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Ranking the Best Fishing Waders of 2020

Best Overall Choice
Foxelli Breathable Chest Waders

Foxelli Breathable Chest Waders

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Best Budget Choice
Fly Fishing Hero Chest Waders

Fly Fishing Hero Chest Waders

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Best Premium Choice
Simms Freestone Waterproof Stockingfoot Wader

Simms Freestone Waterproof Stockingfoot Wader

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 by Updated on October 15, 2020. In Fishing

Don’t underestimate the power of fishing waders.

The importance of fishing waders often gets overshadowed by rods, reels, and lures. While these are all important pieces of equipment for fly fishing, they are not the only gear that needs to be scrutinized. Fishing waders are an important piece of equipment. They are the sole reason you will be staying dry and warm as you wade into the water.

The best fishing waders will keep you dry, keep you warm, and be comfortable. There are a lot of options to choose from, so we have included the best fishing waders that are available today with a helpful buying guide.

1. Frogg Togg Hellbender Breathable Waders

Frogg Togg Hellbender Breathable Waders

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The Frogg Togg Hellbender fishing waders are made out of 4-ply nylon that keeps water out while holding heat in. The outer layer of nylon is a bendable and breathable material. It is easy to walk through water and step over rocks or brush in these waders. The middle layer is completely waterproof. This is the layer that will ensure the water doesn’t penetrate. The inner layer is made of soft fabric for extra comfort.

On the chest of the waders is a large zipper pocket you can use to store items or keep your hands warm while fishing. There are three zippers for easy access; one at the top and on the sides.

There are adjustable suspenders to accommodate all sizes and keep the waders in place. You don’t have to worry about straps falling down or digging into your shoulders as you wear them. Further down at the knees, the waders have double-reinforcement to keep you dry and protected while you navigate the water.

Also included with the Frogg Togg fishing waders are neoprene booties for your feet, helping to keep your feet warm and dry while fishing.

There are five different sizes to choose from that fits men and women from size small to XXL, making these waders a great option for virtually any size man or woman.

Pros:

  • 4-ply nylon provides dryness, comfort, and flexibility
  • Large pocket with 3 zippers
  • Lightweight
  • Affordable
  • Double-reinforced knees

Cons:

  • Sizing runs small

Users give the Frogg Toggs Hellbender fishing waders 4.5 out of 5 stars.

2. Hodgman H3 Waders

Hodgman H3 Waders

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There are three layers that make up the Hodgman H3 waders. The inner liner is soft and comfortable, while the middle and outer layers are waterproof. This keeps you comfortable and dry as you wade into the water.

Built onto the chest of the waders is a large, mesh pocket with a large zipper to keep anything safe that you put inside. There are also shoulder straps that can be adjusted to fit men and women of any size. The sizes of the waders range from extra small to 2XL king, giving them the ability to fit nearly every height and body type.

There are built-in hand warmers that are lined with micro-fleece to keep your hands warm and comfortable, along with neoprene booties for your feet.

Pros:

  • Waterproof
  • Affordable
  • Built-in hand warmers
  • Large chest pocket
  • Neoprene booties included

Cons:

  • No side zippers on large chest pocket

Users give the Hodgman H3 4.1 out of 5 stars.

Best Overall Choice

3. Foxelli Breathable Chest Waders

Foxelli Breathable Chest Waders

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Foxelli breathable chest waders are one of the most lightweight, comfortable, and waterproof fishing waders on the market today.

They are made of three layers of polyester. The outside and middle layers keep water from penetrating while the inside layer is comfortable and flexible. This combines to make a comfortable and waterproof pair of fishing waders.

On the chest of the waders is a large external chest pocket with a smaller internal pocket on the inside. This gives you the option to store various types of equipment and belongings as you fish. Below the chest sprocket is a nylon belt that includes two carabiners. The belt can be tightened to ensure the waders stay in place, and you can use the carabiners to attach various types of equipment to the waders while you fish.

Two elastic chest suspenders connect with a buckle for quick fastening and unfastening. On the knees of the waders are double-layered knee pads for added comfort and protection.

One of the best features of the Foxelli chest waders is the quality in which they are made. Some waders are stitched together, and that’s it. This can cause leaks to occur in the waders. However, the Foxelli breathable chest waders have a damage-resistant and 100% waterproof design. The seams are glued, stitched, and then taped to maximize the overall durability and waterproofness of the waders.

It is important to know that booties are not included with the waders. Instead, there is a carrying bag included with the waders for easy and convenient transportation.

Pros:

  • Durable design
  • LIghtweight
  • Flexible
  • Carrying bag included
  • Nylon belt with carabiners included

Cons:

  • Pricier than most

Users give the Foxelli breathable chest waders 4.7 out of 5 stars.

4. Dark Lightning Breathable Insulated Chest Waders

Dark Lightning Breathable Insulated Chest Waders

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The Dark Lightning breathable insulated chest waders are thick yet breathable. They are thick enough to keep water from penetrating yet breathable enough to keep you ventilated. The outer layer is thick and waterproof while the middle layer is breathable. The inner layer is soft to keep you comfortable.

What makes these fishing waders waterproof is the double-stitched and glued design. This keeps water from entering the seams of the fabric. The material of the fabric is waterproof and light. This allows the waders to be easily packed away when they are not in use.

On the chest of the waders is a large mesh pocket with built-in, fleece-lined hand warmers. The mesh pocket is separate from the larger internal pocked. This means quick access for the items you keep in the mesh pocket while protecting the items stored away in the internal pocket. The internal pocket has a zipper so that everything inside stays inside.

The knees of the waders have heavy-duty reinforcements to keep the fabric protected and free from tears, rips, or snags, all while protecting you as you wade through the water. There are also reinforcements in the hips of the waders to provide the same protection. Two elastic suspenders can be adjusted to accommodate any height.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Waterproof design
  • Lightweight
  • Internal and external storage pockets
  • Reinforced knees and hips

Cons:

  • Does not come with booties

Users give the Dark Lightning breathable insulated chest waders 4.4 out of 5 stars.

5. Caddis Women’s Pink Breathable Waders

Caddis Women’s Pink Breathable Waders

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Most fishing waders come in neutral earth tones or camouflage, but not these waders. These fishing waders are designed with pink and burgundy tones, perfect for women who want to add a little bit of their own personalization to their fishing style.

The waders are made of polyester and Caddisdry Breathable Technology; a designed patented by Caddis that maximizes waterproofing while keeping you cool. Caddisdry Breathable Technology keeps water from entering the waders but allows you to sweat without locking in perspiration molecules.

There are double-reinforcements on the knees to keep you and the waders protected as you wade through brush and water. They also include neoprene gravel guards to protect your feet as you navigate the water.

The waders stay waterproof because they are double-taped, glued, and stitched. This ensures that water does not leak through the seams in the fabric.

There is a large pocket on the chest of the waders with a zipper for internal storage and a mesh pocket for external storage. There are adjustable suspender straps that allow the waders to extend to any height.

Pros:

  • Breathable
  • Waterproof
  • Comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Stylish

Cons:

  • Pricy
  • Sizing runs small

Users give the Caddis women’s pink breathable waders 4.2 out of 5 stars.

6. Paramount Outdoors EAG Elite 4 Fishing Waders

Paramount Outdoors EAG Elite 4 Fishing Waders

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These fishing waders by Paramount Outdoors may be one of the best fishing waders on the market. Not only are the features and design of the waders at the top of the list, but the price point is affordable, too.

The Paramount Outdoors EAG Elite 4 fishing waders have an impressive 6-ply waterproof, breathable, and durable design. The 6-ply fabric is puncture-resistant, durable, and pliable. The 6-ply fabric goes around the entire leg, making sure that no area of the leg is vulnerable to tears or rips.

Most styles of waders have one large pocket on the chest, but these have multiple storage pockets: 7 to be exact. There is a large pass-through pocket for your hands to enter on each side and come in contact with one another. This is ideal for keeping your hands warm or storing a larger type of fishing gear. On top of the pass-through pocket are four smaller pockets, two with zippers to keep your items secure in this quality wader.

The shoulder straps are adjustable to fit all heights. There is an included elastic belt with a quick-release buckle for easy fastening and unfastening. There are also neoprene booties included with the waders so that your feet stay protected as you wade.

Paramount Outdoors includes a one-year warranty on these fishing waders.

Pros:

  • 6-ply waterproof design
  • Multiple storage pockets
  • Built-in belt
  • Neoprene booties included
  • Elastic belt and suspenders with attachments
  • One-year warranty

Cons:

  • Pricy, but features and design are worth it
Best Budget Choice

7. Fly Fishing Hero Chest Waders

Fly Fishing Hero Chest Waders

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These chest waders by Fly Fishing Hero are the most affordable on our list. They come in two different colors to choose from camouflage and army green.

Starting from the top of the waders, there are elastic suspenders that can adjust to the right height that you need, making sure that the chest and the legs fit exactly where they should. The straps have D-rings attached directly under the buckle so you can attach any gear or items while you fish.

At the very top of the chest is an adjustable drawstring that allows you to pull the chest of the waders as tight as you need. There is a large pocket on the front of the chest with a flap. The chest pocket is secured by an elastic belt that will help secure the waders in place.

The feet of the waders have built-in boots, so you don’t have to worry about purchasing an additional pair of waterproof boots to wear with the waders. The boots are heat welded to the fabric of the waders to ensure that there will be no leaks. The manufacturer also includes a free boot hanger to dry your waders when you are done.

Pros:

  • Comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Boots built into waders
  • Boot hanger included
  • 2 colors to choose from

Cons:

  • Storage pocket not secured by a zipper
  • Runs small; order one size up

Users give the Fly Fishing Hero chest waders 4.4 out of 5 stars.

Best Premium Choice

8. Simms Freestone Waterproof Stockingfoot Wader

Simms Freestone Waterproof Stockingfoot Wader

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The Simms Freestone waders are known for their superior fit. When it comes to waders, none fit as well as the Simms Freestone waders.

The waders are designed with Toray Quadralam technology. The fabric has a microporous waterproof coating. This means that water will not enter the waders, yet there is ventilation that will make the waders breathable. There are four total layers to the waterproof fabric. Each layer provides a waterproof, durable, and breathable element to the waders, making them one of the most lightweight waterproof options on our list.

There is a large zipper pocket on the chest of the waders that have built-in, fleece-lined hand warming pockets to keep your hands warm during those cold mornings. The large zipper pocket can hold personal items or small fishing gear that you may need to keep secure.

Starting just above the knees is the gravel guard fabric that will allow you to walk through brush without tearing or ripping the fabric. This gravel guard fabric runs down to the elastic stockingfoot bottom. There are neoprene booties included in the waders as well. The neoprene booties are made of anti-microbial finish, which prevents bacteria, mold, and mildew from growing on the booties.

Simms guarantees that your waders will not leak in the first 60 days of ownership. If so, they will send you a replacement at no charge. If your waders leak after one-year of ownership, Simms will repair the leak at no charge. Finally, if your waders leak at any time in its lifetime, Simms will evaluate, repair, test, and ship the waders back to you at a flat rate of $60.

Pros:

  • Great fit
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Waterproof and breathable
  • Warranty options from the manufacturer
  • Large zipper pocket
  • Neoprene anti-microbial booties included

Cons:

  • Expensive

Users give the Simms Freestone Waterproof Stockingfoot waders 4.8 out of 5 stars.

How to Choose the Best Fishing Waders

As you have seen, many different waders come with many different features, so it can be overwhelming to try to choose the best ones. We understand the process can be overwhelming, so we have created this buying guide to help you find the best fishing waders for you.

Material

Fishing waders will be made of neoprene or breathable material. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. It just depends on the type of fishing you will be doing and the type of year you will be doing it.

Neoprene waders are rubber, so they are completely waterproof. Because of this, neoprene waders are extremely thick. This makes neoprene waders hold in heat, which can be a disadvantage when fishing on warm days.

The good news about neoprene waders is that the thickness of the material can determine how much heat the waders will trap inside. Neoprene waders have a thickness between 2.5mm to 5mm. The thinner the neoprene, the cooler they will be. If buying neoprene waders, it is highly recommended that you know the thickness of the neoprene so that you know how warm or cool the neoprene waders will be.

Water temperature will also determine how thick the neoprene waders should be. Again, the thinner the neoprene, the cooler they will be. Therefore, if you are wading in cold water, a thin neoprene will cause you to feel the coldness of the water more than a thick neoprene will.

Breathable waders are typically made of at least two layers of material. There will be an outer layer of waterproof material that will keep water from penetrating through the waders. There will be an inner layer breathable material that will allow heat and moisture to escape.

Unlike neoprene waders that are measured by the thickness of the neoprene, breathable waders are measured by the weight of the fabric. Lightweight, breathable waders will be the thinnest, medium breathable waders will be midway between thick and thin, and heavy-duty breathable waders will be the thickest.

To decide if neoprene or breathable waders are the best fishing waders for you, consider both the water and the air temperature that you will be fishing in. The colder the conditions, the warmer (thicker) you will need the waders to be.

Boot-foot vs. Stockingfoot Fishing Wader

Waders will be designed as boot-foot or stockingfoot.

Boot-foot waders have a boot built directly into the feet of the waders. The boots are neoprene and will be glued to the fabric of the waders. The boots will be permanently attached to each leg of the waders so that you don’t have to purchase a separate pair of waterproof boots to wear with the waders.

Stockingfoot waders have an elastic bottom with neoprene booties attached to each foot. The neoprene booties will slip over your footwear. They provide insulation and grip to the feet as they are worn; however, they will require boots to be worn so that the booties can slip over them. This means you may have to make an extra purchase when choosing stockingfoot waders.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both boot-foot waders and stockingfoot waders.

Boot-foot waders don’t require additional boots to be purchased. Not only is this cost-saving, but it is also convenient. Simply slip on the waders, and your feet are automatically protected.

The disadvantage of boot-foot waders is the inability to choose the type of waterproof boot that comes with the waders. You will also have to choose the size of the waders based on shoe size, which can ultimately affect the way the waders fit. For these reasons, you may want to choose a stockingfoot wader so that you have more control over the type of boots you pair with the fishing waders.

At the same time, stockingfoot waders will require additional boots to be purchased, which can be costly. However, the advantage is that you can choose the right size and type of boot for you. Neoprene booties will be included with stockingfoot waders for you to slip on over your boots.

Chest Wader Pockets

Most chest waders will come with at least one large chest pocket with hand-warming pockets. Some waders may have only one pocket while other waders may have multiple pockets.

If you prefer lots of storage, you will want to choose fishing waders that have a large chest pocket that is secured by a zipper so that anything you put inside will stay inside, along with smaller external pockets or a mesh pocket for extra storage.

There should also be hand-warming pockets on the outside of the large chest pocket. The hand-warming pockets should be fleece-lined to provide extra comfort and warmth.

Chest pockets that aren’t secured by a zipper or Velcro can cause anything you put inside to fall out, so try to find a pair of fishing waders that will have a large chest pocket that can close and stay closed.

Price

You get what you pay for, but this doesn’t mean that the most expensive pair of fishing waders are the best, nor does it mean that the cheapest pair of fishing waders are the worst.

The average price of fishing waders is around $100, but the price can be more or less depending mostly on the material they are made of.

When you find a pair of cheap fishing waders, look at the material of which they are made. Chances are that the material is lightweight. If you are going to be fishing in the cold, moving water, lightweight material will not be best. However, if you are fishing in warm, still water in the summer, this can be your best option. Knowing the conditions in which you will be fishing can help you determine if you can choose the cheaper option of fishing waders.

Waterproof Seams

The seams of the fishing waders will need to keep water out, as this is the area in the fishing waders that will most likely leak. Knowing how the seams are sealed will determine just how waterproof the fishing waders will be.

If the seams of the fishing waders are simply sewn where the waterproof fabric comes together, the fishing waders can easily leak and allow water to come in between the seams. Leaking fishing waders can easily cut your fishing trip short.

Fishing waders that are sewn with double-stitching and glued. This is the most waterproof design for fishing waders. Fishing waders that are sewn with double-stitching and glued will likely be more expensive than fishing waders that are just sewn together; however, staying waterproof is the most important feature of fishing waders and the entire reason you need them, so it may be worth it to spend a little more money to make sure you stay completely dry.

If you do need to repair your waders, there are a number of proper ways to do it, but avoiding it overall by purchasing strong and durable waders is always a better option.

How to Care for Your Fishing Waders

Taking care of your fishing waders will keep them protected and allow you to use them for many years, especially if you have purchased an expensive model of fishing waders.

To care for your fishing waders, you will need to know how to dry them, how to store them, and how to maintain them.

When you have left the water and removed your waders, you will need to turn them inside out and hang them to air dry for two days. This will allow the fishing waders to dry out while preventing mold, mildew, or other bacteria to grow.

After a few uses, you may need to wash your fishing waders to remove dirt, buildup, or odors. To do this, you can wash them in a washing machine, but do not dry them. Allow them to air dry the same way you do after each use.

When storing your fishing waders, they will need to be hung. The best way to do this is not by the suspender straps or the boots, but instead to drape the fishing waders over a hanger. This keeps stress and tension from forming on the boots or the straps.

If you notice the fishing waders have begun to leak, you may need to apply some sealant to the seams. You will need to do this on the inside of the waders along the seams.

Conclusion

Fishing waders are an important part of fly fishing. They will keep you warm and dry while you wade into the water to fish the streams. The best fishing waders will keep you dry, comfortable and provide ample storage for your personal items or gear.

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