There’s only one question to ask when it comes to waders…

…and of course that is, do they keep you dry? And whether they actually do keep you dry or not depends on the quality and the material used to make them. And yes you can go for nylon waders to make sure you keep dry within lightweight material, but they can be hot!

Choosing the right fly fishing waders: Your essential guide to not slipping up!
For a start, get out the measuring tape and record some accurate essential measurements. The three most crucial numbers are the largest girth around your chest, waist or hips, your inseam (i.e. from your crotch to the floor). Once you’ve got the measurements, ask yourself these questions:

What do you wear under fishing waders?
Whatever’s under your waders, make sure it’s a soft, warm, comfy choice that keeps the cold out while offering a moisture-wicking barrier between you and the waders. Microsuede fleece and a comfortable elastic waistband with drawstring give a perfect customisable fit. And here’s a handy tip: a tapered leg helps hold your pants in place when pulling your waders on.

Do you want your waders tight?
If you’re a beginner fly fisher, one of the first questions you’ll ask yourself is how should your wader fit around the chest. If you like your waders snug then choose Neoprene, however remember that they are not the warmest material for cold weather… which means in winter months you might want more room for some warm layers underneath.

How long should waders last?
At the very least you can expect to get between five and six years from a pair of half decent fly fishing waders. That estimate is based on breathable waders last being used for about 90 to 95 fly fishing days a year. And they will be worth every cent. If your waders aren’t lasting that long, you’re probably buying too cheap.

How do you take proper care of your waders?
Here’s 8 essential tips for careering for your fly fishing waders:
Make sure you dry them out properly
Roll them, don’t fold them
Store them flat or hanging
Store out of direct sunlight
Wash your waders by hand
Rinse them off with saltwater
Make sure you cut your toe nails
Apply DWR liberally after use

Wading boots
If you want fly-fishing wading boots, we’ll tell you all about it.
Like many other specialist pieces of sporting kit, there are a number of aspects to fly fishing wading boots to consider before you buy. For a start, wading boots generally need to be a size up, maybe a size and a half up, from your normal hiking boot size to enable the wearing of wading socks.

So, the big question about wading boots: Do they actually keep your feet dry?
It’s not as silly a question as you may think, because the answer is: No! In fact, wading boot are designed to enable water free flow through, it’s the wading sock that keeps you dry. The reason is simple… you need stable wading without the extra weight of water putting you off balance.

The other big questions about fly fishing wading boots…

Can you wear wading boots without waders?
Well you can, you can do what you want, but be warned that Neoprene wading socks or booties will not drain well and your socks will take on more water. So if you’re planning any hiking between super secret fishing spots, be warned!

Why are felt soled boots illegal?
Fly fishing wading boots have been illegal since 2009 in a number of states. The restricted use of felt-soled waders and wading boots is largely to combat the spread of invasive species which such boots help transmit. These regulations are governed through legislative and administrative channels.

Can you use hiking boots for wading?
The general consensus is that, as far as wading boot innovation has come over time, they are not ideal hiking boots. They are built especially to combine the dual core functions of wading boot and hiking boot, but the necessary waterproofing means they are simply not optimal for hiking.

What brands of wading boot should you look for?
Accessibility of technology means that you don’t necessarily have to shop the big brands to ensure quality in fly fishing wading boots, but that said there’s always a place for a popular “top 5”… this list seems to represent the top 5 wading boot brands online in 2019:
Patagonia
Orvis
Simms
Redington
Vision

Wading socks
OK from the top… exactly when do you need wading socks?
Wading socks aren’t an essential kit for every fly fishing trip, because there are things to think about. For example, thick socks will restrict circulation and make your feet cold, plus they can lead to your feet being soaked with sweat. So, it’s best just to wear wading socks when you really need them.

Then when you know you need wading socks, which ones to get?
Firstly, to state a fact: There are plenty of wading socks which are made especially for wet wading, and such socks are normally made of cotton, lightweight wool, polypropylene, or neoprene. But you, like many other fly fishers, may prefer to wear socks that are long enough to roll back over the top of your wading boots… which means you may need to expand your horizons.
To find the perfect wading socks for you, ask yourself these questions:

Are wading socks waterproof?
In a word, no! Even though wading socks are made for wet wading, they are not waterproof. If you use them with a wet wading boot, water will flow through the sock and get stuck in your sock.

Should you wear socks with neoprene waders?
In the old days, fly fishing waders were all about vulcanized rubber and neoprene, which was effectively like fishing in a really heavy-duty garbage bag… very waterproof, but very uncomfortable and inconvenient. So make sure you wear the right waders that keep you warm but mobile.

Should you wear wading socks with fishing shoes?
You should wear boat shoes with socks you can see. It’s a huge no-to wear wading socks with boat shoes, simply because they just don’t work. You’ll be uncomfortable, unstable and, if you’re one who normally likes to look the part, you’ll feel particularly unfashionable.

Should you wear Felt Wading Socks?
There are lots of reasons to say “yes” to this one. Felt wading socks do a great job helping you grip dry rocks on the bank. Dangerous slips are always a concern for fly fishers, so anywhere you have a felt sole assisting grip is a great thing, especially in freestone streams with rocks and gravel.