Fly-fishing is an art! One that is enjoyed by fishermen throughout the world, with various cultures creating unique styles suitable for their domains. However, to be a successful angler, you can’t afford to sit back on the shore casting your line. Indeep, you have to wade into the waters and get knee-deep into the unknown.
Yet, without the right pair of fly-fishing waders, you’re not only exposing yourself to the elements, but you’re also hindering your performance. Indeed, a reliable pair of waders are just as essential to your success as a good rod.
Now, finding the best ones can be a challenging task, but with our help, we’ll make it easier to find the right pair for you! Continue reading to discover the top 8 best fly-fishing waders available for 2020.
The Different Types of Fly-Fishing Waders
You’ll find waders in three different styles, each with their own set of advantages. You can find details on these below.
1. Stockingfoot Waders
These waders feature a neoprene sock on their bottom. Using them in conjunction with some wading boots will provide a high level of comfort and protection.
Stockingfoot waders extend from your chest to your feet, with a few of them offering protection only from the waist down. These don’t feature built-in boots, unlike the waders you’ll find below. However, you’ll be able to choose whichever footgear you prefer.
Stockingfoot waders are also lighter than the other types making them easier to carry with you (once you factor in your boots, they weight approximately the same as the others). Thankfully, they’re easier to take off.
However, the primary advantages of stockingfoot waders are the following. Their boots are not attached to the ensemble, meaning you can fish without wading boots when the situation doesn’t demand them. Furthermore, you can replace your footgear without having to buy a brand new pair of waders if they are damaged.
2. Bootfoot Waders
Fly-Fishing waders that are one entire ensemble, Bootfoot waders cover most of your body from the chest to the feet. Unlike their stockingfoot counterparts, these have their boot attached to the rest of the attire.
Buying a Bootfoot wader means you’ll save yourself a trip to the store from having to buy two separate pieces of gear. However, that does mean they’re heavier and harder to put on than the Stockingfoots. Finally, if the unit is damaged, you’ll have to replace it entirely.
3. Hip Waders
Anglers who prefer gentler bodies of water will benefit from a pair of hip waders. These go down from your hips to your feet, a few of them include boots, with their ensemble.
The main advantage that hip waders provide is comfort. They’re easy to put on and remove.
If you are a fly-fisherman who frequents calm lakes and streams, they’ll be remarkably useful. As hip waders will insulate you from the cold while you’re fishing, we recommend you use them on colder days. Finally, just keep in mind the water depths of where you are fishing, hip waders aren’t useful for deep water. If you go any deeper than waist-deep whenever you fish, they aren’t for you.
What Makes a Good Fly-Fishing Wader? [A Simplified Buyer’s Guide]
Now that you’re familiar with the types of waders considering their height is the next step. As we mentioned earlier, there are three types to take into consideration.
- Waist: As the name implies, they reach from your feet to your stomach region. Waist waders are full pants you can use in combination with chest waders.
- Chest: A chest wader looks like a fishing suit that covers the body from your feet to your chest. They are the warmest of the group and let you go as deep as your chest allows.
- Hip: We talked about these earlier, they reach your pelvic region and cover the least. But, if you’re only going to shallow bodies of water, they’re the best option
Your budget is the biggest determining factor for your purchase. There is no reason to go into debt for a pair of waders if you can manage without them.
However, a pair of fly-fishing waders can set you back from $100 to $900 depending on their quality. You’ll find great options hover closer to $400.
Don’t believe the rumors about anglers sinking due to their waders. However, make sure you always have a space to tie a waders belt around your body. You can avoid a disaster by taking a few extra steps and having one on you.
Another safety features are guards and reinforcements. Gravel guards protect you from debris that might sneak into your feet by protecting the roof of your boots. Knee reinforcements are bulky and heavy, however, they protect your knees from falls. A few of the waders come with detachable knee guards.
The best way to test a wader is to wear it. Remember that waders should fit comfortably. You can use the additional space for flexibility and extra layers.
If they’re too tight on your body, the waterproofing can get damaged.
Fly-Fishing waders come with a variety of pocket types. Internal, external, and even hand warmers, find the style that suits you.
When considering your pockets, think of what gear you’re bringing with you to the lake.
Furthermore, remember that some waders bring extra features like D-rings. You can attach reels and other things in these for ease of carry.
Common materials for waders include Gore-tex, neoprene, and nylon. Neoprene is the rubbery substance commonly seen in movies and television. Nylon and Gore-tex, however, are breathable and comfortable.
Neoprene is useful to fly-fishermen, providing the freedom necessary for casting the fly.
The breathable materials have breathable membranes, but they’re not useful on tough terrain or provide the flexibility of neoprene.
If you consider these traits before making your purchase, your purchase will be the best choice. However, let’s get to the main act of this article and discuss the best waders of this year.
Top 8 Best Fly-Fishing Waders for 2020
Orvis Pro Wader
G3 Guide Wading Pants
Best High-End Wading Pants
Cabela’s Premium Breathable Waist-High
Best Budget Waist Waders
Caddis Zippered Deluxe Plus
Best Mid-Range Waders
Oaki Realtree Max 5 Neoprene
Best Children Waders
Redington’s Willow River
Best Budget Women’s
Orvis Ultralight Convertible
We want to preface that this list is about the best waders in each category. Every item on this list comes with pros and cons that you should consider before purchasing. But, with that out of the way, here they are.
1. Orvis Pro Wader – Best High-End
Orvis is a brand that requires no introduction, and their PRO wader is one of the best on the market.
Their proprietary 4-layer Cordura® fabric is one of the strongest materials for fly-fishing waders around. But, Orvis did not stop there, the lower regions come with their 5-layer Cordura shells, which are resistant to punctures, abrasions, and other small cuts.
However, the PRO waders also come with removable knee pads that will protect your joints from trips and falls. If you’re going to a shallow region, you can simply take them out and reduce the amount of weight you’re carrying around. Finally, the number of pockets on the PRO waders is fantastic, you’ll practically never run out!
- Numerous pockets with water-resistant zippers
- Extremely durable due to their four and five layers of protection on the top and bottom respectively
- Built for an athletic body type
2. Redington Crosswater Waders – Best Budget
If you’re looking for something economical that still offers good quality, take a gander at Redington’s Crosswater Waders. These waders offer excellent water/puncture resistance, three layers of fabric, and other benefits.
Additionally, they are lightweight and comfortable, making them easier to carry on long days at the lake. Finally, they feature integrated neoprene gravel guards, protecting your feet from dirt and other invaders that can sneak into your boots.
- YKK zipper pockets
- Lightweight and easy to transport
- Great price
- Materials don’t feel as strong as the other products on this list.
3. G3 Guide Wading Pants – Best High-End Wading Pants
Simms is another popular brand for fly-fishing, and the G3 Guide wading pants are a testament to their quality. Perfect for those days when you don’t want to jump into deeper waters, these pants have your back. Extremely tough and durable, the G3 Guide’s are surprisingly lightweight and easy to wear.
They also come with anti-microbial neoprene stockingfeet that prevent the buildup of bacteria from perspiration and humidity. Additionally, they include a 2-inch wading belt to help you stay safe. Finally, a 4-layer Gore-Tex Pro Shell and some Gravel guards will protect your entire legs from cuts and abrasions.
- Excellent for anglers with drift boats
- The snaps could use improvement
4. Cabela’s Premium Breathable Waist-High Waders– Best Budget Waist Waders
Cabela is known for its excellent outdoor gear and its Premium Breathable Waist-High Waders are a great option for anglers on a budget. If you’re a fly-fisherman looking to stay comfortable during the warmer months without sacrificing protection, these are the waders for you.
A nylon shell protects your legs from cuts and abrasions that can happen in the murky waters of a lake. Additionally, the seams are all taped off from both inside and outside, keeping them waterproof and tough. They also come with Neoprene booties that are comfortable, and easy to wear throughout your day. Finally, if you’re worried about your safety it includes a nylon wading belt.
- Great price
- Perfect for warmer climates
- The foot size on the booties can feel slightly off for anglers with bigger feet.
5. Caddis Zippered Deluxe Plus – Best Mid-Range Waders
Simplicity at its finest is the key to Caddis’ Zippered Deluxe Plus! A reliable pair of waders that are easy to put on and remove thanks to their numerous zippers. You can find these in either bootfoot or stockingfoot types. The main advantage of the Zippered Deluxe is how easy it is to reach the layers beneath and access anything you might have stored inside them.
Made out of heavy-duty polyester, they are tough and waterproof, helping you stay dry at all times. A wader belt and repair kit are included in this package, making them easy to fix, and heighten their safety rating. On the booties, you’ll find high-density neoprene for protection as well.
- Polyester is breathable and comfortable
- Easy to put on and remove
- Accessories and features make it a solid package.
- You will need to learn how to implement repairs to prolong their life
6. Oaki Realtree Max 5 Neoprene Waders – Best Children Waders
Fly-fishing is a great way to spend time with your kids. By getting them a pair of waders, you will make them enjoy the experience even further. For those days, Oaki’s Realtree Max 5 Neoprene Waders are the best option for them!
All-around great quality, your kids will be tromping and trotting through the waters like the future anglers they are! A wader belt provides comfort and prevents water from sneaking inside as they try their best to catch a big one! Fully adjustable straps make them easy to adjust and wear for years, even as they grow bigger. A front chest pocket will let them store whatever they can find during their new adventures as well!
- None in particular
7. Redington’s Willow River Wader – Best Budget Women’s
Women’s bodies are naturally different than men’s, thankfully they can still enjoy fly-fishing in style with Redington’s Willow River Waders! These versatile waders are specially made to contort to a woman’s curves.
However, they do provide ample protection and safety during any trip to the outdoors. Additionally, you can easily convert them from chest to waist height thanks to their opposable buckles. Finally, they come with a breathable DWR coating for waterproofing and puncture protection.
- Versatile and tough
- Lightweight and stylish
- Great Price
- Can wear down if constantly used
8. Orvis Ultralight Convertible Waders– Best Lightweight/Versatile Waders
Lightweight, versatile and easy to move around with, Orvis’ Ultralight Convertibles are an excellent pair of waders! Orvis’ unique stitching and seam construction make the extra light, but durable thanks to a 4-layer nylon shell.
Additionally, flexibility and comfort make them a joy to wear both inside and outside the water. The zipper pocket in the front lets you keep your accessories safe and you can slide down the straps to convert it into a waist-high wader!
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Comfortable and durable
- The seams can wear down and leak if improperly cared for
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do I Need Fly-Fishing Waders?
It depends; some anglers feel they don’t need to use waders, to make the most out of their experience. But, if you’re serious about mastering fly-fishing, you’ll need to have a pair. However, in warmer waters and hotter climates, you can forgo your waders and wear something comfortable instead.
2. Should I wear layers with my waders?
Consider buying a few layers of insulating clothing underneath your waders. The additional clothing will provide additional protection to your body and gear.
3. How should my fly-fishing waders fit?
Waders shouldn’t fit excessively tight on your body. Allow them to breathe slightly as this will give you additional storage space, and make it easier to put on your boots.
4. Can I buy some for my Kids?
Children can join their parents with a pair of kid-sized fly-fishing waders. These aren’t only smaller, but also lighter. Kids will love learning the art of fly-fishing if they’re comfortable, dry, and safely protected from the environment.
5. Are there any for Women?
Stockingfoot waders come in both female and male variants. While there aren’t any one-size-fits-all for both genders, there are women-specific waders available for the outdoorsy gal.
6. Neoprene or Breathable?
Neoprene is cold resistant, making them perfect for climates that have lower temperatures. Alternatively, breathable materials are useful throughout the year (nylon or Gore-Tex).
7. Does the price matter?
You’ll find quality products that are both economical or expensive. However, higher-end products do come with bells and whistles that budget-friendly pairs don’t. If you have money to spare, you might want to consider buying a top-of-the-line product, but don’t spend money on features that will not benefit you directly.
8. Are fishing waders safe?
Contrary to anecdotal evidence, fishing waders are safe, but always tie a fishing wader belt around you for safety reasons. The myth is that if you’re wearing breathable waders, the water that flows inside the gear will sink an angler if they trip.
However, buoyancy physics don’t work in that manner. The weight outside of the water is equal to the one inside your waders, causing them to even out.
You’re almost ready to hit the waters, but now it’s time to do your part. Choosing a new pair of waders can feel overwhelming to anyone due to the number available on the market. I hope that our guide will ease the burden on your decision-making process, but just remember that they’re all great in their specific category. Each of them will provide you with ample benefits and help enhance your fly-fishing experience.
Just remember that your goal is to have fun! Catching the big one can wait as long as you’re safe, happy, and comfortable as you practice or master the art of fly-fishing.