Here’s a common adage regarding outdoor footwear:
“A pound on the feet equals 5 pounds on the back.”
What does it mean? Adding weight to your feet will result in extra strain on your back. And we don’t need any more of that!
After trekking to your fishing spot to wade through slippery rocks and reel heavy fish, backache is something we anglers cannot afford. As if backpacking fly fishing supplies isn’t enough already!
Hence, I present these best lightweight wading boots that will keep you comfortable due to minimal bulk but are still functional enough to nail their job.
Top Picks: Best Ultralight Wading Boots
Before jumping to the detailed review of the best lightweight wading boots, here are our top picks
- Orvis Men’s Ultralight Wading Wading Boot – Best Choice
- Chota Outdoor Gear, Rubber Soled Wading Boots – Most Versatile
- Korkers Redside Wading Boots – Customizable Traction
- Foxelli Lightweight Wading Boots – For Hiking and Wading
10 Best Lightweight Wading Boots
Now detailed reviews of all the best lightweight wader boots.
1. Orvis Men’s Ultralight Wading Boot – Best Choice
An angler would have seen this coming. When someone says “lightweight wading boots,” our minds instantly name the Orvis Men’s Ultralight Wading Boot. The sole purpose of designing these is to provide anglers the lightest boot they yearn for.
The material of the Orvis ultralight wading boot is called Clarino microfiber. It dries very quickly, is more rigid than leather, and has little weight. Plus, the top coating of a scratch-resistant rubber spray adds to the overall strength and life span.
The high-grade Vibram outsole and the EVA insole is the best possible combination for traction and comfort. Moreover, the outsole has strategic grooves to accept wading studs, if need be.
What’s not so good about them? The strong laces are pretty short. Though manageable, I would still like them a bit longer for better stability.
- Lightweight construction material
- Anti-abrasion rubber spray
- Vibram EVA sole
- Studs compatible
- Short laces
2. Chota Outdoor Gear, Rubber Soled Wading Boots – Most Versatile
Chota is a pretty well-established brand when it comes to outdoor gear. These incredibly lightweight fly fishing shoes are one of their best products. You can use them for wading, hiking, kayaking, hunting, and much more. The versatility of these ultralight wading boots is impressive.
The heels, toes, and ankles are all protected by padding and reinforcements. And the sole is a lush PU that keeps your feet relaxed when walking on the roughest terrain. Not to forget, the insole is removable and replaceable to let you tweak your comfort level. You can take the sole out and make space for neoprene waders if the weather calls for it.
The laces are another attention to detail. They are elastic to help you tighten them all you want. Plus, a pair of lace hooks are very feasible to secure these laces. Next, the ingenious side panels have a micro screen that helps in removing the water from these lightweight wading boots.
But the unavailability of half sizes was a turn-off for me. The boots also run a bit smaller than the standard shoe sizes.
- Versatile wading boots
- Protection around ankles, heels, and toes
- Comfortable and removable insole
- Elastic laces with lace hooks
- Side panels that remove water
- No half sizes
- Boots run small
3. Korkers Redside Wading Boots – Customizable Traction
The interchangeable soles in these lightweight wading boots by Korkers is a nice touch of innovation. You can opt between a rubber, and a felt sole to better adapt to the wading conditions. The two soles are easy to place using six pins that snap into place on the bottom of these wading boots.
Moreover, the material is very fast-drying to ensure that you don’t spread any harmful species when hopping from one lake to another. The cinch laces are effective at giving you a secure fit. And durability is what Korkers is known for. Their boots use abrasion-fighting materials and technologies that keep the shoes in shape even after years of abuse. My pair turned seven this year and is still going strong.
The only issue I faced was with the lace clasps. I could feel them getting loose when I was walking in mud. The boots stayed put, but the slipping clutch bothered me.
- Interchangeable felt and rubber soles
- Cinch laces
- Abrasion-resistant material
- The laces clasp didn’t stay tight
4. Foxelli Lightweight Wading Boots – For Hiking and Wading
The anti-slip rubber soles of these extremely lightweight wading boots make them fit for hiking too. The soft and flexible construction material sheds off extra weight and gives a comfortable fit. Hence, they are great value for money if you are looking for a 2-in-1 option. The insole is removable and takes care of your joints by being shock-absorbent.
The rubber guards around the toe area protect your feet when you unknowingly bump into rugged rocks. Also, the upper of these lightweight wading boots are abrasion-resistant, increasing the shelf life many fold. The drain holes work to remove all water accumulated in them when you step on dry ground.
The body of these boots is breathable to keep your feet from stinking. And the kick-log and lace hooks are small but convenient additions to the design. But what attracted me the most to buy these lightweight wading boots is their affordable price tag. Foxelli has managed to keep the price down without compromising on durability and functionality.
However, the vague sizing caused me a bit of trouble. These boots run pretty small, and even though I ordered two sizes up, they were still tight when I tried them with waders.
- Flexible and comfortable
- Rubber guards for toe protection
- Attention to detailing
- Affordable price
- Sized too small
5. Caddis Men’s Ultralite Felt Sole Wading Shoe – For Felt Lovers
These lightweight wading shoes by Caddis are a fantastic choice when the conditions call for felt soles, and the regulations allow them. With felt, they provide optimum traction on mossy rocks, sandy riverbeds, and wet logs.
The outer body of these lightweight wading boots is high-grade polyester. The toe and heel caps have reinforcements for better protection against injuries. The insoles have a cushion to prevent sore feet at the end of a full day of wading. Plus, the side panels are internally lined with foam to keep your feet relaxed.
The speed laces are handy to keep your feet secured within these boots. The pricing on these boots is also pretty moderate, considering all the benefits you get in a single package.
Although, I cannot say that there is no compromise on the durability. The seams on my pair of these lightweight wading boots started to come off after three or four uses. Sad!
- Felt sole for better traction
- High-grade polyester
- Cushioned insoles and side panels
- Speed laces
- Seams started to come off
6. Orvis Men’s Light Encounter Wading Boots – For Novice Anglers
Being new at fly fishing doesn’t mean you have to settle for substandard gear. Instead, it must be rough and tough to withstand your failed attempts at wading. Hence, Orvis created these lightweight fishing boots specifically for entry-level anglers.
The upper body of these lightweight wading boots is all synthetic material that is durable and fast-drying. These are rigid enough to fight off the scratches a river throws at them. The tough rubber toe guards protect your toes from injuries when you stomp your feet in rocks or protruded logs.
The soles are felt for optimal traction, but the fast-drying property reduces the chances of exotic species getting a ride to other water bodies through your wading boots. Also, the ankle collar has subtle padding to keep you comfortable while supporting your ankles and preventing them from twisting.
The sizing is troublesome, however. Even though the website suggests ordering the exact size you usually wear, I think these boots run pretty large. I wear a size 8, which is what I ordered, and these lightweight wading boots are still roomy. I recommend ordering one or two sizes down.
- Perfect for entry-level anglers
- Protection for toes
- Durable construction
- Very roomy
7. 8 Fans Men’s Fishing Hunting Wading Boots – Best on a Budget
The 8 Fans lightweight wading boots are one of my favorite budget boots for fly fishing. They are easy on the feet and provide adequate support while walking. The shoes are interiorly lined with foam all around. And the oxford upper with added reinforcements for toes and heels is tough enough to survive prolonged abuse.
Anyone who has suffered from an ankle injury will know the importance of ankle support. The ankle collar in these boots is rigid and padded to protect your ankles from rolling. In addition to that, it is wide enough to make room for your waders to let you fish in cold rivers too. The rubber soles provide exceptional grip over slippery river beds.
All in all, these are the lightweight wading boots that I usually recommend to seasonal anglers. You get great features in them, plus the price is pretty affordable too if you don’t want to splurge on high-end gear. The only issue with these is that they aren’t the quickest to dry.
- Lightweight wading boots on a budget
- Interior padding
- Toe and heel reinforcements
- Supportive ankle collar
- Take some time to dry
8. Adamsbuilt Gunnison River Wading Boot – Studs Compatible
These lightweight wading boots are terrific for anyone who needs to wade in highly slick conditions, but the state regulations don’t allow felt. The sticky rubber bottom of these boots has specific grooves for studs placement. You can place metallic or carbide studs in them and watch as their traction increases considerably.
Apart from the soles, the upper part of these lightweight wading boots has synthetic leather with mesh polyester that adds no extra weight to your feet. The necessary protection for injury-prone areas is also there. The traditional laces are simple to use and last a long time without giving you trouble.
But the same cannot be said for the construction of the boot. My pair started breaking down as soon as the duration for the return policy ended – only suitable for those who wade sparingly.
- Studs compatible sticky rubber sole
- Synthetic leather upper
- Protection for injury-prone areas
- Easy to use laces
- Not very durable
9. SoftScience The Fin Boot Men’s Boating & Fishing Boots – Most Flexible
Approximate weight: 2lbs
This fabric SoftScience boot didn’t look like much to me when I first saw its picture online. But great reviews compelled me to try them once. And they impressed me a lot! I was amazed by the support and stability they provide. And because of the synthetic and fabric materials, the weight is almost negligible.
I took them on a fishing trip with me that involved being on a boat and in the river for wading. The deck and river bed were both pretty slippery, but that didn’t bother me even once. The amazing anti-slip and non-marking rubber soles offer decent traction. The neoprene and mesh upper can keep your feet warm and is breathable as well. The mesh drains water quickly and dries even faster.
Also, the side zipper and the web strap on the top are convenient when you need to put on these boots.
They are easily the most flexible and lightweight wading boots I have ever tried. However, the mesh upper is not that good at keeping the sand out, but it is effortless to rinse them once you are done fishing. So, it’s a fair deal, in my opinion.
- Provide support and stability
- Good traction on deck and in water
- Neoprene keeps feet warm
- Mesh drains water quickly
- Sand can get in the boots
10. Redington Unisex-Adult Wading Boots – Seawater-Friendly
Our last entry in the list of most lightweight fishing shoes is these boots by Redington. These are light in weight as well as comfortable to wear. The EVA lining on the midsole area is shock-absorbent and enables you to sprint without difficulty.
The upper portion of these boots is rubberized for better protection against abrasion and scratches from the debris underwater. It also helps in keeping your feet safe from any injuries. Then, the drainage system is effective enough to remove the accumulated water and keep the boots light.
The hardware for the laces is rust-proof making these lightweight wading boots fit for use in seawater too. The laces themselves are elastic and long enough to ensure a tight fit.
One thing that I didn’t like is the wide toe box. Even after wearing waders, I could still feel some extra space around my toes. It didn’t bother me much, but the fit would have been better without it.
- Shock-absorbing EVA midsole
- Rubber material for abrasion-resistance
- Effective drainage system
- Suitable for seawater
- Wide toe box
Here are some most frequently asked questions people ask while buying the best ultralight wading boot.
Q. Which are the best lightweight wading shoes?
In my opinion, the Orvis Men’s Ultralight Pro is the best ultralight wading boots. They are lightweight and comfortable and offer the best possible traction. The material of these shoes is fast-drying, and the Vibram soles are studs compatible.
Q. Which lightweight fly fishing shoes are the cheapest?
The market is full of cheap options. But low price and quality products often don’t come hand in hand. Among the best lightweight wading boots, the Caddis Men’s Ultralight wader boots cost the least.
Q. Why do I need light wading boots?
It is simple logic. The lightest wading boots will be the most comfortable. They don’t cause backache and are the easiest to walk in.
Q. Are lightweight hiking boots also suitable for wading?
Q. Which materials make the most comfortable wading boots?
The most comfortable wading boots are lightweight, padded, and flexible. The materials usually used to make such shoes are synthetic leather, polyester, fabric mesh, rubber, etc.
So that was my take on the best lightweight wading boots that I have tried myself. Their lightweight helps me to wade through rocks all day and reel fish without having to think about my feet or back.
Although I reviewed ten, my favorite lightweight wading boots for fishing are the Orvis Men’s Ultralight Pro. They are one of the lightest wading shoes that offer the most benefit. The lightweight Clarino microfiber combines quick-drying times and durability.
So next time you wade, don’t take any extra weight!
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