Surf fishing is a serious business. You’d deal with waves that will get you all soaked and dripping. During a cold day, this will impact your angling performance, not to mention that it will make you chilly. To prevent this from happening, you should wear bootfoot waders for surf fishing. It will keep you dry and toasty at the same time so you can focus on your catch.
The following are eight of my best picks for waders that will keep you dry while surf fishing:
Bootfoot vs. stockingfoot wader
Fishing waders usually come in two major types: bootfoot and stockingfoot. Both of these protect you against moisture and harsh elements on the water. However, it differs on foot protection.
As its name suggests, bootfoot waders have rubber boots welded into the wader material. With this, you no longer have to purchase a separate pair of boots. It also keeps your feet dry the whole time, which is very important during cold days.
Meanwhile, stockingfoot waders have sock-like booties in place of rubber boots. It offers warmth and protection from the water, but you need a separate pair of boots. Some anglers wear this barefoot, but it doesn’t guarantee absolute protection from sharp objects and harsh water conditions.
When it comes to surf fishing, bootfoot waders are the popular option. The boots protect the feet’ soles from the sand, pebbles, and other gritty elements that may cut the skin. It also comes in handy against jellyfishes that may sting you by the feet.
Aside from that, bootfoot waders are less likely to tangle your line since it’s smooth, and the hook will not dig into the material easily. And if you’re surfing fishing during winter, you’d need all the protection you can get. Bootfoot waders are one of them.
However, bootfoots come with some downsides, just like any tackle. It’s heavier than stockingfoot options due to the thicker and bigger rubber material. Also, it takes time to get used to it since it’s difficult to move while wearing a bootfoot wader.
Considering the protection it gives, the advantages of bootfoot waders trump its disadvantages. If you’re planning to go on your first surf fishing trip, I highly suggest that you get a bootfoot wader. Trust me, I tried surf fishing without it once, and I regretted it.
8 Bootfoot Waders for Surf Fishing
OUR #1 CHOICE
OUR TOP PICK: Frogg Toggs Grand Refuge 2.0 Bootfoot Chest Wader
Product Name: Frogg Toggs Grand Refuge 2.0 Bootfoot Chest Wader
Product Description: If you're looking for bootfoot waders for surf fishing, you'll never go wrong with the Frogg Toggs Grand Refuge 2.0. This is made of durable fibers with a removable 120-gram insulated liner. Whether you're surf fishing on water or summer, this wader is a topnotch option. To ensure that you're comfortable, this wader is made with a Dri2Pore outer layer. It's planked between two layers of fabric. It keeps you cool and clean, even during a hot summer day. Moreover, this has a heavy-duty nylon material on the knees, shin, and seat areas as reinforcements. It's abrasion-resistant and guaranteed to last long against the harshest outdoor elements. Whether you're using this for surf fishing or hunting, the Frogg Toggs Grand Refuge 2.0 will not disappoint.
Offer price: $$$
Sizing and fit
Value for Money
Aside from that, there’s a 4-ply polyester upper on this wader, complete with a 10-count shell holder. This is why the Grand Refuge doubles as a reliable hunting wader.
This has adjustable elastic suspenders, too, with D-rings and quick-release buckles. This lets you attach fishing gear so you won’t have to run back and forth from the shore. In addition, this Frogg Toggs wader also has an adjustable wading belt with a locking buckle.
For me, the best part here is the boots with 1,200 grams of Thinsulate insulation. It keeps you warm, not to mention that it also has a wool felt midsole. The outsole is also cleated for added traction on the sand during strong waves.
Dri2Pore layer to wick sweat
Boots with 1,200 grams of Thinsulate insulation
Removable 120-gram insulated liner
A bit bulky around the chest but not a biggie
Bassdash Camo Bootfoot Chest Wader
If you don’t want the bulk at the first Frogg Togg wader’s chest, I suggest that you get the Bassdash Camo Bootfoot Chest Wader. This one has three layers of shell fabric that’s guaranteed to be waterproof, lightweight, and breathable.
Aside from that, Bassdash’s patented DESOLVE Veil Camouflage Design disrupts animals’ visual recognition. So aside from being a reliable fishing wader, this one also doubles as a hunting wader.
Moreover, this Bassdash wader has elastic adjustable suspenders to provide optimal comfort. You will also enjoy a 1.5-inch wide belt with a quick-release buckle.
For busy anglers, the large chest pocket will come in handy to store small tackle. This uses heavy-duty YKK zippers, so it doesn’t snag and remains easy to open and close using one hand. I also like the micro-fleece lining on the pocket, which keeps the hands warm during a cold day.
Down on the leg area, it has excellent mobility, thanks to its seamless construction. It also comes with anatomically designed rubber boots. It suits most foot width, considering that I have wide feet.
Overall, this Bassdash wader was tank-tested to ensure its performance. It works well for surf fishing as well as soaking in rivers, lakes, and marshes.
Aside from the wader, you will also receive mesh storage and a repair kit. I also discovered that this wader works well if you’re kayak fishing and don’t want to get soaked.
TIDEWE Waterproof Bootfoot Chest Wader
If you’re not a fan of waders with suspenders, you should consider this one from TIDEWE. Its upper is made of 3.5 mm neoprene material that extends to the back straps for added warmth. This also makes the wader comfortable, especially during winter, when seawater is freezing cold.
Moreover, this has a stretch liner with tripled finished seams that are taped, stitched, and glued for guaranteed durability. This will make you confident in every move as you go surf fishing.
Aside from that, this wader is 100% waterproof, thanks to its armor weld seams and legs that are coated with polyurethane material. I’ve used it, and there’s not a single leak on this wader.
On the feet area, there are solid rubber boots with 800 grams of 3M Thinsulate. The boots also have shoe vamp to prevent punctures. On top of that, the boots’ soles are treaded for better traction on the sand and muddy surfaces. I also want to highlight that the boots are true to size based on my experience.
In addition, I like the extras like a front pocket with six shell slots. If you’re not fishing, you can take this wader duck hunting.
Aside from the wader, you will also receive repair materials should your wader sustain damages. You will also receive a free waterproof phone case so you won’t have to run back to your stakeout to answer a call.
Hodgman Caster Bootfoot Chest Wader
Hodgman is one of the first wader brands I’ve ever used, and I only have positive things to say about it. True enough, their Hodgman Caster wader bears the same level of quality and performance for avid surf fishers.
This sports a 3.5 mm neoprene shell for warmth during the winter season. It also has a top-entry front pocket with fleece lining.
Aside from that, I really like the reinforced double knee layers of this wader. It prevents the material from ripping in case you have to squat and move often. For this price range, I can say that this wader is already a steal. With Hodgman, you really won’t go wrong.
As for the boots, you will get one with 200 grams of Thinsulate. It also has cleated soles to give you the best balance on almost any shoreline conditions. There’s also a D-ring on the rear where you can clip your landing net.
Moreover, this wader has Y-style elastic suspenders to keep the wader intact. It’s pretty stretchy, which offers a lot of ‘give’ for taller users. The bonus part here is that this Hodgman wader is available in different sizes. Make sure that you refer to the sizing chart for the best fit.
Overall, this is a reliable wader, but I recommend using it on the fall season’s cooler days since the neoprene material traps a lot of heat. If you’re surf fishing on a hot summer day, this may not be the right wader for you.
Frogg Toggs Hellbender Bootfoot Chest Wader
Another Frogg Toggs wader I recommend is the Hellbender. This is made of 100% nylon with a four-ply upper. Aside from that, this has reinforced knees to prevent tears and punctures while you’re surf fishing.
Moreover, this has an oversized front pocket where you can stash small tackle as well as your phone and wallet. It also has zippered hand warmers that will come in handy during a cold day.
Meanwhile, the boots have a felt outsole and cleated soles for topnotch balance. The boots are also lined with neoprene, complete with a steel shank, toe cap, and a reinforced midsole.
Aside from that, this chest wader has an adjustable wading belt as well as a locking buckle. It sports X-back suspenders that you can easily adjust to suit your preference.
Overall, this boot foot wader for surf fishing offers the best value for money. I’ve done a quick test with this wader, and it stayed dry the whole time – no holes or punctures whatsoever.
I’m 190 lbs. but I think this wader will also fit guys on the heavier side. This also means that if you’re a lanky type, there would be a lot of extra fabric in it. Aside from that, the boots are made for those with wide feet. It’s not a deal-breaker but something you should be aware of.
Lastly, I want to mention how breathable this wader is. It’s perfect for surf fishing during summer when neoprene waders are something to avoid.
Foxelli Neoprene Camo Chest Wader
The Foxelli Neoprene Camo Chest Wader is one of the best bootfoot waders for surf fishing I’ve ever used. Its shell is made of 100% 4mm neoprene guaranteed to be waterproof. This is the perfect wader during winter when you’re surf fishing.
Aside from that, this has a damage-resistant design, thanks to its glued, taped, and stitched seams. It will not rip easily, even if you’re always on the move. I also like the elastic chest suspenders that cling to the back and chest pretty well. If you get the right size, the upper will not let the wind get inside.
Moreover, it has PVC boots that remain lightweight. It has an anti-slip sole to give you optimal traction on the sand or muddy areas. Complete with a neoprene lining, you can wear the boots comfortably with or without socks.
The Foxelli wader also comes with some extras, including D-rings, two carabiners, and an inner mesh pocket where you can place essential items. You can also use the attachments to clip your landing net and other tackle.
Aside from the wader, you will also receive a nylon carrying bag where you can store the wader.
I just want to warn that this wader’s boot sizes run small, so you should consider ordering one size up. The boots don’t have a steel toe either, but that’s not really a deal-breaker for me. The consolation here is that the steel toe’s absence made the boots lighter, so it’s easier on the feet.
OXYVAN Neoprene Chest Wader
Another neoprene wader that I recommend is this one from OXYVAN. It’s made of 100% neoprene that’s 4.5 mm thick. It offers excellent insulation during cold weather. Aside from that, this chest wader has glued, stitched, and taped seams that prevent it from ripping easily.
Moreover, this is damage-resistant and 100% waterproof. It remains leak-proof on every wade, regardless if you’re surf, lake, or river fishing. I also like the reinforced knee material so that this wader will last long.
Aside from that, this wader has insulated rubber boots. It’s solid and lined with 600 grams of 3M Thinsulate to keep your feet toasty all the time. This is so comfy that you no longer need to wear a pair of socks.
Meanwhile, the upper of this chest wader has a large pocket with a hook and loop design. There are also zippered handwarmers lined with soft and warm material. Aside from that, this has an adjustable belt with a durable buckle. I used the belt in clipping a net on it.
There’s an internal pocket where you can safely store your keys, phone, and wallet. The material of this wader also dries fast, and the shoulder straps are pretty comfortable.
However, I noticed that the boots run small, so I suggest ordering one size up for the best fit. Sizing up will also give you more allowance on the knees so you can bend it comfortably.
HISEA Neoprene Chest Wader
My last recommendation for this roundup is the HISEA Neoprene Chest Wader. It’s also made of 4.5 mm neoprene that’s guaranteed to remain waterproof despite prolonged soaking. This is also useful for hunting and camping, aside from surf fishing.
Moreover, this has a nylon jersey and stretch liner that keeps you comfortable, even if worn for long hours. All its seams are taped, double-stitched, and bonded to resist tears and damages.
At the bottom of the wader are rubber boots with 600 grams of 3M Thinsulate Ultra insulation. This blocks cold temperatures and wind from getting into your feet. Aside from that, these boots’ soles are cleated to keep you stable on the sand and mud. It also has enhanced toes for added protection.
I also like the convenience of this chest wader. It comes with an adjustable belt, a built-in pocket, and a release suspender. There are also zipped hand warmers on the large front pocket to protect your hands from the chilly weather.
This doubles as a hunting wader, thanks to the 8-shell holders in front that you can also utilize to carry small fishing items.
You will also get a free waterproof phone pouch with lanyard on your purchase of the HISEA wader. For this price range, HISEA is already a steal. It looks premium and very stylish, too!
How to choose a bootfoot wader
There are many bootfoot waders for surf fishing, so finding the best one can be tricky. To help you out, I summarized these important points that you have to consider when buying one.
✔️Chest wader vs. waist wader
Bootfoot waders can either be a chest or waist style. Chest waders protect you from being soaked up to your chest area. It’s an excellent option for surf fishing, especially when the waves are big. However, the extra material also means extra weight.
On the other hand, you can also opt for waist waders. It looks like a typical pair of pants, but with welded boots and waterproof material. This is functional, too, as long as you won’t wade on deep waters. Waist waders are also practical choices during summer since it’s cooler.
In the end, the choice is yours to make. You should assess your needs to get the wader that suits you well.
✔️Size and fit
Next, you should choose the size that fits you best. To be honest, wader sizing can be tricky, regardless if you’re looking for bootfoot or stockingfoot. The key here is checking the size of the upper and the boots.
Sometimes, the upper may feel baggy while the boots will be a bit tight or vice versa. The key here is finding the best bargain between the two. You really can’t have it all when it comes to waders. It took me about 10 waders before I found the right fit for me. To be fair, I have unusually wide feet and a slim body.
I always suggest checking the individual sizing charts of each seller. There’s no universal sizing when it comes to bootfoot waders, so you have to take a few measurements to find the right choice.
The material of bootfoto waders for surf fishing will dictate how reliable and durable it will be. Most options in the market are made of two materials: neoprene and nylon. The following are the differences between the two:
If you’re surf fishing on a cold day, neoprene bootfoot waders are your bosom buddies. The neoprene material is excellent insulation since it traps body heat. It’s also soft and does well in wicking sweat.
However, neoprene is thick and can be heavier than nylon types. It may also cost more, but it depends on the brand and the construction itself.
Meanwhile, nylon is preferred by surf anglers during summer. Its nylon material is breathable and thin. Despite that, it remains waterproof and durable against saltwater.
One thing that I like about nylon waders is its lighter weight. It’s also easy to move around with this wader, but it still depends on its overall design.
When you’re submerged and all soaked by the shore, it would be a bummer to run back to your stakeout just to get something. Also, you might miss a call if you leave your phone behind.
To solve this problem, chest waders come with large front pockets. Here, you can place small tackles like a box of hooks. It’s also convenient for your wallet, phone, and keys.
If you’re purchasing neoprene waders, look for zippered hand warmers. These are lined with warm material that will prevent your hand from freezing while waiting for a catch.
✔️Belts and suspenders
Aside from the material and pockets, you should also check for an adjustable belt. This allows you to fit the wader to your body. Aside from that, it doubles as a hanger for your net and other tackle. You can utilize D-rings, which may or may not be included in the package.
Next, check the quality of the wader’s suspenders. This refers to the shoulder straps that run across the back. It keeps the wader in place as you move around. With this, the suspender should be elastic, durable, and well-stitched. I personally prefer a Y or X-style suspender, so the straps don’ fall off your shoulders.
Another important consideration when purchasing bootfoot waders is the quality of the boot itself. Make sure that it’s made of durable rubber that can put up with wear and tear. Also, the soles should be cleated for topnotch traction, even on muddy or sandy shores.
Aside from the outside protection, you should also look for insulation or lining inside the boots. Most of the time, manufacturers use 3M Thinsulate as insulation since it’s warm despite its thin characteristic.
Above all, the boots should be properly welded, glued, stitched, and attached to the wader itself. There shouldn’t be any leak of any kind because it will just defeat the purpose of using a wader.
Extra features give more value to your purchase. Try to look for D-rings, carabiners, a free phone waterproof case, lanyards, and storage bags. These are just small items that will make a big difference in your surf fishing experience.
Tips for maintaining your bootfoot wader
While bootfoot waders are designed to endure wear and tear, it still needs proper upkeep to last long. The following are some of my personal tips when it comes to maintaining these fishing apparel:
- Wash it. After each use, you should wash and rinse your bootfoot wader with mild soap. This is to remove traces of saltwater that will cause damage to the fabric if left for long. Washing will also remove any nasty stuff that came from the sea.
- Keep it dry. Before storage, make sure that your wader is bone dry. Storing it with moisture in it will fuel the growth of molds. This is something you wouldn’t like to happen. Over time, molds will damage the fabric of the wader.
- Get the right fit. A proper wader fit will impact the lifespan of this apparel. A very tight wader will cause the seams to pop and the fabric to tear easily. As you move, you’re also putting a lot of stress on the material compared to getting a fitting option.
- Don’t overload it. Stashing as many items as you can on the wader pocket isn’t ideal. The excess weight will subject the material to excessive wear and tear. As much as possible, keep it light and bring only the essentials. You can bring a waterproof dry bag if you need to carry a lot of things in the water.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What should I wear under fishing waders?
A: During summer, I wear lightweight clothes and pants under my fishing waders. Choose a fabric with excellent moisture-wicking abilities while keeping you cool inside. You should opt for thicker clothes during winter as long as it will not affect your wader’s fit.
Q: Are neoprene waders supposed to be tight?
A: Just like with any fishing clothing, your wader shouldn’t be too tight, regardless if it’s made go neoprene or not. You should move, squat, and walk without feeling too constrained. If so, it means that your wader is too small for you. It’s important to get one with a decent ‘give’ so your knees and hips can move without too much difficulty.
Q: Can you wear jeans under waders?
A: During summer, you wouldn’t want to wear something too thick like jeans. This fabric is not breathable and it will just make you uncomfortable. Also, it will impede your knee movement, unless you wear a baggy type. However, baggy jeans are often bulky and heavy.
Q: Do you wear shoes inside of waders?
A: If you’re wearing a bootfoot wader, there’s no need to wear a pair of shoes. Nonetheless, you can wear socks if you want added cushion and warmth. You need to wear a pair of shoes outside for stockingfoot waders since it only has a waterproof sock.
Q: Can you use fishing waders for hunting?
A: Yes, fishing waders are versatile gears. You can wear it for hunting for added protection and warmth. Just make sure that you get one with a topnotch material for the wader to last long. So if you’re an avid angler and hunter at the same time, a wader will be an excellent choice for you.
Bootfoot waders for surf fishing protect you from the harsh saltwater and other elements. Instead of getting all soaked up and cold, you can keep yourself warm with a nice pair of waders. Just make sure that you get one with the right fit, material, features, and extras to make the most out of it.
What do you think of these waders? Let us know below!