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 2023.
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.
Table of Contents
- TOP 12 Best Fishing Waders in 2023
- Simms Freestone Chest Fishing Waders
- Redington Sonic Pro HDZ Waders
- Dark Lightning Fly Fishing Waders
- Frogg Toggs Canyon II Chest Waders
- Simms Flyweight Chest Waders
- Foxelli Neoprene Chest Waders
- Compass 360 Deadfall Stockingfoot Waders
- Simms Freestone Wading Pants
- Magreel Fishing Chest Waders
- Frogg Toggs Rana II Bootfoot Hip Waders
- Piscifun Breathable Chest Waders
- Orvis Ultralight Convertible Waders
- How to Choose the Right Pair of Fishing Waders
- How do you know what size waders to buy?
- What should I look for in fishing waders?
- How do you wash fishing waders?
- Are breathable waders supposed to be baggy?
- Do you wear shoes inside of waders?
- What should I wear under fishing waders?
- What is the difference between hunting and fishing waders?
- What is the best material for waders?
- What are the best fishing waders?
- Are Simms waders worth the money?
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TOP 12 Best Fishing Waders in 2023
Simms Freestone Chest Fishing Waders
You can’t have a review of awesome 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 stocking foot chest waders are a good example of that.
Made with a Toray fabric specifically designed for fishing waders, they have a microporous 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.
- Name to trust.
- Market leading technology.
- Neoprene, anti-microbial booties.
- Hand warmer pockets.
- Fully adjustable waist belt and shoulder straps.
- Very expensive.
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. Probably the finest fly fishing waders ever made.
Redington Sonic Pro HDZ Waders
Giving Simms a run for their money are these highly popular, premium-quality chest waders from Redington.
Utilizing a four-layer breathable fabric, they’re durable yet lightweight, with minimal pockets for a simple, clean silhouette.
The slim wading belt is compatible with multiple fishing tools, while the two fleece lined pockets will keep your hands warm in cold weather.
Pair them with some Redington wading boots, and you’ll look and feel like a pro angler – even if you’re not one!
- Chest pocket.
- Highly breathable waders.
- Gravel guards.
- Anti-corrosive hardware.
- On the more expensive side.
- Regularly sold out.
Redington are known for making some of the best waders for fishing in the community, and the Redington Sonic Pro is a prime example of that sought-after quality. Up there with the best fly fishing waders there are – if you can get hold of them.
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 bootfoot 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.
And because the wading boots are incorporated, they’re the best waders for the money out there.
- Outstanding price.
- Very highly rated.
- Chest pocket.
- Boot hanger for drying included.
- Bootfoot waders.
- Not the best quality boot bottoms.
- Can run hot.
- Won’t last nearly as long as more expensive models.
- Sizing is a little tricky.
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 fly fishing chest waders are for you.
Just don’t expect them to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Simms when it comes to the best waders for fishing on the market.
Frogg Toggs Canyon II Chest Waders
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-taped 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.
- Breathable waders.
- Affordable price point.
- Zippered chest pocket.
- Integral lace hooks.
- Versatile use.
- Sizing might be on the large side for some.
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.
Simms Flyweight Chest Waders
As far as stockingfoot waders go, you’re probably looking at the best waders for fishing ever made.
The reason I’ve not put them higher in this review is because of the eye-watering price point. That aside, there’s little to fault here.
Made with premium materials, including GORE-TEX technology in the crotch and arms, it offers unbeatable protection, durability, and freedom of movement across the board.
The chest waders boast the innovative 5.11 attachment system that’s perfect for stashing fly fishing gear, with a dump pocket close to hand.
If you’re looking for the best breathable waders that money can buy – your search is over.
- Very highly rated in the community.
- Superior mobility.
- Interior chest pockets.
- World-class breathable waders.
- Advanced gravel guards.
- You can buy an awesome fishing kayak for the same price.
Anyone who wears a pair of waders that cost over $500 should be a seriously dedicated angler! Probably the finest stockingfoot waders around – particularly for fly fishing – this is about as good as it gets in the wading world.
Foxelli Neoprene Chest Waders
Suitable for a variety of outdoor activities, these affordable, boot foot waders come in a practical camouflage design, so you don’t spook your quarry, no matter what you’re hunting.
Neoprene waders are durable, 100% waterproof, and offer 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.
- Great price.
- Boot foot waders.
- Adjustable belt with carabiners.
- Double-stitched, sealed seams.
- Neoprene boot lining.
- Nylon carry bag included.
- They might run a little hot.
- Camo design is not for everyone.
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.
Compass 360 Deadfall Stockingfoot Waders
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.
And there’s a fleece lined hand warmer to help keep the blood pumping in your fingers.
- Affordable price.
- Double-webbing wading belt with belt loops.
- Zippered chest pocket.
- Lined hand warmer pockets.
- Security pocket for valuables.
- Easy-to-adjust wading belt and shoulder straps.
- Runs small in the leg.
- Gravel guards might be a little neat for some.
Providing you get the sizing right, these fly fishing waders are a great option for lightweight fishing adventures in warmer climes.
Simms Freestone 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.
Made with breathable fabrics, with 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.
- Premium quality materials.
- Tough, durable construction.
- Highly breathable.
- Neoprene booties.
- Exorbitantly expensive for wading pants.
More expensive than most chest waders, but as this is a Simms product, expect them to be worth the investment. As far as the best wading pants 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 in your wading boots.
Suitable for men and women, these chest waders are a great option for any keen angler.
- Great price.
- Lightweight wader.
- Flip out pocket.
- Fleece-lined hand warmer.
- Wading belt.
- Reinforced, tear-resistant knees.
- Again, they might run small – be sure to check the sizing.
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 Bootfoot Hip Waders
Next up, we offer a great example of hip waders, 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 wading 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.
Perfect for fly fishing shallower waters, they’re up there with the best hip waders fly anglers can buy.
- Nylon reinforced PVC upper.
- Sealed and taped seams for durability.
- Very highly rated.
- Non-insulated boot.
- The boot isn’t that comfortable – consider padded inserts or thicker socks.
- Some reports of sizing issues.
- Not as protective as chest waders.
These wading boots/hip waders are a great option for fly fishing shallow waters. 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. For the money, they’re up there with the best fly fishing waders available.
- Great price.
- Repair kit included.
- Waterproof phone case.
- Water-resistant pocket.
- Hand warmer pocket.
- The feet will be too tight for some wearers.
- A choice of other colors would have been good.
Ideal for fly fishing, the hook holder makes a really neat addition to these quality, affordable, mid-range waders. It’s just a shame they’re only available in gray. And if you’re looking for the best fly fishing waders, you can head over to this review.
Orvis Ultralight Convertible Waders
Along with Simms, Orvis are highly regarded as one of the best chest wader brands in the business, and these award-winning, ultralight, convertible fly fishing waders demonstrate exactly why that is the case.
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.
- Practical design.
- Lightweight waders.
- Unbeatable comfort and performance.
- Internal zipper pocket with four-way stretch power mesh.
- Neoprene gravel guard.
- Integrated tool dock and fly patch.
- Adjustable suspenders.
- Waterproof zipper.
Sure, they might be pricey, but these convertible fly fishing waders from Orvis have decades of experience and know-how poured into them, and they’re probably the best chest waders for surf fishing out there. Or just about any kind of fishing for that matter.
How to Choose the Right Pair of Fishing Waders
There are 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.
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 shore line, 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.
Particularly if you’re wearing a pair of chest waders designed for cold weather.
And speaking of, if you’re fishing in cold 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, or the best fly fishing waders. 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.
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 chest waders offer convertible capabilities, so you can have the best of both worlds in one garment.
Today, waders are predominantly 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 cold weather and cold water.
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 on 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.
Traditional 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.
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.
Look for breathable waders with adjustable suspenders to ensure a snug fit to your frame.
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.
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.
The best fly fishing waders often come with integrated tool holders and/or fly pads – so you can keep important equipment and flies close to hand.
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.
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.
High-end chest 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.
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, and try ones that are blister-resistant.
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 don 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.
For more information check out the article What to Wear Under Waders & Tips to Stay Warm.
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.
The best fishing waders in 2023 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!