Must Have Fishing Wader Features

Updated on November 9, 2022 by
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To choose a high-quality set of fishing waders you should check that it has sufficient straps and buckles to achieve a comfortable fit, waterproof pockets for all your tackle, reinforced knees and gravel guards for durability and longevity.

There are several different features you should review before making a decision. These can be crucial, such as whether the clothes will keep you warm enough to stay on the water for long enough. Or they can be optional, such as how many pockets you need for all your flies.

Straps and Buckles 

When it comes to selecting a pair of quality waders, one of the most important things you’ll want to pay attention to is the quality and material of the straps or buckles along the shoulders, waistline and other areas. 

If you have a set of waders that are made with a poor quality buckle, you’ll risk having it break while you’re on the water. This will quickly ruin a fishing trip and can cause you more headache as you’ll likely spend a good bit more to replace the strap that’s broken. 

It’s also very important to make sure the buckles and straps will easily adjust and allow you to get the fit that’s just right out of your fishing waders. 

fishing waders
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Most fishing waders will feature a belt strap that should be used to cinch down and secure the midsection. This is very important to remember as failing to do so will eventually result in you falling in and having your waders fill with water, which is a surefire way to ruin a fishing trip. 


Having pockets in your fishing waders is a luxury that most brands will not afford. It’s important to look in the product description for any details regarding pockets or pouches as these will come in extremely useful when you’re actually on the water. 

Most high-quality fishing waders will have a fully waterproof interior pocket where anglers can store their phone, wallet, or other important items. If you’re able to purchase a premium set of fishing waders, you’ll likely have a pair of insulated pockets that will be very beneficial in keeping your hands warm when fishing in cold weather. 

Reinforced Knees 

If you’re experienced in using fishing waders, you’re likely to find that the area that takes more of a beating than anywhere else are the knees. Anglers often find themselves climbing over rocks, crouched down releasing their catch, or engaged in any number of other activities where their knee will make contact with the ground. 

A set of waders that has a reinforced padding on the knee will come in very useful in the long run as this is the area where most anglers find their waders having a small hole or tear. 

Remember that a set of waders with a hole in it is worthless.

Gravel Guards 

If you’re looking into getting a set of premium fishing waders with all the bells and whistles, check and see if the pair you have in mind will offer a feature that most anglers refer to as gravel guards. These small flaps come down over the top of your wading boot and will help prevent sand, rocks and other debris from finding its way into your boot. As most experienced anglers know, a rock in your wading boot will put a bit of damper on your trip. 

Styles of Waders 

As you search for your next set of fishing waders, you’ll find three main types or styles of waders that you can choose from. It’s important to assess once again what your needs are likely to be and whether or not you’ll be comfortable wearing a certain style of waders before purchasing them. 

Chest Waders 

These are the most popular style of waders as they will allow anglers to fish in deeper water while staying dry. Chest waders will generally come up to one’s chest just under their arms and feature two straps that attach over the shoulders and one cinch belt around the waist. 

Waist-High Waders 

Some anglers prefer to use waist-high waders as these will act to keep you cooler than a set of chest waders if you’re fishing in a hot climate. You’ll be more limited to the depth of water you can fish, but most anglers prefer these to other styles of waders as they’ll be much more comfortable. 

Hip Waders 

The third and least popular type that you’ll find on the market are hip waders. These will generally cover up to one’s hip and will look more like an elongated boot than anything else. Hip waders are great for hot climates where you don’t expect to get too far into the water. 

You should also consider the material for your waders – the most popular options are Neoprene or a more breathable material like Gore-tex.

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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.