A good pair of fishing waders can make or break a day on the stream or river.
Waders keep you dry and protect your legs from brush and debris under the water and are incredibly useful for many reasons. Whether you’re looking into going fishing for the first time, or wanting to brush up on your knowledge before you buy a new pair, we hope to answer all of your questions about fishing waders and help you make an informed decision on your next purchase.
Although not always necessary, fishing waders are used a lot in fishing, especially in fly fishing. Fly fishing waders are not necessarily different from other waders, although some have additional features. All waders should keep you warm and dry during a long day of wading, and, used with the proper footwear, help you keep good footing in a stream-bed that keeps you safe. But before you run out to buy your next pair, there are several things to keep in mind.
There are just a few more characteristics, styles of fishing waders that you should be acquainted with before going shopping.
First, waders come in three different ‘lengths’:
- The shortest of all are hip waders. These are generally rubber waders with attached boots, and are only good for fishing shallow streams where you will typically not be going in above your knees.
- Waist-high waders are the in-between choice and are like a pair of pants. They can be either stocking-foot or boot-foot, depending on which you prefer.
- The tallest choice (and arguably the most popular among fly fisherman) is the chest wader. These are often made of breathable material and are worn with separate wading boots of your choice. Chest waders allow you to wade into the deeper parts of a river while staying dry, but, although breathable, can get hot during summertime.
One way to give versatility to your waders is to buy convertible waders that can easily be worn as either waist-high or chest waders.
Most chest fishing waders are going to have the same basic features, including gravel guards (if stocking-foot waders), shoulder straps, etc., but there are some ‘upsell’ features that may be of interest. One of my pairs of waders zip in the front, which honestly has come in handy on more than one stream-side pee occasion! These have a waterproof zipper that typically starts at the chest and goes down to the crotch. This feature is not absolutely necessary, but, in addition to bathroom breaks, allows the waders to come on and off a bit easier.
Another feature of more expensive chest waders is the addition of built-in pockets or integrated fly boxes on the front of waders. These can range from a simple zip pocket or hand warmer pockets to full-blown detachable chest packs. The practicality of these features will largely depend upon your fly fishing style. If you like to go fast and light, an incorporated chest pack might be the ticket. I just bought a pair of Frogg Toggs Hellbender Wader and am really enjoying a pocket for my phone, license, and other little goodies I carry with me but don’t have to have in my vest.
Check out the 10 Best Fishing Waders on the market right now:
1. Redington Sonic Pro Stocking Foot Wader
Sonic-Pro Waders are created with ultra-durable 4-layer, waterproof/breathable DWR coated fabric and feature double taped, sonic welded seams (no sew construction), articulated seams for increased mobility, and reinforced lower legs and seat for durability. Sonic-Pro waders are outfitted with multiple pockets for stashing gear, and hold everything from a hemostat to retractors and fly boxes. The convenient mesh pocket and hyplon dock with multiple attachment points make this wader every gear junkie’s wish list.
2. LaCrosse Swamp Tuff Pro Bottom Land 1000 – gram Thinsulate Ultra Insulation Waders
LaCrosse Swamp Tuff Pro Bottom Land 1,000 – gram Insulated Waders. Winner of Field & Stream’s Best of the Best Award! Start with LaCrosse’s innovative Armor Weld seam-sealing process that ensures long-lasting waterproof protection. Then, add their comfortable and insulating Alpha construction, a removable shotgun shell pouch that holds a full box of shells, and an attached game bag. Add in sure warmth and top traction on slick river bottoms, and you’ll start to see why Field & Stream chose these Chest Waders above all others.
3. Adamsbuilt Truckee River Wader
Premium waders at a mid-range price! These waders include everything you are looking for in your next pair. Reinforced knees and seat, attached gravel guards, lined hand-warmer pockets, top drawcord, inside accessory pocket, and belt and suspenders are all included. These waders are contructed of premium microfi ber fabric, and are extremely light and comfortable with a high grade waterproof/breathable membrane. You can’t go wrong with the Truckee River Waders!
4. Allen Cattail Bootfoot Neoprene Chest Waders
The Cattail Bootfoot Neoprene Chest Waders from Allen come in Mossy Oak Blades camo and feature an oversized hand warmer and storage pocket. With 3.5mm neoprene construction, these waders have 1000G thinsulate insulated rubber boots with a semi-hard toe cap and steel arch, a high back design, reinforced knee pads, adjustable web suspenders with front D-rings, and a web waist belt.
5. Frogg Toggs Hellbender Stout S/F Chest Wader
The Frogg Toggs® Hellbender Stout chest wader boasts double-layered, reinforced knees and shins for extra puncture protection. The DriPore® C3 technology is waterproof and breathable, so you can stay out longer without sacrificing your comfort level.
6. Caddis Men’s Breathable Stocking Foot Wader (DOES NOT INCLUDE BOOTS)
Caddis Stockingfoot Deluxe Breathables are the ultimate in lightweight design. The secret behind Caddis breathable wader technology is their CaddisDry fabric. CaddisDry fabric’s waterproof, breathable layer will not allow water molecules to pass through and enter the waders – however, it does this while still allowing smaller vapor molecules to exit. With no build up of moisture within the waders, you’ll stay comfortable in all seasons. This product is the perfect all-around breathable wader.
7. Frogg Toggs Amphib 3.5mm Neoprene Bootfoot Cleated Wader
Amphib neoprene bootfoot cleated wader. You’re not going to duck hunt for long if you’re not comfortable. A good pair of duck hunting waders should keep you warm and dry; even in extreme conditions. The Amphib bib-style wader is designed to keep you in the field. When you need more than just waterproof protection in your waders. The 3.5mm neoprene upper with hi-back upper design is great for deep wading or float tube use.
8. Oakiwear Toddler & Childrens’ Neoprene Waterproof Fishing Waders
Nothing gets kids out like trout! These are some of their most deluxe waders. They are extremely easy for kids to put on, even by themselves, and kids feel comfortable and secure in them. These are the ultimate suit for rain play, clamming, boating, beach combing, playing in the mud, ATVing, motocross, snow…..you name it. Just spray them off and hang them up to dry!
9. Redington Crosswater Wader
The Redington Crosswater Wader is the perfect entry level wader. They’re anglers. They wade in the water, They don’t jump in. Hence, Redington’s selection of fly fishing waders – Waterproof. Durable. And functional. The fly fishing waders have all the features you need without dipping into the retirement fund. Whether you’re an angler or puddle jumper, waterproof, breathable, ergonomically designed fly fishing waders go anywhere and allow you to do the same. Simple, yet effective.
10. Allen Brule River Bootfoot Chest Waders with Cleated Soles
The Brule River Bootfoot Cleated Waders are made with rugged nylon fabric that is a great alternative to rubber because they are lighter and more comfortable to wear. With cleated soles and two-ply upper fabric, these waders also feature adjustable web suspenders and a drawstring top.