They say that fly fishing is the purest form of the sport.
It’s a beautiful experience, healthy for body and mind, and one that brings us closer to nature.
But in order to get closer to nature, you need to be wearing the right gear.
In this article, we focus on the best fly fishing waders currently on the market.
Perhaps the most important item of fly fishing clothing, good quality waders will make all the difference when it comes to warmth, protection, and comfort.
So read on, because you might have been missing out.
Table of Contents
- TOP 3 Fly Fishing Waders for 2023 & What to Look For – In Short
- How We Choose
- The 9 Best Fly Fishing Waders Reviewed
- 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
- What Type of Fly Fishing Waders Do I Need?
- Bootfoot or Stockingfoot Waders?
- Wading Out
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TOP 3 Fly Fishing Waders for 2023 & What to Look For – In Short
When I am on the hunt for an excellent pair of waders, here is what I take into consideration:
- Wader type – stockingfoot or bootfoot? Chest, hip, or waist? Where and when you are fishing is going to impact the type of wader you purchase.
- Comfort – for those long days in the water, you need something that feels good to wear.
- Weather and waterproofing – it’s important to stay warm and dry – particularly in colder climes.
- Freedom of movement – waders should be as unrestrictive as possible – especially if your fishing spot is a bit of a hike away.
- Durability – we like garments that are built to last, and provide you with the protection you need. Unseen underwater hazards and critters can be a concern for legs, feet, and toes.
- Breathability – moisture-wicking technology and ventilation is key – no matter the season.
- Pockets and compartments – for storing all your fishing bits and bobs, tackle, and your cell phone.
- Price – the very best waders for fly-fishing will come in under your budget, and relative to how much you’re going to use them.
If you can find some waders that perform well in all these categories, then they are well worth buying.
|Simms Fishing M’s G4Z Waders||Best Men’s Fly Fishing Waders|
|Simms W’s G3 Guide Waders||Best Women’s Fly Fishing Waders|
|Redington Escape Fly Fishing Waders||Best On a Budget|
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!
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!
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.
How We Choose
We’ve spent a silly amount of hours pouring over as many quality fly-fishing wader products as we could find, from all the best brands, and some of the less well known options, too.
A conservative estimate would be around 21 hours, some 38–40 waders, and several cups of tea.
Using our own guide on what to look for, we examined every detail, stitch, material, hardware, and design that makes these waders what they are, gleaned from reviews, interviews, videos, and any other useful sources we could get our hands on.
And where possible, we’ve tried them out ourselves – as there’s no better review than understanding how it works in the field.
Or in the water, in this case.
The 9 Best Fly Fishing Waders Reviewed
What Type of Fly Fishing Waders Do I Need?
The type of fly fishing waders you choose will depend on the following factors:
- Where you’re fishing – the water depth and conditions.
- When you’re fishing – the weather and season.
- Personal preference.
Water depth is pretty straightforward. If it’s up to your chest – choose chest waders. If it’s ankle deep, then waist or hip waders will suffice.
Generally speaking, I would recommend choosing the versatility of a chest-high wader that you can roll down in warmer weather and lower water depths.
For more information, check out this in-depth article on chest waders versus wading pants.
For weather and season, you should choose something lightweight and breathable in warmer conditions, and something thicker with more protection in colder temperatures.
Neoprene waders are recommended if you’re out there in winter, for example.
Finally, only you can decide when it comes to personal preference.
Perhaps you don’t like the position of a chest wader? Maybe a hip wader feels a little weird? Maybe something just doesn’t look right?
It’s entirely up to you.
Bootfoot or Stockingfoot Waders?
This is a question we get asked time and again, so here’s the answer in a nutshell:
Bootfoot waders are heavier and bulkier, but they’re ready to go and get you right out onto the water, with no need to purchase additional footwear.
They hold more heat, and are more suitable for winter fly fishing. Follow that link for some expert advice on a full fly fishing winter loadout.
Bootfoot waders are less likely to tangle up your line, whereas stockingfoot versions have more hardware you can snag on.
Lighter and less restrictive, stockingfoot waders allow you to choose a boot that fits perfectly, or switch boots out depending on the conditions.
They offer more versatile sole options compared to bootfoot waders.
Easier to use and wear in general.
Of course, we could explore each point in more detail, but that’s the main pros and cons of each in summary.
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 2023. 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.