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5 Best FLY FISHING WADERS (Reviews For 2019) + Buying Guide

The 5 Best Fly Fishing Waders For The Money

(Top Reviews) + Buying Guide

reivews of fishing waders specifically for fly fishing

Many of us find that using fishing waders is an absolute must while out on the river or lakeside. I’ve been looking for a new pair for myself recently, and want to share with you what I’ve found. 

First, what you’ll find in this post are the top 5 reviews of what I’ve found to be the best fly fishing waders.  Then, you’ll want to continue reading the second half of the post, because that’s where you can read the buyers guide for fly fishing waders.  And that’s where we’ll go into depth on what things you should be looking for in a quality set of fly fishing waders.

So, let’s dive right in…

Fly Fishing Waders (Quick List)

Fly Fishing Waders

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COMPASS 360 Deadfall Breathable STFT Chest Wader

Hodgman Aesis Sonic Zip Stocking Foot Wader

Redington Crosswater Wader

Simms Freestone Stockingfoot Wader

Frogg Toggs Canyon II Breathable Stockingfoot Chest Wader

1. COMPASS 360 Deadfall Breathable STFT Chest Wader (Top Pick)

When it comes to value on a budget, the COMPASS 360 Deadfall waders come out near the top.

A simple, yet ergonomically designed wader that is suitable for a wide variety of anglers and conditions.

The fishing wader features a double front pocket, one of which is fleece lined. Great for organizing gear and warming cold finger tips.

In addition, the waders feature a flip out internal pouch to protect water sensitive items.

The 4-ply nylon construction keeps the waders lightweight and breathable. The double reinforced knees ensure protection on those high wear areas.

You will appreciate the integrated gravel guards with lace hook on these waders. No more taking boots off to remove rocks.

Overall, this is a well designed wader for those on a budget. You should have no problem getting several seasons of hard use out of these waders.

Pros

  • Affordable quality

  • Three separate pockets

  • Extra layers on legs for durability

Cons

  • Not as many sizes as others offer

Bottom Line

If you are looking for quality waders on a budget, look no further. The COMPASS 360 Deadfall waders offer anglers a breathable wader that is easy on the wallet. If you appreciate a hand warmer pocket and extra storage, these waders feature just that. These are our vote as the best fly fishing waders for the money. You wont be dissappointed!  You can check out the most current price for these fishing waders on Amazon.

2. Hodgman Aesis Sonic Zip Stocking Foot Wader 

The Sonic Zip wader by Hodgman incorporates exciting new technology in the wader world. This pair of waders incorporates Sonic 2.0 double welded seams throughout. Thus eliminating thousands of stitching holes in the waders and ensuring optimal leak prevention.

These breathable waders feature a waterproof 4-layer upper torso section and a more durable 5-layer protection on the legs and seat of the waders. Hodgman knows you’ll be using and abusing these waders and is well aware of the high wear areas.

These waders also come with a few extra convenience features. To make slipping in and out of the waders an easy process, there is a fully waterproof vertical front zipper to make that entry and exit from your waders nice and smooth.

Additionally, these waders are designed to be quickly converted to a waist high style. This is a feature I appreciate if I plan on doing any overland hiking while wearing my waders. 

Pros

  • Breathable and Durable where necessary

  • Front zip makes for easy on/off

  • Convertible to waist high style waders

  • Anatomical right and left booty to ensure optimal comfort

Cons

  • Quality and features come at a higher cost

Bottom Line

The Sonic waders by Hodgman are full featured and high quality waders for the dedicated angler. Every aspect of these waders as been well though out and engineered to suit fly fishing specific scenarios. For comfort, durablility, and convenience; these waders by Hodgman are high on the podium. You can check them out over at Amazon here.

3. Redington Crosswater Wader 

The Crosswater Wader by Redington makes a great wader for entry level and experienced anglers alike. Coming in at a nice budget minded price point, these are lightweight breathable waders designed to keep you dry.

The all around 3-layer designed will be well appreciated on warmer days or when packing waders in a backpack is necessary. 

Redington does an excellent job of providing customers with a proper wader fit. Offering buyers a staggering 13 different size combinations, these waders are able to suit all sorts of body types out there.

Another nice feature of these waders are there ability to quickly be worn as waist high waders by using the suspender straps as a belt. A wonderful feature on those warmer days and when hiking.

Pros

  • Budget Minded Price

  • Lightweight and very Breathable

  • Large Selection of Sizing choice

Cons

  • Lack Durability and Features of higher end waders

Bottom Line

The Redington Crosswater wader might be one of the best value fly fishing waders out there. A no-frills wader that does it’s job of being lightweight, breathable, yet fully water proof. The large diversity of sizes is difficult to find in a budget wader such as these. Long-term durability may be an issue but for a price of around $100, the Redington Crosswater is hard to beat. You can see the most current price of the Reddington waders on here on Amazon.

4. Simms Freestone Breathable Stockingfoot Chest Wader 

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Simms is a big name in the fly fishing world, particularly so with their waders. There is a reason why serious anglers and fisheries biologists around the world use Simms waders. Unsurpassed durability and reliability.

The Freestone breathable wader by Simms offers anglers a more budget minded choice compared to some of their top of the line waders.

The Freestone waders utilize much of the same technology as the higher end models to retain legendary durability. These waders feature ultimate protection in the highest wear area, the legs.

With an extra layer and unique front and rear leg seam design, these waders have been optimized for years of use and abuse. 

These waders come fully featured with integrated neoprene gravel guards, fleece lined hand warmer pocket, waist high convertibility, and excellent breathability.

Simms has stood the test of time and optimized wader technology through the years, making it a hard brand to go wrong with.

Pros

  • Durable leg construction

  • Affordable wader in the Simms line

  • Large Sizing Option selection – 11 different combinations

Cons

  • Like other breathable waders, they do not offer the best warmth

Bottom Line

Simms is a hard name to pass up in the fly fishing wader world. They have been engineering and redesigning fishing style waders for many years. There is a reason why dedicated anglers and fisheries biologists are often seen in Simms waders. With the Freestone wader being at a mid-level price point in the Simms wader line, they offer anglers the coveted Simms technology while remaining easy on the wallet.

5. Frogg Toggs Canyon II Breathable Stockingfoot Chest Wader 

The Canyon II waders by Frogg Toggs offer beginners an excellent pair of waders on a serious budget. These breathable waders are constructed from 4-layer nylon with 4mm neoprene booties that feature an integrated gravel guard.

Frogg Toggs Canyon II fishing waders are available in 4 different sizing options. This is less sizing options than others so they may not cater well to uniquely sized people. Regardless, the Canyon II waders by Frogg Toggs have all the necessary requirements for a basic fly fishing wader. This is a serious contender for best fly fishing wader under $100.

Pros

  • Low Cost Under $100

  • Breathable 4 layer nylon

  • Integrated gravel guards

Cons

  • Lack of sizing options

  • Not as durable as higher end waders

Bottom Line

Everything you need in a breathable fly fishing wader, and nothing you don’t. These waders by Frogg Toggs have got to be some of the best fly fishing waders under $100. These chest high waders will offer users all they need to stay dry in everything but extreme use scenarios. For those on the tightest of budgets, these might be the best fly fishing waders for you. Check availability on Amazon.

Fly Fishing Waders: Informational Buying Guide

Fly fishing waders are a common piece of equipment in fly fishing. For those who may find themselves fly fishing waist deep in cold water, waders are essential to staying warm and dry. Leaving your comfortable enough to stay out there and keep catching fish.

Waders are used in many different applications beyond fly fishing and are available in many different styles. Duck hunters, anglers, scientists, and anyone spending times in and around water may find themselves needing waders. As such, there are a large variety of waders out there.

For fly fishing, there are waders specifically designed for the activity. Fly fishing waders contain features optimized for most fly fishing situations. Designed to be functional and comfortable in a variety of scenarios out there. For many out there, fly fishing waders will serve as an invaluable tool in their fly fishing endeavors.

Are Fly Fishing Waders Necessary Equipment?

Waders can be a fair bit of initial investment. You will want to be sure it will be worth your money. Certain fly fishing situations absolutely require waders. On the other hand, there are some types of fishing that may not call for waders at all.

Take into consideration the intent of waders and your desired fishing scenarios. Ultimately, waders are designed to keep you warm and dry. Wading deep into a big cold river to cast for trout or steelhead will require waders to keep you warm and dry. However, this may not be the case for others. Say you are fishing for trout in the summer on a shallow creek. In this situation, if you are alright with getting your feet wet, having no waders at all may be more ideal.

Lets say you will be fishing out of a float tube, you will be submerged in the waders with very little motion to keep you warm. You will probably want waders in this situations. Conversely, if you plan on fishing out of rafts or boats high and dry, you may not even need waders at all.

Simply take into consideration the type of fishing you will want to be doing. Will it be a benefit to stay warm and dry? Or will it be comfortable enough to just get in the water without waders?

How to Choose Fly Fishing Waders

If you made it this far, you must be thinking that your type of fishing requires waders. For fly fishing, this is most often the case. Now how does one go about selecting a pair? There are several variables in waders on the market. Lets take a look at some of these variables to help determine the best fly fishing waders for your needs.

  • Wader Height – You can purchase waders in different heights to fit your needs. The shortest waders are available in hip height, which consists two long boots. These are easy to slip on and off for quick and easy fishing. Think casting into a river from knee deep water or getting in and out of a boat.

The next step up in height would be a waist height wader. Think of these as waterproof pants. They’re similar to a pant but will keep you warm and dry.

For ultimate protection, chest high waders offer near total coverage to serve you in varying situations. Worn like a pair of overalls, these waders keep you nice and dry in water nearly up to your armpits. Be sure to hold your arms up! Furthermore, these waders are better at keeping you warm in cold water scenarios, giving you an extra layer of waterproof and windproof fabric up through your torso.

  • Neoprene vs. BreathableFly fishing waders are available in two primary material types. These are neoprene waders and high tech breathable material waders. Both types of materials  offer a warm and waterproof layer between you and the cold water. However, there are some differences.

Neoprene waders offer superior warmth in the coldest of fishing situations. The trade-off for this is that they do not breath well and can be miserable in warm weather fishing scenarios when you are out of the water. They are also heavier and less packable.Breathable waders are much lighter weight. They offer superior comfort in warmer weather situations. Made of of lighter material and designed to breath, they are much more comfortable to be hiking and moving around in. These are a more versatile option as you always have the ability to add insulation layers underneath the waders in the occasional extreme cold situation. These waders are more compact and packable than neoprene.

  • Stocking Foot vs. Bootfoot – Waders come in both boot foot or a stocking foot bottom options. Boot foot waders with an integrated rubber boot, make slipping your waders on and off quick and easy. Generally this is a feature of hip waders to aid in the convenience.

Chest waders are available in both boot foot and stocking foot options. Though for fly fishing, it appears most anglers prefer stockingfoot. While a boot foot is convenient, they lack adequate support and shape. This is often necessary for hiking or moving around on river bottoms. If you plan on hiking in waders or will find yourself in unstable footing situations, pairing a stockingfoot with proper fitting pair of wading boots will keep you from stumbling or falling.

  • Gravel Guards – If you end up going with a stocking foot option, there is another feature you best consider. Gravel guards are fabric cuffs designed to hug around the top of your boot and ankle. Thereby keeping gravel and debris from getting into your boot bottom. Some stockingfoot waders come integrated with these. However, you can still purchase aftermarket slip-on gravel guards for waders if they do not come with integrated with them. These do an excellent job at keeping your from having to pull irritating pebbles out of your boot.

How to Size Waders

Wader size is not an absolute science. Different brands may often have their own unique sizing system, some more diverse than others. Generally though, waders are sold according to foot size, with some selection in torso sizing. The sizes of stockingfoot waders are available in a foot size range usually. Bootfoot waders are sold according to whole foot sizes.  

When purchasing accompanying wading boots to go with a pair of stockingfoot waders, it is generally recommended to go up to the next whole size in shoe from your normal size. This is due to the increased bulk added by the neoprene boot on your waders.

Conclusion

Fly fishing waders come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, materials, and colors. Optimizing the pair of waders to suit your needs will come down to you determining your own needs. Once you do so, you can use the knowledge from above to find a pair to fit your needs. A proper pair of waders should feel like a very welcome second skin when out fly fishing.

If staying warm and dry is a fly fishing need of yours, do yourself a favor and pick up a pair of waders. This is a fly fishing tool you will find in every serious fly angler’s tool chest. Be fully prepared for whatever the conditions may hold when out on the water and protect yourself with a pair of waders.

Related Posts:

1. Ultimate Guide To FLY FISHING For BEGINNERS 

2. The Best Fly Fishing Starter Kit (Top 5 Fly Fishing Rod And Reel Combos)

3. Trout identification: Tips For Identifying Different Types Or Trout Species

Written by Don

When I'm not bass fishing or looking for steelhead in my home state of Oregon I can be found working on house projects dreaming of my next fishing adventure.

I started this website to share just some of the things I've learned along my fishing journey, and the many things I'm still learning. Enjoy!

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