In this guide we’ll look at the best fishing waders.
We’ve compared comfort, rip resistance, boots and cost
to give you our top recommendations.

What Are The Best Fishing Waders?

More Detailed Fishing Wader Reviews

Fishing Waders Buying Guide

Fishing waders are a worthwhile investment if you go fishing often, especially in deeper or cooler waters.

What to Wear under Fishing Waders

This of course depends on the weather, but the one constant is that you should avoid cotton! Here’s what I typically wear under my waders in cool or cold weather:
  • Moisture-wicking wool socks + a synthetic “liner” underneath
  • Synthetic base layers (shirt and leggings or pants)
  • Fleece insulating layers
And don’t forget your sun protection!

Features to Consider When Buying Waders

Comfort, Weight, and Breathability

A comfortable pair of waders will be relatively lightweight so you don’t feel encumbered while you’re fishing. They’ll also be reasonably breathable, keeping the water out but allowing your skin to breathe. Ideally, your waders will also be relatively easy to take on and off. My top pick in this category? The Compass 360 Deadfall waders.

Rip Resistance

This is an important factor if you plan to wear your waders in brushy, forested areas where branches or rocks are likely to snag against the fabric. Good waders will be durable, capable of handling the great outdoors. Reinforcement in key areas (e.g. the knees) is also helpful.

Pockets and Compartments

Convenient pockets are a major advantage to wearing waders. Look for a pair with a good chest pocket and a place to store your phone and other devices you don’t want to get wet. The Compass 360 Deadfall waders are an excellent choice here; there’s a zippered flip-out pocket for your phone, plus a 2-in-1 chest pocket that gives you some storage and lets you warm up your hands. Many waders also feature belts and/or D-rings that allow you to attach additional gear within easy reach.

Anti-Slip Boots

Some waders are designated as “bootfoot” while others are “stockingfoot.” The Compass 360 Deadfall waders are an example of stockingfoot; they’ve got neoprene booties to go over your feet, and then you put on dedicated wading boots (purchased separately). The advantages of stockingfoot waders include:
  • They’re usually a bit easier to put on and take off.
  • You have more choice when it comes to wading boots.
  • If you want to upgrade or switch boots you can do so easily (whereas with bootfoot waders, the boot is attached, so you have to replace the entire pair of waders).
Bootfoot waders such as the TideWe Bootfoot Chest Waders, on the other hand, offer the convenience of a wader/boot combo, and as long as the attached boot is durable and offers good traction, they’ll do the job. The boots on the TideWe waders are comfortable and sturdy, and I’ve had some good fishing trips in them.

Chest vs. Hip Waders

Most of the options here are chest waders like Foxelli and FISHINGSIR, which offer more coverage and let you wade into deeper water while staying warm and dry. If you plan to wade often, I recommend getting some chest waders. Hip waders such as the Allen Black River Bootfoot waders are suitable for wading in shallower water, and they’re generally easier to slip in and out of.

Conclusion

Whether you’re looking for the best waders for fly fishing or the best waders for surf fishing, I hope this guide has been useful. There are tons of offerings on the market, and it can be hard to decide which are worth the investment. Personally, I’m a big fan of the Compass waders, which keep me dry even when I encounter a sudden hole or strong current in the water.

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