If you plan on doing any sort fishing where you are actually in the water, fishing waders are a must. They are a waterproof clothing layer that fits over the rest of your outfit to keep you dry while you are wading into rivers. They allow you to see a whole new world of fishing by being right there with the fish. They can change your entire fishing experience for the better. Below we introduce to you to what you should look for when buying fishing waders and provide you with our recommendations for the best fishing waders.
Best Fishing Waders 2018
Best Stockingfoot Waders
Known for making high-quality fishing apparel, the Simms Gore-Tex bib pant is our favorite wader. While a bit on the pricey side, these are guaranteed to pay for themselves thanks to their durability. The Gore-Tex material allows these waders to be extremely breathable and the nylon ensures that they are quite light.
These waders feature 2 thigh and 1 chest pocket so that your fishing gear is easily accessible. The legs also have ventilation zippers so that you can cool down quickly when things start to heat up.
Best Bootfoot Waders
These are great chest waders for colder water. The neoprene material is sure to keep you quite warm and waterproof. These waders are 3.5mm thick so they could be used in some warmer weather fishing as well. One of our favorite parts about these waders is the fleece-lined hand warmer pocket which are quite welcome after a few hours of fishing in colder weather.
The boots are made from 200g Thinsulate rubber, providing both warmth and durability. The cleated soles provide a sturdy footing on rocky riverbeds.
Best Hip Waders
The Allen Black River hip waders come with everything you would expect from hip waders. The built-in boots have a cleated sole so you get extra traction while wading through the water. Just slip them on and attached the belt loop to your belt. Extremely easy to put on and take off. Make sure you read the reviews carefully to understand what size you should be getting since they fit most shoe sizes pretty well.
Do you need waders?
Good quality fishing waders can be quite expensive. If you’re just starting out they may seem like an unnecessary accessory. However, you shouldn’t discount them immediately. For some fishing, such as fly fishing, they are almost mandatory, but they can also change any ordinary fishing experience. They provide you with more freedom about when and where you are able to fish.
If you are fly fishing, especially if you are a beginner fly fisher, the answer is most likely yes. This is because the nature of casting a fly generally requires that you are actually in the water. Waders fit comfortably under your fly fishing vest.
If you are not fly fishing, then the answer depends. Owning waders opens up the possibilities you have when fishing. You can fish in colder and deeper waters because of the additional protection the waders provide.
There are a few situations where you DO NOT need fishing waders which include:
- Warm weather + warm water: If it’s warm outside, you probably don’t need waders unless you want additional protection around your legs from leeches or rocks. You can probably get away with just shorts or rolled up pants. In warmer weather, going “wader free” is generally the preferred method of fishing since you get to experience the same environment that the fish are experiencing and it is more comfortable.
- Warm weather + cold water: Another time you can probably go wader free is when the weather is still warm, but the water is cold. As long as the water is shallow, you can probably get away with a good pair of fishing boots and neoprene socks, which are designed for cold water.
- Float fishing: If you are planning to fish from a boat or from shore, you won’t need waders. However, you should remember that if you ever do want to venture into the water, you will need to buy a pair of waders eventually.
Types of Waders
There are a few types of fishing waders that you need to be aware of. They are suited for different depths of water and different types of fishing. There are two main types of fishing waders: chest waders and hip waders.
Chest waders are waders that cover from the foot to the chest as the name implies. This provides full-body protection. There are two types of chest waders that differ on whether the boot is attached (bootfoot waders) and not attached (stockingfoot waders).
Bootfoot waders are chest waders where the fishing boot is affixed to the bottom of the waders in one piece. They are extremely convenient since there is no additional boot that you need to put on and tie. Bootfoots are generally warmer than stockingfoot since there is no restricted circulation at the ankle from laces. Additionally, for those of us who are less flexible, bootfoots don’t require you to bend over to put any boots on.
The main problem with bootfoot waders is that if there is any issue with the boot part of the wader, it is difficult to fix them unless you buy a new pair of waders. Luckily if you buy a high-quality pair of waders this won’t be an issue.
The other kind of chest waders is stockingfoot waders. These waders are similar to the bootfoot waders in that they cover from the feet to the chest, but they do not come with built-in boots. You will need to buy fishing boots and neoprene socks separately.
Hip Waders/Wading Pants
As the name implies, hip waders cover up to the hips. Some come with built-in boots, but most do not. They are intended for shallow water where a chest wader would be unnecessary or uncomfortable.
Wading pants are similar to hip waders, but fit more like pants than waders. They are great if you are fishing in shallow water and want to look more stylish than you would with waders. They are also quite light for hot weather.
Neoprene waders are typically used for cold water since neoprene is a great insulator. Neoprene waders typically run from 3mm thick, for warmer weather, to 5mm thick, for cold weather.
The main problem with neoprene materials is that it is not breathable. Neoprene waders can become quite uncomfortable in warm weather which is where breathable waders come into play.
If you are going to be fishing in warmer weather, you will probably want waders made from breathable materials. Thanks to technological advancements, there are many breathable materials that exist for waders, but the most common one is Gore-Tex. These materials keep the water out, but still let air in so that you don’t sweat as much during warm weather. If you are going to be fishing in the spring, summer, or fall, we recommend buying breathable waders for the most comfort.
Other Fishing Waders
Frogg Toggs Hellbender Stockingfoot Chest Waders
Another great pair of chest waders, the Frogg Toggs Hellbender come with built-in neoprene boots so even though they are “stockingboot” style waders, they require one less accessory on your part. The large chest pocket is another great feature if you aren’t wearing a fishing vest.
Caddis Stockingfoot Waders
Great breathable and attractive waders, the Caddis stockingfoot waders work great in all weather. The durable Polyester outer is made from CaddisDry technology that is guaranteed to keep water out while releasing perspiration. These waders come in a variety of sizes for both men and women.
Hodgman Mackenzie Waders
If you’re looking for a simple pair of waders to get you through a weekend fishing trip, these very affordable waders will do the trick. While we can’t say that these waders will hold up for any decent amount of time, they are certainly reliable enough for a few short fishing trips. If you don’t want to shell out a ton of money on waders just yet, the Hodgman Mackenzie waders will work well.
While not required for every fishing experience, fishing waders certainly open up the possibilities for fishing by allowing you to venture into the water itself. We hope we have provided you with a great overview of the best fishing waders so that you know what kind of waders you will need. The most important part about any waders is that they are comfortable enough to wear for hours on end so make sure you try out several pairs of waders before making your final decision.