3 Different Types of Fishing Waders


Updated on November 18, 2022 by
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Many anglers have a certain brand or style of waders that they’re already very fond of and probably wouldn’t consider trying a new pair of waders. We fully understand this approach, as you’ll probably want to stick with a high-quality brand or style once you’ve tried a few different pairs and found the perfect one for your needs. 

If you’re a new or novice angler and you’re not quite sure about what type of waders you’ll need, we will help explain some of the most important aspects of a quality set of fishing waders in our buyer’s guide. There are certain quality indicators and other characteristics that you’ll want to look out for when it comes to narrowing down your list to the best fishing waders on the market today. 

Man wearing Fishing Waders

Wader Designs 

There are three styles of waders that are prevalent in today’s market – stockingfoot waders, bootfoot waders, and hip waders. Each one has its own specific advantages and it’s important to weigh your options based on what your needs are likely to be in the area you plan to fish. 

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Stockingfoot Waders 

If you’re an avid angler who spends a great deal of time on the water or hopes to reach that point in your pursuit of fishing, a pair of stockingfoot waders will be your best choice. These are ideal for several reasons, but you must be aware that you’ll need to purchase a pair of wading boots in addition to your waders. 

For most serious anglers, this is an extra cost they’re willing to invest in their equipment as having a solid pair of fishing boots presents some significant advantages in their own right. 

If you purchase a separate set of wading boots, you can get a much more customized fit that will allow greater ankle support and fit your feet in a much better fashion. This simple difference can go a long way when fishing on top of slippery rocks in the middle of a fast-moving current. 

Any angler who has spent more than a few hours fishing in a river has likely taken a tumble into the cool water more than once. Having a good pair of wading boots will greatly increase your footing and lead to a much more enjoyable fishing experience. 

Stockingfoot waders are usually designed with a stocking that’s made of neoprene which allows you to wear your choice of boot in the water. These types of fishing waders are highly recommended by anglers who are serious about their craft. 

Bootfoot Waders 

If you’re looking into purchasing a more affordable type of fishing waders, you’ll likely find that most options available are known as bootfoot waders. This means that there is a boot attached to the foot portion of the waders that you’ll need to specially order to your own foot size to get the right fit. 

Most bootfoot waders will feature a standard rubber boot attached just below the knee. There is nothing wrong with starting out with a pair of bootfoot waders, but you’ll quickly find that if you plan to fish a decent amount of time, you’re better off investing in a more expensive pair of waders that allows you to select your own boots. 

If you do opt for a pair of bootfoot waders, be sure to select a pair that offer slip-resistant sole since you’ll be less likely to fall walking along the rocks around your favorite fishing spots. 

Hip Waders

Hip waders are often described as waterproof pants, but they can be built into a set of boots. This ensures the boots are waterproof and gives the best resistance to cold. You will often find this style of waders being advertised as wading pants. They only come up to your hips, so you will need to pair them with a waterproof jacket.

You should only consider hip waders if you are confident that you will never enter deeper waters. This does limit your fishing opportunities.

Benefits of Fishing Waders

Fishing waders serve multiple purposes – waterproofing and cold resistance.

They are most commonly used by fly fishermen who spend all day standing in the middle of a fast-flowing river. Professional fishermen will also wear waders onboard their fishing boats to keep them warm and dry from salt spray.

To understand their importance, you only need to spend a few hours fishing in cold water without waders. The foot protection bootfoot waders offer is also significant, especially if you are walking directly across sharp rocks on the river bed.

When it comes to picking the best waders for you, you need to consider the fit in terms of comfort, the material and thickness for insulation. There are two different materials to choose from – neoprene or Gore-tex. Gore-tex waders are more breathable and lightweight than neoprene but do come with a higher price tag.


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Russ Egan

Russ is an avid fisherman. He has fished all over the world for more than two decades, primarily for saltwater game fish but also for local trophy fish. Russ writes reviews for all of his fishing gear to help others achieve their own fishing goals. His favorite reel is a Shimano Curado Baitcaster. His dream is to catch a Black Marlin.