Best Waders And Boots

Every year I guide brand new anglers and often these guys want to go out and get themselves waders and boots before they come out on a trip with me. Don’t be confused by so many brands, prices, and types of waders and boots.

I will let you in on the best waders and boots for all budgets that I recommend to my clients.

What Type Of Waders Do You Need

The author kneeling in a pair of waders while holding a big steelhead.
Neeling in a pair of waders while holding a big steelhead, or at any time can put stress on waders. As you can see I’m very rough on my waders.

You should consider a few things when buying a new set of waders.

  • Winter or Summer Fishing, or Both?: If you fish all year round and only want one pair of waders, go with stockingfoot breathable waders. If you can afford two pairs, one for summer and one for winter, also get a pair of Breathable insulated bootfoot waders for winter.
  • Size and Confort: more expensive waders tend to be a bit more comfortable, but honestly, as long as they are breathable stocking foot waders, they will be fairly comfortable. Neoprene is heavy and bulky. Nylon and rubber waders are not very comfortable.
  • Amount Of Use: If you only fish a few days a year, you won’t need the same waders as an angler who fishes 200 days a year.
  • Budget: Buy the best waders within your budget

Budget Waders: Under $200.00

If you only fish under 20 days a year, a wader around or under $200 should be fine. Waders in this price range have fewer features and are pretty basic, but they will do the job.

I have found waders in this price range are also less durable and do not last as long as the more expensive waders. But, If you are only fishing a dozen days or less and you’re on a tight budget, these will do the job.

  1. Redington Crosswater Wader – These might be the best waders under $150.00 based on first-hand reports I’ve received from my clients who wear them.
  2. FROGG TOGGS Hellbender Breathable Stockingfoot Waders – Highly rated and under $150.00
  3. Caddis Men’s 2-Tone Deluxe Breathable Stocking Foot Wader – Used by many of my clients and they are well-liked which is great since they sell between $90 and $120.00

Mid-Price Waders – $200 to $450

If you think you’ll be on the water 20 to 100 days a year and you want a more reliable set of waders that will last many years, these are the waders for you. These waders sell for $200 to $450.00.

  1. Simms Men’s Tributary Stockingfoot Chest Waders
  2. Orvis Men’s Clearwater Stockingfoot Chest Waders
  3. Simms Men’s Freestone Stockingfoot Chest Waders
  4. Redington Sonic-Pro Waders

High-End Waders $500 and Up

I wear Simms G3 stocking foot waders because they are the most durable and can hold up to my constant abuse, but they are also $500.00 or more. I have also extensively used Patagonia’s top end waders and Orvis’s top waders.

  1. Simms G4Z Stockingfoot Chest Waders: All the bells and whistles, and come with 4-layer durability. These are likely the best waders on the market.
  2. Simms Men’s G3 Guide Stockingfoot Chest Waders: These are the waders I wore and guided in between 2018 and 2021. They are great waders, very durable, and I highly recommend them.
  3. Orvis Mens Pro Waders: I have been testing these and have almost a full season in 2023. These are very good waders I can easily recommend.

Winter Waders

If you plan to fish mostly from November to March for steelhead when the water is super cold, then a good breathable boot foot wader is better at keeping your feet warm. Cold feet is the number one issue with waders in the winter, and although some guys swear by neoprene waders, both neoprene and breathable have stocking feet made from the same material, and both can be equally cold. Bootfoots that are insulated are the warmest.

Personally, I do not like neoprene waders at all. I find they produce condensation due to your warm body and the ice-cold water combination, leaving you damp at the end of the day. I also find them heavy and bulky so you end up both damp and tiered in the winter and I think the dampness can make you cold. If you wear neoprene in the summer, you overheat, and sweat like crazy.

The only waders I’ve found to keep my feet really warm and my legs dry in the winter are a good breathable insulated boot foot wader.

  1. Simms G3 Guide Bootfoot Waders with Vibram Sole – These are by far the warmest waders I have ever tested and I wore these for three winters. But they are not cheap!
  2. FROGG TOGGS Steelheader Breathable & Insulated Bootfoot Waders with Cleats – The best mid-priced winter waders if the Simms G3 is out of your budget.
  3. Cabela’s SuperMag Chest Waders

Waders For Big and Tall Guys

If these waders listed above do not come in your size check out my article on the best waders for big and tall men.

Tight Lines