Owning a good pair of waders literally changes your fly fishing experience from top to bottom.
I used to think getting wet was the nature of fly fishing and I would happily get wet and cold for the chance of catching a fish. Then I borrowed some waders, wow was I wrong!
With a solid pair of waders on, I didn’t have to worry about the weather, I never got wet, and I was always warm.
This helped me enjoy fly fishing so much more – I could do it in comfort, no matter the weather.
But that’s not all!
Wearing waders allows you to get into a river or lake and fish it far more effectively. Those fish holding areas become way more accessible and you will catch more because of it!
So, how do you find a great pair of waders? That is what we are here to find out!
Join me as we take a look at the 9 best fly fishing waders for 2022 so you can find a pair that will make your fly fishing experience a whole lot better than before.
Table of Contents
- In Short – TOP 3 Fly Fishing Waders & What to Look For
- TOP 9 Best Fly Fishing Waders in 2022
- Simms Fishing M's G4Z Stockingfoot Waders
- Redington Sonic Pro HDZ Fly Fishing Waders
- Orvis Ultralight Convertible Waders
- Tidewe Cleated Bootfoot Chest Waders
- Redington Escape Fly Fishing Waders
- Simms Women's G3 Guide Stockingfoot Waders
- Orvis Women's Ultralight Convertible Waders
- Redington Women's Sonic-Pro Waders
- Ouzong Bootfoot Chest Waders
- How to Choose the Best Fly Fishing Waders
- Wading Out
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In Short – TOP 3 Fly Fishing Waders & What to Look For
When I am on the hunt for an excellent pair of waders here is what I look for:
- Freedom Of Movement
If you can find some waders that perform well in all these categories and match your budget, then they are worth buying. We will run through all the categories in detail in the buying guide at the end, for now, let’s have a look at my favorite waders that have them all!
Best Men’s Fly Fishing Waders
The Simms M’s G4Z Waders are the best waders featured in the article for men. Built from 3/4 layers of Gore-Tex Pro Shell they are 100% waterproof, exceptionally breathable, and as durable as they get.
They are designed for ultimate comfort and convenience. The freedom of movement is excellent, they are super comfy, and there is a full zipper on the front that makes life as easy as it can be.
Add the multiple storage pockets, fly patch, retractors, plus the 2 fleece lined hand warmer pockets and you can fish more comfortably than ever!
Best Women’s Fly Fishing Waders
The Simms W’s G3 Guide Stockingfoot Waders are fantastic and the top women’s waders featured.
They have a similar design to the Simms M’s G4Z Waders using 3/4 layers of Gore-Tex Pro to ensure durability, warmth, comfort, and breathability. These also include Gore-Tex stretch to mold to the shape of a woman’s body, and provide great mobility!
You couldn’t ask for more comfort!
Add in the great pockets for tackle along with a fly patch, comfy suspenders and the anatomical, anti-microbial stocking feet, and you have some women’s waders that are close to impossible to beat!
Best On a Budget
If you’re shopping on a budget but still want a great pair of waders, I would recommend the Redington Escape Waders.
While these are not made from fancy material like Gore-tex, they are 100% waterproof, breathable, and the 4 layer build ensures durability too.
They even have some cool features too like hand warmer pockets and water-resistant chest pockets.
You are getting everything the Simms waders give you, but at a lower level for a much lower price, which is no problem if you don’t fish 200 days a year.
They fit excellently, are comfortable, lightweight, and overall fantastic quality for the price.
TOP 9 Best Fly Fishing Waders in 2022
How to Choose the Best Fly Fishing Waders
There are a great deal of fly fishing and general fishing waders on the market today and it can get a little daunting trying to find the ones that suit you best.
So, let’s go through some of the most important things that should be considered, before buying some waders for fly fishing.
Why Type of Fly Fishing Waders Do I Need?
First, you must ask yourself, where and when do you plan on doing most of your fly fishing?
Is it in freezing cold waters swinging flies for winter steelhead? Or is it mostly for trout fishing between spring and fall?
There are two types of waders, thick neoprene waders that come with boots, or thin stockingfoot waders that come without boots.
If you are fishing in freezing temperatures, thick neoprene waders are a must as they are incredibly warm. But, they will have you sweating in the warmer months and are very heavy!
Stockingfoot waders are light and breathable, they are perfect for fishing from spring to fall as they keep you warm enough without overheating.
Now onto the nitty-gritty stuff: What key characteristics should you look for in great fly fishing waders?
Ever worn a pair of leaky waders?
It is not an enjoyable experience and certainly puts a dampener on your day of fishing. Your feet or legs are soaking wet, you are cold, and chances are you are going to head home early.
Look for waders that are built from multiple layers of fabric, usually 3 layers in low wear areas, and 4 layers in high wear areas. These waders are built to last and should never leak, but it also depends how you treat them, so be kind to them!
Another thing that affects durability is freedom of movement, which we will discuss next.
Freedom of Movement
Imagine being in a pair of waders that constricts the way you move. It is not going to be very comfortable to navigate your way around forested paths and across slippery rocks with lots of current.
Tight waders are also going to leak quickly, as every slip or big stride you take is going to put pressure on the seams. Eventually, the seam is going to open and you will have a leak!
Look for waders with a gusseted crotch and stretchy material as this will ensure you can walk freely and won’t damage the waders in the process.
It really isn’t fun when waders cause you to sweat most of the time. You overheat, end up smelling bad, and it makes fishing less comfortable.
That is why finding breathable fly fishing waders is very important.
Breathable waders are made of different permeable membranes, such as Gore-Tex, which keeps the water out, while allowing your body’s heat and sweat to escape.
This means you will not overheat, even if you are layered up in early spring or wearing a t-shirt in summer.
Some of the slightly more expensive waders will offer better breathability than the cheaper varieties.
So, if you have money to spend, and would like to be as comfortable as possible, then the more expensive breathable waders are a must!
Comfort & Sizing
Sizing is very important.
Some brands will fit differently to others, so be sure to do your research before purchasing some waders.
Often, it is worth contacting customer care who can walk you through selecting the right size. You can give them your height, weight, and shoe size and they can guide you through choosing the right one.
Choosing the correct size will also determine the longevity of the wader and how comfortable you are.
If you don’t get the size right, it will lead to a lot of discomfort and will limit your movement on the water.
It’s always good to leave space in the waders so that you can pull on some extra layers underneath. Waders should never be tight.
Pockets and Accessories
Who doesn’t love a neat pocket or accessory?
Make sure your waders have pockets for things like fly boxes, tippet, and your phone so you can take pictures easily and change flies without looking in your backpack. Tool holders for your nippers are also very useful!
At a minimum, a water-resistant or water-proof front sprocket is a must. It makes life so much more convenient on the water!
Sometimes, the double-sided, fleece-lined pockets are just what your hands need to keep them snug and warm on a chilly day too!
Fly anglers who are serious about finding waders that last and provide the most comfort possible, will need to be prepared to pay the big bucks!
You really do get what you pay for.
In most cases, the more expensive fly fishing waders are built to last longer. So if you have the cash and plan to use waders regularly, then it’s worth purchasing a wader that will give you a good innings.
However, some mid-range waders still have a lot to offer in terms of quality and durability. It might just mean you need to take extra care of them.
For the beginner, I recommend that you get your hands on a cheaper bootfoot wader.
These are always good to start with, as they keep you safe on the water, while also protecting you from the elements.
Then, if you do damage your waders (which happens to the best of us), it won’t be that big of a deal. Should it happen to one of the top more expensive waders, you might end up crying or pulling your hair out.
And that won’t be fun.
How do you know what size waders to buy?
Start by looking closely at the size chart provided by the manufacturer. Depending on the brand, these are often reliable.
You might have to take some measurements such as:
- Girth (chest, waist, and hips)
- Inseam (crotch to floor)
- Shoe size
If you’re shopping for a bootfoot wader, it is often best to choose one size bigger than your normal shoe size.
However, be sure to get in touch with the manufacturer’s customer care, as they will guide you through the sizing process.
You also want to make sure the waders have enough space for you to add a jersey or any additional layers.
Here’s a helpful video to see how the measurements are done:
What is the best material for fly fishing waders?
It really depends on when, where, and how often you plan on using your waders.
Neoprene waders are generally the most popular for winter fishing due to their great insulation. You can also select different thicknesses, based on how cold it is.
However, the best stockingfoot waders are made from materials like Gore-Tex Pro, or other permeable membranes that are 100% waterproof but let heat escape from your body.
This makes them very versatile as they can be worn in both warm and cold conditions, keeping your body comfortable for long lengths of time in multiple seasons!
Do you need waders to fly fish?
No doubt about it – you can fly fish without waders.
However, you will be limited in terms of where and when you can fly fish.
Waders allow you to venture deeper into water bodies and to cast out to areas you usually can’t reach from a riverbank or shoreline. You can also stay longer in the water, as the cold water will not affect you as much.
Waders also provide the perfect protection from the elements. You will be warm and comfortable even when fishing in the pouring rain!
Who makes the best fly fishing waders?
The best waders are made by brands such as Simms, Orvis, Redington, and Patagonia. From my own personal experience, Simms are the best!
Thank you for reading my article about the best fly fishing waders in 2022. I hope you enjoyed it, learned a bit about waders, and have found the perfect pair for you!
Be sure to let me know which waders you liked the most and why in the comment section below, – I’d love to hear from you.
Also, let me know about any wading experiences you have had and of any questions you would like me to answer.