12 Best Fly Fishing Waders – 2023 Buyer’s Guide

// By Leonard Schoenberger
Updated: Feb 7, 2023.
Leonard Schoenberger
Latest posts by Leonard Schoenberger (see all)

The ultimate guide to the best fly fishing waders for men on the market: stockingfoot, bootfoot, breathable and best value.

Disclaimer: All products in this guide are independently researched by our team. We only recommend products we believe in and never get paid for the reviews. Learn more about our review process here.

In this ultimate guide we want to give you an overview of the best waders for fishing out there. Of course “best” is not an entirely objective term but we will try our best to give you an idea of what to look for no matter what kind you want to buy.

Quick advice: If you want a pair of waders that can do it all and will last for years, go for the Simms G3. If you’re looking for an entry level pair, our favorite is the Compass 360.

What’s Important in Choosing the best Fishing Waders?

Waders are one of the most important pieces of gear when heading out to the water. Not only do they keep you dry and warm, they also protect you from the brush, animals like snakes and bugs.

A good pair is worth the money if you are into fly fishing and want to keep up the sport. You only realize the value of the best waders for fishing when you had a bad experience such as a leak that can ruin a great trip. Depending on the conditions you fly fish in, you can choose from different kinds: chest high vs. waist high (hip), Gore-Tex/Nylon vs. Neoprene and stocking foot vs bootfoot. Don’t worry if you are not familiar with these terms. We’ll explain all the details in this article.

If you are only fishing in very warm conditions you might not need a pair but can do wet wading instead. The requirement for that are warm water and air temperatures.

Top Picks:

Fly Fishing Waders keep you dry and warm when out fly fishing
Fishing waders keep you dry and allow you to reach places where the fish are holding

Best Waders for Fishing Money Can Buy in 2023

We want to make sure you buy the best product your budget can afford. That’s why we broke down our review into three categories for men’s’ stockingfoot chest waders (the gold standard): premium ones, mid-range ones and affordable ones.

Notice: The Wading List is reader-supported. We take part in so-called affiliate programs. If you click on a link in this article and end up purchasing a product, we might earn a small commission at no extra cost for you. We never get paid by the manufacturers and always express our honest opinions about each product to help you make the best choice. Thank you!

Fly fisherman wearing Simms G3 waders fly fishing the Yellowstone River, Montana.
Wearing the new Simms G3 waders on the Yellowstone River, Montana. Photo: Shane Rickert

1. Simms G3 Stockingfoot

Key features:

– Highly breathable GORE-TEX Pro membrane

– Gravel guards fit perfectly and prevent any gravel or sand from entering

– Wading belt and suspender system are the best in the market

Why we picked it:

Montana-based manufacturer Simms has completely reworked their workhorse waders, the Simms G3 Stockingfoot. They have come up with an even better fabric that features the proven mix of a three-layer Gore-Tex membrane in the upper body and a four-layer setup from the thighs downwards where most of the abrasion tends to happen.

I like the big zippered front pocket on the chest of the Simms G3 Stockingfoot. It keeps all your essentials like pliers, nippers or tippet spools. While we were a fan of the fleece-lined hand warmer pockets on its predecessor already, they have gotten another upgrade since you can close them with zippers now as well. The belt loops have gotten an upgrade as well as they now feature two options to tighten your wading belt.

The adjustable suspender system is just as good as before and offers all-day comfort thanks to its padding. Just like its predecessor, the Simms G3 Stockingfoot features integrated gravel guards to keep sand and gravel out or your wading boots and anatomically engineered neoprene stocking feet.

PROS:

  • Incredibly durable thanks to GORE-TEX membrane
  • Anatomical neoprene booties provide excellent all-day comfort
  • Wide wader belt allows for a net to be tugged in in the back

CONS:

  • Hand warmer pockets could have thicker fleece lining for cold days
  • Chest pocket is made from a rather fragile fabric – careful with sharp objects

GET THEM AT SIMMS

GET THEM AT TRIDENT

Best Entry Level Waders for Fishing: under $250

2. Bassdash Men’s Veil Camo Breathable Wader

Key features:

– Big chest pocket allows for ample storage

– Fleece-lined hand-warmer pockets

– Solide neoprene booties

Why we picked it:

The Bassdash Men’s Veil Camo are a great pair of entry level waders that feel much more than a mid-range wader. They feature a big chest pocket to store fly boxes, tippet spools or some fishing pliers. Hidden behind this big chest pocket is a reach through handwarmer pocket. This micro-fleece lined gadget comes in very handy on cold days on the water. An inside flip out pocket stores items such as your wallet or car keys. A D-ring attached to the suspenders rounds off the great list of features.

We found the suspender system on the Bassdash Men’s Veil Camo comfortable and highly adjustable. A wide wading belt makes sure no water can penetrate in case you fall into the water. At the bottom, the Bassdash Men’s Veil Camo feature thick neoprene booties and integrated gravel guards that you can attach to your wading boots to make sure no gravel or dirt enters your boots. The Bassdash are also breathable thanks to their three layer fabric that reaches a WPR score of 15,000mm. A great pair of waders especially if you’re into hunting as well thanks to its camouflage design.

PROS:

  • Plenty of pocket options
  • Gravel guards tuck nicely into the laces of the wading boot

CONS:

  • Suspender system could use a little more padding

GET THEM ON AMAZON

GET THEM AT BASSDASH

3. Frogg Toggs Sierran Stockingfoot

Key features:

– Multiple pockets mean a lot of room for accessory storage

– Huge sizing options

– Enhanced abrasion resistance around the knees and shins

Why we picked it:

In our eyes, the Frogg Toggs Sierran are a solid choice if you’re new to fly fishing and are not sure how much you are going to practice it.

The Frogg Toggs Sierran are chest waders giving you a lot of flexibility when wading deep. They are made of a solid 3-layer nylon material in the upper body and a 6 layer around the knees and shin where a lot of abrasion happens. The suspender system has integrated D-rings. A nice feature since it makes sure you can attach important tools such as pliers or nippers where you need them.

A zippered chest pocket for your essential gear like fly boxes or tippets and hand-warmer pockets are great features in the Frogg Toggs Sierran. Comes with a wading belt and adjustable shoulder straps. Integrated gravel guards make sure no sand or gravel get into your wading boots.

PROS:

  • Reinforced knees for increased abrasion resistance
  • Could pocket system across the chest

CONS:

  • Cut tends to be a little bulky

GET THEM ON AMAZON

GET THEM AT WALMART

4. Compass 360 Fly Fishing Breathable Chest Wader

Key features:

– 4-layer fabric for long lasting durability

– Big chest pocket for ample storage

– High quality suspender system

Why we picked it:

The Compass 360 is another quality product that I recommend if you are looking for an entry pair that won’t break the bank. These waders are made from a 4-layer breathable nylon fabric. Around the knees in an area of increased abrasion, the Compass 360 are reinforced for extra durability. 

The 4mm neoprene booties are comfortable all day long thanks to their contour fit. Integrated gravel guards with lace hooks can be attached to your laces to make sure that no sand or gravel enters your wading boots. Fully adjustable and elastic suspenders are a feature that you would not forcibly expect on a pair in this price range. The Compass 360 come with a one year warranty against defects from manufacturing. 

PROS:

  • Huge chest pocket stores even big streamer boxes
  • Snug fit – great for wading deep in fast rivers

CONS:

  • Wading bellt could be a little wider for increased back support

GET THEM ON AMAZON

GET THEM AT TACKLE DIRECT

5. Redington Escape

Key features:

– Good breathability for this price range

– Easily convertible into waist-high waders

– Integrated tool docks and D-ring in the back

Why we picked it:

The Redington Escape Fly Fishing are another great entry level option at around $200. Made from a 3-layer waterproof DWR coated fabric in the upper part and a 4 layer in the legs, they are a good choice if you are looking for breathable waders.

Like we mentioned in other gear reviews, it’s always a good idea to get an entry level product from a brand that also makes high-end products. You can be sure that their know-how trickles down into these products. The Redington Escape Fly Fishing is no exception to this rule.

The Redington Escape Fly Fishing can easily be turned into a pair of waist high waders, a handy feature when it’s hot. The large chest pocket and a flip out pocket on the inside give you ample room for storage. Hand warmer pockets keep your fingers warm no matter the conditions. Integrated tool docks and a D-ring in the back allow for the attachment of extra gear like a landing net. Great value for the money!

PROS:

  • Great fit around the upper body
  • Can be converted to waist high waders

CONS:

  • Gravel guards don’t fit as tightly as the Simms G3 for example

GET THEM AT REELFLYROD

GET THEM ON AMAZON

Best Mid-Range: $250 – $500

6. Simms Mens Tributary Stockingfoot Chest

Key features:

– Simms guarantee

– Wide wading belt for better fit and safety

– Handwarmer pockets come in handy on cold days

Why we picked it:

Brand new for the 2023 season, the Simms Tributary 2023 Stockingfoot Waders are one of our mid-range favorites and a really great pair overall. For the Simms Tributary, the same thing holds true that we said about the Redington. Simms Waders are definitely some of the best on the market. The new Simms Tributary 2023 Stockingfoot Waders are a great entry into the world of Simms and a pair you can use hard and over several years.

The Simms Tributary are made of a 3 layer waterproof polyester fabric in the upper part of the body and a 4 layer fabric in the lower part. The additional layer adds another degree of durability and abrasion-resistance. Also the pocket system is well thought-through with fleece-lined, reach through hand-warmer pockets for cold days and a big chest pocket to store your essentials. I found the wide wading belt to provide a good fit of the waders around the waist.

My verdict: The new Simms Tributary 2023 Stockingfoot Waders are a great pair of waders that are an ideal choice if you’re looking for a lightweight durable pair of waders that won’t break the bank. Yes, there not made from Gore-Tex material but they durability is still great.

PROS:

  • Wading belt has a great and secure fit
  • Reinforced lower body section

CONS:

  • Chest pocket could be bit bigger

GET THEM AT SIMMS

GET THEM ON AMAZON

7. Orvis Men’s Ultralight Convertible

Key features:

– Highly breathable 4-layer membrane

– Can be turned into hip waders

– Lighweight – great for traveling

Why we picked it:

At the same price as the Simms Freestone, the Orvis Men’s Ultralight Convertible are another great mid-range pair. Their biggest asset is the fact that they can easily be turned into hip waders. Made from a 4-layer waterproof and breathable nylon shell, the Orvis Men’s Ultralight Convertible Wader also feature a chest pocket which is a little smaller than the Simms one though.

The Orvis Men’s Ultralight Convertible Wader is a very light pair and great for travelling. If you plan on fishing a lot in cold temperatures the Simms Freestone is the better choice since the Orvis does not feature handwarmer pockets.

PROS:

  • Highly breathable
  • Easily converts into waist high

CONS:

  • Chest pocket is too small
  • Suspender system needs an update for extra comfort

GET THEM AT REEL FLY ROD

GET THEM AT TRIDENT

GET THEM ON AMAZON

8. Patagonia Swiftcurrent Packable

Key features:

– Highly packable

– Minimal weight for great freedom of movement

– Extra layers around the ankles for increase abrasion resistance

Why we picked it:

The Patagonia Swiftcurrent Packable are Patagonia’s trimmed down version of their Swiftcurrent (see further down). Most features on these have been reduced in terms of material and weight in order to make these waders a great option if you are travelling a lot. The suspenders and wading belt on the Patagonia Swiftcurrent Packable are a little slimmer than on the regular model. They feature a large chest pocket and a flip waterproof flip out pocket, yet no hand-warmer pockets.

Around the ankles, the Patagonia Swiftcurrent Packable feature extra abrasion resistant material where it matters most. The scuff guards will prevent sand and gravel from entering your wading boots. The Patagonia Swiftcurrent Packable weigh in at only 2.2 lbs.

PROS:

  • Extremely lightweight and highly packable
  • Great waist belt

CONS:

  • Suspenders can become uncomfortable when fishing all days
  • Feet can get cold easily since booties are very thin

GET THEM AT PATAGONIA

GET THEM AT REEL FLY ROD

9. Skwala Carbon Wader

Key features:

– Very comfortable suspender system

– Can be converted into waist high waders for increased breathability

– Beautiful, one-color fabric

Why we picked it:

Here’s another great mid-range pair of waders that we came across just recently: the Skwala Carbon Wader. The small Montana-based company set out to challenge the big players for a high quality product at an affordable price.

The Skwala Carbon Wader has all the features of a great pair of waders such as a padded, adjustable suspender system, a wide wading belt with multiple belt loops to hold it in place and 4mm neoprene booties. A big chest pocket allows for ample storage and the 4-layer waterproof fabric can take a lot of beating without giving in. The best feature of the Skwala Carbon Wader is its capability to turn from a chest high wader into a waist high – a great feature if you often fish on hot summer days.

PROS:

  • Excellent suspender system
  • High versatility as these can be converted into hip waders

CONS:

  • Booties not as comfortable as Simms G3’s

GET THEM AT SKWALA

GET THEM AT CHARLIE’S FLY BOX

Best High-End: over $500

10. Orvis Men’s Pro

Key features:

– Extremely abrasion-resistant thanks to 5-layer shell

– Extra wide wading belt for better fit

– Orvis warranty

Why we picked it:

The Orvis Men’s Pro are meant for heavy use over years. For extra abrasion-resistance the lower part of these waders from the thigh downwards is made of extra-durable 5-layer cordura shell.

The Orvis Men’s Pro also feature removable knee pads when you want more freedom of movement around your legs. A number of zippered pockets, flap-out pocket, hand warmer pockets make sure you can store your gear and keep your hands warm in any conditions.

Elastic suspenders on the Orvis Men’s Pro allow for easy conversion into a waist high pair of waders. They come with the great Orvis warranty.

PROS:

  • Extremely durable thanks to 5-layer fabric
  • Wide wading belt provides extra back support

CONS:

  • Small chest pocket
  • Suspender system not as comfortable as Skwala or Patagonia

GET THEM AT REEL FLY ROD

GET THEM AT TRIDENT

GET THEM ON AMAZON

11. Simms G4 Pro

Key features:

– Highly breathable GORE-TEX Pro membrane

– Best suspender system on the market

– 4-layer Gore-Tex from the knees downwards

Why we picked it:

If money is not an issue, get the Simms G4 Pro waders. Those are the toughest, most durable waders we’ve ever experienced. They feel a bit like elephant skin. That tells you how sturdy they are.

The Simms G4 Pro are made from 3-layer GORE-TEX® Pro Shell upper/4-layer GORE-TEX Pro Shell lower. They also feature compression-molded stockingfeet for extra comfort all day long.

The Simms G4 Pro have a fantastic suspender system and come with a waist belt that is safely held in place by multiple belt loops. The micro-fleece lined, reach-through handwarmer pockets come in handy on cold days. The Simms G4 are also available with a front zipper for extra comfort: the Simms G4Z Pro. No matter which version you get, the Simms G4 will serve you well for years.

PROS:

  • Most durable waders we ever tested
  • Superb suspender system that distributes the weight evenly on your shoulders

CONS:

  • Can get a little warm in the summer

GET THEM AT SIMMS

GET THEM AT REEL FLY ROD

GET THEM AT TRIDENT

12. Patagonia Men’s Swiftcurrent

Key features:

– EZ-lock suspenders turn these waders into waist high

– Great-fitting neoprene booties

– Scuff-guards on the inside of the ankles for increased durability

Why we picked it:

The Patagonia Swiftcurrent are a very versatile pair of fly fishing waders. Thanks to Patagonia’s EZ-lock suspenders you can convert them into waist-high on a warm day.

Zippered chest pockets, a flip-out pocket on the inside and reach-through hand warmer pockets provide ample storage opportunities. The Patagonia Swiftcurrent are made from a 100% recycled polyester microfiber H2No® Performance Standard shell. Scuff guards around the ankles provide extra abrasion resistance.

The anatomical booties of the Patagonia Swiftcurrent provide great comfort all day long. At only 45.9 oz (1301g) they are a great pair if you travel a lot. They are also available as zip-fronts. Read our in-depth review of the Patagonia Swiftcurrent here.

PROS:

  • Most stylish waders in the test
  • Convertible into hip waders

CONS:

  • Cut around the legs is a little bulky
  • Suspender system not at the level of Simms G4 or Skwala

GET THEM AT PATAGONIA

GET IT AT REEL FLY ROD

GET THEM AT ALS

The Wading List Survey Sept 2021 - Who Makes the Best Wading Gear For Fly Fishing?

How to Pick the Best Fly Fishing Waders

A quality pair of waders has a number of key features that you should consider before making a purchase. Here are the most important ones to pay attention to.

Price and warranty

A pair of waders can come in pricy. On the upside the most expensive ones often have the best warranties. Premium brands like Simms, Patagonia or Orvis offer great warranties and easy repair services – a factor you should not underestimate. Often it can be worth investing a little more for a better pair that last you longer. Hence, it can even save you money on the long run.

Fit

The fit is one of the most important factors to have a good day on the water. Here again premium manufacturers like Simms, Patagonia or Orvis offer a wide range of sizes to literally fit any kind of physique. From experience I would say that Simms have a slightly slimmer cut around the leg and Patagonia for example offer a bit more room. You really have to try them yourself to find the best fit. If you are unsure you can order two or three pairs and test them in your living room.

Breathability

Breathability is another crucial factor when choosing your favorite. It defines how well moisture can escape from the inside if you are sweating. Neoprene ones have less breathability since they are made for cold temperatures.

The premium brands have similar technologies and the most expensive ones are all highly breathable. Simms uses the world renown GORE-TEX membrane that has proven to be highly breathable over decades. Patagonia use their own membrane which offers breathability on the same level.

Durability

Generally speaking the more expensive products feature more layers of fabric. For example, Simms’ top model the G4 is made of five layers of GORE-TEX membrane offering an incredible amount of durability. As a result, a pair of these can last you several years even if you are a die hard fisherman. Another important feature of the best fly fishing waders are the seams. The better the seam quality the less likely your product is to leak.

Fly Fisherman in the Water Fishing wearing fly fishing waders
A good pair is a smart investment

Best Hip Waders for Men/ Wading Pants

Chest high waders give you the utmost in flexibility. Yet, if you know you are only going to fish in warmer temperatures and won’t have to wade deep, a pair of hip waders often also called wading pants can be a good alternative. We created a separate “Guide to the Best Hip Waders” which you can read here!

Since they cover less of your body, you will profit from an increased level of breathability. A downside of hip waders is the fact that you have less pockets to store your essentials. If you decide to use wading pants a sling pack or backpack can be a good add-on to your fly fishing gear.

Best Fishing Waders for Women

All the big manufacturers now make waders especially tailored for women. We have taken a deeper look at the best women’s waders out there in our “Guide to the Best Women’s Waders“. Make sure to check that out if you want to dive deeper into that topic. Here we’ll give you a quick look at our top 3:

Simms Womens Tributary...
Redington Women's...
Orvis Clearwater Chest...
Simms Womens Tributary...
Redington Women's...
Orvis Clearwater Chest...
$149.97
$250.02
$249.00
Simms Womens Tributary...
Simms Womens Tributary...
$149.97
Redington Women's...
Redington Women's...
$250.02
Orvis Clearwater Chest...
Orvis Clearwater Chest...
$249.00

Last update on 2023-02-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Waders for Kids / Youth Waders

If you are really into fly fishing, chances are you want to take your kids along to the river one day. Depending on their age they can of course start fishing themselves. In that case a quality pair of waders is essential. Like with all children clothes, the lifespan is usually short because the kids grow so fast.

Nevertheless you should invest in a quality product. Often these ones can be passed on to siblings or cousins. Here are our top 3 kids/youth products:

Frogg Toggs 2731126-SM...
Orvis Clearwater Chest...
Editor's Choice
Redington Crosswater...
Frogg Toggs 2731126-SM...
Orvis Clearwater Chest...
Redington Crosswater...
Price not available
$229.00
$97.59
Frogg Toggs 2731126-SM...
Frogg Toggs 2731126-SM...
Price not available
Orvis Clearwater Chest...
Orvis Clearwater Chest...
$229.00
Editor's Choice
Redington Crosswater...
Redington Crosswater...
$97.59

Last update on 2023-02-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What you Need to Know

Materials of Waders

Fly fishing waders can basically be organized into two categories: nylon/polyester and neoprene.

Nylon/polyester

Most of modern day breathable waders are made of nylon/polyester. Depending on the quality of the product they range from three to five layers. Nylon and polyester enable moisture from sweating to escape from the inside. The most advanced fabrics are membranes such as GORE-TEX featured in many Simms products.

Neoprene

Neoprene ones are made of thick and pliable synthetic rubber that is mostly used in cold temperatures. It is not breathable and hence only advisable in cold water surroundings. It is also much harder to walk long distances in a pair of rubber ones than nylon ones.

A fly fisherman standing a river

Different types: chest, hip waders, etc.

Which type should you get? You have to decide between bootfoot vs stockingfoot and chest vs hip waders (wading pants). Here is a closer look at the different options.

Bootfoot

Most of the times bootfoots are used in neoprene ones. A bootfoot wader is a pair that has boot attached to the leg. There are also nylon bootfoot waders. Often these are used by guides that use a boot for a day of guiding. Some consider bootfoot ones easier to wear since you don’t have to put on wading boots separately. But they have deficits in terms of flexibility since you can’t use wading boots with different soles for different wading conditions.

An advantage of bootfoot waders is the fact that the rubber boots don’t hold as much water as wading boots. This means you can more easily keep them on when entering a store for example.

Simms G3 Guide Bootfoot

Stockingfoot waders

In modern fly fishing stockingfoot waders are the standard. Stockingfoots feature neoprene socks at the end of the leg. You slide into a pair of wading boots with these neoprene socks just like a pair of hiking boots. You can use different kinds of soles with one pair of stockingfoots, such as vibram (rubber) soles, felt soles or cleated soles.

Chest waders

Chest waders are the most commonly used type of stocking foot waders. This is because of their versatility. Chest waders allow you to wade deep. They also offer more comfort and warmth than wading pants. A number of manufacturers offer chest ones than can be converted into wading pants and hence offer extra comfort on warmer days.

Fishing pants / hip waders

If you’re a minimalist pant wader – often also called wading pants or hip waders – might be a good option for you. For obvious reasons you can’t wade as deep with them but they offer more freedom of movement. Especially if you mostly fish in warmer regions and smaller rivers, wading pants could be a good option for you.

Size Chart

Every manufacturer offers their own size chart. Premium outfitters such as Simms, Patagonia and Orvis offer a vast variety of sizing options.

Taking care of your product

Taking care of your waders is very important and will increase its lifespan by a lot. Here are the most important things to keep in mind:

1. Always dry them: as soon as you get home from a day on the water you should hang your waders in a place that is dry and about room temperature. The most common way to hang them is upside down. This way any moisture still left in the legs can emerge.

2. Don’t store them in the car: it might be a tempting thought to keep your waders in the car for a spontaneous trip to the river but it’s not a good idea. The seams and different layers of your product will not like hot temperatures and direct sunlight.

3. Wash them every once in a while: it is always a good idea to wash them properly after each use just using water (no saltwater). Do it at least every few weeks to get rid of small particles, dust and stones that might cause abrasion.

4. Apply a water repellent coating: once they are clean and dry it is a good idea to re-apply a water repellent coating every once in a while. The initial coating wears off after time and hence a replenishing comes in handy.

5. Use a rubber mat when taking them off: the neoprene socks of most fly fishing waders are a sensitive part and especially exposed to abrasion. So when you take off your wading boots make sure you have a rubber mat or a wader bag to step on. This will prevent your neoprene socks from abrasion and will make them last longer.

6. Use a wader bag: if you want to make them last longer use a wader bag to transport them. Here is a selection of options for you:

Conclusion on the Best Fly Fishing Waders for Men

As you can see from our review the options for a pair of waders are basically endless. There are so many factors that influence your decision. The most important ones are: how much am I going to use the waders, how tough do they have to be? Do I prefer chest waders for fly fishing for the utmost in flexibility when wading deep or are wading pants enough? Do I take them on trips a lot, hence they should be light.

No matter what option you go for in the end, we hope this guide has helped you make a choice and get a better idea of the options out there. If you want to learn more about other wading gear make sure to read our other guides.

Frequently Asked Questions Fishing Waders

Are waders necessary for fly fishing?

A quality pair of waders is an essential piece of gear when fly fishing. Though you can technically cast a fly rod from a bank without wading, the possibility of stepping into the water to reach lies of fish further away, is crucial. Waders not only keep you dry, they also keep you warm if you are fishing in the northern hemisphere. Water temperatures in most rivers are cold even during summer. Without a pair of waders for men you would be cold quickly.

Are Simms waders worth it?

From our experience Simms waders are definitely worth the money. The cheapest ones from the American manufacturer start at less than $200. They have great durability and Simms gives a fantastic guarantee.

Why do fly fishermen wear waders?

Fly fishermen and women wear waders to protect themselves from the elements while fishing. Waders enable you to stand in the water without getting wet or cold. Since fly fishermen and women often spend our pursuing their sport, waders are an essential piece of gear.

A fly fisherman casting a fly rod
A fly fisherman casting a fly rod

How long should a pair of waders last?

A quality pair of waders for men should last an average fisherman at least 3-4 seasons. High end waders for men made from multiple layers of the best fabrics can easily last 5 seasons or longer.

What are the best waders for the money?

The best waders for the money are waders that combine great quality and durability with a price you can afford. In order to choose the best waders for the money you should set a budget for yourself. It’s also a good idea to look at entry level products from manufacturers that also produce high end waders such as Simms, Patagonia or Orvis. Often, their know-how trickles down into their entry level product and they hence offer great value for money.

What are the best breathable waders?

The best breathable waders are made from Gore Tex fabrics. As in all waterproof rain gear, this fabric has become the gold standard in breathability. The American manufacturer Simms is the only waders producer using Gore Tex material. However, brands such as Patagonia or Orvis also have premium fabrics when it comes to breathability and waterproofness.

Are stockingfoot waders better than bootfoot waders?

In general fishing waders can be broken down into two main categories: so called stockingfoot waders that feature neoprene socks at the end of the leg. You wear them with a pair of wading boots. The other option are so called bootfoot waders that come with integrated rubber boots. They both have their pro’s and con’s. Generally speaking stockingfoot waders offer more flexibility and stability because of separate wading boots with increased ankle support. Bootfoot waders on the other hand are very practical with their integrated rubber boots and tend to be the choice of guides when working in a boat.

Are breathable stockingfoot waders better than neoprene waders?

Neoprene waders really only make sense if you will fish in very cold conditions for the most part. This could be the case if you are targeting species such as steelhead in the Pacific Northwest. They have supreme capacities to keep you warm no matter how cold it gets due to their thick fabric (often 4mm or 5mm of neoprene). They work similarly to a wet suit in surfing. Breathable stockingfoot waders have the advantage when it comes to breathability. And if it gets cold you can always add a layer to keep yourself warm.

How do you repair your waders?

Most premium brands of the best waders such as Simms, Orvis, Patagonia or Redington include a repair kit with their fly fishing waders. That way you can repair small tears or rips yourself. The weapon of choice is a super glue called Aquaseal that you apply to the section where your waders are damaged (they need to be dry in order to apply the glue). The glue dries very quickly when exposed to sunlight. Should there be a bigger issue most of these brands offer great warranty and repair services. If your pair is out of warranty you can still send them in to the manufacturer and often get them repaired for a small handling fee.

Read more of our Gear Guides here:

Ultimate Guide: Best Wading Jackets

Buyer’s Guide Best Wading Boots

Top 6 Fly Rod Combos

Top 6 Best Fly Fishing Nets

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