Wading boots can get you in and out of some rough terrain and also protect you from snake bites.
If you have been fishing and had to walk out into the water unexpectedly, you know how important a good pair of wading boots can be.
Wet feet can definitely make for a bad fishing trip, not to mention the bacteria that can live in the water that you are wading in.
“When I was a kid, me and some friends used to go fishing in the creek. I had one friend who used to always wade out into the creek barefoot. He developed a serious infection that was attributed to something in the water. He had to spend several weeks in the hospital”.
In this article, I am going to cover several brands of the best wading boots. Also, I am going to cover what material wading boots are made of, how to care for them, and much more.
What are Wading Boots?
Wading boots are boots designed to be waterproof, with thick rubber or felt soles. They are usually knee-high or in the case of hip waders commonly worn when fly fishing, they can come all the way up to the hip. Some waders even have a spot to hold your fly fishing rod.
Many wading boots are snake bite proof. You will want to check the manufacturer’s specifications to be sure.
Wading boots protect your feet from getting wet and, because of their thick soles, protect your feet from injuries while wading in water that may have sharp rocks or debris.
The grip from the thick rubber soles can help reduce the risk of slipping and falling on slick creek bottoms.
Wading Boot Components
Felt Wading Boots vs. Rubber Wading Boots
Rubber sole wading boots are very durable, yet even with the many different tread patterns can still be slippery in creeks and rivers.
Felt wading boots offer very good slip resistance but due to the 2008 threat of felt sole wading boots transferring invasive species into different waterways, some states no longer allow felt sole wading boots to be used.
Wading Boot Materials
Traditionally made from vulcanized rubber, but available in more modern PVC, neoprene, and Gore-Tex variants Wading boots come in a variety of waterproof materials.
Wading Boot Neoprene Cuff
The neoprene cuff can work very well to keep water out and offer comfort, but it can wear out sooner than the rest of the boot.
Wading Boot Lace System
The most common lacing system is the BOA Lacing system.
The Boa Lacing System was designed to address the long list of deficiencies found in traditional closures and delivers the following benefits completely foreign to traditional laces, buckles, ratchets, Velcro straps, and other closures of the past.
- Glove-Like Fit. Boa provides custom comfort with smooth, even closure and no pressure points.
- Micro-adjustability. Boa reels offer infinite degrees of fine-tuning both in and out of the water.
- On-the-Fly. Get easy, one-handed adjustment with a quick turn of the Boa dial.
- Lightweight. Boa closures shed water, mud, and ice, shaving precious weight.
- Fast. Quick on. Quick off. Boa saves time when seconds count.
- Secure. Once locked into place, Boa reels and laces stay that way. This powerful yet flexible closure allows the ideal amount of flexibility without compromise that will sacrifice performance.
- No Stretch. Boa delivers a consistent fit, even when wet. Boa laces will not stretch or loosen over time.
- Easy to Clean. In gritty environments, when muck and grime may collect in lace guides and beneath Boa components, a simple faucet or hose cleaning will help extend the life of your system and ensure it’s ready for next time.
Wader Boots Socks
Many anglers agree that neoprene socks work well with wading boots.
It is a good idea, however, to wear a pair of thin regular socks between the wading boots and the neoprene socks.
The wading boots can be very difficult to remove, especially if they are a tight fit, the addition of the thin socks will help them come off easier.
Fishing Boots Weight
The average weight of standard wading boots is two to three pounds. The size of rubber sole wading boots can greatly differ the overall weight.
Depending on the type of water you will be wading, it is a good idea to use good quality wading boots anytime you are planning to be in the water.
If you do not use wading boots all year, winter is definitely the best time to use wading good to protect your feet from the cold water.
Waterproof Fly Fishing Boots
With new technology in wader boots, most brands are very waterproof. The higher the quality, the better the waterproofing and the longer they will last.
Fisherman Boots Price Range
Depending on the quality and brand wading boots, they can range from under one hundred dollars to several hundred dollars.
Adding studs or cleats to add traction. With rubber sole wading boots, cleats can be added to help with traction and stability. This is very common in snow boots to gain traction on ice.
Cleated wading boots will leave a heavy footprint, more so on the soft ground, than on plain rubber soles. Cleats can help to a degree in mud, soft ground, snow, and ice but do very little on a mossy rock-covered creek bottom.
How to Size a Wading Boot?
Wading boots should be sized one size up from a standard hiking boot. The extra space is given so that anglers can fit comfortably into their boots while wearing wading socks.
If you plan on fishing cold waters in the early season, adding an extra half-size to your boot size is a good idea.
Wading Shoes and Wading Sandals
There are alternatives for anglers who do not like wearing boots or cannot wear boots.
Wading shoes for fishing, also known as water shoes, can be an alternative to wading boots.
They offer protection for the bottom of your feet, and some brands can keep your feet dry while being completely submerged underwater.
Wading sandals offer protection and support to the bottom of your feet but very little, if any, to the overall foot.
Best Wading Boots Reviews
Best Wading Boots
Korkers DarkHorse Wading Boots Felt & Kling-On
[amazon box = “B01M5BDOO2”]
Made for the angler that can’t compromise weight and durability for function.
The darkhorse is a lightweight, fast mover, made for the angler who is looking for just the right balance between flexibility and durability. At 9 inches in height, the dark horse offers ample ankle support.
The combination of the BOA M2 lacing system and Korkers’ proprietary 3-ply fit system lock the foot in place and provide supreme support around the ankle and heel.
The dark horse offers an enhanced EVA midsole & TPU toe cap for better durability, as well as protected stitching for better longevity.
Best Felt Wading Boot Features
- OmniTrax interchangeable sole system adapts your traction to any fishing condition.
- BOA M2 lacing system for quick on/off and custom fit.
- Hydrophobic upper material with ultra-abrasion resistance and tonal camo pattern.
- Molded TPU Toe Cap for durability and toe bump protection and protected stitching for prolonged thread life.
- Water flows thru internal channels and then out midsole ports, removing excess water and weight
- Lightweight, comfortable.
- Soles are changeable to fit the environment.
- The lacing system is very secure.
- Provide great ankle support.
Best Fishing Boots for Breathability
Compass 360 Deadfall Breathable STFT Chest Wader
[amazon box = “B01M3SJXQY”]
The deadfall breathable chest wader is one of the most tried and true, classically functional waders in the world.
Constructed with tough and durable 4-ply nylon and double-reinforced knees and shins. The deadfall offers a double chest pocket design and classic performance at a terrific value.
Best Fishing Wader Features
- Attached are 4-ply Nylon gravel guards.
- Foot fit, double taped, 4mm chloroprene booties.
- Fully adjustable elastic suspenders with quick-release buckles.
- Adjustable web Wading belt with quick-release buckle.
- 2-N-1 nylon B.A.P. Chest pocket storage and fleece-lined chest hand warmer pocket.
- Very accurate size fit.
- The storage bag is thin and can tear easy.
- Light and comfortable, seams do not rub.
- Hold up well to rocks.
Best Fishing Waders
Frogg Toggs Amphib Neoprene Bootfoot Camo Chest Wader, Cleated Outsole
[amazon box = “B00LDYKO26”]
The Frogg Toggs Amphib Neoprene Bootfoot Camo Chest Wader features a 3.5mm neoprene upper with reinforced knees and 200-gram Thinsulate insulated rubber boots.
The high-back design allows for deeper wading. Neoprene suspenders with adjustable hook-and-loop attachments ensure a secure and comfortable fit. Handwarmer pockets provide storage and a safe place for cold hands.
Best Wading Wader Features
- 3.5mm neoprene upper.
- High-back design for deeper wading.
- Neoprene suspenders with adjustable hook-and-loop attachment.
- Hand Warmer pocket.
- Reinforced knees.
- Very flexible and easy to move in.
- Very warm in cold water.
- Durable hold up well under stress.
- The sizing is very accurate.
Best Fly Fishing Boots and Waders
Fly Fishing Waders Breathable Crosswater Chest Waders Hunting Waders for Men Fishing Bib Pants with Boots
[amazon box = “B0789HX3KD”]
If you are on a budget, the fly fishing waders, breathable Crosswater chest waders hunting waders for men fishing bib pants with boots is a good choice.
Best Fly Fishing Boots and Wader Features
- 100% Waterproof: Tough Nylon fabric coated with PVC, strongly and effectively waterproof.
- Durable PVC cleated boots are anti-slipping and anti-abrasion and have outstanding durability to increase service life.
- The boots and pants are integrated instead of stitching together, which guarantees no leaking there. Breathable and lightweight overalls keep you comfortable and dry.
- The convenient waist belt and buckle let it stable while wading. Adjustable suspenders make it suitable for different height people. The front pocket allows you to carry some little articles like a phone and baits with you.
- Care & Warranty: Flush it with fresh water without brushing after using it and hang it in the shade to dry instead of exposing it to the strong sunshine.
- Waders are very waterproof.
- Boots are light and flexible.
- Very affordable.
- Large front pocket for storage.
- Stays warm in cold water.
Q: What size wading boots should I buy?
A: It is advisable to buy at least half a size larger than your normal shoe size.
Q: What boots to wear with waders?
A: Wading boots can be purchased with waders as a pair. If you are purchasing boots to wear with waders you already have, it is recommended to look for boots that will allow you to form a seal around the cuff of the boots and the wader.
Q: What is wading?
A: Wading is the act of walking through something such as water or brush.
Q: How to size wading boots?
A: Wading boots should be sized at least half a size larger than your normal shoe size. Since boots fit much differently than normal shoes, boot sizes can be different. Note: There is a breaking-in period for most new boots.
Q: How do stockingfoot waders work?
A: Stockingfoot waders work much like socks. Stocking foot with good light (high top) wading shoes will give you a great feel for what is going on with your feet in relation to the bottom. They make you more nimble. They take a little longer to put on and take off, but the trade-off in agility is worth the time.
Q: What states have banned felt wading boots?
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
- Yellowstone National Park
Q: Why are felt-soled boots illegal?
A: It was discovered in 2008 that felt-bottomed boots could introduce invasive species into different waterways by transfer in the felt material.
Wading boots can allow you to access areas you may not ordinarily be able to get to for fishing or even exploring.
Wading boots can also keep you warm, dry, and comfortable, all while providing all-important foot protection.
Out of the brands we have covered. The Redington Palix River Waders get high marks for their quality, comfort, and affordability.
Some other brands that deserve mentioning are:
- Montana Boots
- Bass Pro Shop Waders
- Cabela’s Wading Boots
- Simms Wading Boots.
Before going on your next fishing or outdoor adventure, we recommend getting a pair of wading boots.
They will make your trip more enjoyable and safe! Let me know which you ended up picking in the comments below.