Best Fishing Waders Reviewed
If you love fishing then you really need to experience the benefits of fishing waders, and choosing the right pair will make all the difference. Whether you are considering breathable fly fishing waders, or a reliable pair of neoprene boot foot waders, staying dry and enjoying a comfortable day on the water is the goal.
The best fishing waders need to be versatile for use in a variety of settings. Breathable chest waders remain comfortable in a range of temperatures and wading conditions, while neoprene fishing waders will often cost less and provide greater warmth.
Dependability is another important quality you will want in your waders. Fishing waders that keep you comfortable year after year are praiseworthy, while uncomfortable and leaky fishing waders are despised.
Realistically, there are other beneficial features besides waterproofing that add value to the best fishing waders for the money. We will get into a good number of those details. But if you want the short version here it is: If you fish frequently then you need a solid set of waders. It is well worth it to spend a little extra in order to have the best fishing waders for the money.
That’s why we bring you our review on a wide variety of the best fishing waders. From stocking foot breathable waders to boot foot fishing waders, we explore all the qualities you should look for when seeking the best fishing waders for your budget.
Fishing Waders Features To Consider
While fishing guides and anglers who want to buy the best-of-the-best fishing waders will see benefits from the $600-$700 set of fishing waders, you can get a respectable set of waders for a lot less than that. That is a big expense for someone just getting started in the sport, but it might make sense for experienced anglers.
- Durability – The question we always have with entry level fishing waders is: are they durable? Lets be realistic – there are plenty of entry level chest waders on the market that don’t last very long. Bargain basement fishing waders might seem easy on the pocketbook, but two or three pairs will cost you in the long term.
- Comfort – Even the best fishing waders can potentially fit like a huge pair of bloomers. But excess material isn’t only uncomfortable. It also tends to snag on brush and scuff on rocks as you walk and wade. All that extra material is asking for eventual leaks in your waders.
- The Right Fit – In our experience, having a proper fit is a big contributor to the durability of any fishing wader. Tight fit causes stretching of the waterproof seams, which also eventually causes leaking. You want a slightly loose fit on the legs so you can add under-layering if needed, with additional length for when you need to sit or kneel down to net a fish.
- Bonus Features – The best fishing waders will almost always offer waist-high convertibility, which is ideal for warm weather. A fleece lined pocket for hand warming, and another flip-out internal pocket at chest level can be helpful for storage etc. And most fishing waders today have built-in gravel guards, and you’ll definitely need them to keep debris out of your boots.
- Stockingfoot vs Bootfoot Waders – We like that stockingfoot fishing waders provide for swapping your wading boots whenever needed. Bootfoot fishing waders are usually a little less expensive than purchasing wading boots separately. But bootfoot waders can cost you more long-term if your boots fail and cannot be replaced. Check out our review on the best wading boots for recommendations on that. Regardless of your preference, your stockingfoot or bootfoot needs to fit with enough room for warm socks when you wade in cold water.
Top Fishing Waders For The Money Comparison
Sometimes the gear budget is pulled in different directions, but you don’t need to let that keep you from wading your favorite waters. Most anglers invest in a lot of gear, and whether you need fly fishing waders or spin fishing waders, thankfully there are options available that won’t break the bank. These fishing waders are our top picks for the money.
Best Fishing Waders For The Money
If you are looking for the best breathable waders for the money, we highly recommend Hodgman H5 fishing waders. They are a great choice for anglers that are looking for quality and performance without breaking the bank.
Hodgman H5 breathable fishing waders start with a flexible 3-layer upper. In addition, a durable 5-layer seat and legs makes these fishing waders incredibly resistant to puncture and leaks. Smart designs such as no inside leg seam, serve to further reduce wear and increase the lifespan of these chest waders.
These lightweight and breathable fishing waders allow vapor to escape if you work up a sweat. Hodgman H5 waders won’t give you that uncomfortable clammy feeling on warm days. They make a great pair of cold water fly fishing waders, or warm water spin fishing waders.
We were impressed to find the 5mm booties feature anatomically correct left and right feet, which is not a common design for fishing waders in this price range. The stocking feet provide for a truly comfortable fit while gravel guards keep debris out of your boots and provide a functional design by eliminating bulk around the ankle and shin.
Hodgman H5 fishing waders feature a microfleece lined hand warmer pocket that sits flush against the chest which allows fishing vests and chest packs to ride comfortably. The microfleece is great for those cold spring days or cool evenings and this pocket also features a YKK water resistant zipper.
Hodgman includes a wading belt with 3 belt loops to prevent loss in the case of an accidental drop.
Hodgman designed their H5 fishing waders to accept the Core INS removable insulation system (sold separately). This system allows you to convert your chest waders for cold or warm weather. The Core INS liner simply zips-in for added protection in cold conditions.
Hodgman H5 Fishing Waders Specs:
Material: 3-ply upper and 5-ply lower with attached low-profile gravel guards.
Stocking Foot: Anatomically correct left and right neoprene booties.
Storage: KYY zippered front chest pocket, fleece lined hand warmer pocket, flip-out internal chest pocket.
Comfort Features: Adjustable Y-back suspenders with opposing Duraflex buckles for durability and waist high conversion.
What Buyers Say:
Buyers applaud the quality of Hodgman’s H5 fishing waders and like the pockets and features. The huge variety of sizes and styles is another strong point that is referenced frequently. That is a big advantage since proper fit will significantly extend the lifespan of your fly fishing waders. Overall, Hodgman H5 waders are at the top of our list of breathable stockingfoot waders for the money.
Here is a good video describing Hodgman H5 Waders:
- Durable puncture resistant 5-Layer seat and legs with no inside leg seam eliminating leak points from abrasion points
- Breathable 3-Layer upper for moisture vapor transfer
- Stitched and taped waterproof seams
- Top loading external pocket with water resistant zipper
- Micro- fleece lined hand warmer with water resistant zippers
Another exceptional choice in breathable fishing waders that we highly recommend is Redington Sonic Pro Stockingfoot Waders. Redington fishing gear has a long history and well established reputation for affordable gear that continues to exceed users expectations.
Redington Sonic Pro Waders feature vital characteristics that contributes to their durability. The sizing variety available for Sonic Pro Waders is tremendous. With such a wide selection, you can be sure to find a proper fit that will greatly reduce the risks of seam stress resulting in seam failure.
These waders use a 4-layer waterproof and breathable fabric that raises the bar on toughness. SonicWeld Technology locks out moisture and creates durable waterproof seams. The stocking foot is particularly rugged, with 3.5 mm neoprene upper and a 4 mm bottom to increase both durability and comfort.
In the front of these chest waders you will find a large, double-sided fleece lined hand-warming pocket to defrost your cold finders. A zippered pocket is also available for more secure internal storage.
These are one of the best breathable waders available and they greatly reduce moisture build-up by allowing small vapor molecules to escape. Less moisture means a more comfortable and a warmer wading experience when the water is cold.
Redington Sonic Pro Stockingfoot Waders feature heavy-duty materials while also remaining soft and pliable for terrific range of motion. Redington designed these waders with all the features found in the very best fishing waders you can buy. But on top of all the great features, Sonic Pro waders have a very fair price that easily makes them one of the best breathable fishing waders for the money.
Redington Sonic Pro Waders Specs:
Material: Heavy Duty 4 layer breathable fabric with reinforced knees, attached gravel guards.
Stocking Foot: 3.5 mm neoprene upper and 4 mm bottoms.
Storage: Zippered front chest pocket, hand warmer pocket, flip-out pocket.
Comfort Features: Adjustable suspenders.
What Buyers Say:
The look and comfortable feel of these fishing waders is a popular characteristic among buyers leaving reviews. They mention their lightweight nature and sturdy feel. Reviewers like the breathable properties of these fishing waders when compared to the clammy feeling that neoprene can produce.
Redington Sonic Pro Breathable Waders Pros:
- Excellent sizing selections and quality
- Streamlined design
- Reasonable pricing
Redington Sonic Pro Breathable Waders Cons:
- We struggled to find any!
Redington Sonic Pro Waders legitimately resemble the build quality of high-end waders, yet they are very inexpensive in comparison. Owners regularly mention that they would buy again in a heartbeat. We recommend you check them out if you are in the market for fishing waders.
- Ergonomic 3.5mm neoprene bootie with 4mm bottom for additional comfort and increased durability against punctures
- Slim wading belt compatible with majority of pliers and staffs
- Flip out pocket with zipper and mesh tippet pocket
- Two-sided fleece lined hand warmer pocket
- Anti-corrosive hardware
Our third choice for breathable stockingfoot waders is the Compass 360 Tailwater fishing waders. Initially they caught our attention because of their great price and rock-solid reviews. On top of that, they have an exceptionally comfortable fit and shape for entry level fishing waders.
After looking them over it became obvious that they are very well made. In fact, we found them comparable to mid to high end fly fishing waders in both quality and fit, but obviously at a significantly lower price point.
Thankfully Compass 360 builds their Tailwater fishing waders with stout durability in mind. You can fish these chest waders hard and know that the durable materials and 4-ply nylon construction will keep you dry.
Compass 360 heavily reinforced the knees and lower leg with 6 ply layering to resist puncture and leaks that can occur from kneeling on abrasive materials, or scuffing branches while walking streamside.
Their noteworthy fit and shape adds tremendously to the overall life-span of the waders by reducing seam stress and stretching. Compass has a very accurate sizing chart for the Tailwater fishing waders, so you can avoid big puffy waders and find the right fit.
The chest area features all the storage options you would expect from the best breathable fishing waders. On the front you’ll find a large zippered pocket for storing your personal items. For colder temperatures compass provides a comfortable fleece-lined hand warming pocket. And a flip-out chest pocket is conveniently located for your keys, or any other extras you might need.
Compass 360 Deadfall Fishing Waders Specs:
Material: 4-ply Upper and 6-ply articulated leg, attached gravel guards.
Stocking Foot: 4mm Chloroprene booties with double taped seams.
Storage: Huge zippered front chest pocket, flip-out security pocket, fleece lined hand warmer pocket.
Comfort Features: Adjustable suspenders with buckles, adjustable chest draw cord.
What Buyers Say:
Compass 360 Tailwater fishing waders have a very impressive online reputation with great reviews and a huge majority of reviewers leaving 4 or 5 stars.
Compass 360 Tailwater Fishing Wader Pros:
- Excellent fit and sizing selections
- Terrific build quality
- Reasonable pricing
Compass 360 Tailwater Fishing Waders Cons:
- Could use more fleece lining in hand warming pocket
Compass 360 fishing waders have a proven reputation for quality and performance. If you are in the market for an honest pair of rugged waders that have a great reputation for the money, we recommend picking up a pair of Tailwater chest waders from Compass 360.
- Guaranteed 100% waterproof and breathable. Comes with 1 year warranty against manufacturer defects.
- 4-ply nylon construction with 6-ply nylon reinforced full wrap lower legs
- 3-N-1 B.A.P. (Big Ass Pocket) chest storage system w/ fleece lined handwarming pocket.
- Zippered pass though chest pocket along with a flip out security/device pocket
- 100% chloroprene neoprene booties that have a great stretch and soft feel, ergonomically designed to eliminate bunching and fit a wide range of shoe sizes.
Our fourth choice for best fishing waders goes to the Canyon II waders from Frogg Toggs. These waders offer the most economic pricing of our fishing wader choices. They provide a comfortable fit and good protection for a reasonable price.
Frogg Toggs Canyon II Fishing Waders are constructed from a 4-ply waterproof nylon fabric. The fabric is quite pliable and isn’t uncomfortable and stiff. Many fishing waders place reinforced areas only on the lower leg, but since the entire wader is 4-layers thick you’ll get good protection throughout.
We are big proponents for fishing waders that fit well. Waders fail at the seams much more than anywhere else. With that in mind, it is important that your chest wader’s seams aren’t overly stressed when you bend down to tie a boot lace, or land a fish. Canyon II’s are made to avoid seam stretching, so make sure you refer to the size size chart before ordering.
Another common point of failure for fishing waders is in the foot. Frogg Toggs reinforced the stockingfoot in the Canyon II as well. With double taped seams, the 4 mm neoprene booties help to keep your feet dry and warm.
For personal storage, the Canyon II fishing waders sport a zippered splash proof external chest pocket and a zippered flip-out internal chest pocket. Other standard features include a wading belt and attached gravel guards to keep your boots clear of debris. The suspenders are comfortable with a good range of adjustment.
Frogg Toggs Canyon II Breathable Waders Specs:
Material: 4-ply nylon upper, attached 3-ply gravel guards.
Stocking Foot: 4mm neoprene booties with double taped seams.
Storage: Splash proof zippered chest pocket, flip-out zippered internal pocket.
Comfort Features: Adjustable Y-back suspenders with quick release buckles.
What Buyers Say:
Online reviewers have a lot of good things to say about the Canyon II fishing waders with a huge majority leaving 5 star ratings. Buyers again and again mention the economical pricing and good durability. Frogg Toggs Canyon II Waders are worth looking at if you are in the market for an affordable pair of stockingfoot fishing waders.
- 4-ply nylon upper
- Splash-proof zippered chest pocket
- Adjustable wading belt with quick-release locking buckle
- Attached gravel guards with integral lace hooks
- Adjustable Y-back suspenders with quick-release locking buckles
What About High-End Fishing Waders?
Intense fishing is inevitably going to strain inexpensive fishing waders beyond what they are designed for, and they are likely to fail prematurely. If you put in a lot of days on the water and fish hard, then it is worth your while to consider a really solid pair of fishing waders. These are the high-quality fishing waders that guides and anglers who want the best-of-the-best will see significant benefits from.
Top Fly Fishing Waders Comparison Chart
Best Fishing Waders
My personal choice for the best fly fishing waders are Simms G3 Stocking Foot Guide Waders. I have worn Simms G3 Guide Waders for over ten years. And I’m not talking about multiple pairs. One pair. And I have been incredibly impressed with their rugged quality and comfortable fit.
Why I Chose Simms G3 Guide Waders
To me the Simms G3 Guide Waders are the gold standard in fly fishing waders. Simms waders have no lack of popularity. Among their great wader designs, Simms G3 Guide waders stand out. The G3 Guide waders aren’t overly pricey but they aren’t cheap either. They don’t have all the snazzy hallmarks of the big-ticket waders, like waterproof zippers and such. But they’ll keep the frequent fisherman dry for years. They have a rugged durability that puts them head and shoulders above entry level waders.
If you compare Simms to the cheap entry level fly fishing waders you will notice big differences. Just trying on Simms breathable waders will bring to your attention the differences in fit. Most waders might be available in 3-5 sizes and styles to fit a range of anglers. Simms has made the G3 Guide waders available in 25 different styles and sizes. Their sizing chart is accurate and helpful in making the right selection. The first time I put on my G3’s, eleven years ago, they fit me like a tailor had stitched them just for me.
I really appreciate the way Simms pursued ergonomics in designing the G3’s Guide Waders. The legs and stocking feet are anatomically correct. The breathable waders curve with the natural angle that the human leg assumes while standing and sitting. The stocking feet are slightly arched and curved to conform to the normal shape of the average persons foot. These stocking foot waders leave enough room for warm socks when wading in the colder water. But they aren’t crafted with excess material that could bunch up and crease inside your boots.
Simms uses a breathable GORE‐TEX® material that feels rugged and is obviously made to withstand the rigors of serious fishing. But that ruggedness doesn’t make the material stiff and uncomfortable. I’ve used other breathable fly fishing waders that are very comfortable, but they don’t last, and others still that are incredibly stiff and awkward. Simms designs their G3 Guide waders with a 3‐layer GORE‐TEX® Pro Shell in the upper part of the waders, and a 4‐layer GORE‐TEX® Pro Shell in the seat & legs. The G3 Guide waders slide easily over other layers and have proven to me their strength and abrasion-resistance.
I noticed that some of the other fly fishing waders that I own would really snug up if I had to take a knee, or even sit down in a float tube. That tightness and stretching isn’t desirable in waders as it puts undue stress on seams that might begin leaking. At best, poor fit reduces the lifespan of waders. I’m an average size guy, but I really don’t see the need for waders that are four times wider than my legs. After all, sitting and bending requires extra length but doesn’t require much more width. Simms stresses that anglers should use their exact measurements when ordering, as they have already provided extra room for layering and movement.
Find Your Fit
There are plenty of brands on the market but most are not going to provide the same level of custom fit as Simms waders. Retail stores are unlikely to carry all 25 sizes and styles, but trying on waders can go a long way toward finding the right waders for you. If you bend down to tie your boot laces and the waders get real tight, do yourself a favor. Don’t buy them.
Since poor fit reduces the lifespan of waders by stressing seams, then proper fit will extend the lifespan. You really want to make sure waders are going to fit your build or you are asking for premature failure. You can try on a number of different waders until you find the right fit. But if you’re like me, you might not find a retail store that carries the right waders for you. Thankfully Simms provides a very detailed sizing chart here to help you choose the right sized fishing waders for you.
So many anglers, including myself, will buy less expensive fishing gear only to be looking at upgrades in a matter of months. I played this game with fly fishing waders just before I bought my Simms G3 Guide Waders, and it was a tremendous waste of cash. Within one year I spent almost $400 dollars between three sets of fly fishing waders that began leaking after normal use. The following season I bought my Simms G3 Guide Waders and I haven’t bought another pair since.
Simms G3 Guide Stockingfoot Waders
- 3‐layer GORE‐TEX® Pro Shell in upper; 4‐layer GORE‐TEX® Pro Shell in seat & legs
- Anatomically engineered neoprene stockingfeet with anti‐microbial finish
- Adjustable elastic 1.5in suspender with opposing YKK® buckles for waist‐high conversion
- Patented front & back leg seams allow unprecedented mobility and eliminate seams in critical inner leg wear zones.
- Zippered reach‐through micro‐fleece lined hand‐warmer chest pocket
There are other good options if you are looking for high-end fly fishing waders. If you have your heart set on buying the best fly fishing waders money can buy, then you should really consider the Simms G4Z Stockingfoot Waders. These are guide-grade chest waders and they receive rave reviews almost everywhere they are sold.
The two big features that put these fishing waders in the top-tier are (1) the waterproof center‐front zipper, and (2) the two zippered chest pockets with built in retractors. They provide very convenient features, but some die-hard Simms fans don’t want zippered access and integrated gear pockets.
With that in mind, another solid choice for the best fly fishing waders are the Simms G4 Pro Stockingfoot Waders. They just subtract the pockets and zippers off the G4Z waders, but they subtract about $100 off the G4Z price tag as well. They still have the 5‐layer GORE‐TEX® in seat & legs which is one more layer than the G3 Guide fishing waders. We’ve found the G3 Guide waders to be super rugged, so the G4 Pro fishing waders are even more so.
What About Breathable Bootfoot Waders?
Bootfoot waders can save you some cash compared to buying stockingfoot waders and boots separately. But selecting a good rugged pair is important, because you won’t be able to replace the waders or boots separately if they should become damaged. Below we offer our top picks for durable bootfoot waders.
Top Bootfoot Waders Comparison Chart
Best Bootfoot Fishing Waders
Redington offers a great line of fishing waders that strike a good balance between durability and reasonable pricing. We really like their Palix River breathable bootfoot fishing waders and gladly selected them as the best bootfoot fishing waders.
Redington Palix River bootfoot waders are constructed from a 3 layer waterproof polyester fabric that is DWR coated to shed water. You’ll be hard-pressed to find another fishing wader that matches the durability of Redington Palix River breathable waders at this price point.
Since finding a proper fit is one of the largest contributing factors to making your bootfoot fishing waders last, Redington Palix River Fishing Waders provide a wide range of sizes. Palix River waders accommodate most anglers by providing 13 different sizes that vary in width and height.
Redington also hit the mark by making the built-in wader boots with a nice fit and added 200 gram thinsulate insulation. This is particularly important for cold-water wading where maintaining good circulation to your feet is essential. The boots also provide ample space for warm socks when needed.
Redington Palix River Breathable Bootfoot Wader Specs:
Material: 3-ply 100% polyester material with built-in boots.
Built-in Bootfoot: Durable rubber with rubber sole and 200g thinsulate insulation
Storage: Zippered front chest pocket, flip-out pocket with YKK zipper, fleece lined hand warmer pocket.
Comfort Features: Adjustable suspenders with opposing buckles for waist-high conversion.
What Buyers Say:
The Redington Palix River fishing waders have a solid reputation with many reviewers giving them a 4 or 5 star review. And for fly anglers who need a pair of fly fishing waders with boots included, these are a very affordable option. Their quality construction and reasonable price make Redington Palix River chest waders worth considering if you are looking for a reliable pair of fishing waders.
Here is a good video on Redington Palix River Fishing Waders:
- Boulder colored 3-layer material
- 100% polyester
- DWR coated
- 200g Thinsulate insulated rubber boots
What If I Wear Layers Under My Fishing Waders?
If you hit the stream early then you know how the temperatures can change dramatically throughout the day. Sometimes air temperatures can change by 35 degrees or more from morning to noon. If you don’t get comfortable breathable fishing waders you’ll either be hot or cold depending on your layers.
The best fishing waders have to provide versatility for a variety of conditions. With that in mind, a great option is to simply wear synthetic fleece pants under your breathable fishing waders for cold water fisheries. Even on warm days having your legs submerged in 60 degree water all day will cool you off quick. Even for warm water fishing we suggest wearing a thinner synthetic under your breathable waders to help wick moisture away.
One of the huge benefits of light weight breathable waders over materials like neoprene is that you can add or remove layers to prevent over-heating.
How Should I Maintain My Fishing Waders?
Even the very best fishing waders need thorough drying. The number one killer of fishing waders is trapped moisture. Anglers tend to put in a long day on the water trying to land the big one, and gear maintenance takes the back seat. Fishing waders are often put away wet without a chance to dry. But if they are allowed to dry on the outside, typically the inside retains a small amount of trapped body moisture. This is another reason manufacturers recommend turning stockingfoot waders completely inside-out.
- Dry your fishing waders – Dry the inside of your breathable waders first, and then the outside.
- Keep your fishing waders clean – The inside of fishing waders can get funky, so wash your waders. We recommend gently hand washing them. I’ve seen tangled clothes in a washer enough times to not trust the machine to wash my waders. Use cold water and normal detergent that does not contain bleach. Once you have washed the waders make sure you dry them by drying the inside first.
- Never place your fishing waders in a dryer – The high heat of a dryer can soften the glues that keep the seams in your breathable waders watertight. With that in mind, storing your waders in a hot car will have the same effect and should be avoided.
- Use waterproofing treatments – We use Revivex and apply it to our fishing waders once or twice a year to make the water bead off the surface fabric, rather than soak in. It is a simple process to apply the treatment and Revivex is a very inexpensive way to get the most out of your breathable waders.
Amazon Fishing Waders
Anglers who are just getting started in the sport of fly fishing need entry level gear. Even the most experienced fly anglers usually start with inexpensive fishing gear and upgrade as needed. With that in mind we wanted to include some good entry level fishing wader options. These are Amazon’s top selling fishing waders:
- 4-ply nylon upper
- Double-reinforced knees
- Oversized multifunction chest pocket
- Zippered handwarmer/storage pockets
- Horizontal zippered storage