The TOP 12 Best Fishing Waders in 2020 Reviewed – A Full Buyer’s Guide


Getting into the water can seriously improve your chances of success when you’re hunting or fishing.

But you certainly wouldn’t do it without being fully prepared.

You need to stay comfortable, warm, and above all – dry.

That’s why I’ve put this review together of the best fishing waders in 2020.

And because there’s a lot to consider here before you make a purchase, a full buyer’s guide and FAQ section will follow to help you out.

Without further ado, let’s wade on in.

(Note – unless otherwise indicated, most of the products in this review are suitable for men and women, or will have sizes available for both.)

Disclosure: At BonfireBob, we recommend products based on unbiased research, however, BonfireBob.com is reader-supported and as an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases if you shop through the links on this page. For more information, see disclosure here.

TOP 12 Best Fishing Waders in 2020

Simms Freestone Chest Fishing Waders

You can’t have a review of the best fishing waders on the market without mentioning Simms. In fact, they’re arguably number one when it comes to this kind of gear, and these stockingfoot, chest waders are a good example of that.

Made with a Toray fabric specifically designed for fishing waders, they have a micro-porous waterproof coating, with a total of four layers that keep you cool, comfortable, and dry all day.

Convenient pockets offer ample storage, and a fleece-lined, reach-through chest pocket will warm your hands on those colder fishing adventures.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • Market leading technology.
  • Neoprene, anti-microbial booties.
  • Fully adjustable waist belt and shoulder straps.

Cons

  • Very expensive.

Takeaway

If you’re looking for the best of the best when it comes to fishing waders, then you don’t really need to look any further.

Dark Lightning Fly Fishing Waders

If you don’t want to spend a small fortune on fishing waders – but still get a pair of highly-rated pants that will get the job done, then you could do a lot worse than these barefoot waders from Dark Lightning.

Made with a nylon and PVC composite material, they are super-lightweight yet waterproof, with a 100% seam taped construction that has been reinforced at the stress points.

The adjustable suspenders have upgraded buckles for longevity, and a convenient chest pocket allows you to keep essential gear close to hand.

Pros

  • Outstanding price.
  • Very highly rated.
  • Boot hanger for drying included.

Cons

  • Not the best quality boot bottoms.
  • Can run hot.
  • Won’t last nearly as long as more expensive models.
  • Sizing is a little tricky.

Takeaway

You get what you pay for these days, and if you want to get right out into the water without splashing out silly money, then these waders are for you.

Just don’t expect them to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Simms when it comes to long-lasting quality.

Frogg Toggs Canyon II Stockingfoot Chest Wader

For affordable, mid-range outdoor and wet weather gear, Frogg Toggs are a go-to brand for many households. Heck, I think we’ve got a whole closet full of their stuff for rainy days.

You’re getting a lot of bang for your buck with these breathable stockingfoot chest waders, made with a four-ply nylon construction, with four millimeter, double-tapped neoprene booties.

Attached gravel guards keep your feet protected, and the wading belt is fully adjustable with a quick-release lock buckle for additional comfort.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • Affordable price point.
  • Zippered chest pocket.
  • Integral lace hooks.
  • Versatile use.

Cons

  • Sizing might be on the large side for some.

Takeaway

Probably up there with the best fishing waders for the money, this is a great entry-level pair that should last if cared for. Remember to double-check the size, because FT are known for making gear that caters for larger frames.

Foxelli Neoprene Chest Waders

Suitable for a variety of outdoor activities, these affordable, barefoot chest waders come in a practical camouflage design, so you don’t spook your quarry, no matter what you’re hunting.

Made with a durable neoprene, they’re 100% waterproof while offering excellent insulation. The built-in rubber boots are designed to be easily-removable, with anti-slip soles and double-sealed connecting seams at the leg.

Featuring D-rings for attaching gear, a hand warmer pocket, and reinforced knees, there’s a lot to like about these practical waders that offer plenty of value for money.

Pros

  • Great price.
  • Adjustable belt with carabiners.
  • Double-stitched, sealed seams.
  • Neoprene boot lining.
  • Nylon carry bag included.

Cons

  • They might run a little hot.
  • Camo design not for everyone.

Takeaway

These excellent fishing waders from Foxelli come very highly rated, with plenty of nice features to keep you warm, dry, and comfortable, while getting you out in the water as fast as possible with the barefoot design.

Redington Palix River Waders

Made from 100% polyester, with a three-layer, waterproof, DWR coated fabric, these waders from Redington are super lightweight, and will keep you cool in warmer climes.

Ideal for summer angling, they offer nonrestrictive movement, enabling you to walk comfortably to your fishing spot without burning up.

With reinforced lower legs for added durability, high-density neoprene booties, and a fleece-lined hand warmer pocket for colder temps, these stockingfoot waders will look and feel good, and keep you protected as the day is long.

For the price, they’re one of the best breathable fishing waders around.

Pros

  • Sleek, stylish design.
  • Highly maneuverable.
  • Integrated gravel guards.
  • Flip-out pocket with YKK zipper.

Cons

  • They’re not as durable as high-end brands.

Takeaway

A great purchase for the money, these make excellent waders for summer fly-fishing, and they’re an ideal option if you need something that’s light and super-mobile.

Compass 360 Deadfall STFT Chest Wader

Another product that adheres to the lightweight and breathable ethos, these Compass 360 Deadfall chest waders have been made from a premium-quality, four-layered fabric with a DWR coating and taped seams.

Double, reinforced knees and shins keep your lower legs protected, as well as preserving the life of the garment for tackling rougher terrain.

With four-millimeter neoprene booties, double-taped at the leg with an ergonomic fit, you can be sure your feet stay warm and dry, while the abrasion-resistant gravel guards with lace hooks are designed to keep rocks and debris out of your shoes for additional comfort.

Pros

  • Affordable price.
  • Highly rated.
  • Zippered pocket and hand warmer.
  • Security pocket for valuables.
  • Easy-to-adjust wading belt and shoulder straps.

Cons

  • Runs small in the leg.
  • Gravel guards might be a little neat for some.

Takeaway

Providing you get the sizing right, this is a great option for lightweight fishing adventures in warmer climes.

Simms Freestone Fishing Wading Pants

A return to market-leading brand Simms with a great example of waist waders, for anyone who doesn’t feel the need to purchase the chest-high variety.

Designed to be nonrestrictive, they travel well, even with the rugged durability of heavy-duty waders.

Featuring their specially designed Toray fabric, built-in gravel guards, and the anti-microbial stockingfoot, you can be sure you’ll be waterproofed, protected, and odor free when using these.

The integrated, adjustable waistband ensures a snug fit, and the center-seam leg construction offers unbeatable durability should you wish to put them through their paces.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • Premium quality materials.
  • Tough, durable construction.
  • Highly breathable.

Cons

  • Exorbitantly expensive for waist waders.

Takeaway

Usually, waist waders are much cheaper than chest versions, but as this is a Simms product, that’s all gone out the window. Still, as far as the best waist waders on the market go, you’re probably looking at them.

Magreel Fishing Chest Waders

Packed with some excellent features and at an outstanding price point, these Magreel chest waders are ideal for a beginner, and offer unbeatable value for money.

Made with 100% waterproof material, the three-layered fabric is breathable and non-restrictive, with adjustable H-back shoulder straps and waistband with durable buckle.

Hot melting seams ensure no leaks at stress points, while the neoprene booties have diving-level gravel guards to strengthen waterproofing performance and comfort. Suitable for men and women, these pants are a great option for any keen angler.

Pros

  • Great price.
  • Built-in zippered internal pocket.
  • Fleece-lined thru-pocket.
  • Reinforced, tear-resistant knees.

Cons

  • Again, they might run small – be sure to check the sizing.

Takeaway

Lightweight and breathable, this option from Magreel is surely one of the best waders for float tube fishing around. And for this price, you might as well just try them anyway.

Frogg Toggs Rana II PVC Bootfoot Hip Wader

Next up, we offer a great example of a hip wader, a product which – given the amount of high-quality reviews – still has its place in the fishing world.

This version is another Frogg Toggs offering, the boots are made with a durable PVC, and available with a choice of cleated or felt outsoles (cleated for muddy beds, felt for slippery surfaces), while the main body of the garment is 100% nylon.

The adjustable poly-webbing belt leashes with quick-release locking buckles and elastic stride flex, ensuring a comfortable fit no matter your size.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • Nylon reinforced PVC upper.
  • Sealed and taped seams for durability.
  • Very highly rated.
  • Non-insulated boot.

Cons

  • The boot isn’t that comfortable – consider padded inserts or thicker socks.
  • Some reports of sizing issues.

Takeaway

Altogether a great hip wader option for anyone who might not need much more than this. As such, their slimmer profile offers more versatility than chest waders, but the boots could do with a rethink for comfort.

Piscifun Breathable Chest Waders

Offering another affordable wader option, Piscifun brings us these breathable, stockingfoot chest waders that are of a unisex design.

Made with a three-layer polyester construction, they’re lightweight, with the ability to expel sweat to keep you cool.

The four-millimeter neoprene booties are designed to be very comfortable and prevent bunching, and it even includes a handy, removable hook keeper so you can keep your flies close to hand.

Stitching is reinforced where required, and durable belt loops and adjustable straps finish things off nicely.

Pros

  • Great price.
  • Repair kit included.
  • Waterproof phone case.
  • Water-resistant pocket.
  • Hand warmer pocket.

Cons

  • The feet will be too tight for some wearers.
  • Choice of other colors would have been good.

Takeaway

The fly-lure hook holder makes a really neat addition to these quality, affordable, mid-range waders, but it’s just a shame they’re only available in gray. Check out this review for more fly-fishing wader options.

Orvis Ultralight Convertible Wader

Along with Simms, Orvis are highly regarded as one of the best wader brands in the business, and this award-winning, ultralight, convertible offering shows exactly why that is the case – aside from over 150 years of experience, of course.

Made with premium materials, the four-layer fabric keeps you comfortable and dry, without restricting movement, and it’s been designed for an improved fit, ensuring you can spend all day in them without complaint.

Best of all, they have snap magnetic fasteners so you can convert them down to waist-level waders with ease, which makes them one of the most versatile and user-friendly options on the market.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • Practical design.
  • Unbeatable comfort and performance.
  • Internal zipper pocket with four-way stretch power mesh.
  • Neoprene gravel guard.

Cons

  • Expensive.

Takeaway

Sure, they might be pricey, but these convertible waders from Orvis have decades of experience and know-how poured into them, and they’re probably the best waders for surf fishing out there. Or just about any kind of fishing for that matter.

Sitka Gear Delta Zip Wader

Last but by no means least, we finish with these Delta waders from Sitka, one of the finest hunting gear brands around.

And this offering is simply on another level when it comes to the very best waders that money can buy.

Designed for hunting waterfowl with their tough, durable, but nonrestrictive construction, they can still easily be used for fishing purposes as well, given the world-class quality throughout.

Insulated, Lacrosse, Aeroform boots come as part of the package, offering unbeatable comfort and performance when you’re trudging through the mud.

Pros

  • Premium quality construction.
  • Lacrosse boots.
  • Advanced sealing technology.
  • Reinforced knees and shins.
  • Built to last.

Cons

  • Outrageously expensive for waders – but they are a serious investment.

Takeaway

For the sheer maneuverability, these are easily one of the best fly-fishing waders available in 2020, in spite of being designed for duck hunts. Lightweight, breathable, comfortable…all the boxes are ticked here – and then some.

How to Choose the Right Pair of Fishing Waders for You

There’s a lot of things to consider when you’re in the market for good fishing waders, so much so that it might give you a bit of a headache.

Let’s see if we can break down what you should be looking out for in the guide below.

fisherman waering waider using rod fly fishing in river

Wading – Why, Where, and When?

Before you even start wading in to the products themselves, ascertaining the why, the where, and the when will be a massive help with choosing the right product to purchase.

Then we can get into the advantages and disadvantages of each type.

First, let’s briefly look at why waders are a good choice.

Basically, if you don’t have a boat, then waders can be an excellent addition to your fishing gear arsenal.

For boat-less anglers, waders allow you to get right out into deeper water, so you can cast further, avoid plant-life and vegetation near the shoreline, and get the fish into the net faster.

And personally, that feeling you get from being away from it all, deep in the heart of the great outdoors is invaluable.

Aside from this, from a practical point of view, waders keep you dry, warm, and protected from anything nasty that might be lurking under the surface, such as leeches, sharp, rocky terrain, or any toothy fish with a grudge.

As for the conditions, if you’re fishing in colder weather, or where the water temperature is on the chilly side, then look for neoprene waders. Or, waders that offer the option of layering up inside.

For angling during those pleasant summer days, or in warmer waters, choose a pair of lightweight, breathable waders that you won’t lose several pounds of sweat while wearing. Unless, of course, that’s your intention.

And don’t forget about mobility and freedom of movement. You want something that’s as nonrestrictive as possible, particularly if you have some distance to cover before you reach your spot, or if you’re fly-fishing.

It’s not one-size-fits-all here. The best surf fishing waders might not be the same as the best waders for river fishing. It’s about finding the right balance for your needs.

Or, just buying more than one pair.

Let’s take a look at what’s available.

fisherman fly fishing in river

Types of Waders

Waders are available in a variety of different styles, and it will depend on your personal preference – and when and where you’re wading – when it comes to choosing the right type for you.

Let’s look at the boot end of the waders first. There are two distinct variants.

Calling them barefoot waders is a bit of a misnomer, because they actually come with a boot already molded into the rest of the garment. Find one that fits, and you’re good to go.

They’re heavier and bulkier than stocking foot waders, but the all-in-one design means you don’t have anything else to purchase and you can get right into the water.

Stockingfoot waders have a built-in stocking at the end of the leg that you put your feet into. They’re lightweight, and they travel well, and you get to choose the boot you’re going to be using them with.

However, that’s obviously an extra expense, and good boots for wading can be on the pricey side.

When it comes to how high up the waders reach, there are three distinct variants.

Hip waders are the least popular, and they usually will only come up as far as the tops of your thighs, just below your hip.

Also known as ‘hip boots,’ they’re supported by straps that attach to your belt, and are more commonly used in shallower waters – if used at all.

Waist and chest waders are by far the more popular types, as they come up over your waist and up to your chest, respectively.

It’s not rocket science – the deeper the water you’re fishing or hunting in – the higher the wader will need to reach on your body.

And some waders offer convertible capabilities, so you can have the best of both worlds in one garment.

fisherman wearing fishing waider using rod fly fishing in mountain river

Materials

Today, waders are predominately manufactured from three different types of material.

Neoprene was one of the first materials to be used in the construction of waders and it’s still very popular.

It’s the same material you’ll find in wetsuits – or on your mouse pad.

The main advantage is that it’s very warm, and often available in a choice of thickness, so you can comfortably fish in much colder waters.

But this also makes them on the heavy side, and not as maneuverable or portable. And as they’re insulated so well, they can run very hot in even the coolest of warmer days.

Nylon or polyester waders are much more lightweight and breathable. Treated with waterproof coatings and designed with three or four-ply layers, they’re more suitable for warmer temperatures.

But they will also have booties made from neoprene, anyway, or PVC footwear if you’re looking at the barefoot variety with built-in boots.

Rubber waders are old school garments that offer unbeatable waterproofing, but are very limiting when it comes to movement, breathability, and comfort. So much so that it’s rare to even find them on the market.

Most waders these days will use a combination of materials in their construction, to achieve the best possible comfort and protection.

Sizing

When it comes to waders, making sure you get the correct size is very important. Not only will it significantly improve your overall comfort, but also your level of protection, freedom of movement, and the life of the garment itself.

Getting this wrong can have a seriously negative impact on your experience, risk serious damage to the waders, and perhaps even safety implications.

So, it’s very important to adhere carefully to the manufacturer’s recommendations for sizing. Don’t simply rely on what you wear for a pair of jeans – you need to measure yourself carefully and adjust accordingly.

Remember, if you’re on the shorter or larger side of the wonderfully diverse size spectrum, deeper water will reach higher on your body, so you should consider chest waders as the best option.

And if you intend on layering up inside a lighter pair of waders, it’s probably a good idea that you choose a size larger than normal.

silhouette of a fisherman fishing at sunset

Extra Features

While not necessary to the successful use of good waders, extra features are always a nice touch that can make life easier for the angler.

Probably the most common of these is the fleece-lined thru-pocket you see on many chest versions – designed so you have somewhere to keep your hands toasty in the chill.

Internal zippered pockets for electronics or personal items are also a nice touch – but I would highly recommend a good dry pouch for additional protection.

You don’t have to store much in your waders if you’re using one of these excellent fly-fishing sling packs you can take out with you.

And make sure you check the hardware on a pair of waders, too – as things like buckles and zips can often be the weakest link in inferior products.

Wading Staff

While not actually having anything to do with the waders themselves, I thought I’d draw your attention to the advantage of using a good wading staff for when you’re inching your way into the water.

Invaluable for rivers with stronger currents, in deep or shallow water, or anywhere the bed might be very uneven or slippery, a wading staff can be a lifeline for keeping you right side up, and, of course, dry.

Because if your legs go over your head, there ain’t no waders out there that’s gonna keep you from getting a soaking.

Cost

High-end waders can be very expensive, but there’s a good reason for that. If you’re thinking of dropping over $200 on this garment, then you’re obviously serious about the sport and you want a pair that’s going to last.

Of course, you can always find more budget-friendly options if you’re a beginner, or you simply want a pair of serviceable waders that are not going to break the bank.

Always buy the best you can afford, and think about how often you’re going to use them. There’s no need to spend a fortune if you’re only going out a couple of times a season.

Regardless, any decent fisher person worth their salt should also be packing one of these excellent fishing vests for additional help with organizing and storing gear.

fisherman wearing sling pack and fly-fishing in mountain river

FAQs

How do you know what size waders to buy?

The best way to find out your size is to follow the manufacturer’s advice. Most waders should offer a sizing guide to help you choose the right fit for you.

While this might vary from brand to brand, the basics should be the same. Watch the video below for a simple guide on how to measure your frame for your true wader size.

What should I look for in fishing waders?

It really depends on what you need them for and when you’re going to be using them.

Waders made with thicker, insulated materials might offer more protection and be more durable, but there’s a strong chance you’ll sweat buckets in even the mildest of temperatures.

Likewise, lightweight versions aren’t going to cut it in colder weather.

Generally speaking, however, you want something that’s been made with good-quality materials, with attention to detail, strong seams, the best possible waterproofing, and all at a price you can afford.

How do you wash fishing waders?

Great question. Waders can be expensive, and you want to make sure you’re looking after your gear so it lasts as long as possible.

They also have a nasty habit of stinking the place up to high heaven if they’ve not been properly washed.

Check out the informative video below for a guide on how to clean and maintain your waders. Although with an emphasis on Simms products – it can be applied to any relevant brand or garment.

Are breathable waders supposed to be baggy?

If you’re fishing in colder temperatures or waters, then waders should be on the baggy side so you can layer up with clothing underneath.

But for summer use, you don’t want them too loose as this will result in discomfort, as well as risking damage to the waders themselves.

Do you wear shoes inside of waders?

If you’re purchasing barefoot waders – the version that comes with boots built-in, depending on their size, you might be able to wear shoes underneath.

But unless this is a lining shoe with a slim profile just for added comfort and protection – then there really is no need. A pair of good quality socks will do.

For stockingfoot waders – the shoes or boots are worn on the outside, and are bought separately.

What should I wear under fishing waders?

It depends on the season and conditions. In summer, some anglers keep things super-minimal and just do their regular underwear.

For winter fishing, leggings or thermals are highly recommended – unless using waders that are a suitably thick neoprene.

Whatever you wear, just make sure you’re comfortable, unrestricted, and you won’t run too hot or too cold when you’re out there.

Pack an extra layer in one of the roomier fishing backpacks, which will also give you somewhere you can store anything you need to take off if conditions change.

What is the difference between hunting and fishing waders?

There really is only one main difference between hunting and fishing waders – and that’s down to the aesthetic.

Hunting waders will more likely be of a camouflage design.

In reality, you can use a pair of good-quality waders for either sport – just so long as the type of wader you’re choosing is suitable for that particular activity/time of year/water temperature.

What is the best material for waders?

There isn’t one particular material that is the “best” when it comes to waders. They each have their advantages and disadvantages as outlined in the buyer’s guide above.

Simply put, choose neoprene for warmth, and nylon/polyester for breathability and unrestricted movement.

What are the best fishing waders?

This isn’t an easy question to answer, as it really depends on personal preference, budget, and the kind of fishing you want to do.

Having said that, it’s hard to see past the Simms products in this class – they’re just on another level, and are regarded as some of the best in the world.

Which brings us nicely on to our final question.

Are Simms waders worth the money?

They might be eye-wateringly expensive (as most high-end waders are) but if you’re going to get a lot of use out of a pair of Simms waders – or any pricier brand for that matter – then yes, they are well worth the money.

That kind of comfort, fit, and material technology doesn’t come cheap – but should last you much longer than just about anything else on the market.

Again, consider them an investment – so long as you’re going to get plenty of use out of them. They would be wasted hanging in a closet for much of the year.

Summary

The best fishing waders in 2020 should keep you warm, dry, and comfortable. If you’re not getting those basic needs fulfilled – you need to switch up your waders.

Let me know which one you’ve gone for in the comments section, and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more top tips, advice, and product reviews covering all things outdoor.

Stay safe out there – and happy fishing!

Bob Hoffmann

The author of this post is Bob Hoffmann. Bob has spend most of his childhood fishing with his father and now share all his knowledge with other anglers. Feel free to leave a comment below.

Recent Content