Fishing Waders Page One
Types of Fishing WadersFishing 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. (Graphic 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.
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 for almost five seasons.
Presently fly fishing waders come these main styles and materials:
- 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)
- 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 breathable fabric.
- Chest waders -- These are held up by removable elastic or leather
suspenders. They come in rubber-boot foot, nylon stocking foot -
wading shoe models, neoprene - wading shoe and breathable material - wading
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 like Orvis feature a 5 layer laminate on the seat and knees which are high wear areas. Orvis advertises their waders to allow water vapor to escape above and below the water line. Meaning you stay dry summer or winter.
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.