The 6 Best Waders of 2024

Don’t let the depths stop you—find the best waders for what you do in the water.
A man in the water wearing a fishing sling pack holding a large fish

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After testing over a dozen waders in flooded timber, backcountry streams, and large rivers we picked the six best waders for hunting and fishing. If you’re interested in reading more options, we have buying guides on the best duck hunting waders, best fly fishing waders, and best waders for women.

How We Chose the Best Waders

The below waders were tested by Outdoor Life staff and writers while hunting and fishing. Durability, fit, and comfort were the key attributes tested.

Best Waders Reviews and Recommendations

Best for Fly Fishing: Simms G3 Guide Waders

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Key Features

  • 3- and 4-layer Gore-Tex fabric
  • Exterior fly patch
  • Air mesh suspenders
  • Large array of sizes

Pros

  • Breathable
  • No lace hooks
  • Durable

Cons

  • More expensive than some competitors

Simms is the unquestioned leader in the industry when it comes to waders. Some notable updates to these G3 waders include the addition of air mesh suspenders, which are significantly more comfortable than the solid fabric suspenders of the older models. Simms also managed to make the waders more supple and comfortable using a 3-layer Gore-Tex fabric upper section and improved the durability of the lower section using 4-layer Gore-Tex material. This results in a more comfortable, breathable wader that’s noticeably more tear and puncture resistant. 

Simms always focuses on building waders and products that solve problems or otherwise improve the angling experience. While it’s one of the smallest updates, nowhere is this mindset more noticeable on the G3 than with the removal of the pesky lace hooks on the built-in gravel guards. These hooks come standard on nearly all waders, and for the life of me I can’t figure out why. They rarely accomplish their limited task, and when they inevitably come unhooked, they create a seemingly magnetic attraction to fly line and cause constant foul-ups. 

There are a number of other quality additions, from zippered and fleece lined side pouches to the exterior fly patch, and all of them create an excellent wader with all the features a hardcore angler needs for a successful day on the water. The Simms G3 aren’t the top-of-the-line wader on the market, nor are they the cheapest. However, they do provide the absolute best all-around option for a dedicated recreational angler looking for high-end quality without dropping high-end money. – Kevin Hughes

Best Budget Fishing Waders: Frogg Toggs Canyon II

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Key Features

  • Sizes: S-2XL
  • Gravel guards
  • 4mm neoprene booties
  • 4-ply nylon upper
  • Stocking foot
  • Includes a wading belt

Pros 

  • Breathable
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • No waterproof pocket
A man in a river holding a fish
If you’re just starting out or rarely need waders, the Canyon IIs are hard to beat for the money. Scott Einsmann

I rarely need chest waders, so it doesn’t make sense for me to drop $600 on them. But, I also want waders that will perform the few times of year I do throw them on. At around $130, my Frogg Toggs Canyon II waders fit those requirements perfectly. I bought them ahead of a Salmon River trip and lived in them for three days as I stalked salmon in the riffles. I’ve since used them for my winter trout fishing with no leaks or issues. I like the comfortable shoulder straps, and the breathability is nice to prevent sweating while hiking into un-pressured waters. The Canyon II has two small pockets—one internal and one external. I typically use the internal pocket for important items like my license and keys. I use the water resistant external pocket to keep my phone at easy reach for photos. The Canyon II lacks the pockets, reinforced knees, and refined fit of premium waders, and you’ll also need to layer underneath them when fishing in cold water. But if your type of fishing doesn’t demand those added features or you’re just getting started, these waders will fit the bill nicely. —Scott Einsmann

Best Duck Hunting Waders Overall: Sitka Delta Zip Wader

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Why it Made the Cut

Delta are the best duck hunting waders overall because it’s an incredibly comfortable and durable wader that will keep your feet and body warm as long as you layer appropriately.

Key Features

  • Lacrosse insulated boots
  • GORE-TEX
  • Waterproof YKK AQUASEAL® zipper
  • Reinforced knee and shin pads
  • Adjustable no-buckle suspension
  • Water-resistant zippered storage pockets
  • Handwarmer pocket
  • Boot sizes: 9 to 13
  • Sizes: Small to XXL and tall sizes 

Pros

  • Extremely comfortable and lightweight
  • Boot fit and warmth is unmatched
  • Zip front is convenient

Cons

  • They’re expensive
  • The service program can be slow at times
  • D-Ring placement not ideal
A man standing on the bank of a lake in waders
The Delta’s knee and shin guards are crucial if you fall on ice during a hunt. Joe Genzel

The sticker shock on the Delta is unlike almost any other piece of duck hunting gear in waterfowl. It’s tough to get past $1,000 for waders, but it is the most comfortable hunting wader I’ve worn. It’s uninsulated, which is a negative for some, but if you want to be able to move more freely, a breathable wader is the way to go. You must layer up to stay warm when it’s cold. The zip-front also makes putting on and taking off the Deltas easy. And when nature calls, it’s nice not to have to worry about your waders falling in the water. The knee and shin guards are ideal when you must break ice, or if you fall and must take a knee, it saves your joints. The Lacrosse boot is incredibly warm. While wearing these waders, I’ve never had cold feet, and the tread offered exceptional grip.

The wader straps are a hassle at first. It’s not a buckle system. A piece of steel slips into the pockets located on the straps, which gives you more adjustability, but the straps tend to fall out every time you take the waders off. There is a small hook at the top of the steel that holds the straps in place, but the strap can come loose. That is until you get them good and muddy, and they stiffen up or dry mud sticks them to the steel insert. Also, the zipper can get stiff. There is zipper lubricant Sitka makes and sends with the waders that will help. I have sprayed it down with WD-40 or gun oil, and it slicks up. The D-ring on the elastic belt isn’t ideal. If you hook too many decoys it stretches away from the wader. Having the D-ring integrated into a steel insert on the upper or fabric of the wader would give it more strength.

There are three different color options for the Delta—Optifade Marsh and Timber or the new Earth solid. It also is available in boot sizes from 9 to 13, and comes in 11 different body sizes from small to XXL. MSRP: $999 -Joe Genzel

Best Priced Duck Hunting Waders: Frogg Toggs Grand Refuge 3.0

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Key Features 

  • Adjustable suspenders with low-profile buckles and D-rings
  • Internal zippered flip-out, see-through pocket
  • 4-ply polyester upper
  • Zippered front storage pocket with quick-access, 10-count shell holder
  • Internal fleece-lined hand warmer pocket
  • Adjustable wading belt with locking buckle
  • 120-gram quilted insulated liner
  • Patented zip-in, zip-out removable insulated liner
  • Heavy-duty, abrasion-resistant nylon in the shin, knee, and seat areas
  • 5mm, 1,200-gram Thinsulate Ridgebuster boot

Pros

  • Zip-out liner
  • Affordability
  • One-year warranty

Cons

  • Boot seal is unprotected
  • Boot slightly heavy
  • Small chest pocket
The best value duck hunting waders have a camo pattern and black boots
For only $300, these waders are well constructed with adjustable suspenders and a removable insulated layer. Joe Genzel

I have several frugal friends that wear these affordable, durable waders. None of those buddies reported a failure in the first season of hunting in them. The boots are excellent considering this is a $300 wader, though they are slightly heavy if you must walk into the blind. But I would put the tread and warmth of the boot up against any in this review except for Sitka, Lacrosse, and Chêne. The internal fleece-lined handwarmer keeps your hands much warmer than the pass-through types on the outside of waders. Since the warmer is on the inside of the wader you have the added warmth your own body heat provides.

A zip-out liner allows you to add insulation late-season or remove it during hot September teal hunts. The shoulder straps provide plenty of adjustment. I’m 6’4” and had plenty of stretch left in the straps. Frogg Toggs’ buckle system is a raised piece of plastic that fits into a hole on another piece of plastic affixed to the wader. You simply slide the strap up to secure it in place and it sits flat against your chest. A 10-shell holder on the chest of the wader keeps ammo at the ready, and there is also a small, zippered pocket above that for small items. There is a one-year factory warranty on the waders, which is remarkable for a $300 wader. Available in boot sizes 7 to 14 in slim, regular, or husky, and Mossy Oak, Realtree, and Natural Gear camo options. MSRP: $300 – Joe Genzel

Best Women’s Wader for Cold Weather: Patagonia Women’s Swiftcurrent Waders

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Key Features

  • Recycled polyester microfiber shell 
  • Single seam construction for durability
  • Rear-buckle drop seat
  • Velcro reach-through pocket

Pros

  • Easy access for nature’s calls
  • Comfortable
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Baggy, especially in the chest portion

Choosing a stocking-foot wader for cold weather may feel like a fool’s errand. They’re all thin, and they all need to be big enough to fit over plenty of layers. But there’s a reason this pair made the list as the best wader for cold weather: the drop seat. 

Patagonia has figured out an imperfect solution to bathroom needs on the river. The drop seat likely isn’t as convenient as a front zipper in men’s waders, but it’s leagues better than the alternative. Too many winter days in below zero temperatures have I had to take off my raincoat and whatever else didn’t fit inside my waders to strip down to heed nature’s call. It’s never ideal and always very, very cold. Enter EZ-Lock suspenders and rear-buckle drop-seat. 

If you want a wader that can do it all check out the Patagonia Swiftcurrent.
If you’re fishing in cold water, you can’t beat the Swiftcurrent waders. Christine Peterson

The EZ-Lock suspenders mean instead of clipping your suspenders on and off as you do with most waders, you slip them over your shoulder, pull up the front of the waders, and clip the lock closed. When you need to tuck behind a bush, you just undo the locks, reach around back, unclip the suspenders, then pull your waders down—no need to take off or even unzip your wading jacket. Just pull everything up when you’re done, reach behind and clip it back together. The suspenders are designed to stay put around your neck, and they do. 

The Swiftcurrent waders are plenty big in the top and legs, giving sufficient room for those critical cold-water-day layers, but they’re also light enough to navigate along slippery riverbanks and rocky bottoms. 

They have a minimalist design on the front with Velcro closing the hand warmer pocket and a zippered pocket for tippet, flies, and other gear. As one extra perk, the interior pocket is waterproof, which means you have a safe place to store your phone or other valuables. -Christine Peterson

Most Rugged Women’s Wader: Orvis Pro Wader

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Key Features

  • Removable knee pads
  • Durable, 4-layer upper shell and 5-layer bottom
  • Massive interior mesh stretch pocket
  • Reach-through pocket with water-resistant zippers

Pros

  • Durable
  • Athletic, thoughtful design
  • Knee pads 

Cons

  • Can feel stiff

If you fish a lot, this is your wader. It’s called the PRO for a reason, and it’s because this is one of the best waders for women who spend their lives on the water. From top to bottom, from the sturdy buckles to the anatomically-correct neoprene booties, the wader has been carefully designed. 

It feels stiff at first, but it’s also the most durable wader I’ve ever worn. Bushwhacking through miles of thorny greasewood didn’t phase them, and neither did kneeling on sharp rocks and gravel. They’re also great for climbing in and out of boats and kneeling on docks. 

The Orvis Pro waders are one of the best waders for women
Durability and thoughtful design features make the Orvis Pro a standout. Christine Peterson

While the major reason for purchase should be their toughness, a close second is all the thoughtful add-ons throughout. 

The fleece-lined kangaroo pocket in the front is closed by water-resistant zippers, keeping it dry and warm unless needed. A large interior pocket fits so snug to the waders that it’s almost imperceptible, but if you need to start dumping fly boxes inside, it stretches to fit your needs. A removable interior pocket has space for spools of tippet and other accessories. There’s also a strip of Velcro on the inside to affix a waterproof pocket (sold separately). 

The travel guards have mesh backs, keeping water flowing in and out instead of trapping it inside, and neoprene booties are thinner than some other brands, meaning they’re less bulky and better fitting inside boots. 

If you need it all, these are your waders. -Christine Peterson

How to Choose Waders

First and foremost, consider how many days you’ll realistically use your waders and how much stress you plan to put on them. If you plan to spend as much time as possible in them, then you should probably invest in a high-end pair of waders that will handle the wear-n-tear. If you only plan to fish a couple of times throughout the year or a few quick trips, buy a pair of waders that’ll keep you dry and your wallet green. 

When it comes to dialing in the specific size and fit you’ll need, there are five key measurements to consider: chest, waist, hips, inseam, and foot size. Most wader companies provide a sizing chart that incorporates all of these and allows you to select the perfect wader size for you. For an additional fee, Simms takes this a step further by offering customized wader options to better accommodate anglers of all shapes and sizes. – Kevin Hughes

FAQs

Q: Should I buy stocking foot or boot foot waders?

Most anglers will choose boot foot waders because they’re more versatile for different types of stream beds and are ideal for hiking. Boot foot waders are better if you’re in mud because your boot can’t get pulled off your feet.

Q: What’s the best all-around wader?

The Simms G3 is excellent for both hunting and fishing.

Final Thoughts on the Best Waders

Waders need to be durable enough to last several seasons and comfortable enough to live in all day. Our best waders picks fit that criteria, and you’ll just have to choose the waders that are best for you.

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Scott Einsmann

Executive Editor, Gear

Scott Einsmann is Outdoor Life’s gear editor. He oversees the gear team’s editors and writers who are subject matter experts in bows, knives, hunting, fishing, backpacking, and more. He lives in Richmond, Virginia with his wife and two bird dogs.

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