Best Waders And Boots

Best Waders and Boots

 Every year I guide brand new anglers to river fishing and often times the guys want to go out and get themselves waders and boots before they come out on a trip with me. Guys are often confused by so many brands, prices and types of waders and boots. Below is an email I wrote to a guy that had lots of questions and as always this was my honest reply based on my personal experiences as a river angler and guide.

What type of waders should I get, I see online that there is so many different kinds and I’m not sure what ones are best for here? Answer; You want breathable stocking foot waders!

Any waders under $200.00 should be good enough if you’re a casual angler.

When buying waders you need to consider how many days you’ll be fishing a year and the types of weather you will be fishing in.

If you primarily fish from March to October a breathable stocking foot waders is perfect. You can layer extra socks and pants underneath during the coldest months.

If you only fish 10 to 20 days a year, a wader around $200 should be fine. If you’re like me and you guide and fish over 200 days a year and walk and hike a lot you’ll want waders that are more durable. 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.

If you plan to fish mostly 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 1 issue with waders in the winter and although some guys swear buy neoprene waders, both neoprene and breathable have stocking feet made from the same material and both can be equally cold. Boot foots 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’s in the summer you overheat and you 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.

I also recommend a good pair of heated socks for that extra warmth. Heated socks are great for stocking foot and boot foot waders and are worth it if you plan on fishing more than a couple of hours in the cold water.



Volt 3v Heated Socks are used to keep your feet warm in your waders when the river temperatures are really cold. They work for me so I recommend them. MORE . . . . .




ENTRY LEVEL WADERS Simms Tributary Stockingfoot Waders for Men 

 These Simms waders are extremely breathable, and made of 3 layers of waterproof polyester in the upper portion, and 4 layers in the lower portion.

  • 3-layer waterproof polyester in upper
  • 4-layer waterproof polyester in lower
  • Reach-through, lined handwarmer pocket with zippered stash pocket
  • 2 belt loops with 38mm nylon belt
  • Gravel guard with elastic bottom hem
  • Neoprene stockingfeet with anti-odor finish

Click the Shop link for more details.



ALL LEVEL WADERS Simms Headwaters GORE-TEXThese are popular waders and I’ve met a lot of anglers that have been wearing these waders for years and they have lasted with no problems for them. 

Made of GORE-TEX’s lightweight 3-Layer Pro Shell fabric, the Headwaters Convertible Waders are waterproof and durable, yet lightweight and comfortable.

  • Versatile Simms design and GORE-TEX performance at a great value
  • Lightweight GORE-TEX 3-Layer Pro Shell fabric
  • Converts from chest-high wader to wading pants
  • Innovative zip extension system for easy conversion
  • Reinforced fabric in front leg panels for added durability
  • Front leg seam construction reduces abrasion
  • Easy access chest pocket
  • Hourglass-shaped stockingfeet – comfortable fit
  • Durable, abrasion resistant, built-in gravel guards
  • Integrated belt loops with 2″ elastic belt and Simms Trout buckle

Click the Shop link for more details.



SERIOUS ANGLER WADERS Simms G3 Guide GORE-TEX Stocking-Foot Waders for Men 

  • Re-engineered version of Simms most popular waders line
  • Waterproof and breathable 4-layer GORE-TEX Pro Shell fabric through legs for durability
  • Waterproof and breathable 3-layer GORE-TEX Pro Shell fabric in upper
  • Leg seams on front and back – maximum comfort and mobility
  • Anatomically engineered neoprene stockingfeet with hourglass design and microbe-resistant finish
  • Durable, abrasion resistant gravel guards with boot hooks
  • Removable, flip-out Tippet Tender pocket – dual entry zippers and retractor docking station
  • Reach-through, microfleece-lined handwarmer pocket with zip closures
  • Zippered chest pocket with Super-Fly Patch
  • Convertible design – elastic suspenders with reversible YKK buckles
  • Low profile belt loops and nylon wading belt

Click the Shop link for more details.



WINTER WADERS Frogg Toggs Steelheader Reinforced Nylon Insulated Boot-Foot Waders for Men

1,200 gram 3M™ Thinsulate™ Ultra Insulation in the wader’s boots helps keep feet warm in chilly waters.

  • Performance waders built for cold weather fishing
  • Rugged and waterproof 4-ply nylon construction
  • 4-ply fabric reinforcement over the knees and seat
  • Zip-out 120 gram insulated liner – holds body heat in on cold fishing days
  • 1,200 gram 3M Thinsulate Ultra Insulation in boots
  • Zippered, flip-out security chest pocket
  • 2 zip-close, diagonal, fleece-lined hand warmer pockets
  • Adjustable elastic suspenders with snaplock buckles
  • Adjustable wading belt with locking buckle
  • Cleated outsoles

Click the Shop link for more details.

For wading boots to go over top of your stocking foot waders, I highly recommend the Korkers brand wading boots but there are other good brands out there too. Again, depending on your budget and/or how much you fish and walk will determine if you should get a top end boot or a lower end boot. The Korkers boots have interchangeable soles or bottoms and I recommend the soft rubber soles for normal conditions and when you need to be stealthy, and the soft rubber studded sole when you need extra grip for crossing the river a lot or if you’re on slippery muddy banks often. Korkers sell them with 2 soles per boot, and you can buy or order extra soles if needed.

If you only fish 10 days a year an $80.00 to $130.00 dollar boot is fine. If you fish like me, I’m in $200.00 boots from Korkers, but I know they will last over 300 days on the water so they are worth if for me. Something else to consider when buying boots is that the more expensive boots will offer better ankle support. If you’re not used to walking on rocks, slopes and rough banks, and a good ankle support is something you need, then spending an extra $80.00 is way better then being in the hospital and missing a week of work because of a sprained or broken ankle. Boot foot waders have poor ankle support which is another reason I wear and recommend stocking foot waders with good separate wading boots.

Basically, the cheaper you go on boots, the less they last and the less ankle support you get.

For waders and boots, it really all depends on how much you plan on fishing or what your budget will allow and how much ankle support you need.

Also, something to consider when thinking about buying really expensive waders especially if you are a guy that only fishes 5 days a year. I’ve seen waders over $300 literally break down over 5 to 10 years and leak like crazy even though they’ve only been used 20 to 50 times. I’ve seen non-leaking waders sit unused for 5 years and then the first time back out leak so bad in multiple spots, with no apparent holes, that the only conclusion is that they lost their breathability somehow and now allow water in.

Therefore, if you’re the guy that only fishes 5 times a year you may be better off buying a $150 set of waders every 5 years, then a $600 pair every 10 years. I’m not saying all waders break down, but I’ve seen it happen and experienced it my self.

As far as brands go for waders there’s a bunch of good ones out there but I think Simms brand can’t be beat, and for boots I’ve had great results with Korkers boots because of their adaptability for any river condition and their durability.

 Lastly, for fly fishing stuff I recommend our Approved Outfitters below.


Wading Boots – Wading boots go on your stocking foot waders and provide traction and ankle support and also protect your waders. I’ve been using Korkers boots for about 10 years and as a guide that guides on lots of different rivers with different types of river banks and river bottoms and in different weather including snow and ice these are by far my first choice. I easily change the soles for mud, rock sand and snow making my day on the water safe and comfortable. I highly recommend them but there are other good boots out there that I have tested. 



Korkers BuckSkin – Felt/Kling-On Wading Boots for Men

Designed to give anglers the ability to prep for any fishing location and situation, BuckSkin Wading Boots from Korkers® combines traditional styling with innovative outsole technology.

  • High-performance wading boots with innovative interchangeable outsole system
  • OmniTrax Interchangeable Sole System – lets you switch soles to fit the situation
  • Comes with traditional felt outsole and Kling-On Sticky Rubber outsole
  • Rubberized, anti-abrasion synthetic uppers
  • Hydrophobic materials throughout boot speeds drying – fights spread of invasive species
  • Minimized stitched seams – fewer potential failure points
  • EVA midsole with integrated drainage system featuring large ports and internal channels
  • Durable metal lacing hardware
  • RockGuard 420D Synthetic material front and heel of the boot – additional protection
  • Removable insoles

Click the Shop link for more details.



Simms Freestone Wading Boots for Men

Simms® Freestone® Wading Boots for Men feature CleanStream™ design utilizing abrasion-resistant and water-repellent synthetic uppers to minimize water absorption and wet-weight for comfort and durability. StreamTread™ outsoles by Vibram® feature exclusive 360 lug design for maximum traction. Other features include rubber randing for added durability in toes and heels, Nylon Speed Lacing System, and full neoprene lining for comfort and warmth. Compatible with HardBite™ carbide and Alumibite™ Studs (sold separately). Color: Brown. Average weight per pair: 3 lbs. 2 oz.

  • CleanStream™ design
  • Abrasion-resistant and water-repellent synthetic uppers
  • Minimized water absorption and wet-weight
  • StreamTread™ outsoles
  • Rubber randing for added durability in toes and heels
  • Nylon Speed Lacing System
  • Full neoprene lining for comfort and warmth

Click the Shop link for more details.



Korkers Devils Canyon Wading Boots for Men – Felt/Kling-On Soles

These are the boots that I have been wearing for almost 5 years and they have been great. An incredibly lightweight and versatile fishing wading boot, the Devils Canyon Wading Boots for Men from Korkers® fits like a glove and delivers athletic and agile performance.

  • Versatile and lightweight wader
  • OmniTrax® Interchangeable Sole System – switch soles to fit the situation
  • M2 Boa® lacing system for a glove-like fit
  • Quick-drying hydrophobic materials
  • Durability enhanced midsole
  • Rubberized RockGuard™ 420D anti-abrasion synthetic material
  • Reduced seams
  • Recessed triple-stitched uppers
  • Molded toe cap
  • Integrated midsole drainage ports and channels
  • Stretch neoprene upper cuff – athletic glove-like fit
  • Includes Kling-On and Plain Felt Soles

Click the Shop link for more details.

Approved Retailers

Check out these approved retailers for all your river fishing needs.

These approved retailers meet our high standards for great customer service, great selection and competitive prices.

Don’t forget to check out our Best Products page to help you figure our what you might be missing.

If you are local to Ontario then this is a great place to order your Centerpin and River fishing gear!

Fishheads Canada store for river fishing products