How to Pick the Right Waders and Boots for You

Our pals at Orvis put together a blog on how to pick the right waders and boots. As an Orvis Endorsed fly shop, we hope this helps you find the right duo for the water.

Three Simple Steps:

  1. Try them on: Trying on wading boots simultaneously helps ensure they fit over the wader's booties. Pro tip: make sure you can kneel, lunge, and get in a squat position in the waders. You don't want to put excessive stretch on the seams.
  2. Wear layers underneath: When trying on waders, it's recommended to wear the layers you'd typically wear while fishing, ensuring there's enough room for movement while keeping warm.
  3. Try on various sizes: Well-known brands often offer a wider range of sizes, accommodating various body types more comfortably. It's essential to aim for waders that match your measurements closely to facilitate ease of movement.

Types of Waders:

  1. Neoprene: Provides insulation for cold water fishing but can become sweaty in warmer weather.
  2. Breathable: Breathable waders, akin to rain jackets, are preferred by many anglers for their versatility in layering and moisture management.
  3. Boot-foot: Feature attached rubber boots, suitable for anglers who prefer simplicity and stability in one spot.
  4. Stocking-foot: With neoprene booties, allow for more precise boot selection and are favored by those who move around frequently.

    Regardless of the style chosen, anglers should feel confident in their waders for various activities, but they should also be cautious of potential hazards like thorns and barbed wire, which can compromise the wader's integrity over time.

You can read the Orvis article here.

Selecting the right wading boot is akin to choosing any other footwear: comfort, support, and durability are key. An essential feature is superior ankle support, crucial for navigating underwater terrain. Wading boots typically come in two types: felt soled and rubber soled, with both offering options for attaching metal studs. Consider the following:

  1. To ensure comfort and support: Try on boots while wearing socks and waders, ensuring room for toe movement. Lace boots fully and test various motions to assess ankle support. Opt for boots made of rigid, durable materials that maintain strength when wet.
  2. Felt-soled boots: Traditional and adept at gripping rocks on wet surfaces, lack tread for hiking and can be problematic in winter conditions.
  3. Rubber-soled boots: Though less grippy when wading, offer better versatility for hiking and fishing excursions, which often involve extensive walking.
  4. Studs: Adding metal studs to boots enhances grip on fast-flowing or slippery river bottoms, applicable to both rubber and felt soled boots. However, studs may damage surfaces and equipment and are not ideal for use in boats. Studs provide added traction on challenging surfaces, allowing confident maneuvering through algae, rocks, or moss. Adjusting stud placement can optimize grip and control, but caution is needed to prevent damage to flooring or boats. While studs improve safety and stability in wading, their potential for damage warrants consideration, especially in boat use scenarios.

For further in-depth information, check out the Orvis article here.