Best Fly Fishing Waders

In this post we review the best fly fishing waders even breathable stockingfoot waders. We'll let you know what stands out on each waders and where to buy them.
best fly fishing waders

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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.

Image Product Details  
flyfisherpro-table__imageBest Budget WadersFrogg Toggs Pilot II Breathable
  • 30 ounces
  • Stockingfoot
  • 4-ply nylon
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest Overall WadersSimms G3 Guide Wader
  • 45 ounces
  • Stockingfoot
  • 3-layer Gore-Tex
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest Compact WadersPatagonia Middle Fork Packable
  • 26 ounces
  • Stockingfoot or Bootfoot
  • 3 -layer nylon
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One of the biggest problems with all fly fishing waders is the durability. Like a boat, once you get a leak you slowly begin to fill up with water. So ensuring you get a durable pair of waders is essential. All of the waders that we’ve reviewed provide a high level of durability at different price points, and with different features.

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.

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. G3 Guide Waders – Stockingfoot – best high-quality waders that will last a lifetime (USA made)
  2. Frogg Toggs Hellbender Breathable Stockingfoot Chest Wader – best budget waders overall under $100
  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

ultralight fly fishing

Why You Should Invest in Waders for Fishing

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 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.

What are the Different Types of Fly Fishing 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 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.

If you are interested, check out our post here on the Best Wading Boots.

fishing waders review

Stockingfoot

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. You can also see our post on the Best Fishing Shoes here.

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.

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]

For our full best hip waders review see our post here.

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.

The Best Waders for Fly Fishing

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-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.

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 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 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.
  • Includes an oversized multi-function chest pocket.
  • Choice of slate and grey.

What stands out?

Arguably one of the best fishing waders in the market right now, 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.

See also our Frogg Toggs Wader Reviews for our full breakdown of Frogg Toggs waders.

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 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.

What stands out?

These 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

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.
  • Includes gravel guards.

What stands out?

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.

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.
  • Some of the most durable waders.
  • Great for maximising time in 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. 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!

For our full Redington Sonic Pro Waders Review see our post here.

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?

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

stockingfoot slate waders

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

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

What stands out?

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 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 nylon waist belt.

What stands out?

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.

You can check full breakdown of the Best Kids Fishing Waders here.

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?

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 compeditors.

These 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

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?

If you’re looking for a pair of waders that is comfortable, and able to deliver excellent insulation in very cold weather then these 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

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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.

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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