Nothing beats standing in a river fly fishing. The running water and sounds of nature all around. Fishing is a past time most people can enjoy. With the right equipment, river and pond fishing can be enjoyed year round.
Fishing waders are an important piece of gear any serious fisherman needs. Sometimes the waders can be more important than the tackle or your rod. If you have a bad pair of fishing waders, your trip can be uncomfortable. There is nothing worse than stepping into the river and finding out that your waders are leaking, or don’t keep you as warm as you would like.
If you are looking to get your first pair of fishing waders, or are looking a new set for the upcoming season. This guide is going to have everything you need to look for in a great pair of fishing waders.
Top Fishing Waders Comparison Chart
When you are looking for a good pair of fishing waders, you need to select the fit that is right for you. There are hip waders, waist waders, and the chest waders. While all three have their own advantages. The chest waders have the most versatility.
The chest wader is going to give you more usage year round than the other styles. If you don’t live somewhere that gets cold, or you only fish in the warmer seasons, you may want to use the hip or waist waders. Any other climate or seasonal fishing you definitely want to get the chest waders.
Bootfoot waders have the rubber boot attached to the waders. These waders have the advantage of not needing any additional equipment. The boot is permanently attached which means you will want to get the sole type that is the best for your area.
With the stockingfoot style of wader, you have the ability to change out your boot to suit the fishing area. These type of waders typically require less packing space and will allow you to select from a variety of boots. If you fish in multiple locations, with a variety of footings, you may want to consider stockingfoot waders so that you can get the best traction.
There are generally 3 types of wader materials on the market today. Rubber, neoprene, and breathable. While you may be able to find an older pair of canvas waders, this style is quickly being replaced by breathable GORE-TEX and Nylon.
These are bulky and stiff fishing waders. The advantages of rubber waders are that they are easy to repair if you get a hole in them and they are relatively cheap. If you are short on funds for a pair of waders, this may be the material for you. The rubber waders have come a long way from what they used to be because the rubber is a lot thinner. Rubber fishing waders can have a thickness of as little as 0.25 mm. This makes them much less bulky, but they still feel stiff when inside them.
This material is the stuff that wetsuits are made from. Neoprene waders come in different thicknesses measuring in millimeters. The more millimeters the neoprene measures, the more insulation it will provide. These are great waders for those who spend a good amount of time in colder waters. If you don’t mind being a little warm in the summer months, these can be used year round.
Neoprene can be harder to get in and out of. If you have difficulty getting up and down or have a hard time bending at the waist, then you may want to consider a different material.
Made from GORE-TEX, Nylon or Microfiber, these are a breathable material wader and are quickly becoming the most popular type of waders on the market. These types of fishing waders do not provide the same insulation as neoprene waders, but they are very light and comfortable. The breathable waders can be made to be warmer with some thermal underclothes and insulative pants making them usable year round.
The other nice thing about a wader made out of breathable material is that they are usually easily convertible. Many people will purchase one chest wader or overall style wader in this material and easily convert it into a waist wader when the weather warms up.
The soles of your boot will determine where you can go and how well you will have traction on those surfaces. There are three boot soles that are available; felt bottomed, studded, and rubber.
If you purchase stockingfoot waders, then you can have the option to purchase multiple booties for different locations. This may be one of the best benefits because the different boot soles will really change how comfortable you are on slick or graveled surfaces.
With the felt booties you will have much more traction on slick surfaces.
These are best for gripping in mud and gravel.
Rubber booties are more versatile and easy to clean out. If you fish in different bodies of water, you should get rubber booties so you avoid cross-contamination of the lakes and rivers.
Best Fishing Wader Reviews
Choosing the best fishing waders has never been easier. The following are 2017’s best options for fishing waders.
The Redington Sonic Pro is a top of the line lightweight breathable wader. The 4 layer nylon uses sonic welding no-sew construction and double taped seams. There are a lot of seams on this because of the multiple colors of fabric, and that could mean a leak. But don’t worry there is a 1-year warranty and Redington has great customer service if that happens. They have a low failure rate.
The gravel guards have molded lace hooks and are designed to work with many wading booties. There are plenty of other features on these waders as well. The Redington Sonic Pro waders feature a hemostat D-ring for easy accessory attachment. These fishing waders have a wading belt with buckle integrated into them so there is no need to purchase additional equipment. There is a functional hand warmer pocket and zipper pocket. Redington really has tried to make sure you never need another pair of waders again.
- 4 Layer Nylon
- No Sew Double Taped Seams
- Gravel Guards With Moulded Lace Hook
- Multiple seams may leak
The Redington Crosswater Wader is a well-designed wader that features stocking feet. The feet on this wader are neoprene stockings. The stockings on this wader may run a little large, so be prepared to have some sticking out of your boot.
A big bonus to the Redington wader is that you can easily convert this overall wader into a waste wader through the use of the integrated belts and cross buckles. The belts and cross buckles, make adjustments of this wader easy and convenient. Some people found that this wader ran a little large in the waist, but it wasn’t a problem because of the integrated belt.
- Opposing Buckles
- Neoprene Stockings
- Belt For Easy Adjustment
- Large Stocking Foot
- Waist May Run Big
The Frog Toggs amphibious neoprene waders are stocking foot waders in the overall style. These feature high chest straps to expose a minimal amount of your torso. The neoprene of the later is 3.5 mm thick and has reinforced kneepads. There are sliding gravel guards on the neoprene stockings. This will help ensure that no gravel makes it into the wading boots you wear and will improve the overall longevity of your Frogg Toggs waders.
The only problem found with the Frog Toggs stocking foot wader is that it runs extremely large. This is a wader you may need to try on in a store before you take home. The sizing chart from the manufacturer seems to be a little off and if you are ordering from an online site do not use their sizing chart.
- 5 mm Neoprene
- Reinforced Knee Pads
- Sliding Gravel Guards
- Runs very large
Adamsbuilt has made a good quality stockingfoot wader with their Truckee River wader. The nicest feature on this wader is the lined hand warmer pockets. Sometimes you just need a place to warm up without getting all the way out of the water. There are also four layer kneepads built into this wader to help ensure that they don’t tear if you slip and fall. The quick release belt that is integrated into this wader is very convenient as well.
This is a multilayer microfiber wader that uses several different fabrics and has a lot of different seams. Anytime you have a life seams on something that is supposed to be waterproof, you risk leakage. You may need to reinforce the seams with a sealant. Also, the chest straps seem like they may be a little weak if you put too much pressure on them.
The waders are a great buy for the price and will keep you dry for multiple seasons.
- Quick Release Belt
- Four Layer Kneepads
- Lined Hand Warmer Pockets
- Multiple Seam Lines May Leak
- Chest Straps Seem Weak
The LaCrosse men’s wader is a boot style wader. The wader features 600 g of Thinsulate Ultra insulation. This makes it perfect for moderate and cooler temperatures. The sizing on the waders is large enough that allows for a liner to be worn under the waders in colder temperatures. For hotter days later on in the season, you won’t overheat because these waders are not super hot.
The major design flaw with these waders is the storage system built into the waders. There really is no storage except for the chest pocket. This pocket, when loaded with whatever you put in it, will start to sag the front of the bed down, which may dip into the water. It’s not ideal when putting something you want to keep dry in the pocket. Also, the straps are not good at keeping the front from sagging.
The boots on this wader are very well designed and feature LaCrosse is track lite outsoles which will provide good traction. It’s essential to have good traction whenever hunting or fishing in slippery conditions.
- 600 g Thinsulate Ultra
- Nylon over Neoprene
- Track Lite Outsoles
- No clip system
- Front will sag
The Hodgman Caster fishing waders are a quality booted fishing wader. The boots feature a medium cleat to help you have good traction. There is 200g of Thinsulate insulation inside of the boot to keep your feet warm in colder water. The neoprene is 3.5 mm thick and designed to keep you warm almost all season long.
There are no short sizes, and these are designed for taller people. If you don’t mind having a little extra legging on the wader than there shouldn’t be a problem. Also, Hogman Caster fishing waders are narrow in the hips and may require some wiggling into. If you have wide hips or a wider abdomen, you will definitely want to order a size up. Since these are booted waders, you want to make sure that the size up you order will fit your foot. The sizing on these waders can be really tricky, but once you get the right size, these are a great fishing wader.
One of the nice features of this wader is the D-ring on the back of the belt. This is useful for clipping extra gear onto yourself and not having to worry about whether or not you will have it when you get upstream. Not having to worry about your gear when in a river really lets you focus on the fishing, which makes this wader really enjoyable.
- Cleated Rubber Boots
- Rear D Ring
- 200g Thinsulate inside boots
- No Short Sizes
- Slim Design
The Frogg Toggs Canyon Wader is made from a breathable, ultra-tough nylon outer shell. There is a y-back adjustable suspender with quick release buckles and a quick adjust wading belt. This wader can easily be converted from an overall wader into a waist wader for anyone wanting to fish in multiple seasons.
The stocking feet on these are made from a 3.5 mm neoprene. The stockings may fit a bit snug compared to other brands and many larger ankled people experienced some difficulty getting these on and off.
The waders feature gravel guards with lace hooks. The gravel guards are really effective at keeping the muck out of your wading boots and the lace hooks are built well. These waders are lightweight and perfect for someone who wants a good pair of waders without making a huge investment.
- 5 mm Neoprene Stockings
- Gravel Guards with Lace Hooks
- Adjustable Wading Belt
- Stockings May Fit Tight
The Orvis Encounter Wader is a quality wader made up of 4 layers of nylon. The durable wader features a kangaroo style zippered pocket offering you easy access to your critical gear. The pocket offers you hand warmer space as well which is very nice.
This wader does feature multiple seam points which may compromise its integrity. Any wader that has the dual colored shell tends to have a higher chance of seam failure. Make sure to follow any directions for use of seam seal.
The neoprene stockings on this wader are form fitted and designed better than other stockings that have a bulky feel. There are gravel guards to protect the insides of the stockings against any wear and tear of gravel.
- 4 Layer nylon
- Zippered Kangaroo Style Pocket
- Gravel Guards
- Multiple Seams
The Caddis Green stocking foot waders are a low budget neoprene wader. They have a 3.5mm neoprene shell making them fairly warm. The stocking feet feature extra sealant and tape to ensure that they don’t leak. There are also sliding gravel guards to help prevent gravel from coming into your boots.
The suspender clasps on these are Velcro. This isn’t the most sturdy way to make a suspender clasp. There is no belt to help secure the waders or convert them to hip waders. Also, the stockings are not tapered on these. The stockings are like huge tube socks.
For a low budget model of wader this has everything that you are going to need to get the job done. If you are looking for bells and whistles like a zippered pocket, metal clasps, or a belt, then this is not the wader for you.
- 5 mm Neoprene
- Stockings Have Extra Sealant
- Sliding Gravel Guards
- Stockings Are Not Tapered
- Velcro Suspender Clasps
- No Belt
Webetop PVC wader is ideal for those who are looking to get a durable wader for a low price. Because these booted waders are made from 0.5 mm PVC they are very durable. If you do happen to get a hole in them they are much easier to repair than their nylon competitors.
One of the nice thing about these being booted waders is that you don’t have to worry about finding wading boots that are compatible with the PVC wader. These really are a grab and go wader, making it convenient for anyone who wants easy in and out of the water.
The clasps on the suspenders of these waders are well designed. The waders even feature a pocket for easy storage of essentials. The only downside to the PVC waders is that they are not breathable. The PVC can be harder to move in if you are used to the more flexible breathable waders. If you don’t plan on moving a bunch or are just looking for a budget wader then these will work for you.
- Thin 0.5 mm PVC
- Easy to Repair
- Rubber can be hard to move in
Final Thoughts & Recommendations
While choosing a fishing wader is still going to depend a lot on where you will be fishing, budget can play a big role in your selection as well. If you are looking to get a budget fishing wader then you can’t go wrong with either the Caddis or the Webetop PVC wader. Both of these waders have cut out the bells and whistles that many of the high end fishing waders have in order to deliver a dry and cost-friendly fishing wader.
For those with a little more experience with fishing waders, and who are looking to get something that will offer more durability and flexibility, either of the Redington fishing waders are going to be perfect for you. Redington is a top-notch fishing wader maker, and they want to make sure you have everything you need when you step into one of their fishing waders. Both of the models feature gravel guards and lace hooks. They have integrated belts and adjustable suspenders making them perfect for those who may want to convert their chest wader into a waist wader.
If you are looking for a versatile fishing wader but, you don’t need every feature available then LaCrosse, Hogman or Frog Toggs are going to have what you need. These are all good quality fishing waders that don’t sacrifice functionality for price. The best part about any of these waders is that they are going to be a good wader for both new fishermen and those who have owned a few pairs of waders.
No matter which wader you end up choosing you are sure to be happy with one of the fishing waders on this list. Remember when making your selection to carefully consider where you will be fishing, and what you need to successfully fish in that area. This is going to ensure that you get the absolute best wader and that you are comfortable during your entire trip.