If you’ve been a female angler for any number of years, I’m sure you’ve experienced a terrible pair of fishing waders.
Historically, fishing companies did little more than slap a smaller sizing scale and sometimes a “pretty” color on the same men’s waders and call it a day. It’s infuriating to spend the same amount of money as a man would, but on an ill-fitting, inferior product.
If you’re a woman that enjoys fishing with waders, I’ve got some good news for you.
Fishing and outdoor brands have finally realized what we have known all along, women are incredible anglers and deserve the gear to match.
There are a couple considerations before you snag a pair of these waders. If you’re already familiar with waders and fishing brands, then I’ll cut to the chase. My favorite fishing waders for women are the Orvis Women’s Ultralight Convertible Wader. These waders are durable, loaded with features, breathable and extremely comfortable to move around in.
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Women’s Fishing Waders – Considerations
What are the most important features of women’s fishing waders? Fit, Breathability and Durability!
How do I tell if waders are actually made for women? Well, that’s a longer answer, but I have noticed a couple red flags that can help you out.
If they are called “waders for ladies” instead of women, there are only pictures of men throughout the brand, and there are no women contributors in their blogs, they’re probably just a “pink it and shrink it” type of company.
If a company did not showcase what made their waders actually women’s waders, I didn’t include it in this list. C’mon y’all it’s not that hard, women make up half the population!
My primary concern while narrowing this list down was fit. If a company doesn’t clearly define how their women’s waders are worth your money, specific to how they fit women, move along. There are still brands trying to resell men’s waders to women.
It’s not just a cosmetic thing, ill-fitting waders can restrict movement and be uncomfortable to wear all day long. Historically women will compensate and buy larger waders than they really need to accommodate their waists.
Unfortunately, this means that the only thing supporting the weight of these large waders are the straps and your shoulders. This kind of weight dragging on your shoulders all day is a miserable feeling; waders need to fit correctly!
Next is breathability. I love Gore-Tex and its ability to let moisture out while simultaneously keeping water out.
There are plenty of combinations of materials that also do the trick, but keep your eye out for quality materials like Gore-tex and Nylon. After fit, this feature is your primary concern for a good pair of waders.
Unless you are in a truly cold climate (and like fishing in these conditions), I wouldn’t recommend buying lined waders. While warm in some circumstances, I find it much more versatile to layer.
How are the seams sealed? How tear resistant is the material the wader is made from? Are any areas reinforced? It only takes one hole to ruin a good pair of waders.
For this category, unless you are a material expert, you’ll need to trust the manufacturer a bit. Every single wader manufacturer tout that their product is durable, but that doesn’t mean that they are.
While you can get away with off-brand gear in other areas of your fishing arsenal, I’d suggest using a quality fishing brand for waders.
Honorable Mention – Waterproof Pockets
After being deprived for a hundred years, women rightfully love good pockets. Waders are no different, except that the most helpful pocket in a wader is a watertight one.
I love pockets in a wader, and I won’t buy a pair without at least a water-resistant pocket.
Why save $100 on a wader to trash a $1000 phone? Sure, there are some work-arounds (like waterproof cases and dry bags), but having pre-installed waterproof pockets is a necessity for someone as scatter-brained as I am.
Types of Waders
Waders come in three major categories: hip high, waist high, and chest high.
Hip high waders are for shallow trecks like creek and bank fishing. Waist high fishing waders (or wading pants) are great for small river or seep creek fishing. A great pair of chest waders will handle these depths and more, with more room for watertight pockets and gear clips.
So why wouldn’t you just get the chest high waders and call it a day?
The shorter waders are both cheaper and more comfortable in warm weather. Some anglers still use waders in the summer to protect themselves from hazards in their local waterway.
Stockingfoot vs Bootfoot
There are two different styles that waders come in: stockingfoot or bootfoot.
Stockingfoot is the most common variety of wader, allowing the angler to choose their own, specially designed wader boot to fit over the stocking. These boots are built to be submerged and remain wet, but the stocking keeps the water off your toes.
Bootfoot waders are for cold weather conditions. While stockingfoot waders and wader boots allow water to rest right up against your feet, bootfoot waders keep water on the outside of the included boot. This feature will keep your feet toasty in sub-freezing water.
Let’s wade on in!
So now that we’ve had a refresher on components, we can jump right into my favorite women’s waders this year. If you’re looking to buy your favorite male angler (can you believe it?!) some matching waders check out my best men’s fishing waders and best men’s wading jackets.
This ultralight convertible is a stockingfoot chest high or waist high wader.
Orvis has earned my money time and time again for their quality and ingenuity, and now they’re starting to earn it for their inclusivity.
Orvis, by far, makes the best fishing waders for women that I have found. I chose this particular wader as my best wader for women, because with just a couple magnetic clicks, it transforms from a chest wader into a waist wader.
Starting off, these waders are just good all-around waders. The convertible constructed with 4-layer, breathable nylon and watertight seams. Orvis has reinforced high-stress areas to keep these waders in use for the long haul.
The crotch has been gusseted for a much fuller range of motion. While not specifically a feature just for women, it certainly is a feature women will appreciate the most. The legs are built with an innovative gravel guard that keeps debris moving downstream.
The waders come stock with a water-resistant pocket in the chest piece.
If you are looking to upgrade to a truly waterproof pocket, Orvis offers one for sale that is compatible with these waders. There is also a built-in tool dock and fly holder, for all your organizational needs.
What makes these waders truly stand out is their cut.
They have a contoured fit for women that’s available in petite, regular and tall variations. There is an xs-xxl size range in all three categories. Your chance of finding a wader that actually fits is pretty high with Orvis’s Convertible.
Easily converts from a chest wader to a waist wader for those sneaky warm days.
Reinforced high stress areas.
Gusseted crotch for full motion.
Gravel guard to decrease debris build up.
Water resistant pocket, tool dock and fly holder.
Contoured fit for women and huge array of sizes.
None! These are great waders and at the top of my list.
If you’re looking for chest waders that actually fit, you can’t go wrong here. In addition, their ability to convert to waist waders, added flexibility and reinforcements, and water-resistant pocket make them a joy to own and use.
I wanted to include a budget option chest wader on this list that still has some great features and reviews. These are the most affordable waders cut specifically for women, and they are wildly popular because of it.
The waders are made of a polyester material with a “CaddisDry” breathable waterproof formula. All seams are double taped and water tight. The knees are reinforced and the waders come with a built-in gravel guard on the legs.
Unfortunately, while there are pockets, there is no waterproof pocket. You’ll need to buy separate dry bags to waterproof your devices when using these waders.
Caddis offers a one-year manufacturer warranty, which is unusual for budget waders, and their customer service is top-notch. This makes your decision a little easier if you are shopping budget chest waders.
Affordable waders that are cut to fit well.
Seams are double taped.
Reinforced knees and built-in gravel guard.
One-year manufacturer warranty.
Weird sizing, call ahead of ordering to make sure you’re getting the correct size.
Polyester blend instead of Nylon or Gore-tex.
If you’re looking for budget waders, I would trust my money with Caddis. They are truly waders for women and not just a down-sized man’s wader. While they are missing some of high-end features a more expensive wader would have, they’ll get the job done.
The Clearwater is a chest or waist stockingfoot wader.
While we’re talking value, Orvis’s value priced wader might be priced low enough for you to consider the leap. These also convert to a waist-high version like the convertible, but with at least a hundred bucks knocked off.
Orvis’s Clearwater is made from the same quality four-way breathable Nylon as their more expensive waders. You won’t need to worry about the watertight seams and the neoprene stockingfoot has been reinforced.
The waders include an integrated gravel guard to shed debris and a stretch pocket on the chest. They do not have an included water-resistant pocket, but have a for-purchase waterproof pocket upgrade.
Orvis does a great job cutting waders for women. This wader comes in 3 variations: petite, regular, and tall. In each of these variations the sizes range from XS to XXL.
Value priced, high-quality wader.
Four-way breathable nylon.
Reinforced neoprene stockingfoot with integrated gravel guard.
Upgradeable for-purchase waterproof pocket.
Stretch pocket and kangaroo style hand warmer.
Great contoured fit and huge sizing range.
No included waterproof pocket.
No advertised reinforcements for high-use areas.
The Clearwater is an excellent value priced wader from Orvis. It has the benefit of high-quality construction materials and innovative women’s cut and sizing, without the higher price tag.
Orvis chose to sacrifice features here instead, which can easily be overcome by a savvy angler. The Clearwaters are still one of the best women’s waders of 2023.
I know I said I didn’t support waders advertised as “women’s” but not cut specifically for a woman’s body, but Frogg Togg has eeked its way onto the list.
This stockingfoot wader offers 16 different sizes in an effort to accommodate women. This combined with the exceptional value of these chest waders means its earned a spot among my favorites.
It is difficult to find a 4-ply nylon wader at this price point, but as an industry leader Frogg Toggs, has managed to figure it out. The waders are actually made in 3 layers: the outer Nylon, a waterproof, highly breathable middle layer, and an inner comfortable Tricot layer.
Frogg Togg’s waders have reinforced knees, zippered storage pocket, oversized multi-function chest pocket, and zippered handwarmer pocket. None of these are watertight, but they should work for organizing your less delicate gear.
16 different sizes to choose from.
Inexpensive, yet still high-quality waders.
3 total layers: nylon, a breathable middle layer, and a comfortable Tricot lining.
Frogg Togg’s classic waterwear reputation.
Two storage pockets and one zippered handwarmer pocket.
Not specifically cut for women, may not work well on some body types.
No waterproof pockets.
These waders are arguably the biggest bang for your buck on the list. They have an excessive number of features, are extremely durable and are Frogg Togg’s top-of-the-industry breathable.
The Pro by Orvis is a stockingfoot chest or waist high wader.
If only the best wader will do, and you’ve got the cash for it, then you can’t go wrong with the Orvis Pro wader.
This wader is their top of the line addition, for serious anglers that want a lot of use out of their gear. Just like its little sisters, the Pro can be converted from a chest to a waist wader, depending on your needs.
This is the most durable wader on the list, made from 5 layers of Cordura shell on the legs and 4 layers through the rest of the wader.
The wader is lined with Tricot and the crotch is gusseted for maximum comfort and flexibility. Of course, they are cut specifically to fit women, not just a repurposed man’s wader.
The anatomically correct neoprene socks fit naturally into boots, without weird bunching or pinching. The integrated gravel guard gives your boots a layer of protection and reduces drag.
The knees are reinforced with insertable knee pads, to comfortably kneel and grab your monster bass.
These waders have a long list of convenience features, with a water-resistant storage pocket, felt lined hand warming pocket and collapsible mesh pocket. Rubberized tabs on the suspenders and front pocket are great for daisy chaining sharp gear, reducing the likelihood of puncturing the waders in one of your pockets.
In addition, the waders come with a removable front pouch for even more gear storage. They can also be upgraded with a waterproof pouch with an extra purchase.
Most durable wader on the market: 4-5 layers of Cordura shell.
Insertable knee pads and reinforced knees.
Water resistant storage pocket, felt-lined hand warming pocket, collapsable inner pocket.
Removable tool pouch and rubberized tool rings.
Anatomically correct neoprene socks.
Gravel guard to reduce drag.
Convery from chest to waist wader.
The most expensive wader on the list.
If you are looking for the best fly-fishing waders (but for women), this is them. Without a single bad review in sight, these really are waders fit for a queen. The Pro insignia will have other anglers gasp when you waddle by!
If you can’t beat em’, just order youth? While these aren’t specifically designed for women, a hip wader doesn’t necessarily have to be. As long as the boot size goes small enough (youth sizes), you shouldn’t have any issues with these waders, and for this price, they’re hard to beat.
Honestly, how often do you really need anything more than some solid hip waders? The extra couple feet afforded by chest waders may not be worth the cost to you, and I can understand why.
These 100% nylon booted waders are a real grab and go situation. There will be no need to buy separate, expensive wading boots because the boots are part of these waders. The boots are made of PVC and welded to the nylon wader.
The boots come in felt or cleated version. Felt is great for slick rocks, but not so great if long hikes out of the water are required.
You must also thoroughly clean and dry felt in-between waterways and it is even illegal in some states because of its ability to carry pests from one waterway to the next.
Hip waders are already the most inexpensive option, and these are cheaper still.
100% Nylon waders (breathable and durable!).
Bootfooted means boots included.
Felt or cleated boots for any waterway.
PVC boots welded to nylon waders.
Taped watertight seams.
Sizes only go down to 7 men’s shoe, you may have to look at youth sizes.
Felt is illegal in some areas and must be cleaned, check your local rules before ordering.
If you’re just looking to get out in the water and would rather spend your money on proven lake trout lures or a luxury bass baitcasting reel, these waders might be the ticket. Frogg Toggs made these with breathable 100% nylon and durable PVC cleated or felt boots.
Wading into the Future
If one of the big fishing brands ends up on this article, I hope they take away that they could do better.
It may still be relatively difficult to find fishing waders made for women, but thanks to a couple select manufacturers it has gotten worlds better than it used to be.
While a man’s primary concern while shopping fishing waders might be something like breathability or durability, women are usually just trying to find some that fit right. This is a solid collection for female anglers, but there’s certainly room to grow.
Let me know in the comments below which ones you end up with!
Have you found other brands with great women’s waders? Is a water-resistant pocket a make-or-break feature for you? Do you prefer sockfooted or bootfooted waders? How much are you willing to invest in a good pair of waders?