Fishing Waders Page One

Types of Fishing Waders

Fishing waders are used in both the sports of fishing and hunting.  In hunting, waders are camo colored and usually insulated.  For fishing waders are normally sage or tan color.  Fly Fishing waders come in three styles: hip boots, waist, and chest waders.

Originally, the waders were made from rubber or rubber/canvas outer shells.  The wading boot was attached to the wader leg.  Generally the sole was a rubber lug sole.  If you were industrious, you could glue your own felt soles to the wader.

Then came nylon fishing waders.  Generally 440 denier weight, they were pretty tough.  They were still of the boot foot variety.  The nylon while tough was hot in the summer.  I wore a pair of these waders for 6 seasons before they wore out.

The next development was a nylon stocking foot wader which required separate wading boots.  (Image of 1971 Leather Wading Boots — First Pair of Wading Boots I ever owned)  Nylon Stocking Foot fishing waders were still hot and would tend to tear easily.  Meaning you needed to carry a repair kit of adhesive and patches along with you.

Leather Wading Shoes from 1971. This is the first pair of wading shoes I ever owned when switching from boot feet waders to stocking feet waders and wading shoes.

Leather Wading Shoes from 1971. This is the first pair of wading shoes I ever owned when switching from boot feet waders to stocking feet waders and wading shoes.

1972 saw the first significant improvement in outdoor products with the development of the first Gore-Tex fiber. In 1976, the first commercial order of Gore-Tex fabric was delivered to the Early Winters company.  Gore-Seam tape was released in 1979 to stop seam leaks.  After this the Gore-Tex product development has been many and varied.  See the Gore Product story  The problem with the Gore-Tex products was the high price.

Simms was one of the first to release Gore-Tex waders at a cost of some $400.  About 1995 as I remember, Hodgeman had a breathable wader in Supplex material.  This was not Gore-Tex but an alternate breathable product.  I purchased a pair in the brightest green color I have ever seen.  This pair lasted about 5 seasons when I purchased a pair of ADG breathable fishing waders. Currently I have been using a pair of Orvis Silver Label breathable waders going on my seventh season. While these were about 300 dollars new, a per season cost of less than 45 dollars per season is an outstanding bargain.

Presently fly fishing waders come these main styles and materials:

  1. Hip boots — rubber or rubber/canvas 2 ply material.  They are held up by straps that slip over your belt and snap.  The rubber/canvas will last longer.  Hip boots are becoming harder to get for fishing.  If you can get them, the felt soles are your best choice.  (makes wading on slippery rocks easier). Or get stocking foot and use a pair of the new aquastealth rubber or vibram style soles. With or without studs.
  2. Waist Waders — These come up to the waist like a pair of pants.  They are held up with a wader belt.  Modern styles are made from some type of breathable fabric.
  3. Chest waders — These are held up by removable elastic suspenders.  Most newer models use the Y type suspender. But the old H style is more comfortable. They come in rubber-boot foot with felt still, neoprene / wading shoe and breathable material / wading shoe models.Rubber, nylon or neoprene do not breathe.  They are hot in summer and cold in winter.  Neoprene waders have the advantage of insulating qualities for cold weather fishing.  Generally available in 3mm for warmer weather fly fishing.  And 5mm thickness for fishing in cold water and cold weather.  Neoprene is also more susceptible to pinhole punctures from thorns or tears from sharp objects than good quality breathable wader material.Breathable fishing waders are usually a 3, 4 or 5 layer laminate of an inner layer of soft nylon tricot, a second layer breathable membrane, a third layer of breathable adhesive and a final outside layer of microporous breathable material.  Better quality waders feature a 5 layer laminate on the seat and knees which are high wear areas.Additionally most breathable waders today are extremely puncture resistant to thorns, brambles or rocks.I highly recommend the breathable models as your best choice since they are not as hot in summer or as cold in winter.  Many of the new models will convert to a waist model for use during the summer. Using a thermal base layer under your waders during winter allows breathable waders to serve year round.

Fishing Waders Page Two

Marshall, Editor
Fly Fishing Colorado