taped. Plus, there are reinforced knee pads.
3: Redington Crosswater Stockingfoot Breathable Fly Fishing Waders
These stockingfoot ones from Redington could be a good choice if you’re looking for good value and all-around versatility. They are breathable and durable, crafted from 3 layered nylon.
They feature neoprene socks and they have built-in neoprene gravel guards. One benefit of these ones is that they have specially designed buckles on the chest suspender straps to allow you to easily convert them from chest high to waist high, which could come in handy during the warmer seasons.
They also feature a chest front pocket with drain holes and a zippered flip out pocket, as well as a waist belt and belt loops.
4: Caddis Men's Taupe Breathable Stocking Foot Wader
These stockingfoot chest high waders are designed with value in mind, so could be a good choice if you’re looking for your first pair. They are engineered to be breathable, with a durable polyester fabric construction and CaddisDry technology to keep you dry.
They feature a hand warmer pocket and a zippered front chest pouch, for storing small items, and they also have adjustable shoulder straps.
5: Hodgman Mackenzie Nylon and PVC Cleated Bootfoot - Best Chest Fishing Waders
These bootfoot ones are chest high and lightweight. Featuring PVC coated nylon construction they may not be the most breathable option but they could be a good choice if you’re looking for a less expensive pair.
The attached boots are made with PVC, not rubber, so they are lighter in weight, and they also feature cleated soles for added traction in the water or over uneven land. The suspenders are adjustable for a customized fit and there is a handy internal pocket for storing your essentials.
6: Caddis Men's Green Neoprene Stocking Foot Wader
These stockingfoot waders are chest high and constructed with 3.5 millimeter neoprene fabric, so they might be a good choice if you plan to fish in cold water or winter, as they are designed to keep you warm and dry.
They feature adjustable neoprene suspenders for added comfort and they have a fleece lined hand warmer pocket for colder days. The feet are double stitched, glued and taped for added durability and they have sliding gravel guards.
7: Hodgman Caster Neoprene Cleated Boot-foot Chest Wader
These bootfoot chest high waders are constructed with durable 3.5 millimeter neoprene fabric, so might be an ideal choice for fishing in sloping lakes or rivers in colder climates. They also have double layered fabric at the knees to give you added durability.
The insulated rubber boots have the benefit of cleated soles that are designed to give you more traction under the water. There is a chest storage pocket, as well as a fleece lined hand warmer pocket, and for added storage there are D-loops at both the front and back of the waders.
8: Allen Brule River Bootfoot Chest Waders with Cleated Soles
These chest high waders come complete with the boots attached so they could be a good choice if you’re not planning on walking too far to get to your prime fishing spot. The boots have cleated soles for added traction when you’re in the water.
This bootfoot style features a lightweight, 2 layered nylon construction and they have the benefit of a drawstring tie at the top for a more secure fit. The web suspenders are also adjustable for added comfort.
9: Caddis Men's Attractive 2-Tone Tauped Deluxe Breathable Stocking Foot Wader
This stockingfoot style is made from breathable polyester and features CaddisDry technology to add to its waterproof performance, allowing you to wear your own wading boots in the perfect size to give you a more comfortable fit overall.
The chest high waders feature a two tone taupe color and they have double layered fabric at the knees for extra durability. The neoprene socks are taped on both the inside and the outside and there are attached gravel guards.
They feature adjustable suspender straps and a front chest pocket. These could be a good option for wearing for fly fishing in all seasons, as they are lightweight for summer and you can easily add layers for colder weather fishing.
You’ve had a look at some of the fishing waders that are available and you’ve learned what the types are and when you might use them, so hopefully you now have a better understanding on the type that you might require for your own fishing trip.
After reading this guide, you may have decided that a pair of waders could come in handy. If you like to fly fish or have a passion for angling, being able to enter the water on foot can not only increase your enjoyment of fishing but can also result in you being able to catch more fish, since they will allow you to get closer to them.
Before you head out to make that purchase, just keep in mind the times of year that you might be fishing, or indeed the climate that you live in, as well as the requirements that you have, such as a good quality pair of boots.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our guide. Let us know if you have any questions of comments and we’ll do our best to get back to you. As always, feel free to share this with your fellow anglers.