The 16 Best Fly Fishing Waders in 2022 – Buyers Guide

After many hours on the river and late-night debates with the team, we agree the best fly fishing waders are the Simms G3 Guide Waders. I’ve had my current pair for 3 seasons and they’re still going strong. Simms makes the highest quality waders and has a reliable warranty for repairs.

best fly fishing waders

Over the past decade, I reckon I’ve fished in nearly 20 pairs of waders, thanks in large part to my job as a fly fishing writer. Some we have been sent by companies to test but the majority were purchased by myself.

Here are our unbias and honest recommendations for the best fishing waders in each category:

Image Product Details  
flyfisherpro-table__imageBest High QualityG3 Guide Waders – Stockingfoot
  • Custom Options Available
  • Built-in Low Profile Belt
  • Comfortable & Breathable
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest Budget Wader Under $100Frogg Toggs Hellbender Breathable Stockingfoot Chest Wader
  • Horizontal zippered storage
  • 4-Ply Nylon
  • Oversized multi-function chest pocket
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest Wader Around $100Cabela’s Premium Breathable Stocking-Foot Fishing Waders
  • Tapered Fit
  • Cushioned Shoulder Straps
  • Entry Level Price
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest Premium Wader Under $200Simms Tributary Stockingfoot Waders
  • Anti-Microbial Finish
  • Waterproof
  • Include Grabel Guards
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flyfisherpro-table__imageGreat Mid-priced WaderRedington Sonic-Pro HDZ Waders
  • TIZIP waterproof zipper
  • Durable
  • 2-sided fleece-lined hand-warmer pockets
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flyfisherpro-table__imageLightweight PremiumOrvis Men’s Ultralight Convertible Wader
  • Includes Belt
  • Comes with Gravel Guards
  • Adjustable Suspenders
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest All-Around Zippered WadersG4Z Professional Zippered Stockingfoot Waders
  • New stockingfoot construction
  • Personalized Comfort
  • Waterproof Zipper
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Why You Should Invest in Fly Fishing Waders

Waders are essential for most of us fly fishermen. They basically allow you to fish in colder waters without suffering the cold or getting wet.

When you invest in great quality waders, you’ll have more flexibility, freedom and enjoyment whilst fishing. You can explore deeper waters, fish all year round without worrying about the water temperature, and you’ll stay warm and dry no matter how many hours you’re out there for.

Cheaper waders work well for a season or so, but once you take them into the backcountry trout fishing you’ll find it hard to forget those thorny bushes you walked past on the way down to the river as your waders slowly fill with water.

16 Best Fishing Waders Quick Overview

  1. G3 Guide Waders – Best Price/Performance Waders
  2. Frogg Toggs Hellbender – Best Budget Waders Under $100
  3. Cabela’s Premium Fishing Waders – Best Waders Around $100
  4. Simms Tributary Waders – Best Premium Waders Under $200
  5. Patagonia Middle Fork – Best Packable Waders
  6. Redington Sonic-Pro Waders – Great Mid Priced Wader
  7. Orvis Men’s Ultralight Convertible Wader –  Best Ultralight Waders
  8. Simms G4Z Professional Waders – Best Zippered Waders
  9. Kids Tributary Waders Stockingfoot – Best Kids Waders
  10. Frogg Toggs Neoprene – Best Bootfoot Waders
  11. Gator Waders – Great Thick Waders On a Budget
  12. TideWe Chest Waders – Ultra Budget Waders That Work
  13. Compass Deadfall Stockingfoot – Breathable Lightweight Waders
  14. Frogg Toggs Pilot II Breathable
  15. Caddis Northern Guide Breathable Waders
  16. Cabela’s Classic Series II

Best Waders for Fishing Reviewed

These days, anglers are spoilt with choice with all the different manufacturers and models available.

I have considerable experience with waders, either using them myself or observing their ongoing performance as close angling friends use them.

Here’s our 15 favorite fishing waders that you can buy today:

G3 Guide Waders – Stocking foot

G3 Guide Waders - Stockingfoot

Features

  • There are custom options available.
  • It includes built-in low profile belt loops with 2-inch stretch wading belt included.
  • Made of comfortable and breathable GORE-TEX Pro Shell.
  • Features an attachment zipper for easy access to gear.
  • Includes tippet spool and retractor docking station.

Simms pride itself in manufacturing some of the best and most revolutionary fly fishing waders designed for any wader fishing adventure and the Simms G3 guide stocking foot waders and the Simms Guide Classic Waders are no different.

These stocking foot waders have been re-engineered to ensure that all of your fly fishing trips are comfortable so you can concentrate on fishing. These waders now come with four-layer GORE-TEX fabric in the lower regions and three-layer in the upper parts and they are more durable and breathable than ever before.

The four-layer fabric is also extended to the backside of the stocking foot wader to enhance its durability, especially when you want to sit on a log or rock on the river banks when having a break.

Simms waders come with a fantastic guarantee. In case of any defects on the pair you buy in the first 365 days, you can get them replaced for free. After the first year Simms charges a flat fee of $60 for evaluation, repair, testing of repairs and return shipping back to you.

These waders will last you at least 4-5 good seasons and when you buy direct from Simms you can be sure they will look after you with their warranty.

Frogg Toggs Hellbender Breathable Stockingfoot Chest Wader

Frogg Toggs Hellbender Breathable Stockingfoot Chest Wader

Features

  • Features horizontal zippered storage.
  • It is made of 4-ply nylon.
  • Includes an oversized multi-function chest pocket.
  • Choice of slate and grey.

Arguably one of the best fishing waders in the market right now, Frogg Toggs Hellbender, especially if you are looking to spend around $100.

The outer layer of this wader is made of a nylon shell, designed for higher abrasion resistance, breathability and lightweight nature. The middle layer is the waterproof layer and the inner is designed for comfort comfortable. It is made of cool micro-textured and smooth tricot fabric.

They come in a variety of sizes, ranging from small, medium, large and even XX-large for both ladies and gents.

If you are looking for some of the best fishing waders under $100 that will handle long days on the water then these are an excellent choice. Just don’t be too surprised if they don’t last as many seasons as some of the more premium offerings.

Cabela’s Premium Breathable Stocking-Foot Fishing Waders

Cabela’s Premium Breathable Stocking-Foot Fishing Waders

Features

  • There is a women’s version of the waders.
  • It has a tapered fit with wading belt
  • It has cushioned shoulder straps.
  • Some of the best gravel guards build in to the stocking foot.
  • It offers an exceptional entry-level price-to-value ratio.

These Cabela’s Premium fly fishing waders are designed to fit better and offer fantastic mobility. They also feature contoured neoprene stocking foot socks, which are made of non-slip rubber to ensure that you don’t shift in your wading boots while wearing them. They also come with built-in gravel gaiters to go over your boots and keep the grit out!

The fabric was designed from the ground up to ensure breathability, so you don’t overheat and can maintain manoeverability throughout your fish.

They come with a large internal pocket and a wading belt. This helps keep the air out, to ensure you won’t float downstream. You will also find the cushy neoprene suspenders that are comfortable for long periods and can be adjusted to suit your height.

Cabelas fly fishing waders are pretty simple, but they will get the job done for a couple of seasons.

Simms Tributary Stockingfoot Waders

Simms Tributary Stockingfoot Waders

Features

  • Come with anti-microbial finish.
  • 4-layer lower and 3-layer upper waterproof nylon.
  • Very comfortable and breathable waders.
  • Include reach-through fleece-lined pockets.
  • Includes gravel guards.

If you don’t mind spending a little more to get a better quality pair of waders, you can try these Simms Tributary Stockingfoot Waders.

These waders are built to a comparable quality to the more premium Simms waders, however they have stripped out a lot of the bells and whistles to get the price down around the $200 mark.

Simms Tributary will handle any sort of cold water fly fishing while keeping you warm, you can also pair them with some long johns to keep you extra toasty. They will also stay put and handle abrasion as you negotiate the trails down to the tiver.

As with all Simms waders you get their famous guarantee. In case of any problems in the pair you buy in the first 365 days, you can get them repaired for free. After the first year they charge $60 for evaluation, repair, testing of repairs and return shipping back to you. Not bad if you ask me.

Patagonia Middle Fork Packable Waders

Patagonia-Middle Fork Packable Waders

Features:

  • Sizes Available: Short, Regular, and Long. All these inseam lengths are available in sizes S – XL
  • Boot Style: Stockingfoot
  • Material: Upper is made from a 3 -layer 100% recycled nylon fabric, with the lower made constructed with a 4-layer 100% recycled nylon material
  • Weight: 26 ounces

Are you doing regular hikes into the wilderness and need a lightweight wader that folds up really small?

The Patagonia Middle Fork Packable chest wader is what you need. It weighs just over 26 ounces and fits into an 8″ by 13″ stuff sack (included).

What you gain on the one end you lose on the other. The Middle Fork wader only has an internal pocket, which might not be ideal if you’re using a wader to carry your flies and tippet spools with you. This pocket, however, is fully waterproof.

The Middle Fork’s suspension system allows the angler to quickly drop the chest down, converting it from a chest wader to a waist wader.

This conversion is done without disconnecting the shoulder straps, making them perfect for warm weather fishing.

The booties are made from a thin rubber, something completely different than the other waders on our list. This material keeps both weight and bulk to a minimum.

You can also check out this patagonia waterproof jacket if you’re really into wading.

Redington Sonic-Pro HDZ Waders

Redington Sonic-Pro HDZ Waders

Features

  • It features 2-sided fleece-lined hand-warmer pockets.
  • Includes a TIZIP waterproof zipper.
  • Some of the most durable waders.
  • Great for maximising time in cold water.

The Sonic Pro HDZ is an amazing wader that takes a durable design of the previous Sonic Pro HD wader. It’s one of our favourite pairs of waders for surf fishing too.

They come with an integrated tool dock system on the left chest pocket to make sure that you keep all your items safe and dry. Additionally, the internal stash pockets are also zipped and come with a key clip to ensure that you keep your personal items safe without them falling out when you bend over.

I found the knees on these waders to be very well constructed as they allow a full range of motion and give you extra protection to allow you to kneel down and work on the river bank.

The Redington Sonic Pro waders seams are doubled taped and included a slim wading belt for a perfect fit and to ensure you aren’t full of air!

Orvis Men’s Ultralight Convertible Wader

Orvis Men's Ultralight Convertible Wader

Features

  • It includes a belt.
  • It comes with gravel guards.
  • Features adjustable suspenders.
  • Made of superior quality, lightweight 100% nylon.

If you’re looking for the ultimate in durable, yet lightweight waders then I recommend the Orvis Ultralight waders. These premium chest waders are very light, making use of the new sealed seam and stitched construction to save weight at every turn.

When it comes to durability, the waders are made of breathable 4-layer waterproof nylon shell. This material is not only tough but flexible too.

However, I found the exterior chest pockets a bit smaller but it makes up for this shortcoming with the internal zippered pockets. There are even attachments for your forceps, nippers and zinger.

The most outstanding feature of these waders is that they are convertible. The upper portion can easily slide up or down so you can use them as waist-high waders, on warmer summer days.

G4Z Professional Zippered Stockingfoot Waders

G4Z Professional Zippered Stockingfoot Waders

Features

  • New stockingfoot construction.
  • Personalised comfort.
  • Features waterproof zipper.
  • Comes with in-built GORE-TEX belt loops.

If you spend a lot of time on the water like me, then the Simms G4 waders are the absolute best of the best. They have been redesigned and updated to ensure that you warm and stable while in water.

These waders are designed with a new compression-moulded bootie for maximum comfort and warm even wading on cold water.

The GORE-TEX 4-layer nylon shell is a functional feature that ensures all-day wearability and breathability. Even when the weather gets pretty hot, you don’t have to worry about your feet boiling in the booties.

Some of the accessories include zippered chest pockets, fly patch, sweet suspender system, microfleece-lined pockets and a retractor docking station. All these features make these waders ideal for a hard-core fly fishing trip, especially over a rough terrain.

The shoulder straps on these chest waders are the real deal too, they’re are very comfortable and highly adjustable. This means you won’t feel like they are digging deep into your clavicles even when bending and squatting.

Kids Tributary Waders Stockingfoot

Kids Tributary Waders Stockingfoot

Features

  • Lightweight children’s waders.
  • It is an anti-microbial wader featuring gravel guards.
  • Features anatomically engineered neoprene stocking feet for utility and convenience.
  • 3-layer upper and 4-layer lower side for added durability.
  • Comes with a nylon waist belt.

Going out fly fishing kids can be a whole other experience. The Simms Kid’s Tributary Waders come in at a very decent price, and allow the kids to keep up with their rough and tumble lifestyle, while keeping them warm and dry for longer, so dad can keep fishing!

They are designed from breathable and waterproof polyester, making them very comfortable for kids. As with other waders we’ve covered there is a reach-through hand-warmer pocket, designed with a fleece lining to ensure that you’re your kids keep their hands as warm as possible, especially during the cold weather.

Kids can also use these pockets to secure their fly boxes and tools within reach. They also feature suspender buckles for effortless conversion of the waders to hip waders if they are a little too warm and the water permits it.

As wutg all other summs waders they come with high quality neoprene socks and gravel guards for your boots.

Frogg Toggs Neoprene Camo Bootfoot Cleated Chest Wader

Frogg Toggs Neoprene Camo Bootfoot Cleated Chest Wader

Features

  • Reinforced rectangular knee pads.
  • Comes with top quality cleated soles.
  • Includes adjustable neoprene suspenders.
  • Glued, stitched and taped seams.

Frogg Toggs are a real up and coming brand when it come to fly fishing wading accessories. They produce some real high quality gear at a much lower price than the competitors.

These Frogg Toggs camo neoprene waders come with neoprene suspenders that feature modifiable hook-and-loop attachments to make sure they fit anybody, regardless of your body size.

The Frog Toggs come with hand warmers featuring a fleece lining to ensure that all your hands stay warm as you wait for fish to strike or you can store your hip flask if you prefer warming your hands that way.

The reinforced shins and knees on these waders ensure you are able to handle kneeling on rocks to re-tie your rig without getting wet legs in the second half of your trip.

The boots consist of 200g thinsulate rubber boots with cleated soles to provide extra grip and aren’t overly heavy, although they can be a bit of a pain to get into and out of.

My only concern with these waders is that because you’re struggling to get into and out of them over and over, I feel as if the seam between the boot and the waders would tend to wear, and leak over time.

Gator Waders Men’s Shield Series Insulated Breathable Waders

Gator Waders Men’s Shield Series Insulated Breathable Waders

Features

  • Magnetic chest pocket.
  • Includes a neo/flex rib gusset.
  • Made of 100% breathable waterproof material.
  • Features thermal cotton insulation.
  • Comes with 800g thinsulate boots.

If you’re looking for a pair of waders that is comfortable, and able to deliver excellent insulation in very cold weather then these Gator Waders Men’s Shield Series are the waders for you.

These waders are made to withstand the coldest of cold wading conditions from  -1o to 60 degrees. They have thermal cotton insulation on the inside, fleece lined pockets, reinforced knees and are completely breathable, yet waterproof.

The rib gusset allows the the waders to wrap around your body instead of collapsing and compressing around your body like other breathable waders. Because of this flexability you’re able to layer up underneath the waders on cold mornings.

TideWe Chest Waders

TideWe Chest Waders

Features

  • 100% waterproof
  • Made from premium materials
  • Reinforced, insulated rubber boots
  • Adjustable suspenders

The TideWe Chest Wader is definitely an eye-catching example of neoprene waders, with a cool camo design and bootfoot style. You’ll stay warm with these insulated waders, thanks to a 3.5mm neoprene upper and sturdy, triple-finished seams to prevent leaks.

Detailed thought has gone into every element on the TideWe Chest Wader to provide superior quality and comfort, from the thick shoulder straps that attach easily with Velcro, to the cushioning, supportive boots. There’s even a hand warmer pocket so that you can tuck your hands away on the chilliest days.

The insulated rubber boots have been specially designed to be puncture-proof and to give you excellent grip while you fish, so you can be safe at all times and prevent falls or slips.

Compass Deadfall Stockingfoot

Compass Deadfall Stockingfoot

Features

  • Extra reinforcement
  • Useful pocket
  • Breathable
  • All weather compatible

Check this model out if you’re looking for durable chest waders that will stand up to plenty of use and serve you well. The adjustable elastic suspenders ensure that you can get a great, individual fit, preventing the straps from slipping off your shoulders.

The Compass Deadfall Waders have 4mm neoprene booties which are easy to get on and off and fit well to your feet, which means no annoying digging or pinching while you’re out on the water. Made from 4-ply nylon, these breathable waders are a great choice if you’re prone to overheating and want to steer clear of neoprene waders.

You’ll stay warm in colder waters, but you can use these breathable waders in warmer weather too without getting hot and sweaty.

Frogg Toggs Pilot II Breathable

Frogg Toggs Pilot II Breathable

Features:

  • Sizes Available: LG – XXL
  • Boot Style: Stockingfoot
  • Material: 4-ply nylon construction with 4-ply leg and knee protection
  • Weight: Not disclosed
  • Warranty: Frogg Toggs warrants the Pilot II for one year from the date of purchase.

The Frogg Toggs Pilot II wader’s booties are made from 4mm neoprene and are double taped at the joints to ensure waterproofing and durability. The integrated gravel guards work effectively to keep debris and stones out of your boot while wading.

The wader comes with an elastic wading belt. Instead of one large front chest pocket, Frogg Toggs has opted to include two smaller zipped storage pouches on the Pilot II. These pockets make for ample storage for small items, but large items will not fit.

The wader has an adjustable locking chest cord that can be pulled tight to ensure a snug fit against your body. The wader comes with a one year warranty against any defects in material and workmanship.

The only downside is that the Pilot II wader is not available in a wide range of sizes.

See our full Frogg Toggs Wader Reviews here for a full breakdown.

Caddis Northern Guide Breathable Waders

CaddNorthern Guide Breathable Waders

Features:

  • Sizes Available: The four inseam lengths include Standard, Stout, Long, and Short Stout. All of these inseams are available in wader sizes ranging from S – XXL
  • Boot Style: Stockingfoot or bootfoot
  • Material: 240 Denier Heavy duty polyester.
  • Weight: Not disclosed

The Northern Guide Breathable is available either as a stockingfoot or bootfoot chest wader. The stockingfoot utilizes a high-density neoprene sock that is taped on both the in- and outside. The wader is constructed with a durable 240 denier polyester material, making it ideal for rugged terrain. The integrated gravel guards do an excellent job of keeping debris out of your wading boots. 

A large integrated zipped chest pocket allows ample storage for a phone, a small camera, a couple of tippet spools, and a fly box. This pocket is not waterproof. Behind the pocket is a reach-through fleece-lined hand-warmer pouch, for those cold days. 

The Caddis waders’ Northern Guide is hard to beat if you’re looking for a heavy-duty, high-quality wader below $200.

Check out our Caddis Waders Review here for more selection of the best waders from Caddis.

Cabela’s Classic Series II

Cabela's Classic Series II

Features:

  • Sizes Available: Boot sizes 6 – 14
  • Boot Style: Bootfoot
  • Material: Neoprene
  • Weight: Not disclosed

The Cabela’s Classic Series II is an affordable neoprene bootfoot fishing wader. It’s ideal for anglers fishing in cold climates looking for a durable and great value-for-money wader.

The rubber boots feature 3M’s 200-gram Thinsulate Insulation that keeps your feet warm in freezing water.

The reinforced knees make the wader durable and provide a soft cushion for your knee caps. The wader comes with a wading belt. A reach-through hand warming pocket is positioned on the wader’s chest area.

Unfortunately, the Classic Series II wader does not have integrated storage systems. However, it does have two strong D-rings where you can attach a chest pack or other accessories.

As with all bootfoot waders, they are sized according to the boots. The Classic II is available from size 6 (for kids and women) to 14. If you are a big-boned man, I do not recommend buying these waders online. Go to your nearest Cabela’s and try on a pair. The fit might be too snug for your liking.

Why You Should Invest in Waders for Fishing

What to Consider When Buying Fishing Waders?

So, you’ve decided you need chest waders. Now, the big question – how do you choose a pair?

There are several considerations you need to take into account when selecting waders. This section aims not to bombard you with all the options around, but rather to clarify all the variants so that you can make an informed decision at your local fly shop.

What is the Best Material for Waders?

Wader manufacturers use three different primary materials types to construct their waders. The specific material used influences durability, breathability, and cost.

You can also check out our Best Hip Waders here if you are looking for more selection.

Neoprene Waders

Neoprene waders are made from the same material as wetsuits. The thickness of the neoprene varies depending on the specific wader, where a thicker material offers more insulation. Neoprene waders are durable and ideal for cold climate and water scenarios.

Pros:

  •     Neoprene makes for a very durable wader
  •     More affordable than high-quality breathable waders
  •     The perfect choice for extremely cold scenarios

Cons:

  •     The stiffness of the material hampers angler agility
  •     Might be too hot for warmer climates
  •     Not breathable

PVC Waders

PVC waders offer the beginner angler an affordable means to get into wading. They are lightweight and flexible, which enables the angler to move more freely. In my opinion, however, this is an outdated material for waders, as breathable materials have become cheap and are far more durable.

Pros

  •     Lightweight
  •     Often comes with attached boots
  •     Cheap

Cons

  •     Nylon and PVC waders are notoriously easy to tear and offer little puncture resistance
  •     Not breathable

Breathable Waders

Breathable waders are the latest, and in my opinion, the greatest to the wader world. They are lightweight, super comfortable to wear, and relatively durable. The most noteworthy advantage is the term breathable. The material wicks moisture away from the angler’s body and allows it to pass through the material while preventing water from entering.

Pros

  •     Breathable, making them ideal for warm climates
  •     Very comfortable to wear
  •     Comes in a variety of sizes, making it possible to find the perfect fit for your body

Cons

  •     Less durable than neoprene

fly fishing waders review

Neoprene Vs. Breathable – Which to Choose?

Most modern fly fishing waders are constructed from either special, breathable fabrics, or from neoprene. Waders made from neoprene are ideal for fishing in the coldest temperatures and in very cold water. [2]

The thickness of the neoprene does make a difference, with the range generally between 3mm – 5mm. However, it’s possible to overheat and start sweating quickly if you use a neoprene insulated wader in warmer weather.

If you’re looking for something you can use all year round, you might be better considering something made from breathable fabrics, like Gore-tex, and just layering up underneath. Rather than holding in all your body heat and sweat, breathable waders for fishing allow it to escape while keeping the water out too.

So let’s get onto the reviews. Here I’ve pulled together some of the nicest waders out there, to make it really easy for you to select the right choice for you. You’ll find the features of each model, plus the pros and cons of each style so you can find the right ones to meet your requirements.

Storage Pockets

Most chest waders have at least one storage pocket. Some of the cheaper models, especially the neoprene waders, have no pockets at all. If you always wear a fishing vest or backpack, the storage space incorporated in the wader will be less critical. I know some minimalist anglers who only use these integrated pouches.

Please note, even though some manufacturers do state that the storage systems on their waders are waterproof, I have yet to come across a genuinely waterproof pouch. Always place valuables and electronic devices in a proper waterproof container.

Price

The price of chest waders can vary drastically. Affordable waders may be purchased under $100, whereas premium brands can charge well over $800. The price depends on the material used and where the waders are made. You pay a premium for well-known brands.

After Sales Service

It is challenging for any wader manufacturing company to offer extended warranties on fishing waders. Waders take a great deal of beating, and the extent of use varies from angler to angler. However, some companies offer up to a year’s worth of warranty and will repair any leaks beyond that timeframe.

Boot Style

Both neoprene and breathable waders come in either a boot-foot or stockingfoot format. Boot-foot waders have integrated rubber boots, while separate wading boots must be purchased with stockingfoot waders. Each variant has its pros and cons.

Boot-foot waders

A boot foot wader is just that – it covers you from foot to chest, and has a pair of boots attached to the waders. With these you don’t need any boots – you can just put this on and you’re ready to go, with full waterproof protection.

Now let’s talk negatives. Boot foot waders can be more tricky to put on, they are pretty heavy and provide a highly vulnerable area where the boot connects to the wader material. Furthermore, if you have a good pair of wading boots, then you’re forced to use a (usually) cheaper pair of rubber boots to walk around in all day.

Pros

  • The boot is incorporated with the wader
  • Very quick to put on and take off
  • Cheaper than the same wader bought with separate boots

Cons

  • The wader is sized according to the boot, making it impossible to customize the fit
  • Limited boot sole options.
  • Boot-foot waders are bulky, which is why they’re not the best option if you regularly travel

Stocking-foot waders

A lot of anglers opt for stockingfoot waders. Instead of full wading boots, these fishing waders have a neoprene sock which you wear separate fishing shoes over the top. So you get to stay dry and have the ability to wear a great pair of boots that will keep you safe and comfortable all day long.

Many people find this type much easier to get into, and they do pack away smaller than the boot foot alternative. However, once you’ve factored in a pair of wading boots you’ll find that you don’t have much money left for a fly rod.

Pros

  • It is possible to get the best fit as there are many wader and boot sizes available
  • There are many boot sole options to choose from, including various rubber compounds, felt, studs, and aluminum bars
  • More comfortable to travel with as the wader and boots can be packed separately

Cons

  • Can work out quite expensive, compared to the equivalent boot-foot wader
  • It takes some time to put on and take off

Hip / wading pants

If you’ll be sticking to fairly shallow water, then hip waders might be just the thing you need. Some have attached boots and others don’t.

Designed for use in shallower depths and chilly temperatures, hip waders give protection up to the hip and tend to be more lightweight and comfortable than the above options. Wading pants are similar but they fit more closely, just like a comfy pair of pants.

However, if you’re one to push your limits and be adventurous, they can be very dangerous. If water goes over the brim you’ll find yourself with 2 very heavy legs and struggling to swim. This is one of the biggest killers in the fly fishing world. [1]

Waders Fit

If you fish often, it is of paramount importance that you are comfortable in your chosen chest wader. They should not restrict your movement. Unfortunately, boot-foot waders are sized according to the size of the boot. Therefore, it is quite rare to get an exact fit.

Breathable waders are available in a wide range of sizes. Therefore, they are ideal if a custom-fit is of great importance to you.

Climate

climate chest waders

Where and in what temperatures (air and water) will you be doing most of your fishing? Neoprene waders are ideal for extremely cold scenarios like winter Steelhead fishing in Alaska. However, that same pair of waders will make it hard to fish Montana during summer. A breathable wader will be better suited here.

If you have to choose one wader to do it all, a breathable wader selected one size up would be my recommendation. In cold areas, you can simply wear thermal insulating clothing under the wader.

Portability

How portable do the pair of chest waders need to be? If you leave them in your riverside cabin, they don’t need to be mobile at all, and a pair of boot-foot neoprene waders will work well. A lightweight, breathable wader folds up surprisingly small and is ideal for the angler who regularly travels or hikes into the wilderness.

Zip vs. No Zip

Advancements in zip design have made it possible to produce fully waterproof zips. These zips have made their way into wader construction and allow the angler to open and close their wader when nature calls quickly. Waterproof zips do come at a premium and considerably increase the cost of the chest wader.

If you’re interested, you can check out our post here on best fly fishing hip pack.

fly fishing waders wrap up

Conclusion on the Best Fly Fishing Waders for Men

If you just want the best of the best then we recommend any of the Simms waders. They are built for professional fisherman and guides, by an experienced team of professional guides.

I’ve personally gone through about 5 pairs of waders over the past 20 years of fly fishing. The backcountry is never too kind on them. I started with the cheaper waders that would last a season and have since been exclusively using Simms as they tend to last the longest. I have had the G3 guide Waders or the past 4 years and have performed excellently.

Having breathable, sturdy waders can make all the difference to your enjoyment when you’re fishing. You’ll stay comfortable, so you can get even more time out there and push your hobby to new limits. You won’t be limited to sticking to very shallow water in wading boots or only fishing in warm weather.

If you’re looking to invest in the best fly fishing waders, any of our recommendations should do the job well. They combine the best features for comfort, practicality, and ease of use. You’ll just wish you’d bought yourself some sooner!

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