man fly fishing during daytime in river

Top 11 Best Fly Fishing Waders Of 2019 + Essential Buyer’s Guide & FAQs

Since you’re here, I’ll let you in on the secret to comfortable fly fishing.

It’s not how long you’ll be out there, or how well your boots fit.

It’s not even the temperature of the water.

Fly fishing comfort simply cannot exist without a quality set of waders.

Designed for prolonged periods in the river, these items protect you against the elements while ensuring that everything you need is close at hand.

The market of waders is huge, and often baffling, which is why I’ve decided to review my top 11 best fly fishing waders. I’ve also included a buyer’s guide, which will equip you to make your own decisions, and an FAQ section, to pre-empt any questions you may have.

Without further ado: Here we go! The best waders for fly fishing, made simple.

Top 11 Best Fly Fishing Waders Reviewed 2019

Frogg Toggs Hellbender Stockingfoot Chest Wader

Review: With 4-play Nylon upper material and double-reinforced knees, this product from Frogg Toggs is an excellent all-rounder fly fishing wader.

The horizontal zippered storage allows for easy access to all your valuables, while the handwarmer pockets promise to keep your hands warm and dry, no matter what the conditions.

The chest pocket is deliberately oversized to allow for multiple functions. Available in 16 sizes for men, women, and children, the Hellbender is designed specifically to last during long days in the water.

Pros

  • Versatile sizing avoids one of the most common problems with waders.
  • Designed by fishermen, for fishermen.
  • Dri2Pore technology adds a breathable, lightweight outer shell.

Cons

  • Definitely on the more expensive end of the spectrum.
  • Owing to the fit, boots can get stuck on the foot.

Takeaway

A solid option, although the fabric is almost too lightweight and can feel like it’s going to tear, this product from Frogg Toggs is a great choice for people getting their feet wet in fly fishing, and is one of the very best waders for trout fishing out there, on account of the outer shell.

Hodgman H3 Stocking Foot Chest Waders

Review: An innovative 3-layer upper and lower breathable fabric allows for easy transfer of sweat vapor without letting unwanted water in.

The Y-back elastic suspenders combine with low profile duraflex buckles to make these waders easy to slip on and off.

The neoprene booties are designed to fit left and right feet, as opposed to simply being the same boot twice, and the mesh zippered chest pocket is perfect for fly fishing, given that it has a large leader exit.

Pros

  • Fleece-lined hand warmers are included at a great price, given that they usually cost a lot more.
  • Comfort Fit Gravel Guard helps to avoid shin pain.

Cons

  • The legs can be baggy.
  • Not completely leak-proof.
  • Inseam is often longer than stated.

Takeaway

This is a perfectly respectable set of waders, which includes a lot of features often not found at this price range.

Fishingsir Fishing Chest Waders

Review: Constructed out of next-generation nylon and 2-ply waterproof fabric, this is a cheap and cheerful product which offers surprising durability.

With great knitting density (2.5 times more than regular nylon per square inch) you’ll be able to keep warm and dry, while the specially designed soft-touching feel prevents uncomfortable chafing.

H-back adjustable suspenders and quick release buckles are a welcome inclusion, while the personal belongings chest pocket flips out rather than zips, which is helpful in the case of your hands getting cold.

Pros

  • Price: this is very cheap, considering all of the features.
  • Waterproof phone case included free.

Cons

  • Size tends to run small, despite the detailed sizing chart provided.

Takeaway

The material is excellent, and even saved a Ph.D. student from a beaver trap. While you’ll hopefully never need to deal with that situation, these are still a superset of waders made by a reliable company.

They could well be the best cheap waders for fly fishing out there.

Compass 360 Men’s Deadfall Waist High Pant Wader

Review: Although these don’t reach all the way up to your chest, they’re 100% waterproof and breathable, which combined with the 4-ply nylon makes for excellent durability.

The webbing belt is easy to remove with the quick release buckle, and given that they’re so easy to move around in, they’re ideal for fly fishing in rivers.

The fit is snug but not uncomfortable and very rarely leaks. All of this serves to explain why it’s a little expensive for a waist-high product, as well as the fact that it’s one of the top-rated fly fishing waders around.

Pros

  • Breathability and 100% waterproof rating is top-notch.
  • The fit is reliable.

Cons

  • Price – fairly expensive considering they don’t make it all the way up to your chest.

Takeaway

A great product from a reliably great company, this offering from Compass is ideal for fly fishing.

All things considered, it’s good value for money. Recommended.

Orvis Men’s Encounter Wader

Review: Boasting a 4-layer nylon fabric which provides a great balance between breathability and durability, Orvis’s Encounter model has recently been revamped to match their Silver Sonic family of waders.

The hand warmer pocket is found in the front (inspired by kangaroos) and it’s combined with a zippered mesh storage pocket which makes access to the important pieces of kit inside the pocket quick and easy.

They offer three families of fit: regular, short, and long, totaling 12 distinct sizes between them. Laminated using polyurethane and lined with 100% nylon, this product has a healthy range of features designed to suit every angler’s needs.

Pros

  • Integrated belt loops and wading belt guarantee a safe and snug fit.
  • Booties are anatomically correct.
  • Self-fabric gravel guards are industry standard.

Cons

  • Prone to leaking through the seams.

Takeaway

The Encounter will either work for you or it won’t, but it has enough features and sizes for everybody to be able to try it out.

TideWe Breathable Waders

Review: Built specifically for fly fishing, this TideWe product offers everything you’ll need to wade through a river. 3-layer polyester construction guarantees resistance to wear, while the neoprene booties are designed to prevent uncomfortable bunching.

Breathable and waterproof, the adjustable 15-inch elastic belt means no matter what size you buy you can make it fit (within reason), and the included mesh storage bag makes it easy to dry your waders out after you’ve caught your fill.

The worry-free one year warranty will let you rest easy, given that they’ll repair the product for free anytime within the first year if it’s deemed defective.

Pros

  • Designed with fly fishing in mind.
  • Sizing is excellent.
  • The included waterproof bag for your phone is a nice touch.

Cons

  • On the pricier end of the spectrum.

Takeaway

As long as you remember to size by your shoe size, the TideWe Breathable Waders are among the best fly fishing waders for the money you’ll spend them.

Redington Crosswater Fishing Wader

Review: With opposing buckles that allow easy conversion to waist-high waders and high-density neoprene booties, the Redington Crosswater offers all the major features you’d be looking for at a reasonable price.

The gravel guards are integrated with a hook, unlike many of the self-fabric varieties, which is an added way to prevent wear over time.

They were constructed using a 3-layer breathable, waterproof nylon material.

One downside is that they are not lined underneath the fabric, and as such are probably best suited to cool or shallow waters, although you could wear additional clothing underneath to mitigate this.

Pros

  • Wide range of sizes that fit well.
  • Lots of room for undergarments – not too snug.
  • The ample amounts of maneuverability provided are perfect for fly fishing.

Cons

  • This is an entry level product that isn’t as versatile as other options.

Takeaway

While beginner fly fishers and anglers will most likely be perfectly happy with the Redington Crosswater, more experienced fishermen might want to look elsewhere for a more flexible piece of kit.

Still, though, this is one of the best fly fishing waders on a budget you’ll find on the market today.

Kylebooker Fly Fishing Stockingfoot Chest Waders

Review: Waterproof, resistant to wear and tear, and made out of breathable TRICOT 3-layer fabric, this product from Kylebooker is ideal for fly fishing.

The neoprene socks are lightweight, ensuring your feet will stay dry and comfortable in all weather conditions, and the welded soles prevent unwanted leakage from the ground up.

The seams have all been taped, glued, and stitched, while the adjustable wading belt both fits your body and allows for freedom of movement uncommon in such durable products.

The chest storage pocket is big enough for your fly box, nippers, and any other tools you might have with you.

Pros

  • Not too expensive, considering how well-made they are.
  • They run large, which is easier to size than waders which run small.
  • Durable and comfortable.

Cons

  • No insulation, so make sure to wear plenty of clothes if you’re going to be cold.
  • Booties can be a little smaller than advertised.

Takeaway

An excellent choice from the medium price range, this is a well-rounded piece of equipment which is unlikely to let you down.

Lonecone Women’s Deluxe Stockingfoot Chest Waders

Review: One of the rare brands of waders designed specifically for women, the LONECONE is comfortable for all sizes and body shapes.

The adjustable shoulder straps mean women of all heights can enjoy a comfortable fit, and the belted waist helps to keep the water well away from your skin.

Constructed with a polyester-nylon hybrid in a triple-layer pattern, this is a great choice for fly fishing as freedom of movement was one of the things the designers had in mind. You’ll be able to stalk the river freely without worrying about the fabric tearing.

Pros

  • Stylish charcoal color is feminine without being too girly.
  • Neoprene foot socks are thin enough to fit in your boots.
  • Fleece-lined handwarming pockets in a model that’s not too expensive are hard to come by.

Cons

  • Could well end up leaking eventually owing to the way it’s made.
  • Sizing chart is very poor.

Takeaway

The market for waders designed specifically for women is tiny compared to the men’s, and this is among the very best women’s fly fishing waders, as long as you can get one that fits.

Foxelli Neoprene Fishing Waders

Review: This product was obviously built with comfort in mind. The boots are easy to take on and off, and provide enough flexibility to cover a range of activities.

The adjustable elastic of the chest suspenders allows for a variety of body shapes and sizes, and all the seams have been glued, stitched, and taped for maximum durability.

The 100% waterproof 4mm neoprene material insulates as well as protects, and the belt and pockets come with enough room to accommodate any tools you may need.

Best of all, Foxelli offer a 120 day, No-Questions-Asked money-back guarantee, which really sets them apart from the competition in terms of customer support.

Pros

  • Reinforced knee padding adds extra support to a classic waders weak point.
  • Carrying bag included.
  • The internal mesh zipper pocket is very useful.

Cons

  • Not lightweight – fatigue may set in sooner than with some other models.

Takeaway

Although more of a starter product than a high-end piece of equipment, this is a fantastic option for the price and should be included on any list of the best fly fishing waders of 2019.

OAKI Toddler & Children’s Waterproof Fishing Waders

Review: Children like fishing too, so it’s refreshing to see OAKI addressing this aspect of the angling community.

This product has been designed with maximum comfort and convenience in mind: adjustable straps, built-in boots, and a belted waist ensure your child won’t be ill at ease in the water.

They’re lightweight and easy to take on and off, and offer a cute front pocket made for carrying snacks, supplies, and toys.

Cleaning these waders is a breeze – all you have to do is spray them off and hang them up. Thinsulate insulation keeps feet warm and toasty, and the external seams have all been welded and taped.

Pros

  • The extensive range of colors and patterns includes pink camouflage, which is rare.
  • The price is reasonable.
  • Excellent range of sizes.

Cons

  • Shoulder straps could do with being a little longer.
  • Not always as waterproof as the manufacturers may claim.

Takeaway

There’s not much on the market when it comes to waders for children, and this offering from OAKLI provides everything you’d be looking for in such a product.

man fly fishing during daytime in river

So that’s my list, but you may well want to compile your own.

There’s just one problem. What should you keep in mind when you’re comparing waders?

Read on to learn the answer to exactly that question.

Essential Buyer’s Guide

Do I Even Need Waders for Fly Fishing?

The short answer to this is no, you don’t. You don’t need anything for fly fishing except a rod, some flies, and a body of water.

The slightly less short answer is that fly fishing without a proper set of waders can be a miserable experience.

Water everywhere, knees rubbed raw from kneeling to retie your line, no easy access to all your tools – thanks but no thanks, is how I always feel about that proposition.

How Tight Should Waders Be?

Waders for fly fishing are a little different than those for standard fishing, owing to the much higher amount of movement you’re going to be doing.

The casting techniques involve your whole body, and there’s a lot of traversing the river involved while you wait for a bite.

The most important thing to keep in mind when you’re considering how your waders should fit is how cold the water is going to be, as well as what kind of insulation your pair offers.

If the water’s going to be cold and your waders aren’t insulated, you’ll want a baggier fit so there’s room to pack on plenty of warm clothes.

On the other hand, if the water’s warm, or if your product is well insulated, a baggy fit is just going to slow you down. In this case, you’d want them to be more figure-hugging, although not so much that you can’t move freely.

man wearing wader and fishing in lake

What Sort of Material Should I Be Considering?

This, again, varies depending on the conditions you’ll be fishing in.

I can provide some help, though: for fly fishing, avoid old-fashioned rubber waders.

Why?

Because they simply aren’t suited for a style of fishing that involves so much activity.

Sure, they’ll keep you warm, but nowadays so will the latest in breathable nylon fabrics, which weigh on average 35% less than the rubber style.

And with gravel guards rapidly becoming the standard, you don’t need to worry about scratching the material away when you’re re-tying you’re line.

Boot-foot or Stocking-foot?

This is an important question, given that it’s into these two main categories that all sets of fly fishing waders are divided.

Stocking-foot booties are well known to provide better traction, so if you’re counting on some slippery, moss-covered rocks, they’ll be the best option for you.

On the other hand, waders featuring the boot-foot design are much easier to take on and off. If convenience is what you need, you’ll probably want to go for boot-foot waders.

man fishing on river at daytime

FAQs

How do I put my waders on?

Although this might sound like a silly question, it most definitely is not.

Waders aren’t like regular pieces of clothing. Putting them on is not always straightforward.

Fortunately, I found a terrific YouTube video that answers exactly this question. Plus, when it comes to things like this, a visual aid can be an excellent tool.

What size should I order?

This depends completely on the company you’re ordering from.

While almost all companies provide sizing guides, if you’re unsure about how to interpret the data, call them or send them an email.

They’re more than happy to help a potential customer, and you’ll get the exact information you’re looking for.

Breathable or neoprene?

Simply put, neoprene provides insulation. It acts more like a wetsuit, warming your body as well as keeping water out.

Breathable fabrics, on the other hand, don’t offer any insulation.

If you’re going to be fly fishing somewhere cold, neoprene might be the best option. If you know for a fact it’ll be warm, you’re going to want to have the added maneuverability offered by breathable materials.

Is there anything I should avoid doing to care for my waders?

Avoid leaving them in direct sunlight for too long.

Wash off any mud or dirt with a hose as soon as you can, to avoid it getting caked on.

Don’t leave them folded up or rolled up: this will damage the fabric and lead to a higher probability of leaks, rips, and tears.

Summary

I hope at this point the topic of which are the best fly fishing waders has become a little less confusing.

Keep in mind that this is just my personal list, and as we all know, personal tastes differ.

I would recommend you to keep the questions from the buyer’s guide in mind when you’re conducting your own research, and make sure to refer back to the FAQ section any time you need to.

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