Which fishing wader is best?
Typically, fishing waders are worn for fly fishing, as that technique works best while standing in the water. That doesn’t mean you can’t wear them while fishing normally to get closer to deeper waters. You can even wear them for a range of activities outside the realm of fishing.
The best fishing wader is the Simms Tributary Stockingfoot Chest Fishing Wader. It is easy to adjust and has many helpful features that make fishing easier and more comfortable.
What to know before you buy a fishing wader
Fishing waders list sizing in different ways depending on the manufacturer. Some use standard garment sizes, such as women’s 10, while others use manufacturer-specific sizes, such as small to large. Some manufacturers just list the measurements of the waders.
Some manufacturers have sizing charts for their products that list the exact measurements each size is supposed to fit. You need to know your chest, waist, hip, inseam, height and shoe size, though not all waders require all these measurements.
Fishing wader types
There are three types of fishing waders, based on how much they cover.
- Hip waders come in two pieces, one tube for each leg. They usually attach to your belt, or they might just be boots that extend all the way up your inseam. These are best for fishing in calm, shallow waters.
- Waist waders are one piece that comes up to your waist. They have either an elastic band to keep tight across your body or suspenders for your shoulders. Sometimes, they’ll have both. These are great for deeper calm water or active shallow water.
- Chest waders are similar to overalls, including where they end across the chest. These come in the broadest range of materials and features, but they’re all suitable for the deepest water — just don’t go too deep in rapid or rough water.
Fishing wader foot types
Fishing waders have two types of feet.
- Bootfoot waders have attached boots. These boots have as many variations as regular boots, including possible insulation, arch support and sole types. They don’t use laces, so make sure the fit is perfect.
- Stockingfoot waders attach to special wading boots. These boots are necessary and an extra purchase, but you have far greater choices in footwear than using bootfoot waders.
What to look for in a quality fishing wader
The best fishing waders have plenty of pockets. Some pockets are even waterproof. Others may be fleece-lined so you can warm your hands up.
Some fishing waders come with accessories, such as a waterproof sleeve for your phone, boot hangers or fly fishing gear.
How much you can expect to spend on a fishing wader
Fishing waders can cost as little as $15 to as much as $500-plus. Basic waders typically cost $50 or less, while the best start around $150-$200. The average wader costs around $100-$150.
Fishing wader FAQ
What kind of soles do fishing waders have?
A. There are three types of soles found on bootfoot waders and wading boots.
- Felt soles are best for walking on slippery surfaces, such as rocks. Studded felt is also available with an even better grip on slippery surfaces. However, felt can carry invasive species into foreign environments, so some states ban it.
- Rubber soles are best for walking on muddy surfaces. They make a decent alternative to felt if your state bans it or you don’t want to take the environmental risk.
- Hiking soles are best if you need to walk long distances to and from your car and fishing spot.
Do fishing waders need much maintenance?
A. They need some. It’s mostly just cleaning them after every use to prevent the growth of algae or bacteria. To do this, give them a thorough rinse with clean water. Some waders can be machine-washed, but double-check yours before tossing them in. You should always hang them up to air dry.
You can also patch minor rips, tears and holes in most waders. Search for a waterproof patching kit with the same material as your waders, and follow any included instructions.
What’s the best fishing wader to buy?
Top fishing wader
What you need to know: These are extra comfortable and packed with features.
What you’ll love: The upper has three layers and the bottom has four, making everything waterproof and breathable. It has a belt loop for attaching your gear and neoprene feet with antimicrobial properties. It also has a fleece-lined pocket to warm up your hands.
What you should consider: A few consumers had issues with the shoulder and back clasps disconnecting. The front zipper is for adding a separately purchased pocket.
Top fishing wader for the money
What you need to know: This is perfect for those who don’t need much more than solid protection.
What you’ll love: It’s made of nylon to keep it light and prevent any reduction in your movement capabilities. The belt and shoulder straps are comfy and easy to adjust. A front pocket is big enough to keep your phone close, and it even throws in a waterproof phone sleeve.
What you should consider: A few customers noted that the boots don’t have much cushioning, so you may want to add some insoles for long sessions.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This is a solid midrange wader.
What you’ll love: It’s polyester, durable and breathable, and it uses the CaddisDry system to let sweat out without letting water in. The shoulder suspenders are wide so as not to cut into you. It has several pockets and gravel guards.
What you should consider: The sizing is a little confusing, and a few purchasers received sizes they didn’t order. Others had issues with leaks around the feet.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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