The Best Fishing Waders
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Look for fishing waders with these features:
-Comfortable for sitting in the boat
-Easy to walk in
-Sock made of neoprene in cold weather
-Goretex material for hot weather
-Boots with slip resistant sole
-Compatible with a wader belt
Booted vs Stocking Feet
Boot waders have the boot attached to the wader. It sounds like the best option, no need for extra boots, just jump into the waders and wade into the pond. However, it is not really as great as that. The boot that is welded to the waders is really a rubber boot, one, for example, you might use in the garden, which is great at being waterproof but not the most comfortable of footwear. Also, they are not great if you are wading on rocky and uneven ground as the boot is not as securely attached to your foot as a standard boot, meaning you may loose your footing. Also, waders are sized for your leg length, the boot is not sized, if you have big or small feet you may find that for waders that fit your legs, the boot is too big or too small.
Stocking feet waders have a, usually, neoprene sock welded to the end of the wader for your foot. With these waders, you need to wear a boot over the wader sock. It is best to have boots that are designed to be worn in water for a long time. These types of boots are similar in design to good walking boots, the only difference being the fact they are designed to be submerged in water. This means that they offer good ankle protection and a better grip on rocky surfaces. Stocking feet waders give you more versatility, you are not limited to only one type of boot, you can change boots depending on the type of swim, the boots will be a better fit, and if the weather is hot, you can just skip the waders and just wade out in your shorts and boots. Also, you can put stocking feet waders in your washing machine, booted waders just destroy your washer. We prefer stocking feet waders for these reasons.
Hip Waders vs Chest Waders
Hip and chest waders refer to the height of the wader, either to hip level or chest level. Both will keep you dry, but with the hip level you have to be aware of the water level and if there are waves. You don’t want water rising above the top of the waders as you stand the chance of your waders filling with water which will make you unbalanced and movement difficult. I prefer chest waders, not because you can wade deeper, that is not the reason and you should not wade deeper than thigh height anyway, as there is no need to, just cast to the deeper water. But chest waders just offer you that extra height of wader so that if there is a wave or you stumble a bit the chance of water getting over the top of the wader and into the wader is less. Also, most chest waders have a handy pocket to store stuff in on your chest.
This depends on when you will be using them. If you only ever fish in cold water, cold climates, or winter fishing, then non-breathable waders are probably best. If you are a spring, summer, or find you will be fishing in warmer climates, then breathable. But what is the difference, you ask?
Neoprene vs. breathable
Neoprene is the same type of material used in wetsuits. It is semi-breathable and semi-permeable. What that means is that you kind of get wet from sweat when you wear them (hence the name WETsuit). That sweat forms a layer that gets heated by your body temperature thereby keeping you warm. You actually feel dry in them and they do a great job at keeping you warm. What you gain in warmth, you lose in maneuverability though. This means they are not the best waders if you will find yourself walking far distances up or downstream. But they do come in varying thicknesses and if you find you will need more maneuverability, the thinner weight will be the ones you want to look into.
These are very durable waders and are easy to patch if they get punctured. Though, it is very difficult to puncture them. For fishing in cold waters, they are ideal. They can make you overheat if the water temperature is not that cold, however. Breathable material like Gore-Tex is lightweight and allow for greater mobility, they allow the vapor created in the waders to escape, while still preventing water from entering. They also keep you dry and comfortable and are ideal for warmer waters. If the water is cold but not too frigid, with the proper layering underneath, you could still use breathable waders rather than neoprene. Having that kind of mobility makes it a great option if you need to walk from spot to spot and don’t want to take your waders on and off when moving around.
Non- breathable fishing waders made out of materials such as neoprene, PVC, nylon, and even rubber are 100% waterproof and are designed to keep you warm. They are great for cold waters and cold climates, but beware that if you are wearing non-breathable waders in spring, you will feel great whilst in the water but as soon as you leave and walk to the shore your will start to sweat and feel the heat. Non-breathable waders are generally less expensive than breathable and more durable, but not as easy and comfortable to walk in.
Neoprene waders are great for very cold waters and active anglers, it is a synthetic rubber, usually, 5mm thick, and are waterproof. Neoprene fishing waders also have the advantage of being very durable and rarely rips or tears, but if it does, is actually very easy to repair. PVC and Nylon fishing waders are often more affordable than neoprene and lighter, but not as suitable for very cold waters, although you can always wear thermal pants under these waders.
Breathable waders are in general more versatile and comfortable, and many fly fishermen swear by them in all seasons. For many reasons, the fabric on breathable fishing waders is generally thinner than non-breathable fishing waders, which means you can wear them as you walk from your car to the fishing site, which sometimes is not as close as you would like. There are several different manufacturers of breathable but waterproof fabrics; Gore-Tex, N2No, Vapour-Tec to name a few, they all work on very similar principles.
Gore-Tex is the oldest and possibly the world leader in breathable waterproof fabrics, which makes gore-tex fishing waders a great option if you are leaning towards a more breathable option. All breathable and waterproof fabric works great for fishing waders because they prevent and repel water from entering your fishing waders, but at the same time allow perspiration vapor to escape allowing for the body to maintain a good temperature via the evaporation of sweat. To do this, the fabric is coated or laminated. The coating is liquid chemical solutions which have been applied to the inside of the fabric. Laminates are another material, it is a waterproof and breathable membrane that is applied to the fabric wall. Similar to covering your kid's school books with sticky back plastic or a cellphone screen protector. The laminates are either a stretched PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), or Teflon to use DuPont the paint and chemicals companies brand name, PU (polyurethane) film or Polyester film.
Gore-Tex fishing waders use a PTFE membrane laminate. If you were to look at this PTFE membrane under a very high powered microscope, you would see millions of holes. Now wait a minute, why would we want to use a material that is a membrane that is literally full of holes and how does that allow them to be waterproof? Well, it works because the holes in the membrane are too small to let liquid water molecules through, but large enough to let water vapor molecules out. This means that the only way in which liquid water can penetrate through a PTFE membrane is either the PTFE becomes contaminated or damaged in some way, or the water is pushed at high pressure onto the membrane, in excess of 13psi. The current of even fast rapids is nowhere near this level of pressure so gore-tex waders will be your best defense against water getting into your waders.
If you are fishing for salmon in Canada, for instance, and the air temperature won’t go up past 40 degrees and the water temp is a hair above freezing. Thick neoprene waders are ideal. Especially if you are standing in one spot for a while and don’t need much mobility. Say you are fishing where the air temperature is warm and the water is cold but not freezing. A pair of Gore-Tex waders with a layer of insulated long underwear underneath would do the job nicely. So do the research and figure out where you will be spending most of your time, then once you figure that out, you will know which fishing waders to start looking into.
Top Ten Fishing Waders
1. Caddis 5 ply Breathable Wader
Caddis are fairly new to the marketplace as wader manufacturers go, but that by no means that they don’t know what they are doing. Caddis understand that a wader needs to be more than just waterproof, and the modern angler needs comfort and durability as well as waterproofing. Caddis 5ply breathable wader is exactly water the name says, it is a 5 layer breathable fabric wader. What Caddis have done is to take two breathable layers and 2 durable layers and sandwich them together under a face fabric, this has produced a very strong and durable wader, that will keep you dry from the river and dry from your own sweat.Read more
The knees and seat of the waders have been reinforced to protect these areas. As you know most waders wear quickest on the seat and knees. All the seams are glued, then stitched and finally taped to give them strength. The neoprene soles of the booties will keep your feet dry and warm. And gravel guard will help stop riverbed grave from getting into the top of your boots. All pockets are zipped with waterproof zippers. The waders also include a free wader belt and repair kit, although I don’t think you would be needing the repair kit due to the excellent construction of these waders. The shoulder braces have a D-ring at each of the attachment points on the front and rear, 3 D-rings in total, to enable you to hang landing nets and wading stick, or anything else you think you need to hang.
These Caddis 5 ply Breathable Waders are very comfortable with handwarmer pockets, knobbly soles, with adjustable suspenders, and breathable taupe boot waders.
These Caddis 5 ply Breathable Wader outer fabric is made from polyester.
These waders work great in all types of weather conditions and make sure to keep you warm and comfortable while you are fishing.
2. TideWe Bootfoot Chest Wader
The TideWe Bootfoot Chest Wader is made from nylon-reinforced PVC upper with waterproof boot attachment and taped seams which guarantees that are as waterproof as you can get. You’ll love wearing these waders because you’ll always know that you are protected from the cold water when you wear them. Also, they are extremely comfortable and provide you with all the support and protection you’ll need. The profile of the waders is slimmer than most just make sure you choose one size larger than normal as you will be able to fit in them better. They are 35% lighter than traditional rubber waders due to them being made from nylon with two-ply upper fabric. They are all purpose designed to keep you warm and cozy during fishing, hiking, or during any outdoor activity.Read more
The upper of the wader features a very large chest pocket is great for all the gadgets you need at hand, as well as having space for your phone or camera to take that all important photo of the fish you just hooked. These fishing waders also come with a waterproof phone case to keep your phone or personal items safe and dry. With all of these pockets, you’ll be able to easily organize and carry your items along with you, and you’ll have all the protection you need.
The entire top part of the wader can be lowered to form a wait height wader without removing the over shoulder braces or suspenders. This is very helpful if you are feeling just a little too warm and want to quickly cool down without having to drop the suspenders off your shoulders and getting them wet in the river. The booties are waterproof and made from nylon which keeps your feet very warm and dry. Protected with flat panel gravel guard to protect your boots and ankle from river bed gravel. The gravel guards drain quickly and resist abrasion and wear from general hiking and wading to and from the fishing area. These waders are a great product, and you’ll love everything that they bring to you whenever you use them.
These fishing waders are 35% lighter than traditional rubber waders as the nylon is two-ply upper fabric. This fabric with single seam contraction and placing all seams away from high water areas decreases the chance of any seam leakage. They are designed to allow maximum movement, whether you are swinging your leg out over the side of a boat or scrambling up and down stone covered river banks, you won’t feel restricted. The flexibility of these waders is a nice bonus because it adds to how comfortable these waders really are, and you’ll feel great whenever you have them on.
You get decent breathability with these waders, which are designed to push any sweat and moisture away from your skin and to the exterior of the garment. With mesh vents to help promote extra breathability, you’ll get a lot of decent ventilation with these waders, and you shouldn’t have to worry about overheating whenever you are out fishing. These waders are 100% waterproof being made from nylon-reinforced PVC upper with waterproof boot attachment and taped seams. The boots are also Water Intrusion Resistance which helps seal the boot and keep the boot protected in all types of weather conditions.
3. Tung Hsing Lon Fishing Chest Waders
Not only are these fishing waders highly rated but also are built for tough weather conditions, which means you will get years from these waders. They are best for cold water fishing, as they are highly insulated, which means you will be warm during the spring, fall, and winter seasons. If you will find yourself doing more summer fishing, you may want to check out another pair of waders from this list that have more ventilation to keep you cool but dry.Read more
The spring runs best features is the insulation to keep the heat in while fishing in colder waters. The hand warmer pocket is also a nice feature to give you that extra edge and protection to stay warm while experiencing the colder elements. With so many amazing features, you can see why these waders might be an excellent choice for you if you find you will be doing more winter, fall, or spring fishing.
These fishing waders come with some unique pockets such as the fleece lined hand warmer pocket, to give you that extra protection if you find you will be using these waders in some cold weather. Additional to the hand warmer pocket, the spring runs also have a number of velcro pockets to secure your fly boxes, extra reels, or anything you find you brought out with you on your day of fishing.
These fishing waders will keep you dry but since they are constructed for colder waters and seasons. They are not the most breathable pair of waders on our list, but if you are using them for colder seasons then they are perfect as you want to keep the heat in. If using these waders for the summer season, be prepared to burn some calories.
These fishing waders are built with 5mm neoprene which means they are quite the durable pair of fishing waders and will keep you protected against the elements and dry. But this thickness also means in the summer they can get quite warm and cause some sweating to build up in the waders. These waders also have padded knees for that extra advantage while fishing for that next big catch.
4. Hodgman Mackenzie Nylon
Hodgman Mackenzie Nylon’s fishing waders offer you an excellent choice in lightweight, durable fishing waders that are waterproof and built to keep you warm when you have to hit the cold water. You’ll get abrasion-resistant, very durable waders if you select these, and they are built to last. Plus, they’ll offer a lot of comfort and ventilation as well.Read more
These waders are made with adjustable spenders, which help create the perfect fit each time you wear them. Plus, you’ll love how flexible the material is since these waders are made to help you avoid chafing.
These waders come with internal pockets, which helps to add convenience when you need to carry items along with you. The pockets include waterproof zippers so you know your items will stay safe and protected. You’ll be able to organize your items decently and enjoy carrying what you need with you.
Made to be lightweight, these fishing waders are about 35% less than traditional rubber waders, so you get a lot of protection in this lightweight design. You’ll love the tough nylon shell fabric, which is made to keep the fishing waders waterproof.
These fishing waders are designed to be breathable, and feature mesh vents for extra ventilation. You won’t need to worry about overheating or sitting in your own sweat all day when you wear these waders. You’ll feel very comfortable and protected from abrasions and other potential mishaps.
5. Sougayilang Boot-Foot Chest Waders
Sougayilang’s Boot-Foot Chest Waders are built to last and are very durable and waterproof. You’ll get great protection from the cold water anytime you wear them. Plus, the breathability is excellent.Read more
These waders feature adjustable spenders and are built to be durable and strong. You also get a comfortable built-in boot to help keep your feet warm and protected.
You get one chest pocket on these waders, which won’t be enough if you like keeping your items organized and want several pockets. If you are okay with having few pockets, then these waders might work out for you. If not, it might be difficult for you to enjoy these waders.
These Sougayilang Boot-Foot Chest Waders are designed with durable and flexible PVC construction, so they are built to last. They are abrasion resistant and waterproof, and they also come with fully welded seams. You’ll get a lot of long-lasting protection anytime you hit the cold water.
These waders are designed with good breathability, and feature mesh vents that help moisture-wick. So, as you sweat, your perspiration won’t build up inside the waders and make you feel uncomfortable. You’ll get plenty of ventilation so you won’t need to worry about overheating when you wear these waders.
6. Lone Cone Adjustable Delux
Lone Cone’s Adjustable Delux Waders are made to be very durable and waterproof, so you’ll get plenty of protection from the cold water when you wear them. Also, they are made to be breathable and vent well, and they are designed with a durable, high-quality structure.Read more
These fishing waders are very easy to keep clean, which is a real bonus for anybody that uses them. Also, they are easy to adjust so that you can make them fit right each time you put them on.
These fishing waders don’t feature many pockets on them, but you do get an exterior chest pocket with them. Really, that’s probably not enough pockets. If you like having a lot of pockets and places to put things, then you’ll want to get a different pair of waders, since these don’t have that many pockets.
Made from durable neoprene fabric, these fishing waders are very waterproof and highly durable. They are built to be long-lasting and are also very warm, featuring neoprene insulation and fully taped seams. The fabric that comprises these waders is made with to keep water out and keep you warm whenever you are in cold water.
These fishing waders are very breathable, and designed with good mesh vents. You’ll get a lot of ventilation out of these fishing waders, and they are designed to be moisture-wicking. They’ll push the moisture from your sweat out to the exterior area of the fishing waders, so you won’t need to worry about feeling uncomfortable, overheating, or soaking in your own sweat.
7. Frogg Toggs Canyon II
Lightweight nylon shell and DriPore2Gen breathable fabric are what the Pilot II from Frogg Toggs is constructed from. So, if you are looking for something lightweight and long-lasting that will also give you a lot of comfort, these waders might be the ones for you. You’ll be protected from the cold water as well as any abrasions, and you’ll feel comfortable all day long.Read more
The lower wader is 6ply for extra durability, the seat is reinforced and has extra padding. The booties are 4mm neoprene which has double taped seams, above the booties are nylon gravel guards with non-slip elastic opening and corrosion proof boot lace hook to hold the gravel guards in place. The shoulder braces have a D-ring for attaching a net to or other equipment you choose. The level of durability you’ll get with these waders makes them a great value since they are built to last and they offer ample amounts of protection.
The upper of the wader features a quad chest pocket, this is a large chest pocket suitable for holding spare equipment, and flies, two zipped large side entry pockets again perfect for storage and a flip out internal pocket, all pockets and zipper are waterproof. The pockets on these waders are great and designed to help you both organize and protect yourself. Plus, the waterproof zippers are a nice additional feature since you know you won’t need to worry about water leaking into any of your pockets.
The upper of the wader is a 4 ply breathable nylon to keep you cool and allow sweat vapor to dissipate. You’ll get great ventilation each time you use these waders, and you won’t have to overheat if you happen to be fishing outside on a warm day. You’ll get all the ventilation, protection, and comfort you need with these waders.
These waders are designed to last. All seams are fully taped and sealed to protect against leaking. The wader is a 6 ply breathable nylon, which gives you the strength in the areas that get most wear and tear, hoping to minimize the tear part. The legs are swing protected on both sides so as to protect against fishing rod and reel contact. These waders are made to be both very durable and comfortable, so you’ll get plenty of use out of them and be able to wear them for quite a while. You’ll love the durability you’ll get with these waders.
8. Redington Crosswater Stockingfoot Breathable
Redington’s Crosswater Stockingfoot Breathable brings you a durable option in fishing waders that are built to protect you whenever you hit the water. You won’t have to worry about feeling too cold in the water or having any problems sweating on hot days since these waders also ventilate very well. Designed with three layers of fabric, these waders are abrasion resistant and built to last.Read more
These waders feature integrated neoprene gravel guards for extra protection as you are wading around in the water. Also, you get opposing buckles that make it easy for you to convert the waders when you need to.
The chest pocket on these waders features drain holes to make the waders more comfortable as you wear them. You also get a flip-out pocket with a YKK zipper. So, you’ll have a few places to organize your items, which should stay safe whenever you wear these waders.
Redington’s Crosswater Stockingfoot Breathable is made with three layers of polyester fabric, and also feature a DWR water repellent coating over the top of them. Designed to be flexible, these fishing waders will move with you, since the material is stretchy. Sometimes it is a good idea to order these a size up, too, if you want the extra room to move.
These waders are designed to be breathable and feature mesh vents that are able to wick moisture and push any sweat out to the exterior of the waders. So, you’ll get a decent ventilation system that features a lot of breathabilities when you use these fishing waders. You won’t have to worry about overheating if you wear them on a warmer day.
9. Hodgman H5 Stocking foot
Hodgman has been making waders for over a century so they should know a thing or two about it. The H5 stocking foot is not their most expensive wader but I believe it to be the best in their line, for durability, ease of movement and breathability. These waders perform very well when in use, and they’ll do a good job of keeping you warm and protected from the cold water.Read more
The wader is also compatible Hodgman’s core INS removable zoned insulation system meaning that you can transform these waders from warm weather to cold weather waders with ease. The Core INS is not included but an optional extra which zips in place. Probably the most important thing to consider when buying waders after being waterproof is a comfort. The H5 removed leg seems in high abrasion areas but allowing movement.
The upper features a large breast pocket perfect for keeping a box of flies and two microfleece-lined hand warmer pockets to keep your space hand warm on cold days. All pockets are water resistant. The pockets on this fishing wader are a great feature and offer you plenty of protection and ease of use so you don’t have to worry about your hands getting cold while you are busy fishing.
The upper wader is a 3 layer shell for added breathability. This is great as in general your legs are kept cool from the temperature of the water around the wader leg, but where you build up a sweat is in your torso, so the 3 layered breathable upper is a good feature. You’ll get a lot of great ventilation with this fishing wader, and you won’t have to worry about overheating when you use this product.
The wader is a stocking foot enabling you to have more ankle support from your boots that you choose to pair with this. The waders are a 5 layer constructed leg and seat to protect against punctures and also mean that you can, with confidence walk through any terrain, to get to your perfect fishing spot. Even if you need to jump through bushes and scramble up and down overgrown banks, the chance of ripping these waders is very slim. You’ll be happy with how protected you are from the water and any possible chance of abrasions with this fishing wader.
10. Redington Sonic-Pro
Redington Sonic-Pro waders are a 4 layer waterproof and breathable wader. You’ll get a lot of durability built into this wader, and its design is excellent. You’ll get a fabric that’s designed to be waterproof and breathable, and several helpful pockets as well. You’ll also like the features that come with this wader.Read more
The wader has been designed for all seasons, but if you are going to be fishing in cold winter conditions I would suggest a wader liner or fleece pants under the wader to help insulate. The sock or bootie is ergonomic 3.5mm neoprene with a 4mm sole. If you’ll be fishing in very cold water and very cold weather, these waders may not keep you warm enough during that time of year. However, otherwise, you’ll get a very good product with these waders.
The waterproof chest pocket and internal flip pocket are perfect sizes to hold a small box of flies and your wallet and ID’s in the flip pocket, both zipped with waterproof zippers. Many other waders have multiple pockets which if you fill them just weigh you down, these waders with the two chest pockets are a minimal design but in reality, you do not need more. There is two fleece lined hand warmer pockets either side of the bib to keep your spare hand warm.
The 4 layer waterproof and breathable fabric extends up to the thighs and around the seat of the waders, giving extra protection and strength to the seat area of the wader. This is useful if you are sliding in and out of a boat, the seat is an area that often fails on waders due to this activity. It’s nice to have this level of ventilation because you know you’ll be protected from the water and you won’t have to worry about overheating even when the weather is warm outside.
The seams are all sonic welded to reduce the chance of leaks from sticking holes. The overall construction of the waders is excellent and a great deal of thought from people who actually fish in waders is obviously apparent. You’ll love the design of these waders and how they keep you warm and comfortable each time you put them on.