best fly fishing waders

Best Fly Fishing Waders in 2020

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So you’re thinking about getting yourself some waders? Here’s what you need to know. Essentially, they will allow you to fish comfortably in colder waters, whilst staying dry and warm. If you want to take your fishing to the next level, check out our guide to choosing the right ones for you.

Top Pick
Compass 360 Deadfall Breathable STFT Chest Wader
Lightweight
Frogg Toggs Canyon II Breathable Stockingfoot...
Durable
Orvis Encounter Waders/Only Regular, XL
Compass 360 Deadfall Breathable STFT Chest Wader
Frogg Toggs Canyon II Breathable Stockingfoot...
Orvis Encounter Waders/Only Regular, XL
3-layer polyester construction on the upper
4-ply nylon upper
100% nylon outer shell
4mm foot fit stretch neoprene booties
4mm double-taped neoprene booties
Kangaroo style hand-warmer pocket
1 year warranty
With quick-release locking buckle
Mesh zippered storage pocket
Top Pick
Compass 360 Deadfall Breathable STFT Chest Wader
Compass 360 Deadfall Breathable STFT Chest Wader
3-layer polyester construction on the upper
4mm foot fit stretch neoprene booties
1 year warranty
Lightweight
Frogg Toggs Canyon II Breathable Stockingfoot...
Frogg Toggs Canyon II Breathable Stockingfoot...
4-ply nylon upper
4mm double-taped neoprene booties
With quick-release locking buckle
Durable
Orvis Encounter Waders/Only Regular, XL
Orvis Encounter Waders/Only Regular, XL
100% nylon outer shell
Kangaroo style hand-warmer pocket
Mesh zippered storage pocket

Best Fly Fishing Waders (Quick Guide)

We’ve reviewed over 100 different pairs of chest and hip waders and have come to the conclusion that the best fly fishing waders are:

  1. Frogg Toggs Hellbender Breathable Stockingfoot Chest Wader – best budget waders overall under $100
  2. G3 Guide Waders – Stockingfoot – best high-quality waders that will last a lifetime (USA made)
  3. Cabela’s Premium Breathable Stocking-Foot Fishing Waders – best waders around $100
  4. Simms Tributary Stockingfoot Waders – best premium waders under $200 (USA made)
  5. Redington Sonic-Pro HDZ Waders – great mid-priced waders
  6. Orvis Men’s Ultralight Convertible Wader – lightweight premium convertible stockingfoot waders
  7. G4Z Professional Zippered Stockingfoot Waders – best all-around zippered waders (USA made)
  8. Kids Tributary Waders Stockingfoot – Best reasonably priced hardwearing kids waders (USA made)
  9. Frogg Toggs Neoprene Camo Bootfoot Cleated Chest Wader – Best camo waders around $150
  10. Gator Waders Mens Shield Series Insulated Breathable Waders – Best insulated camo waders for winter

In a hurry? 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.

We also have made a deal with the team from Waders.com to offer you a 7% discount off their line (which is a lot more competitive than Amazon). Just use the code HPCCX9 at checkout.

The Best Waders for Fly Fishing in 2020

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. The best waders for fishing are:

Frogg Toggs Hellbender Breathable Stockingfoot Chest Wader

Frogg Toggs Hellbender II

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Best Budget Waders Overall Under $100
Rating: 4.5/5.0

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

Whar stands out?

Arguably one of the best fly fishing waders in the market right now, especially if you are looking to buy a fly fishing wader under $100.

The outer layer of this wader is made of nylon shell, designed for higher abrasion resistance, breathability and lightweight nature. For purposes of extreme water holdout, the middle layer is made of waterproof material and ensures ultra-flexibility.

Furthermore, the inner layer is very comfortable since it is made of cool micro-textured and smooth tricot fabric. This is why you will feel minimal skin contact while wearing it.

If you are looking for something to last you incredibly long, especially during long days on the water, you will find this breathable stocking foot chest wader particularly fantastic.

You don’t have to be concerned whether the waders will fit because they come in a variety of sizes, ranging from small, large, medium tout and even XX-large for both ladies and gents.

G3 Guide Waders – Stockingfoot

g3 guide stockingfoot

Best High-Quality Waders that will Last a Lifetime (USA made)
Rating: 5.0/5.0

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

What stands out?

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 are no different.

These stocking foot waders have been re-engineered to ensure that all of you fly fishing trips are not only fun but comfortable too. 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.

Furthermore, 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 while fly fishing.

The upper part of the wader is made of three layers to improve its breathability.

What really stands out about these stocking foot waders is the fact that they feel more supple but deliver impressive performance. Moreover, they also improved the chest pockets and the wait belt loops too.

These waders will last you a lifetime but at a fraction of the price.

Cabela’s Premium Breathable Stocking-Foot Fishing Waders

Cabelas Premium Breathable Stocking Foot

Best Waders Around $100
Rating: 4.5/5.0

  • There is a women’s version of the waders.
  • It features an updated fit.
  • It has cushioned shoulder straps.
  • It offers exceptional entry level price-to-value ratio.

What stands out?

If you are out shopping and you want waders for the money but checks all the boxes, this amazing entry level Cabela breathable wader is a great place to start.

These fly fishing waders are designed to fit better and offer better mobility. Furthermore, it also features contoured neoprene waders, which are made of non-slip rubber to ensure that you don’t shift while wearing them.

The entire fabric on these fly fishing waders use 4MOST DRY-PLUS to ensure breathability, like on many of the manufacturer’s products.

You will find the knees particularly durable because of the three layers and come with built-in gravel gaiters. Also, they are rubberised to make sure they stay put.

Although the fly fishing wader gear is pretty simple, it comes with some amazing extras like the large internal pocket and a wading belt. You will also find the cushy neoprene suspenders handy and they come in variety of fits.

Simms Tributary Stockingfoot Waders

tributary stockingfoot

Best Premium Waders Under $200 (USA made)
Rating: 4.5/5.0

  • 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.
  • Features self-fabric gravel guards.

What stands out?

If you don’t mind spending a little more to get the finest things in life, you can try these Simms Tributary Stockingfoot Waders.

The fly fishing gear is ideal for fishing in every kind of weather but still remains very comfortable. It doesn’t matter whether you want to go fly fishing during the windy days on the clear tail water of the snowy times of the year.

Furthermore, they are ideal for cold water fly fishing while keeping your feet warm or as you negotiate through trails.

One thing I found pretty comforting about these waders is their guarantee. In case of any defects on the pair you buy, you can easily get them replaced as soon as possible. It is even possible to repair them at a reasonable fee after excessive wear.

In case it gets very cold, you can take advantage of the reach-through fleece lined hand-warmer pockets on the waders. These pockets also feature a zippered top stash pocket.

Redington Sonic-Pro HDZ Waders

Redington Sonic-Pro HDZ wading boots

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Great Mid-Priced Waders
Rating:4.5/5.0

  • It features 2-sided fleece-lined hand-warmer pockets.
  • Includes a TIZIP waterproof zipper.
  • It takes a durable design.
  • The HDZ is ideal for maximising time on the cold water.

What stands out?

The Sonic Pro HDZ is an amazing wader that takes a durable design of the previous Sonic Pro HD wader. Moreover, it includes some pretty amazing features, which contribute to making it a great mid-priced wader.

The fly fishing wader comes 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 and out of reach.

I found the articulated knees pretty functional since the system allows you to gain a full range of motion without any constraints, which is a plus.

The fly fishing gear is doubled taped at the back and includes a slim wading belt for a perfect fit and comfort.

What really stands out about these chest waders is the use of the bi-component fabric. The fabric combines hydrophilic and hydrophobic properties.

That is why these chest waders have excellent waterproof capability but at the same time allow moisture to escape. Therefore, the membrane ensures that you remain completely dry through moisture displacement.

Orvis Men’s Ultralight Convertible Wader

Orvis Mens Ultralight Convertible Wader

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Lightweight Premium Convertible Stockingfoot Waders
Rating: 4.5/5.0

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

What stands out?

Orvis went out of its way to simply some of its waders, including the Orvis Men’s Ultralight Convertible Wader.

The simplification now makes it an ever better fit, ideal for easily movement and storage.

You will find these premium chest waders very light, making use of the new sealed seam and stitched construction ensuring that the waders have lighter seams.

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 outstanding feature on these waders is that they are convertible. They are convertible in the sense that the upper portion can easily slide up or down to use them as waist-high waders, especially during the hot fly fishing days.

The best way to convert them is by using the FIDLOCK SNAP feature, a magnetic fastener, to easily pop loose its attachments or pop back into position.

G4Z Professional Zippered Stockingfoot Waders

stockingfoot slate waders

Best All-Around Zippered Waders (USA made)
Rating: 4.0/5.0

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

What stands out?

If you spend a lot time on the water like me, then you will find these chest waders especially cool. 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 of the booties overcooking your feet.

Additionally, there are zippered chest pockets, fly patch, sweet suspender system, micro fleece-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 over a many days.

The shoulder straps on these chest waders are the real deal.

These shoulder straps are very comfortable and highly adjustable. This means you won’t feel like they are digging deep into your clavicles. Therefore it gives you adequate room to bend and squat.

These waders wear pretty well!.

Kids Tributary Waders Stockingfoot

kids tributary stockingfoot

Best Reasonably Priced Hardwearing Kids Waders (USA made)
Rating: 4.5/5.0

  • 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 38mm nylon waist belt.

What stands out?

Going out fly fishing kids can be a whole other experience. Therefore, it would be best to find the best fly fishing gear. Good news is that there are many available, low-priced options to choose from like the Simms Kid’s Tributary Waders.

These fly fishing waders are designed with breathable and water-proof polyester, making them very comfortable for kids. This is because of the 3-layer upper part and 4-layer bottom side.

Furthermore, 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.

Also, they feature suspender buckles for effortless conversion of the waders to hip waders. Additionally, there is a centre leg seam construction and an articulated patterning that you will find ideal for you kids.

They also come with similar high-quality neoprene waders like the G3s plus the gravel guards.

Frogg Toggs Neoprene Camo Bootfoot Cleated Chest Wader

Frogg Toggs Amphib 3.5mm Neoprene Camo Bootfoot

Best Camo Waders Around $150
Rating: 4.5/5.0

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

What stands out?

Fly fishing is a fun and thrilling experience that could easily feel like a tactical adventure. Therefore, it is only ideal that you dress the part.

With the Frogg Toggs Neoprene Camo Bootfoot Cleated Chest Wader for pro waders, you can add a tactical feel to your fly fishing experience.

The top quality camo neoprene waders come with neoprene suspenders that feature modifiable hook-and-loop attachments to make sure they fit anybody, regardless of their body size.

Additionally, the boot foot waders come with hand warmers featuring fleece lining to ensure that all your hands stay warm as you wait for fish to strike. Furthermore, you can use these fleece lined pockets to store small personal items.

The reinforced shins and knees are particularly functional on these chest waders.

Since the fly fish chest waders are made of 3mm neoprene material, they allow for easy mobility and flexibility. Also, these boot foot waders feature 200g thinsulate rubber boots with cleated soles to ensure you walk on muddy and slippery surfaces easily.

Gator Waders Men’s Shield Series Insulated Breathable Waders

Gator Waders Men's Shield Series Insulated Breathable

Best Insulated Camo Waders for Winter
Rating: 4.5/5.0

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

What stands out?

Pro waders always look out for wader fly fishing attire that are comfortable, high-quality and deliver excellent protection. Gator waders seemingly understands the needs of pro waders and that is why it introduced this amazing fishing wader.

These Gator wading pants are popular because of their optimum levels of comfort and quality coming with some pretty incredible features to allow for waterproof protection and durability.

The elastic high hip waders are also light and typically breathable. Furthermore, it is easy to wrap these hip waders around your body rather than collapsing them because of the Neo/Flex rib gusset. They are also instrumental in allowing for expansion, especially during very cold mornings and evening time of the day.

When you combine the leg reinforcements that can go through 360 degrees and the magnetic chest pocket, what you get are impressive quality fly fish waders for the money to use any time of day.

TideWe Chest Waders

TideWe Chest Waders

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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.

The Good

  • 100% waterproof
  • Made from premium materials to prevent any leakage and ensure that you stay warm and dry
  • With reinforced, insulated rubber boots in this bootfoot model, you’ll have everything you need to get fishing straight away
  • Keep your valuables dry in a small chest pocket
  • Easy to put on and remove due to the adjustable suspenders
  • One of the best waders for avid anglers who take their fishing seriously and are looking for a bootfoot style!

The Bad

  • More expensive than some other models, so not ideal if you’re on a budget
  • The sizing can be misleading – TideWe recommends that you buy one size down as the fit is very long, but if you’re stockier you might find it’s better to stick with your normal size

Compass Deadfall Stockingfoot

Compass Deadfall Stockingfoot waders

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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.

The Good

  • Extra reinforcement around the shins and knees makes these waders even more durable and strong, so you can use them for years
  • Useful pocket to keep things handy and dry while you’re fishing
  • Breathable – so you can fish for as long as you like without getting sweaty or overheating
  • Great for use in all weathers and water temperatures, helping you stay at the optimal temperature

The Bad

  • On the expensive end of the scale, this might be too much of an investment for beginner anglers on a budget
  • As these are stockingfoot waders, you’ll need to invest in a pair of wading boots too.

TideWe Bootfoot

TideWe Bootfoot waders

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The TideWe fishing waders with boots are lightweight, waterproof and suitable for men and women. Quick release buttons on the suspenders make these easy to put on, and they pack down to a small size.

The Good

  • Strong and sturdy material which will stand up to a lot of hard use.
  • Wide shoulder straps prevent digging for a comfortable fit
  • Generous pockets to keep all your gear close at hand.

The Bad

  • The boot sizes are fairly small and tight, so you will need to size up if you have wide feet or want extra padding from thick socks.
  • The chest pocket is not waterproof but splash-proof, with no seals to keep water out
  • The water pressure can cause the rubber of the boots to press down on your feet.

ultralight fly fishing

Why You Should Invest in Waders

Waders are essential for most avid anglers – they allow you to fish in colder waters without suffering from the chill or getting uncomfortably damp.

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 and not have to worry about the water temperature, and you’ll stay warm and dry, no matter how many hours you’re out there for.

What are the Different Types of Waders?

There are three main types to choose from. Let’s dive into the main differences, so you can pinpoint the type that would suit you best.

Bootfoot

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

Having said that, it can be more tricky to put on these fishing waders with boots, and they are pretty heavy, too.

fishing waders review

Stockingfoot

A lot of anglers opt for stockingfoot waders. These cover you from foot to waist or more often, to chest. Instead of full wading boots, these fishing waders have a neoprene sock which you wear separate wading boots over the top.

Many people find this type much easier to get into, and they do pack away smaller than the bootfoot alternative. However, once you’ve factored in a pair of wading boots, you’ll find that there’s not a lot of difference in weight between bootfoot and stockingfoot waders.

Hip / wading pants

If you’ll be sticking to fairly shallow water, then this 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]

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.

waterproof fishing waders

Wrap Up

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!

References

[1] https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Man-drowns-at-Point-Reyes-when-fishing-waders-13828378.php

[2] https://1source.basspro.com/news-tips/fishing-gear/5352/you-need-know-these-5-things-when-choosing-fishing-waders

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