Fishing waders have come a long way. In the previous century, stepping into a fishing wader was akin to giving an invitation to body sweat, extreme discomfort and body heat. After a whole day of donning the wader, anglers would be dehydrated on the inside and smelly, steamy, and wet on the outside.
Fortunately, those days are now part of history. Modern-day fishing waders are made up of breathable materials that make no effort to lock moisture in. These days, slipping into a pair of fishing waders requires as much effort as putting on your favorite pair of jeans.
In this article, we’re going to look at the ten best fishing waders money can buy. We’ll also give you a few tips to help you select the best pair of fishing waders for yourself. All in all, if you don’t want to buy the wrong type of fishing waders, read on.
Fishing Waders Comparison Chart
Top Rated Fishing Wader Reviews
Best Overall Fishing Wader
1. TIDEWE Chest Waders
The Tidewe chest waders have a water- and dust-resistant intrusion that keeps both water and dust out, helping you stay in the water and mud for longer periods. Multiple flip-out chest pockets let you secure your phone, other valuables, and accessories.
These waders come with quick-release buckles that make it a cinch to put the outfit on and take it off. A 100% water-resistant phone case will protect your phone from moisture. You can thus rest easy with the knowledge that your phone will be safe in the event of accidental fall.
On top of everything else, the wader is easy to clean and dries extremely quickly. It’s also 35% lighter than the traditional rubber waders which soaked you in sweat a few minutes of putting them on. They’re also 100% waterproof, meaning there’s little chance of the covered area getting wet.
Construction & Design:
The Tidewe chest waders are made of rugged nylon-enforced PVC. One that fits quite nicely and requires little energy to wear or remove these waders. What’s more, an internal lining on the nylon material makes it gentle on your skin, meaning no skin rashes or irritations.
Best Hip Wader
2. FROGG TOGGS Rana II Hip Waders
Available in two colors – cleated and felt – the FROGG TOGGS Rana II waders have multiple features going in their favor. An integrated bootfoot means you won’t have to buy one from the market. Their internal nylon lining prevents these non-insulated PVC waders from causing any skin irritations.
While these waders aren’t ultra-breathable, the trade-off is their waterproof taped seams and waterproof welded boot attachment. Both of which won’t allow a drop of moisture to seep through. Plus, they run true to size, meaning you won’t have to order one size large or small to ensure it fits.
Construction & Design:
The Rana II waders are made of non-insulated molded PVC. Depending on the color you may order, you’d get a cleated or felt outsole, with an inner nylon lining. Their belt leashes are made of poly-webbing and both the stride flex and locking buckles are elastic rubber.
Best for Fly Fishing
3. Dark Lightning Fly Fishing Waders
Start with the sturdiness. Dark Lighting has single-taped all seams and double-tapped all the weak points that get more rubbing in usage. The result is that these fly fishing waders won’t come off regardless of how much abuse you dish out to them.
These waders are effortless to put on and take off, too, thanks to the H-back adjustable suspenders that let you fasten them within seconds and the quick release buckles that are a cinch to attach/detach. You won’t have to spend more than five minutes to get into or out of them.
They also come with loads of extras. Our favorite among them is the chest pocket. Located right beneath your shoulder, it lets you store your phone, valuables and other accessories where you can see them. Plus, you also get a boot hanger to ensure easy drying after washing.
Construction & Design:
These fly wishing waders are made of two-ply nylon and PVC composite. Both these materials have made these waders durable. They also ensure there’s no intrusion of water. Plus, the fact that they’re breathable means you just have to turn the waders inside out and they’ll dry quickly.
4. Foxelli Chest Waders
Four features set Foxelli chest waders apart from their competitors. The first is that they come with two pockets – one inner, one outer – to let you store your phone, valuables, and accessories. Most other products we tested offer only one exterior pocket.
Secondly, these waders have PVC boots with an anti-slip sole to provide excellent traction on slippery or muddy surfaces. The boots’ inner neoprene lining means you can wear them without socks. The material of construction of the boots (most other waders opt for rubber) sets these waders apart.
Thirdly, these waders haven’t settled for the common practice of stitching and taping the seams. They have gone one step ahead by gluing the seams, too, making them highly resistant to rips and tears. And finally, they come with a dry bag for your phone and a carrying bag for the waders.
Construction & Design:
The Foxelli chest waders are made of 4mm thick neoprene material. One that is 100% waterproof and also protects against cold. Their chest suspenders have an elastic buckle to help you find the perfect fit, whereas the double-layer knee pads feature reinforced padding for extra protection.
5. Dark Lightning Chest Waders
Available in three colors – camouflage, green, silver – Dark Lightning chest waders come with an adjustable suspender to give you the perfect fit. They are 100% waterproof and can thus be worn when you’re planning to go knee-deep (or even deeper) into the sea.
Regardless of your body type, these waders’ adjustable V-back suspenders and quick-release buckles will help you get a snug fit. However, if it gets too tight or you want to make room for a sweater, you can always readjust the shoulder straps to widen them.
We also liked their multi-function pocket. It’s not too small as to carry only one phone but isn’t too big to trouble your chest either. A mesh lining means you can view the pocket’s contents from outside. Whereas a zipper will keep your valuables secured inside the pocket.
Construction & Design:
These chest waders are made of a combination of polyester fiber and nylon material. An inner nylon lining protects your skin from irritations and rashes. Dark Lighting states that the knee pads has ‘heavy-duty material’ reinforcement. The boots, meanwhile, are neoprene.
6. TIDEWE Bootfoot Chest Wader
Available in two colors – green and brown – its two-ply nylon fabric makes this wader 1/3rd lighter than its traditional rubber counterparts. We hardly felt their weight while we were trying to catch big fish in these waders on a moderately cold day.
An adjustable waistband means you can tighten or loose them according to your waist size. The positioning of the phone pocket – in the middle of the two shoulders, beneath the neck – makes it easy to access. Though you’d also feel the thump of the phone’s vibrations against your chest.
Keep in mind, though, that the pocket isn’t zippered. This increases the chances of the phone or anything else you may have put in the pocket falling out when you’re bending over to pick something.
Construction & Design:
The TIDEWE Bootfoot fishing wader is made of 2-ply nylon-reinforced PVC. The combination of the two fabrics has made the wader waterproof, though it hasn’t compromised its breathability. You can thus count on it to keep water out without locking in the moisture that could give way to sweat. As for the design, adjustable H-back suspenders with quick-release buckets help you get a snug fit.
7. FISHINGSIR Chest Waders
The FISHINGSIR chest waders come with adjustable widened suspenders to provide a close fit regardless of the wearer’s body shape. A built-in pocket at the front keeps your phone secured and right where you can see it. Their sealed and taped seams, meanwhile, are renowned for not letting water through.
You also get 2 front D-rings for effortless accessory attachment. Two quick-release buckles make it easy to put on and take off these buckles and their availability in as many as seven colors (and 11 sizes) helps them come across as a viable option for a wide range of anglers.
We also liked how waterproof their design is. You can count on it to keep you (almost) bone-dry through swamp water conditions. What’s more, if you’re going to wear them in colder weather, you’d be pleased to know that they allow room for a sweater.
Construction & Design:
These chest waders are made of nylon-PVC. They come with a waterproof boot attachment (made of tough rubber) and have precision stitching & sealed seams as well as heat-welded seams. This means they have what it takes to keep water out.
8. Magreel Kids Chest Waders
The Magreel Kids waders have everything you might look for in kids’ waders. They are 35% lightweight than your average fishing waders, helping your little one walk around with ease. A double-layer construction of 70D nylon and PVC means no water particles will trouble the little fella.
Thickened soles will protect the wearer’s soft feet from scratching by pointed rocks. A waist-belt/cummerbund lets you adjust their height according to your child’s. Your little one can use the included front pocket to store their keys, phones, and other small items.
On top of everything else, the hot-melted seams won’t let any air or water leak into them. Another thing we appreciate about them is that they’re big enough to let you put warm socks and warm pants under it. Plus, they come with a 1-year warranty, too.
Construction & Design:
These kids waders are made of 70D nylon and PVC. The boots are PVC and have a double-layer cushioning underneath to protect your little one’s feet against pointed objects. The waders feature heat-melted seams to prevent leakage and the boots are well-stitched too.
9. 8 Fans Waist Waders
The 8 Fans fishing waders keep you warm and dry regardless of the outside weather. Their 3-ply breathable material ensures air has no problem moving in and out of the suit. However, the pores aren’t big enough to let water particles through, making these waders 100% waterproof.
You also get removable knee pads with these waders. Put them on while fishing or hunting to protect your knees from feeling the impact of falls or objects colliding. Take them off when you’re back in the boot and want some added freedom of movement.
An elastic buckle lets you loosen/tighten these waders according to your waist size. You also get a zippered security pocket to store your phone, keys, and other small items. A mesh storage bag is also included in these waders’ package at no extra cost to you.
Construction & Design:
These fishing waders are made of a breathable 3-ply nylon. Their removable kneepad is neoprene and the boots (not included) are also made of the same material. A 40mm belt with quick-release buckle ensures you get the fit that is the most comfortable for you.
Tips for Buying Fishing Waders
Fishing waders are available in two types. These include bootfoot waders and stockingfoot waders. Bootfoot waders, as their name implies, have boots attached to them. You won’t have to purchase wading boots separately. Having said that, they’re much harder to clean.
Stockingfoot waders have neoprene socks instead of boots attached to their end. You’d thus have no choice but to buy a pair of wading boots. This is a good thing as it means you won’t be stuck with the one-size-fits-all wader. You can select boots that offer better fit, comfort and traction.
- Material of Construction
Traditional fishing waders were made of vulcanized rubber, while their modern counterparts are available in neoprene, Gore-Tex and other variants. Rubber waders are tough and incredibly easy to patch, though they lack breathability and thus seal moisture in.
Neoprene waders are available in varying thicknesses from 3.5 to 5 millimeters or more. The thicker they are, the more insulation they’ll offer and the greater their durability would be too. Gore-Tex waders, meanwhile, are the most breathable of the lot, while still keeping water out.
- Style of Waders
Fishing waders are available in thigh, chest and full-body configurations. All three styles are named after the body portion they extend to, starting from the foot. Make sure to select the configuration you find the most comfortable to wear, as you’d likely be donning the waders for days on end.
10. Frogg Toggs Hellbender
You won’t have to worry about losing your items once you’re inside Frogg Toggs Hellbender. They provide three storage options – an oversize multifunction pocket, 1 zippered horizontal storage, and 2 zippered handwarmer/storage pockets – to help you keep all your personal items nearby.
The first two pockets have enough space to let you keep your hands free. However, as anyone who has fished in moderately cold water will tell you, keeping your hands out for long in water is a recipe for frostbite. That’s why we were relieved to find that these waders come with handwarmer pockets.
Construction & Design:
These waders are made of three layers. The outer layer is a breathable, abrasion-resistant, and supple nylon shell. It is responsible for letting air through. The middle layer is waterproof and offers an incredible water holdout. Even when you’re knee-deep in water, it won’t let moisture through.
The innermost layer, meanwhile, has to come into contact with your skin. That’s why its soft, smooth and micro-textured fabric deserves your praise. The fabric is responsible for ensuring minimum skin contact and for a cool, light-wearing experience.
Then there are the boots. While they are made of neoprene for protection, Frogg Toggs knew that only safety won’t cut – the boots had to be comfortable too for day-long-wearing. That’s what the boots’ cleated outsole has been able to achieve.
5 Things to Consider When Buying Fishing Waders
Before you can start looking for a new pair of fishing waders, you should ask yourself a few important questions. These include:
Questions To Ask When Buying Fishing Waders
- What type of fishing will you be doing when wading? Steam fishing is much less rough on a pair of waders than ocean or river fishing.
- How deep will the water be? The deeper the water the higher the height your waders have to be.
- What will be the air and water temperature? If you are fishing in colder water or on cold days you will want thicker ply fishing waders.
- Do you need 100% waterproof waders? If so then your waders will have to be made of completely waterproof material.
- Will you be wearing your own boots? If so you will choose stocking-type waders.
Once you have the answers to these questions, it will help you narrow down your fishing wader choices before you start your shopping for a new one.
Here are some of the main traits and characteristics of fishing waders to consider when shopping for a pair:
Of course, size and fit are two of the most important characteristics of fishing waders to consider. That’s because it does not matter how functional or waterproof your fishing waders are if they are uncomfortable to wear. It’s essential to get the correct size wader and you have some adjustability built into it to make it fit.
To get the right size wader for you it’s very important to follow the manufacturers sizing chart very closely. After all, no one knows better how a pair of wader’s best fit than the company that made them.
Most manufacturers will also tell you to go up one size if you are planning on wearing heavy clothing or thick socks under your waders in cold weather. Failure to do this last step can result in your waders being too uncomfortable to wear for long. That will shorten any fishing day considerably.
If you are purchasing boot style waders both the size of the waders and the shoe size must fit you. Otherwise, you might feel a big amount of foot discomfort after just a few hours of fishing.
Another consideration regarding fit is the suspenders and belt that come with a pair of fish waders. The more adjustable suspenders and a waist belt are the better you can make your waders fit. H-back suspenders are the preferred type of suspender to have on waders because they keep them firmly in place. Suspenders and belts not only contribute to fit but they also will help keep you safer as you fish too.
There are three different heights that fishing waders traditionally come in and they include:
- Hip waders
These are the shortest style of waders as they are more like chaps than traditional fishing waders. They are used mainly for fishing in creeks and other very shallow bodies of water.
- Waist-high waders
Those in the industry probably should have just called these wading pants. That’s because they essentially are just that. They are best used in shallow rivers or creeks where the water current is not strong at all.
- Chest waders
These are by far the most popular type of fishing waders. That’s because the essentially guarantee that you will stay dry when fishing in any body of water that does not go over your hips.
- Hip waders
It’s very important to select waders that have the right material for the time of year that you fish and for the type of conditions that you fish under. Some types of fishing require more durable materials like neoprene and nylon that’s PVC coated while less harsh conditions are ok to wear polyester or nylon waders in.
Neoprene and nylon-coated waders offer more insulation when fishing in colder weather. Nylon and polyester blend waders allow more airflow through them so they are great to use in hot and warm fishing months.
Keep in mind the more ply’s of material a fishing wader has the more durable it is and the warmer it will keep you.
Wader materials and their best uses will be discussed in more detail later on in this article.
- Boot or Stocking Feet
These days there is a lot of variety when it comes to wader features and materials. One of the choices an angler has is whether they want bootfoot or stocking foot waders. Each has its share of advantages and disadvantages. These too will be discussed in more detail following this buying guide.
Having pockets and accessories that come with or are built into your waders are good to have. Such things as waterproof storage pockets make great places to keep keys and wallets that you don’t want to leave behind in your vehicle. So if you can get waders with pockets or come with other accessories it’s a nice bonus. Our *tackle bag buying guide* will help you find the perfect tackle bag which also makes for a great fishing accessory.
BootFoot Vs Stocking Foot Waders
These are the two main choices in the types of feet you will find attached to the bottom of fishing waders. Here are the advantages that each of them offers you:
Bootfoot waders offer more convenience than their stocking foot wader counterparts. That’s because they are easy to put on and you don’t have to worry about selecting separate boots to wear. They are known to provide more warmth than stocking foot waders too. Bootfoot waders are also great for fishing in sandy areas and areas where there is heavy sediment or a lot of gravel. They do a better job of keeping these particles out of your boots than stocking foot waders do.
Stocking foot waders
For anglers that like to fish in different fishing conditions and do different types of fishing, they often choose stocking style waders. That’s because they can select boots to wear with them that fit their current fishing conditions. Stockingfoot waders are also easier to pack and store than boot foot waders are. Most stocking foot waders are also machine washable which makes them simple to keep clean.
Choosing proper fitting stocking style waders is like choosing fishing gloves; you want them to be snug but comfortable.
How to Choose Fly-Fishing Waders
In order to pick the right waders for fly fishing you have to consider all of the following:
- Fly fishing is often done in warmer or only slightly cooler months. So you don’t want waders that are insulated or made out of non-breathable materials.
- It requires you to be constantly moving so you don’t want a wader made out of restrictive type material.
- The bottom conditions can be different wherever you go fly fishing, so you want stocking style feet on your waders. This allows you to use different boots for different bottom conditions.
Given all of these factors, it makes polyester blend or nylon waders the best match for fly fishing enthusiasts.
Check out our fishing hat reviews if you want to find a hat to compliment your new waders while fishing.
What Is the Best Wader Material?
This is certainly not an easy question to answer. That’s because different types of wader materials work best under different conditions. It’s also true that some materials significantly drive up the price for waders. This can take them out of the acceptable price range for anglers that are on a tight budget.
Here are the four main types of materials that waders are made out of and their best uses:
This for a time was by far the most popular type of material used in making fishing waders. Waders made out of neoprene fit snuggly and had a high insulation value when used in colder weather. It’s also a very waterproof type of material that is cut-resistant and does not puncture easily. This wader material is still a favorite of those that fish during cold weather or in tough surf fishing conditions were the water is always cold.
- Nylon with PVC coating
Waders made out of Nylon with a PVC coating are now some of the most popular types of fishing waders. This has a lot to do with the fact that this material is highly waterproof. It also has to do with this keeping the cost down on the price of a pair of waders. This material is also very versatile. It’s somewhat breathable so it can be used in warmer months but it offers enough insulation value to be used in all but the coldest weather too. It’s also a very durable material that is easy to maintain.
When special nylon is used to make a pair of waders it makes for some of the highest quality waders you will find in the marketplace. It also drives the cost of them up considerably too. Most anglers that own nylon waders will tell you they feel great when on and stay comfortable all day long. This is true even in warm or hot weather because it’s a very breathable material. They are a favorite of fly fisherman and those that fish while standing in slow-moving rivers or creeks.
- Polyester blend
Many anglers dream of owning polyester blend waders. That’s because these types of fishing waders are extremely lightweight and comfortable. They also do a decent job of keeping someone warm while fishing in all but the coldest weather. Polyester blend waders are also a very good warm and hot weather wader. This is because the material does a nice job of letting air pass through it. Waders made out of a polyester blend also tend to wick moisture nicely and dry fast.
Neoprene Waders Vs Breathable Material Waders
For those who like to fish standing in a body of water, both neoprene and breathable waders offer advantages and disadvantages. Here are the biggest advantages and disadvantages of both types of waders.
- Neoprene Waders
This is the perfect choice for those that like wading into water during the colder months. They are also preferred even if the weather is warm but the water is still very cold. Neoprene material is not breathable so it insulates your body from the cold better than breathable material waders do.
- Breathable Waders
These types of waders are preferred by those who fish in the warmer months or when it’s cool outside. Since they are breathable that means the air can get to your body and you don’t get as hot while fishing. Fishing in neoprene waders makes you hot even when fishing during slightly cooler weather.
Wading Safety / What to Wear and Bring
There are many types of fishing that require an angler to wade in the water to best do them. Examples of this are surf fishing. People like to wear waders when doing these fishing activities for several reasons. If the water is cold the fishing waders will help keep you warm because they insulate you from the cold water. Most waders’ are also waterproof so the cold water does not come into direct contact with your body. This helps you keep fishing longer in cold weather or when standing in cold water for long periods of time.
If wading is not done slowly and under the proper conditions it can become dangerous and life-threatening. These are some extremely important wading safety that you must be aware of to stay safe while fishing in waders.
There is one very important safety tip to always keep in mind when wading. Just because your waders go up to your chest does not mean you should go into water that deep. If you do, you run the risk of your waders filling up. When this happens the weight of the water in your waders may overcome you and drag you under. This quite likely will result in a life-threatening situation. A good general rule of thumb when wading is to never go into water that is over waist-high.
Here are some other wading safety tips:
- Never wade into water that’s flowing very swiftly because the current may knock you over. This could lead to drowning as your waders fill with water
- Do not enter into water with your waders where the bottom is very soft and muddy. This could make maintaining your footing very treacherous
- A belt is an essential piece of equipment when wading. Make sure your wader belt is always as tight as possible without being uncomfortable. This will help keep your waders from filling up quickly in the event of a mishap
- Having a retractable wading staff with you is a good way to check water depth as you are walking
- If you fish in a river stand sideways to the current for better support
- It’s never a bad idea when fishing using waders to fish in groups of 2 or more for safety purposes
- Patience and common sense should always be at the forefront when wading
Looking After Your Waders
Even though waders are made out of some tougher type materials, this material still requires periodic care. Failure to maintain your waders properly will take away their ability to stretch and may cause dry rot too. Here are some care tips on fishing waders:
- Always clean your waders after wearing them. You do not ever want to leave mud, dirt, or bio-matter on them. Soap and water applied with a wet cloth should do the trick.
- Never store your waders wet. This will cause mold and mildew buildup that will accelerate material breakdown. Not to mention, your waders will smell bad the next time you go to use them.
- Do not hang your waders in direct sunlight when drying them out.
- Breathable waders can be machine washed (It’s actually good for them) – waders made of other materials should never be washed. Never dry fishing waders in a dryer.
- Storing waders flat or hanging them works best. If you can’t do this, then rolling them up is much better than folding them.
- Always thoroughly rinse your waders with water after saltwater fishing.
Here are some questions about fishing waders that we are asked repeatedly:
- Question: Are neoprene waders ok to use when fishing in warmer weather?
Answer: This is one you might want to stay away from because neoprene is not a very breathable material. You may get pretty hot while fishing. A better choice would be breathable waders made out of lighter materials such as nylon or polyester.
- Question: What are the best waders for fishing from in the surf?
Answer: The general consensus here is it does not matter as much the type of material you choose for surf fishing waders as it does the style of feet. Bootfoot waders do a much better job of keeping sand and gravel from getting into your boots than stocking feet waders do.
- Question: My friend told me that neoprene waders are not good to fly fish in. Is that true?
Answer: Your friend is absolutely correct. Neoprene waders do not offer you the freedom of movement that anglers like to have when fly fishing. You will also work up a sweat in them very fast because neoprene is not a breathable material.
Without a doubt, fishing waders can make fishing while standing in water so much more comfortable. That is why they are such a popular part of many anglers fishing gear. They even work great when fishing from a boat as they will keep you warm and keep the fish and bait guts off your clothing too. Not to mention, they will keep you dry so you stay comfortable no matter how long you are out fishing.
Buying the best fishing waders for the budget you are working with is important too. Following the advice in our fishing wader buying guide will certainly help with that. We have also done some legwork for you by doing fishing wader reviews on the highest quality ones you will find in the sports marketplace. So use the information here wisely and you will surely find a pair of waders that meet your fishing needs.