Waders are indispensable for fly and surf fishing. It allows you to go further from the shore to cast a line and have better catches. I’ve had quite a few waders in the past – there are lucky finds and dud ones. Over the years, I’ve learned what to find the best waders for saltwater fishing. And for this post, I will share my secrets with you in finding the right wader. I also tried 35+ waders in the market, and I’ve come up with these eight best picks:
What is a fishing wader?
A fishing wader is waterproof clothing that will protect the body from the waters while flying or fishing. It’s also worn by boat anglers who don’t want the water to soak their pants while retrieving a catch.
The deeper your fishing spot is, the higher the wader should be. This will prevent water from getting into your skin or inner clothes. Take note that you should wear something underneath the fishing wader for your comfort. During hot days, thin fishing pants and shirt would be great.
Waders are footwear or boots that extend up to the waist or chest. It can either be a stockingfoot or bootfoot, which I discussed in detail below.
Stockingfoot vs. bootfoot waders
As I mentioned earlier, fishing waders can either be a stockingfoot or bootfoot type. Below are the differences between the two:
This type of wader has sock-like booties at the end to protect your soles. You have to wear a pair of fishing boats on top of it as it can’t protect against sharp and harsh surfaces under the sea.
Still, the advantage of stockingfoot waders is it gives a better fit since you can wear the boots you prefer. Aside from that, it’s easier to put on and off. It works like a semi-onesie that you can slip on with less effort.
On the other hand, bootfoot waders have durable and stiff rubber boots on the foot area. This can take the beating of sand and grit, so you no longer have to wear a separate pair of boots. However, it tends to be heavy and bulky, so it will take a lot of space on your gear bag.
Nevertheless, bootfoot waders are excellent options during winter because of its thicker foot protection. Also, it will not tangle on your line, thanks to the smooth transition between the boot and the wader material.
So which one should you get? It depends on your preferences and the weather. Both the stockingfoot and bootfoot types are useful.
8 Best Waders for Saltwater Fishing
OUR #1 CHOICE
OUR TOP PICK: Redington Sonic-Pro HDZ Wader
Product Name: Redington Sonic-Pro HDZ Wader
Product Description: If you're looking for the best waders for saltwater fishing, you'll never go wrong with the Redington Sonic-Pro HDZ. It's made with 3.5 mm neoprene bootie with a 4 mm bottom protection. Aside from that, it has anti-corrosive hardware that can withstand long exposure to saltwater. This is also equipped with a TIZIP zipper that remains smooth, even after a long fishing day. Moreover, this is fitted with two-sided fleece pockets that serve as hand warmers. There's also a large chest pocket that works as a tool dock so you can keep small tackle handy.
Offer price: 500.00
Fit & Comfort
Value for Money
Another thing I like about this wader is its articulated knee for a full range of motion. It also has a double-taped backing and a wading belt compatible with most fishing pliers and similar tools. Inside the wader, there are large woven pockets for added storage.
All its seams are welded that will prevent ripping and leaks. It eliminates unnecessary stitches that will wear off over time. Also, there are no seams on high-wear areas, which are strategically designed for longevity.
Overall, I like this wader, especially since it has waterproof zippers that make it much easier to put on and off. It holds up well on my weekend fishing trips, both on freshwater and saltwater. This is waterproof and breathable, making it a perfect wader for summer fishing trips.
Articulated knee for unrestricted movement
Dual-density bootie construction
Fleece-lined handwarmer pockets
So far, so good!
Simms Men's Freestone Stockingfoot Wader
Another fishing wader I swear by is the Simms Men’s Freestone Stockingfoot Wader. It’s made of Toray fabric with the Multi-Layered Quadralam Technology. This material is made for fishing purposes to ensure excellent waterproofing abilities and performance.
Moreover, the fabric of this wader has a micro-porous coating to prevent leaks. It also has a membrane layer as well as a tricot material for extra durability. Overall, this wader’s shell has four layers of material that will keep you warm and comfortable all day long.
Aside from that, this wader has fleece-lined pockets as hand warmers. There’s also a zippered pocket in front where you can keep small tackle and your phone.
As for the foot protection, this has antimicrobial stockings that shield you against gravel and sand. It has an elastic hem connecting to the neoprene booties. These booties are warm and suitable to most wading boots in the market.
Moreover, this Simm’s wader has 5 belt loops, a 38 mm waist belt, shoulder straps, and Duraflex buckles. It’s made for the avid angler who is busy soaking in the sea or lake.
Overall, these waders are light for roughly 1.077 kilograms. It’s a workhorse for regular fishing trips with enough slack on the knees for the best motion range.
Vass Tex 700 Fishing Chest Wader
For those looking for a bootfoot wader, the Vass Tex 700 is the one I recommend. This is made of a PVC outer shell with polyester lining. Aside from that, this has a pair of Vass wading boots with a large kicker heel fused at the bottom. You can slip it on and go fishing with no separate boots needed.
To ensure no leaks, this has quad-welded seams and box-stitched yellow loops. There’s also a drawstring inside so you can tighten the chest seams.
Moreover, the boots are made of 700 grams of PVC guaranteed to be 100% waterproof. However, as a bootfoot wader without zippers, this is quite challenging to put on and off. Other than that, it’s a nifty wader that will take the beating of fly and surf fishing.
Overall, this has bi-stretch properties to keep you comfortable. This wader also has an excellent range of motion to keep you in action while fighting a large catch.
Although it doesn’t have as many specs as the Vass Tex 740E, the 700 Series offer excellent value for the money. And since it’s made of PVC, it’s very easy to repair. It’s the same material used on many inflatable dinghies.
For its price, I can say that this is already a steal for a bootfoot wader.
Compass 360 Deadfall Chest Wader
The Compass 360 Deadfall Chest Wader is a premium option. It’s made of four layers of water-resistant and breathable fabric. It’s made to endure the toughest demands of fly fishing.
What I like the most about this wader are its Durable Water Resistance (DWR) coating and reinforced knees and shins. It keeps the wader durable and long-lasting, even on the harshest saltwater conditions. There’s also lavish slack on the legs so you can crouch, kneel, and walk without the hassle.
Moreover, the Compass 360 has 4 mm neoprene booties you can wear on most wading boots. The soles have abrasion-resistant material to keep your feet comfortable and protected.
Aside from that, this wader has a zippered front pocket where you can stash lures, hooks, and other small tackle. There’s also a flip-out pocket inside the wader for more storage space. In addition, the Compass 360 has a chest drawcord and elastic suspenders that you can adjust to your liking. Lastly, it has a wading belt with loops and quick-release buckles.
Overall, this is a durable wader for avid anglers. It also comes with a storage bag, but it’s a bit thin, so I suggest getting another bag to keep the wader. Other than that, this is one of the best waders for saltwater fishing.
Piscifun Stockingfoot Chest Wader
The Piscifun Stockingfoot Chest Wader covers all the basics that an angler needs. It’s made of breathable polyester with a waterproof coating to prevent leaks. Unlike typical polyester, the one used for Piscifun has three layers with excellent elasticity and fit.
In addition, this has durable belt loops and elastic suspenders for a snug fit. Although the seams are stitched, it’s durable and hard to wear out.
As for the storage, there’s a water-resistant front pocket and handwarmer pockets on the chest area. What I also like is the removable hook keeper on the lower left side of the chest.
Down on the legs, you’ll get reinforced knees and shins that can withstand wear and tear. This is fitted with 4 mm neoprene booties to keep your feet warm while wearing a separate pair of neoprene booties.
For a lower price, you’ll get a fishing wader with many features. This is something you shouldn’t miss if you’re shopping on a budget. To top that, this fishing wader has a 30-day, no-reason replacement service. Aside from that, you will enjoy a full year of free wader repairs should you experience leaks or any quality issues. That’s a guarantee you can’t find on other waders.
The feet are a bit small as compared to its leg length
Frogg Toggs Hellbender Chest Wader
Another great wader that many anglers swear by is the Frogg Toggs Hellbender Chest Wader. Its name is quite cool but for a good reason. This is made of 100% waterproof nylon with a 4-ply nylon upper knees to endure your fishing trips’ demands.
The 3-ply shell of this wader is composed of a nylon outer layer that resists abrasion. Meanwhile, the middle layer is waterproof and prevents water from seeping in. Lastly, the inner layer is a soft and cool tricot fabric to keep the skin comfortable.
Aside from that, this has an oversized chest pocket so you can keep lures and hooks handy while you wade. It also has a hand warmer and additional storage pockets inside. This wader also has built-in gravel guards for added protection.
This is a stockingfoot wader with neoprene booties. Moreover, it has adjustable suspenders so you can keep the wader snugly throughout your fishing trip. Like its name, the Frogg Toggs Hellbender will give one hell of performance throughout the years.
Another thing that I like about this wader is its wide size range. It’s available in 16 different sizes, so you’ll get the one that suits you best.
Overall, this is well worth the money for those looking for the right balance of price and quality.
TIDEWE Realtree MAX 5 Camo Chest Wader
Another bootfoot wader that I like is the TIDEWE Chest Wader. This has a poly/jersey shell with neoprene for the best warmth and waterproof characteristics. It has triple seams that have been stitched, glued, and taped for guaranteed durability even in the toughest environments.
Down on its legs, it has a PU-coated surface for extra protection since these are high-wear areas. Aside from that, it has a built-in pair of rubber boots with 600 grams of 3M Thinsulate to keep your feet toasty. So if you’re looking for a fishing wader for winter, you’ll never go wrong with TIDEWE.
I also like that the boots have reinforced shoe vamp and tread pattern for better traction underwater. It grips well to reduce falls and slips. The chest pockets have drainage outlets, too, to keep it dry all the time.
Moreover, this has adjustable neoprene suspenders with loop attachments, so the wader is easy to put on and off. Since it has a camo print, this can double as a hunting wader, especially on winter days.
Aside from the wader, you will also receive a free waterproof phone pouch with lace. It also includes a repair material should a sharp object pierces through the wader.
Foxelli Camo Fishing Wader
The Foxelli Camo Fishing Wader is made of 3-ply polyester that remains waterproof even if soaked for long hours. Although it prevents water from seeping in, this wader remains breathable so that you can wear it during summer comfortably.
The outer layer of this wader is waterproof, while the inner layer is breathable. Lastly, its inner layer is smooth and skin-friendly to prevent irritation. All of the seams of this wader are stitched, glued, and taped for topnotch durability
Moreover, this has an external chest pocket and a separate inner pocket. You can bring some lures and hooks with your without dropping it into the water.
This is a stockingfoot wader with 4 mm double-taped neoprene booties. Each bootie has a non-slip sole so that you can use it even without a separate pair of wading boots.
Aside from that, this wader’s knee pads have reinforced padding to prevent premature damages. It’s also equipped with a nylon belt that comes with two carabiners to clip your tackle.
This wader is covered by a 30-day, no-questions-asked, money-back guarantee. This is in addition to two years of warranty on any manufacturer defect.
Aside from the wader, you will also get a storage bag, two carabiners, fixing patches, and an instructional manual.
Fishing Waders Buying Guide
When it comes to the best waders for saltwater fishing, you must be meticulous with the material and construction. There are many waders in the market, and it’s easy to come by a dud piece. To ensure that you’ll get the best deal, you should check these features:
The first thing you should check is the size you need. Waders come in different sizes, and it can be tricky since it’s a single piece. One of the essential sizing considerations it the length of the wader. You wouldn’t want one with short legs or torso.
Next, there should be enough slack on the legs so you can bend your knee without being restricted. And if you’re planning to wear a jacket underneath, avoid very slim waders.
Another important portion is the size of the boots or booties. If any of these don’t fit you, it will be impossible to wear the wader. Sure, you can make some adjustments, but it will surely compromise the footwear’s waterproof nature.
Most of the time, I check the foot size first then just accept some trade-offs if the wader is a bit baggy or slim. You can’t have it all, sometimes, especially on cheap waders.
Next, you should check the wader’s material to ensure that it can put up on the demands of your fishing trips. The most commonly used materials for waders are neoprene, polyester, PVC, and nylon. The following are the differences between each one:
Waders made of neoprene are waterproof and insulated. It’s not breathable since it’s made to keep the wearer warm during cold and winter months. Despite that, neoprene waders are the best saltwater options since it can put up with the salinity with no damages. Another good thing about neoprene waders is it has a stretchy nature, which gives a snugly fit.
Another popular material is multiple-ply polyester. Usually, this comes with a DWR coating to prevent water from seeping through. It’s a breathable choice and suitable for the summer months. It has great moisture-wicking properties, too.
If you want a wader that will remain waterproof for years, you should consider a PVC material. PVC is widely used on inflatable boats, so it’s guaranteed to keep the water out, be it in saltwater or freshwater. PVC is pliable, but it’s not as breathable as polyester. Also, it may fade over the years due to UV exposure.
Lastly, you can find waders made of nylon, which is similar to polyester. It’s breathable and comfortable to wear in hot months and quite lightweight, too. Just make sure that it has a waterproof coating to prevent leaks.
✔️Boots vs. booties
Anglers are divided whether they should get a wader with boots or booties.
Waders with built-in boots are suitable for cold water since it also comes insulated. This will also save you from getting a separate pair of rubber boots. However, it can be a bit difficult to put on. Still, it’s unbeatable when it comes to protection and performance.
On the other hand, booties are suitable for those who are fishing in the summer months. Some waders with booties (stockingfoot) can be used as-is, given that there are no sharp objects or stones underwater.
The choice depends on your preference, but waders with boots are the best choice for cold weather.
This is one of the most important parts of a wader. There should be a large chest pocket where you can stash lures, hooks, and other small tackle. This will save you from the hassle of going back to the shore just to retrieve such items. Most of the time, the front pocket of the wader has a handwarmer pocket behind.
Aside from that, I prefer waders with another zippered pocket inside. It’s usually has a flap design so you can bring it outside for easier access.
These two pockets are more than enough, but you can also find waders with extra storage spots all over the body.
Grave guards are stitched on top of the booties to prevent sand and gravel from entering it. This is found on stockingfoot waders since it only has neoprene booties and not built-in rubber boots. Gravel guards are very important for your comfort and preventing any sharp objects or tiny marine life from getting into your skin.
The knees of the waders are the most susceptible to wear and tear. This is the reason why you should get waders with reinforced legs. It could be a double layer or with additional padding. These reinforcements will prevent the knees and the shins from ripping should you kneel or squat.
Extras are always great to have at your disposal, regardless if you need them or not. Look for wading belts with loops and hook keepers, free phone pouches, and so on. All of these will make your fishing trip more worthwhile and convenient.
Aside from that, I always appreciate a wader that comes with a storage bag. This saves me from dumping the wader in my garage without any cover.
Another important accessory that must be bundled with the wader is a repair kit. It’s usually composed of fabric glue and patches to let you mend any tears or punctures. A repair kit is commonly found on PVC and nylon waders.
Last but not the least, think of how much you’re willing to spend for your waders. Sure thing, I’ve tried many cheap waders in the past, but let me tell you the truth: it will not last long. Due to its low price, the manufacturers cut corners on the material. This means thin and easy to rip shell, something you wouldn’t like to have on a busy day.
Instead, invest a decent amount on a durable wader that will last for a couple of years. While the initial investment is bigger, it’s much cheaper than buying multiple replacements later on.
How to maintain your fishing waders
Regardless if you have the best waders for saltwater fishing, you should still know how to maintain it. This will extend the lifespan of the protective equipment, which means more value on your purchase. For starters, I recommend keeping the following points in mind:
- Wash your waders. Saltwater is corrosive, and it can make the wader material brittle if you let it sit for too long. So right after your fishing trip, wash your wader with soap and clean water.
- Store it dry. A wet wader stored for weeks is a perfect breeding spot for molds. This will damage the material and leave ugly stains on the equipment.
- Patch up holes. You should repair any holes on your wader the moment it occurs. Otherwise, it will become bigger and harder to fix.
- Avoid carrying heavy items. While there’s enough space on the pocket of your wader, avoid filling it with too much. Soon enough, it will wear down and become susceptible to leaks.
- Get the right fit. A wader that’s too small for you will get damaged faster than a properly fitting one. This is due to your body forcing the material too much.
- Don’t machine-dry. While some waders will come out fine after machine-drying, I don’t recommend it on PVC and neoprene. It can cause shrinkage and deformity on the material.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why do fishermen wear waders?
A: Fishing waders are protective equipment to keep the angler dry and comfortable despite hours of off-shore fishing. Also, the wader will keep the angler warm on colder months, regardless if s/he’s getting soaked or not. It’s an indispensable piece of equipment for avid anglers who like to take their fishing experience to another level.
Q: What should I wear under fishing waders?
A: I prefer wearing a tight-fitting pair of pants since it’s easier to pull the wader up with it underneath. For the top, I go with typical long sleeves or shirts. During the cold days, I’d wear thick wool socks to go with a bootfoot wader. Nevertheless, it depends on your comfort level and what you prefer.
Q: Do I have to wear shoes with my fishing waders?
A: If you have a stockingfoot wader, you need to wear a pair of fishing boots that you don’t mind getting soaked. Most bootfoot waders have stiff soles or boots that will work for ample protection. But if you’re not sure if a bootfoot will suit you, I suggest getting a stockingfoot wader and your preferred pair of shoes.
Q: Do neoprene booties get wet inside?
A: Yes, your booties will still soak your feet if you’re not wearing a pair of rubber boots. Most neoprene booties are not waterproof since its main function is to protect your soles from any sharp objects or biting creatures. If you don’t want your feet to get wet, you should wear a bootfoot wader instead.
Q: Are breathable fishing waders warm?
A: Yes, the best waders for saltwater fishing can stay warm, depending on its material. However, it has limited protection against subzero temperatures. Overall, fishing waders can offer warmth and protection against saltwater and other elements.
The best waders for saltwater fishing will keep you safe and comfy while waiting for a big catch. It also offers warmth during a cold day, so there’s no reason to skip your fishing hobby. Just make sure that you have the right wader type, material, fit, and accessories, among others. All of these will impact how comfortable and useful the wader will be on the water.
What do you think of the fishing waders I reviewed here? Share your favorite pick below!