Best Fishing Waders Reviewed and Rated in 2016
Fishing can be a game of inches and any tool that helps get your cast out even another foot or two could be the difference between the skunk and an epic fishing outing.
A good set of men’s waders can get you out into the water to make your cast. Giving you the ability to cast to areas that you wouldn’t reach from the shore.
Without a set of best fishing waders, there is little point in fishing some areas. Areas that could potentially be holding a lot of fish.
Our Top 3 Picks
There are lots of different types of fishing waders on the market. Each one designed to work best in specific fishing scenarios.
And, of course, there are varying degrees of effectiveness.
Knowing the strength and weaknesses of the best fishing waders and how they should be used is important in getting the right pair of waders for your needs. This guide will help you navigate the intimidating world of buying the right waders for the right job.
What are fishing waders anyway?
Waders are boots that go from the foot all the way up to the chest much like a set of overalls. Also called chest waders to differentiate them from the long boots that go up to the groin and can be used to wade out into knee high water.
Waders used to be made from rubber to make sure that no water would get in. However, that rubber would make the angler sweat which would make him wet anyway.
These days there are a few high tech materials that will keep water out while allowing the skin to breathe. Keeping the angler dry and comfortable. Any wader worth buying will be made out of PVC, neoprene, Gore-Tex or a combination of all of those materials.
What are the different types of fishing waders?
For starters there are hip waders and chest waders.
Hip waders are really long boots that go up to the groin. They allow wading out into a few feet of water. They don’t offer much protection aside from keeping the legs and feet dry. Some anglers prefer to wear these in the summer since chest waders might make them a bit too hot. If you aren’t venturing too deep into the water these are a good option. Be careful for spillover, which can fill up a boot with water!
Chest waders cover you up to your chest, obviously. This can get you out into deeper water and keep you much drier than hip waders.
One thing to remember is that just because you can wade out into water up to your chest doesn’t mean that you should. Swift waters can be dangerous and it is easy to get swept away in a current. It’s a good idea to only go waist deep. The added protection afforded by a chest wader is more to prevent spillover in case of a wave than it is to allow you to wade into chest deep water.
Stockingfoot vs bootfoot
Bootfoot waders are an all-in-one system. The boots are welded to the inseam. You can wear whatever kind of socks you like inside the boot since no water will be getting inside.
This can keep costs down since you don’t have to buy a pair of boots separate from the waders.
The downside to wearing bootfoot waders is that your foot might not fit into the boot. The waders themselves are sized to fit the body but the size of the boot doesn’t always correspond.
Another negative is that you can’t put the waders in a washing machine making clean-up a hassle.
Stockingfoot waders have a neoprene sock attached instead of the whole boot. These are also welded to the inseam.
The benefit to this type of wader is that you can wear a boot that fits to your foot making for better comfort. You also have the option of changing what kind of boot you want to wear for different conditions.
For instance, in saltwater you may like to have felt soled boots so you don’t slip on the rocks. In many states felt soled boots are against the law in fresh water. This way you can swap out those boots for ones that comply with state regulations if you want to go from fishing the salt to fishing in fresh water without needing a different set of waders.
The downside is that you can’t wear thick socks in your boots if that is your preference.
My personal opinion is that stockingfoot waders are best. The personalization that you can get with them make them an ideal choice. It’s the only kind I use myself.
There are two main types of material used for fishing waders.
Neoprene vs breathable
Neoprene is the same type of material used in wetsuits. It is semi-breathable and semi-permeable. What that means is that you kind of get wet from sweat when you wear them (hence the name WETsuit). That sweat gets wicked away from your skin and forms a layer that gets heated by your body temperature thereby keeping you warm. You actually feel dry in them and they do a great job at keeping you warm.
What you gain in warmth, you lose in maneuverability. They aren’t great if you need to do a lot of walking. They do come in varying thicknesses, though. The thinner weight will give you more mobility and the thicker weight, less.
These are very durable and are easy to patch if they get punctured. Though, it is very difficult to puncture them. For fishing in cold waters, they are ideal. They can make you overheat if the water temperature is not that cold, however.
Breathable material like Gore-Tex is lightweight and allow for greater mobility. They wick away your seat and allow the vapor to escape the waders while still preventing water from entering.
They keep you dry and comfortable and are ideal for warmer waters. If the water is cold but not too frigid, with the proper layering underneath, you could still use breathable waders rather than neoprene. Having that kind of mobility makes it a great option if you need to walk from spot to spot and don’t want to take your waders on and off when moving around.
What to consider when buying a set of waders
Understanding your needs and what kind of conditions you will be fishing in is important when deciding on the right fishing waders.
You might have the most expensive pair of neoprene waders that money can buy, but if you are in 90 degree heat in water that is 80 degrees, you will be so hot that you will want to throw those waders in the trash!
Always get the right tool for the right job.
If you are fishing for salmon in Canada, for instance and the air temperature won’t go up past 40 degrees and the water temp is a hair above freezing. Thick neoprene waders are ideal. Especially if you are standing in one spot for a while and don’t need much mobility.
Say you are fishing where the air temperature is warm and the water is cold but not freezing. A pair of Gore-Tex waders with a layer of insulated long underwear underneath would do the job nicely.
Best Fishing Waders Reviewed in 2016
As I mentioned already, it depends on what your needs are.
So, let’s talk about the 10 best fishing waders out there and what type of fishing each one is good for. With this information you will be able to find the right set of waders that are perfect for your needs.
1. Redington Sonic Pro Stocking Foot Wader
- 100% Nylon 4 layer waterproof breathable fabric
- High tech sonic welded and double taped seams
- Flip out tool pocket with mesh lining
- Hypalon retractor dock
- Opposing buckles for easy conversion to waist high waders
- 2 inch stretchable wading belt
- Gravel guards with lace hook
- Microfleece lined hand warmers
These waders by Redington win our Best Of award not for all the extras and bells and whistles. But, for making sure all the little details are covered to keep you on the water and able to fish.
Let’s start with the zipper. It is the best zipper of any waders I have ever tried. It never leaks, zips easily and unzips almost to the crotch making it a breeze to get in and out of. Most complaints about waders is what a chore they can be to get on and off. These are so easy you don’t even have to think about it.
I have neoprene waders that I struggle getting into. I hardly ever use them anymore since I would rather just go out in the SonicPro and really layer up underneath it. If the temps are cold but not frigid I can get away with wearing these.
The fit is also better than any other waders out there. Waders are notorious for how ill-fitting they can be. You may have better luck with these as they are not as awkwardly designed as some.
The pockets are deceptively roomy. There are 5 of them. Unless you are the type of guy who takes the kitchen sink with you when you go fishing, you will find you have more than enough room for all of your gear. You can fit small tackle boxes in them, gloves, extra spools of line and maybe even a snack!
The D rings are also made with care. The clip end is narrow specifically to accommodate a hemostat.
Even the gravel waders are designed well. Not content to just keep the gravel out of your boots, they also have a lace hook that won’t snag your fly line. Again, Redington wants to make sure you are able to fish comfortably. Anything that can distract from your fishing is unacceptable.
The fleece lined hand warmer pockets are perfect for getting those hands toasty. Above the handwarmer is a small zippered pocket where you can keep a cell phone or car keys, too.
Ok. Enough about the bells and whistles. How do they keep the water out?
Like a dream!
They don’t sew the seams. They weld them and double tape them. They will last much, much longer than waders with threaded seams. They are flat and take up less room which means they can use more seams. Which means they can make a design that fits better than most waders. And there is less wear and tear on a flat seam so they are less likely to fail and let in water.
You can spend more money and get a top of the line pair of waders that do exactly the same thing as the Redington SonicPro. But, why spend the money? These are not exactly cheap, but they offer a fantastic value for what you pay.
2. Waterfowl Wading Systems Max-5 Neoprene Stockingfoot Wader
- 3.5 mm neoprene
- Reinforced knees
- Front rings for hanging gear
- Large front hand warmer pocket
- Max-5 camo pattern
- Extra wide suspenders
The Waterfowl Wading Systems Max-5 is a workhorse of a wader.
The double reinforced knees are a great detail. Almost as much time is spent kneeling as standing up in waders. The extra insurance from the pads gives nice piece of mind that they will last a while. Not to mention it adds comfort.
Another nice little feature are the rings on the front. It’s easy to keep things handy just by snapping on and off of the rings. It’s a great place to put your duck call or other accessories.
The thin, but high quality neoprene keeps you warm while giving some mobility at the same time. The design of the waders also gives greater mobility than most. They fit snugly but not tight. Because of that there are no saggy spots that tend to make walking difficult.
These are designed with the hunter in mind, but also work great for fishing. The outer shell is reinforced with nylon for added toughness. Walking through the brush can wear down the neoprene, or, worse, puncture it. This detail is appreciated by those that need a little extra protection.
The only con is the neoprene booties could be a little thicker. If it is cold, you might need to wear some socks over them which could make fitting into your boots difficult.
3. Frogg Toggs Amphib 3.5mm Neoprene Stockingfoot Wader
- 3.5 mm neoprene
- Reinforced knee pads
- Neoprene booties with sliding gravel guards
- High back design
- Fleece lined hand warmer chest pocket
- Accessory rings
The Frogg Togg Neoprene waders are a great all around set of waders.
Perfect for hunting or fishing. They keep you warm and dry for the whole day.
The high back is a great feature as it ensures that you stay dry even if you are in a tube float or have to wade through some deep water.
The fleece lined hand warmer is also a welcome bonus. Nothing can ruin a day fishing or hunting than having cold hands that just can’t be warmed up. The fleece in the pocket will keep your hands toasty for all day comfort.
The wide shoulder straps also add comfort. It’s a little detail that doesn’t go unnoticed. Anything that can keep you on the water longer is always appreciated.
These run a little small and can be snug if you don’t get the right size. Frogg Toggs recommend that you get a pair that has an inseam 2 inches longer than your actual inseam. They do stretch a little as you wear them so what seems too tight when you just get them on will give way to a comfortable wear after a short period.
4. Orvis Men’s Encounter Wader
- 4 layer breathable nylon fabric
- 3 integrated belt loops for the included wading belt
- Kangaroo style handwarmer pocket
- Mesh storage pocket
- Sculpted neoprene booties
The Orvis Encounter waders are everything you need and nothing that you don’t. All the important essentials are covered. Without all the bells and whistles.
The fit is exceptionally comfortable and offer great mobility. They are breathable thanks to the 4 layers of nylon materials. It’s that material which keeps the waders lightweight and allows for a design that fits every body type well.
The sculpted booties give you a fit unmatched by other brands. What could have been an afterthought are instead an integral feature.
The breathability is so good, that even in the hottest weather you won’t feel clammy. When the cooler weather comes, the loose fit provides enough room for some thermal underwear to keep warm.
Safety is always an issue when you get into the water. Even when wading. So any added measure, no matter how small, is always a good thing. The belt loops for the wading belt are just such a measure that give peace of mind. Those loops could be the difference between your wading belt coming loose or staying put. That’s no small thing.
Orvis finally has released a high end set of waders with the budget minded angler in mind. These waders give you that trust from the Orvis name and all the quality that goes with it, at an affordable price.
5. Caddis Men’s Green Neoprene Stocking Foot Wader
- 3.5 mm neoprene
- Double taped glued and stitched feet
- Sizes run from small for kids to XX Large and stout
- Fleece lined hand warmer pocket
- Sliding gravel cuffs
One of the worst parts about buying waders is that it is usually hard to find one that really fits your body type. Inseam length and foot size might be fine, but if you are skinny or have a big belly, it can be an issue.
Luckily, Caddis has those with normal bodies in mind so they made many different sizes with body type also considered. If you are skinny but tall, you can get into an Extra Large, Long without it dropping. For a guy the same exact height as the skinny guy but who has a beer belly, try a Large Stout size with room for the waist.
Ok, so they fit comfortably. What about the performance?
3.5 mm neoprene is thick enough to keep you warm and dry all day but thin enough for mobility.
The sliding gravel cuffs keep your boot from filling up with gravel and having it adjustable is a nice perk.
The socks run a bit big for most people, but the material is thin enough that any excess should still fit inside a wading boot.
6. Allen Big Timber Bootfoot Neoprene Chest Waders
- 3.5 mm neoprene
- 600g insulated rubber boots with semi-hard toe cap and steel arch
- High back design
- Reinforced knee pads
- Oversized hand warmer
- Waist belt
Allen Big Timber waders are made with rough conditions in mind. Not only are the knees reinforced since when you are hunting or fishing, you spend a lot of time kneeling.
The boots are also made to stand tough give support. After all, you plan to spend most of the day fishing or hunting on your feet, right?
Steel arches give your feet some support which your back will thank you for later. The hard toe-cap offers up some protection for your toes in case you accidently kick a big log or rock.
It’s not often that you see well-thought out boots in bootfoot waders. Usually they are the worst part of the wader and a reason I usually tend to go for stockingfoot waders.
No need for that here. They also run large since Allen knows that for your feet to stay warm you will not only be wearing thick socks, but that you need some airspace in there to keep your feet warm. Without that space, when the rubber of the boot gets cold, so do your feet. Even with thick socks on.
They also get that even some guys like to wear thin gloves. Thin gloves give you more control, but they also can let your hand get cold after a while. Luckily, the hand warmer in these waders is extra large so even in gloves you can get your hand in there.
These waders are built to last with high quality neoprene and tough seams.
7. Sougayilang Boot-Foot Chest Waders Waterproof Fishing Hunting Boot Waders
- Durable PVC material
- Heat welded seams
- Loose fitting for better mobility
- Felt lined for warmth
- Wicks moisture away from body to keep dry
Sougayilong is a relatively new entrant into the fishing waders market.
In a short time they managed to impress by the quality of their products.
These waders are excellent for that late spring or early fall fishing trip. They will keep you warm in cooler waters and very dry due to the wicking material lining the inside of the PVC.
It is unusual to see heat welded seams at this price. It is the best way to get a long lasting seal that is common in more expensive chest waders. These are certainly built to last.
They are also great for when you are going to be moving around. It’s easy to walk around in them. Getting from one fishing spot to another is a breeze.
Since they are loose fitting you can really bundle up in them to stay warm. Layering is important in the spring and fall as temperatures can fluctuate quite a bit. Start out with lots of layers and strip down as the temps warm up. Then when the temperature dips again just add some more layers.
This is easy since the loose fit makes it a snap to get in and out of these waders.
8. Lone Cone Kids and Toddler Neoprene Camouflage Child Size Chest Waders
- 3.5 mm neoprene
- Fully taped seams
- Adjustable shoulder height and waist width
- Durable rubber boot
There is no greater pleasure as an outdoorsy parent than sharing the passion for fishing with one’s kids.
Conditions don’t always allow for them to join in on the fun, however. By getting them some waders to combat the cold water and weather, they can now come on just about any trip.
Quality construction is of much greater importance when you are talking about the safety and comfort of kids. That’s why Lone Cone puts such care into the durable seams.
The sizes run a little big so kids can layer up in warm gear underneath the waders. And for the fact that they grow so fast. It’s nice to know that the waders they fit into in the spring will still work for them in the fall.
The sizes run from 4/5 to 14/15. Finding the right fit for your child is not an issue.
They are made for either girls or boys by not using any gender oriented designs. No pink for girls and no blue for boys. They will blend into their surroundings nicely with the camouflage colors.
9. Redington Crosswater Wader
- Opposing buckles to convert to waist high waders
- Crossed shoulder straps for a better fit
- Flip out pocket
- Belt loop for included wading belt
- High density neoprene booties
- 3 layered polyester with water repellent coating
Next time you step into a cool stream it should be with Redington Crosswater waders. Especially if you need something lightweight, breathable and that gives you great mobility.
You will stay dry as a bone with the 3 layers of breathable polyester fabric. They are DWR coated for extra protection making them totally waterproof.
A tip when buying these is to make sure you get some a little bit larger than you think you need. These are not made for really cold water so you will need to layer up underneath. That extra room will mean you can put on some good thermal underwear if the water temps get too low in the early Spring or Fall.
I love waders with the opposing suspenders like the Crosswater. They give a much more secure hold and you are able to move around much easier. And when you are moving around, even if you have to travel a bit to get there, your sweat will be wicked away from your skin and the vapor will make its way out of the waders. There’s nothing worse than keeping the water out but still getting soaked when you sweat. Not an issue in the Crosswaters!
The booties can be a bit big for people that have smaller than average feet for their height. That is the big disadvantage to have stockingfoot waders. Not everybody is the same. It’s not like because I am 5-10 with 10.5 size feet that everybody who is the same height will have the same size feet. But, that can be said for any wader. Not just the Crosswater.
Redington makes a fine line of waders. Some of them are quite expensive. It’s great that they decided to make a budget one to keep it affordable to most anglers but didn’t skimp on quality. These might not last you a decade or more as some of the higher end ones. But, they will get you a few seasons of comfortable fishing before you need to replace them.
10. Hodgman Mackenzie Cleated Nylon/PVC Boot-foot Chest
- Double stitched seams
- 5 mm neoprene
- Thinsulate Ultra insulation in the boot
- Upper wader lined with fleece for extra warmth
- Reinforced knees
- Spandex and Lycra over the neoprene for extra durability
These waders are made with the extreme fisherman and hunter in mind. Not only will the 5mm neoprene keep you dry, it will keep you warm, too. And the reinforcement with Spandex and Lycra means even more insurance that your time in the brush won’t result in a puncture. A puncture that could put your fishing outing and your safety at risk.
The boots are lined with 1,600g Thinsulate to lock in the heat keeping your feet toasty. In extreme conditions fishing the north, the cold comes quickly if you aren’t prepared. Your feet and hands are usually the first to feel uncomfortable. Which is why it is so important to have that lining in the boots.
The waders are also lined with fleece on the inside for added warmth. Don’t worry about getting sweaty in these if you are moving around a lot. They are still breathable even with all that thickness and Spandex coating.
Seams are double stitched and Armor welded for added durability. A top loading pocket and hand warmer makes sure you don’t spill anything. It also has a shell case for when you are hunting.
The bottom line is, if you need waders for extreme conditions, you can’t do much better than the Lacrosse Brush and this is why this item ranks high up on our best fishing waders list. They are great for fishing, hunting, dock removal. Anything that requires you to get into the water when it’s very, very frigid.
FAQ About Fishing Waders
Q: Are stockingfoot or bootfoot waders better?
A: It depends. If you are on a budget, bootfoot waders are best. If you want to wear boots that are better for your size foot, then stockingfoot are. You really need to evaluate your budget, type of fishing and how much mobility you need. Neither is an indicator of how good the wader is.
Q: How can I pick the right size wader?
A: The general rule of thumb is to buy waders that are 2 inches longer than your actual inseam. Check for the dimensions before you buy. Sometimes Large, XXL or whatever don’t tell you much about if they will fit or not. Don’t go too big, however as you don’t want them to be too baggy.
Q: What kind of material is best for waders?
A: Again, this goes back to deciding what kind of fishing you will be doing. Read my earlier thoughts on which material is best for the kind of fishing you plan to do. One thing I like to stay away from is rubber, though. You won’t breath in those and will get wet through your sweat over time.
Q: Should I get felt soled boots so I don’t slip?
A: If you never plan to wear your waders in fresh water then, sure. But many states are making it illegal to wear felt soled boots in fresh water since they transmit invasive species from one waterway to another. It’s my opinion that you should stay away from felt soles entirely.
Q: What if my waders start to leak?
A: There are patches available that are easy to put on neoprene waders. That’s if they get punctured. If a seam fails, you need to send them back to the manufacturer to be replaced or repaired. If you are under warranty you are covered. If not you might need to buy new ones. Perfect time to upgrade to those other waders you have been wanting!
Q: Are there waders made for women?
A: None that I know of. Waders are made to be unisex. They probably will fit better on a woman than a man in most cases.
Q: Will salt water ruin my waders?
A: Any waders that are worn in salt water should be rinsed well after use. When hung out to dry they should be kept out of direct sunlight. Will they deteriorate if you don’t do that? There’s only one way to find out. And it isn’t worth it!
Q: Do I need to wear a wading belt?
A: A wading belt is always a good idea. Most chest waders come with one, but if the brand you are looking at doesn’t you should get one. They are added insurance that you will stay dry. The chest waders keep water out up to your chest. But, if you were to slip and fall into the water, or, get hit by a wave, then you would fill up with water without a belt.
Hopefully this line up of fishing wader reviews helped you get closer to knowing which one is right for you.
Ultimately, it is up to you to know which one is best, but, armed with the information that was presented to you, you now at least will be able to make an informed decision.
Whether you are just messing around at the local pond and don’t need too much protection. Or, you will be out in extreme conditions and your safety depends on your waders. These waders represent some of the best that you can get for each price point.
Any one of the waders reviewed will stand up to the kind of treatment they are designed for.
Is the most expensive one on the list the best? Maybe not. You might not need what that wader offers. The best one for you might be the least expensive one. It all comes down to what kind of performance you are looking for.
There’s never been a better time to be in the market for some of the best fishing waders. Modern technology means that they are engineered for high performance and comfort at a reasonable price.
Take your time reading through this best fishing waders list. Make a list of your own of what features are important to you. Of course, not all waders can do all things. You may have to sacrifice a few things to best suit your needs. Unless, you decide that you actually need two pairs!