What is the best companion for an angler? The best wading boots make the fishing experience comfortable and hassle-free. The top wading boots assist you on slimy and rough surfaces. In the river, it’s crucial to have wading boots that are lightweight, comfortable, and durable.
So, what are the best wading boots on the market? You must be thinking. With so many options it is not easy to pick the right option. To answer this question accurately I along with fellow anglers tested the best fly fishing boots of top brands in the field.
To summarize, I crown Simms Freestone as the best wading boots for fly fishing. The comfortable interior provides excellent traction. Plus the durability of boots is superb, they can last season after season.
Apart from Simms Freestone, the most versatile wading boots on the list are Korkers Devil’s Canyon Wading Boots.
P.S. If you are a woman, check out our complete guide on the best women’s wading boots.
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- Very Comfortable, easy on/off
- Great traction on rocks
- Best for fly fishing, and kayaking
- True to size
- Ample ankle support
- Interchangeable soles provide excellent traction
- Pretty durable
- Comfortable/ easy on and off
- Boa lacing system
- Good ankle support
- Fast drying
- Extremely lightweight
- Comfortable to wear
- Drain very well
- Flexible and durable sole
- Great for hiking on sharp rocks
Best wading boots provide comfort, stability, and traction in the water. In this wader boots review, after rigorous research, I have listed the 10 best products that you can use for fly fishing. And I have included a variety of options from budget to high-end wading boots, and from the best rubber to the best felt bottom wading boots.
Quick Buyer’s Guide
If you are an entry-level angler or you fish occasionally, it’s advisable to pick mid-range or budget fly fishing boots such as Foxelli Lightweight Wading Boots. However, if you are an experienced angler you should go for good quality best fly fishing boots such as Korkers Devil’s Canyon or Simms Freestone. They may come with a higher price tag, but they’re worth every penny. These boots are built to last, so you won’t have any regrets about your decision down the line. Trust me, it’s a smart investment for fly fishermen like yourself.
Always double-check sizing charts before buying. It is usually recommended to buy 1 size up from your regular (street) shoe size. This is how famous wading boots brands such as Simms, Korkers, Redington, and Frogg Toggs design wading boots. You can add neoprene socks along with fly fishing boots, which will take up some extra space in your wading boots.
Before buying new wading boot pair make sure they are durable, comfortable when treading in the water, quick-drying, and have ample safety for slick and sharp rocks.
Quick Answer List: Best Wading Boots
- Simms Men’s Freestone Wading Boots – Best Comfortable
- Korkers Devil’s Canyon Wading Boots – Best Versatile
- Foxelli Wading Boots – Light as a Feather
- Frogg Toggs Men’s Hellbender Fishing Boots – Best Entry-Level
- Orvis Women’s Ultralight Wading Boots – Best For Women
- 8 Fans Men’s Fishing Wader Boots – Best Under a Budget
- Simms Tributary Felt Sole Wading Boots – Best Wading Boots With Felt Soles
- Orvis Men’s Ultralight Wading Boots – Best Travel Wading Boots
- Lurewilder Men’s Felt Sole Fly Fishing Boots – Felt Sole On A Budget
- FROGG TOGGS Men’s Saltshaker Wading Boots – Best For Saltwater
Now the review of each wading boot. Follow along!
10 Best Wading Boots For Fly Fishing in 2023
1. Simms Men’s Freestone Wading Boots – Best Comfortable
The Simms Freestone wading boots are trusted for their quality and durability. Whether you are skidding rocks or in knee-deep water, these are built to hold up. I have walked miles upon miles in them and used them while kayaking, and trout fishing but they won’t budge for countless seasons.
Simms Freestone Wading Boots feature a rubber sole, hence providing excellent traction in rocky rivers. Wear them on your trip to an uneven, bumpy riverbank, and watch them brave all atrocities. These factors make Simms Freestone the best boots for waders. The manufacturers claim to use materials of the highest quality. The leather and the rubber making up the upper of the boot are scratch-resistant, fit to fight abrasions from rocks and rough water currents. Therefore, one of the best comfortable wading boots for fly fishing on rocky and slick terrain.
Another feature that I love about them is that they are exceptionally comfortable. The sole is cushioned and uses neoprene lining, keeping the feet warm even in the coldest streams. The ankle and toe support is excellent. You can walk around all day in them without worrying about sore feet.
Plus, they don’t add tons of weight to your feet, even after being drenched in water. The drainage system is superb and allows easy flow of water through them.
And then there is the warranty that Simms offers. Even though I haven’t claimed it, the boots came with a promise that in case of any damage or wear, Simms takes full responsibility for repairing or replacing the gear as best as they can. The generous offer only made me even more confident about my purchase.
Overall, Simms Freestone are the best wading boots for fly fishing. A pretty heavy-duty option when it comes to wading, But if you are a beginner to fly fishing, you might find them too large and chunky for comfort.
- Built to last
- Excellent traction over rocky banks
- Comfortable to wear
- Ample ankle support and padding all around
- Repair and replace warranty
- Take some time to dry
2. Korkers Devil’s Canyon Wading Boots – Best Versatile
Devil’s Canyon Wading Boots by Korkers are one of the best wading boots for fly fishing if you are looking to get the most out of one purchase (who isn’t?). Due to interchangeable soles, these wading boots are fit for all seasons. Take them fishing or hiking; the two soles adapt to multiple weather conditions.
You might say no thank you to the felt sole wading boots because of the risk of the spread of invasive species. But these Korkers wading boots are fast-drying, a key feature in minimizing the said risk. Also, you can switch between the two soles as per your needs without any worries.
Apart from that, these are also very strongly built. The rubber material on top is anti-scratch and was unchanged throughout my trip to Florida last summer. Since they have such high ankle support, I expected them to immobilize my ankle completely. But that was just not the case. I was relieved by the amount of support they provide, along with just the right amount of flexibility. But one may still find their height a bit intimidating.
The upper part of the boots is made of hydrophobic materials, which aid further in drying fast. Also, the lacing system is pretty quick and straightforward, which saves the trouble of spending a lot of time taking off or putting on your shoes.
I was pretty happy with the fit too. Although I’ve heard people ranting over how they are too small for their size, in my opinion, it’s all a matter of carefully studying the size chart and making a better judgment. Also, our team has reviewed the completed line-up of Korkers wading boots. Do check that out.
- Two sole options
- Drain holes and water repellent exterior for fast drying
- Sturdy enough to last a few trips
- Provide adequate ankle support
- Swift lacing system
- Height may be intimidating
3. Foxelli Wading Boots – Light as a Feather
These fly fishing boots by Foxelli are pretty underrated. They are not only light in weight but also on the pocket and are more durable than you’d expect. Also, good wading boots option for duck hunting as well.
The sizing with these could be a little confusing. The usual size that fits me feels a bit snuggly in these. To get the right size you can order a couple of sizes and send back the one that doesn’t seem to fit. The right size is surprisingly comfortable and has plenty of support. The padding in the sole supports the feet well and prevents fatigue from long walks.
Foxelli wading boots are one of the best lightweight quality wading boots if you are looking for reasonably durable wading boots. The rubber soles are very stable on rocky areas and provide a perfect grip.
What’s most pleasant about this pair of boots is that they drain fast after you take them out of the water. They have tiny holes especially made for this purpose which makes them light as feathers. Additionally, the upper is made up of nylon that prevents mud or sand from entering them.
Also, the lace hook and kick log is feasible attention to detail. You can put these boots on and take them off while holding your other fishing gear. Their minimalist design is fit for hunting too if you are not in the mood for fishing.
Lastly, Foxelli Wading Boots are pretty reasonably priced and provide great value for money. If you find Orvis Ultralight wading boots expensive this wading boot by Foxelli should be your go-to option.
- Sturdy and durable
- Comfortable to wear
- Great support and cushioning
- Great traction on sharp rocks
- Easy to put on and take off
- Good for hunting too
- Might skid a little on a mossy area
- Order a couple of sizes and send back the one that doesn’t fit
4. Frogg Toggs Men’s Hellbender Fishing Boots – Best Entry-Level
I’ve tried many inexpensive felt-sole wading shoes, and the ones that impressed me the most are by Frogg Toggs. These fulfill the need for a good grip on river bottoms without making a hole in your pocket.
The exterior is all PVC mesh which is both light and robust. The heel, however, features a nylon cover for added protection. The ankle collar is also padded and has a suitable height for subtle support and mobility.
You will like the fact these wading boots felt soles are replaceable. Since felt wading shoes tend to wear out very quickly, this is a very thoughtful specification.
The lacing system is as efficient and easy as an angler would want. An ergonomic mechanism with a lace clip keeps your shoes locked in place all day. Additionally, the ankle collar is wide enough to house your perfect waders. You’ll be surprised at how quickly they drain once you take them out of the water.
To conclude, Frogg Toggs Men’s Hellbender are one of the best entry-level wading boots for someone who wants to go fishing and doesn’t want to spend a lot.
- Low price-to-quality ratio
- Provide good grip
- The exterior is light and strong
- Nylon heel cover for protection
- Padded ankle collar
- Replaceable felt outsoles
- Drain water quickly
- A little oversized; fits well with neoprene socks
5. Orvis Women’s Ultralight Wading Boots – Best For Women
I’ve seen my Ma struggle with finding the right size of women’s wading boots for our family fishing trips in my childhood. She always ended up buying men’s boots in smaller sizes. They were never as comfortable as she would have wanted them to be. However, it delights me to see how companies have now started a separate line for women.
A few years ago, I got Ma these lightweight and comfortable fly fishing boots by Orvis. Because they are made to adapt to female feet, their sizing is a lot better. She was gleaming with happiness when they fit her tiny feet well, which men’s shoes never did.
She’s not that much of an adrenaline junkie anymore. So these Orvis Wading Boots haven’t been put to a real quality test. But from the look of them, I think they’ll last a couple of seasons, even though they’re pretty ultralight and petite looking. Moreover, the padding on the sole avoids any unnecessary stress on the feet.
Also, these Orvis women’s wading boots are swift to drain the water to avoid adding weight to the feet. The materials used in their making are light as well as strong. You get ripstop inserts in them that add to the strength without increasing the weight. And with the scratch-resistant spray on top of it, these shoes are ready to face any rough surfaces and weather conditions.
When it comes to traction, Women Ultralight is one of the best wading boots and easy to walk a long way to the water, plus the rubber soles are comfortable and provide great traction on all surfaces. For maximum grip on slick rocks, you can install studs.
- Light in weight
- Sizes appropriate for women
- Durable and strong
- Padded for avoiding fatigue
- Drain water quickly
- Laces are too short for some people
6. 8 Fans Men’s Fishing Wading Boots – Best Under a Budget
If you want to go fishing but don’t have much cash to invest in high-priced wader boots, why don’t you try these 8 Fans Wading Boots? These wading boots are very economical and one of the best budget wading boots. Also, they have decent strength in their design, provide good support over river shores, and have drain holes to avoid water staying in them. What more can one ask for at a subtly low price?
Their best feature is the toe and ankle support they provide. Cheap wading boots usually don’t have this good reinforcement in the toe area. But these do! Also, the heels have added cushioning to absorb any sudden jerks to the feet.
The rubber soles perform well on muddy and slimy rocks. Though not as great on algae-covered rocks, they become a lot better if you just invest in a few studs to the bottom. Still cheaper than their market rivals.
The ankle collar is wide enough to adjust your waders. The cushioning provides ample support to the ankle and protects against potential injuries from hard rocks or sharp objects in the water. Plus, they don’t weigh a ton and are satisfactory when it comes to user experience.
Overall, I think 8 Fans are the best wading boots under a budget and a good option for those who are just trying their luck at angling or those who plan to do it only a few times in a season.
- Reasonable price
- Satisfactory quality
- Fast-drying due to drain holes
- Good toe and heel support
- Comfortable ankle collar
- Need studs for better traction
7. Simms Tributary Felt Sole Wading Boots – Best With Felt Soles
It’s no secret that felt sole wader shoes are superior to rubber sole ones when it comes to traction on mossy rocks. They have been widely used on rocky shores and river banks. If you plan to fish in a state that allows felt bottoms, Simms offers an elegant option.
In this wader boots review, Simms Tributary wading boots are not only the best wading boots for slippery rocks; they also check all marks for quality. You can just look at them and realize how well-made they are. A friend of mine got them a few seasons back, and they are still in very usable condition. The top of these is made of quality textile and synthetic leather, which takes the wear and tear of fast currents well.
A strong rubber toe cap is convenient when you walk in knee-deep water and can’t see what you are stepping on. Imagine bumping into a sharp log underwater without any toe protection. Ouch!
But my favorite feature, however, has to be their reliability in slippery conditions. The felt outsole is very thick. Plus, when you screw in a few extra studs, you can just kiss all skids goodbye. So you can brave even the most uneven terrains with these wading boots.
However, I won’t recommend these to my hiker brothers. These boots are a little heavy. Their weight may not be ideal for taking with you on a climb.
- Very well-built
- Provide excellent traction in all circumstances
- Rubber toe caps protect against injuries
- Neoprene lining for warm feet
- Felt sole provides excellent traction
- Maybe a little heavy
8. Orvis Men’s Ultralight Wading Boots – Best Travel Wading Boots
These Ultralight boots by Orvis are an excellent alternative for anyone who finds Simms fly fishing boots bulkier or pro boa wading boots by Orvis too expensive. As evident by the name, the manufacturers considered making them as lightweight as possible for a better fishing experience. Think of the backache you get from walking upstream all day and having heavy boots to worsen it more!
Instead of traditional leather, these shoes use Clarino microfiber to take off a lot of weight without compromising quality. This material is also rapid to dry. This feature is vital for avoiding the extra weight of water in the wader boots.
The upper portion is sprayed with a scratch-resistant coating for protection against abrasion. These can withstand wear from sharp twigs, uneven stones, and unseen debris. Additionally, the midsole is made up of Ethylene-vinyl acetate, which is exceptionally comfortable and shock-absorbing.
The rubber soles are slip-resistant. They are designed keeping in mind the need to add any extra studs. You can add them strategically to suit the circumstances you need to use them.
The laces are a little small for some unknown reason. I think Orvis wading boots need to work on their laces length to produce the perfect all-rounder design. Other than that, these should be your go-to if you plan on taking your wading boots on a plane trip or when you need to pack light. Their weight and size are ideal for traveling.
- Very light in weight
- Travel friendly
- Fast drying
- Comfortable sole
- Soles are acceptant to studs
- Laces are short
9. Lurewilder Men’s Felt Sole Fly Fishing Boots – Felt Sole on A Budget
The felt sole wading boots by Lurewilder are great for fly fishing on rocks. The soles used in the fly fishing boots are usually very slippery underwater on mossy and slick rocks. A dear friend of mine asked for a budget option that could avoid such a scenario. After thorough research and analyzing different Wading boots reviews for felt sole boots, I recommended these by Lurewilder, and boy did they make my friend happy!
After multiple trips in these, the hardware is still standing soles are intact. And these shoes have been a pleasant experience. The felt sole feature is great traction-wise. You can take them to the slipperiest of slopes without second thoughts. Also, the cushioning on the wading boots felt is so damn comfy. (I tried them on for a while to confirm!)
The manufacturers claim that these are the best felt wading boots under a budget and have been tested to give you 500+ hours in the water without damaging their structure. While we are far from that many hours yet, they are still in good shape after 3 or 4 trips. So fingers crossed!
Also, they soak up very little water because of the high-density sponge used in the interiors. But because of the same sponge and foam padding in the tongue and ankle support area, they take some time to dry what little water they absorb. So this can be a two-way sword.
- Corrosion-resistant metallic rungs
- Comfortable padding
- Good grip on mossy surfaces
- Felt soled boots on a budget
- Take a long time to dry completely
10. FROGG TOGGS Men’s Saltshaker Fly Fishing Wading Boots – Best For Saltwater
I used these Saltshaker wading boots for saltwater fishing last summer along with my Korkers Darkhorse fly fishing boots, and I was quite happy with the performance. And I can say Saltshaker boots are definitely one of the best saltwater wading boots. The quality of the material is satisfactory. It has plastic lace hooks and can fight off corrosion for a long. The shoe weighs relatively little and is hence comfortable to wear. The midsole is also lightly padded to avoid sore feet after a long day of walking.
FROGG TOGGS Men’s Saltshaker Wading Boots constitute a cleated sole that helps achieve a better grip on the ground, both wet and dry. The strategic wedges in the outsole provide superb traction and give a very sporty and innovative overall look to the wearer.
The ankle collar provides support as well as protection. And internally, it is all neoprene, which gives insulation, and cushioning, and helps your foot slide through it for putting on or taking off this insulated wading boot.
But I’ve heard users complaining about the sole coming off after a few uses. It did not happen to me, but it must be such a bummer because other than that, the shoe is perfect. Frogg Togg’s Saltshaker shoes are pretty broad check sizing carefully before ordering.
You must have noticed by now how much I hate clammy feet! What I liked the most about them is that they dry very quickly. So if a boot can keep my toes dry, they’ll have my approval straightaway.
- Cleated sole for better grip
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Cushioned midsole
- Ankle collar provides support and protection
- Neoprene lining
- Dry quickly when taken out of water
- Check sizing carefully
Detailed Buying Guide – Best Fly Fishing Boots:
When treading in quick waters and skipping river rocks, best wading boots are an alternative to solid ground. The sole is specially designed to provide grip while walking. The toe and heel caps, on the other hand, protect from unseen debris you might stumble upon.
Among my most helpful gear for fly fishing, The Wading Kit provides the best top-of-the-list products. In this wading boots review, we’ve brought the best fly fishing boots for wading.
But how do you know which are the best boots for wading and which are not? An angler must invest his time and money in finding the best option whether felt or rubber. Below I am listing some essential features from my experience that make up a good wading shoe.
Dig Out Your Sole (pun intended)
The sole of a wading boot is where all the traction lies.
Essentially, there are two kinds of soles available;
Although slowly getting outdated, the felt soles are still superior to rubber sole wading boots when you try them on moss-covered rocks. They offer better friction and hence more stability. However, the felt wears off pretty fast and needs replacement every once in a while. Also, many states and countries have banned made felt sole wading boots use illegal because they assist the spread of certain invasive species. These microbes get trapped in the felt sole of wading boots and transfer to another water body via the shoes that are not dried completely.
Meanwhile, the rubber soles don’t have any such risk of spread associated. Also, they are more long-lasting. And performance-wise, they are still pretty good, if not equivalent. Patagonia has some best rubber wading boot options on the market.
So here are my two cents on the choice of sole; try to steer clear of the felt wading boot soles. Even if you need better traction, you can always add as many studs to your wading boots’ rubber sole as you like. This brings us to our following header;
You might need to add a few metallic studs to the bottom of your shoes in case you need more traction. Whether felt or rubber wading boots, always look for a sole that is made to accept screw-in studs when you require it.
Also, the studs should be easy to put in and take off. You’ll need to unscrew them when you don’t need them because first, they’re not easy to walk with. Second, studded wading boots are a nightmare if you are on a boat. They can get stuck in and destroy the wooden deck. So be wise, and study before you buy!
Watch Your Weight
Next, while choosing wading boots for your best fly fishing waders, look out for their weight. A heavy wader boot added with the weight of the water does no good to anyone. Instead of helping you in walking with ease, they will weigh you down and break your back. Plus, you cannot put them in your fly fishing hip pack or chest pack.
Dealing with any extra weight while tugging at your fishline is not everyone’s cup of tea. This is especially true if you are an amateur. That’s why you should go for the best lightweight wading boots.
But if you are going for wet wading I do not suggest using a wading boot. Instead prefer best wet wading shoes, which are specially designed for wading in summer in shallow water. Also, you can use wading pants instead of waders for wet wading.
When it comes to the best boots for wading, always remember this formula:
Fast draining = lightweight = comfortable boots
Many brands like Foxelli offer tiny holes in the bottom for faster drainage and help boots for wading in water. These, combined with high-quality padding material, make up boots that take only a couple of hours in the sun to dry completely.
Also, drying wading boots faster tend to prevent any build-up of mold in them.
The toe caps and ankle support are essential for keeping your feet safe from getting injured by any sharp objects underwater. Good quality rubber caps, best insoles for wading boots, and reinforcements in the ankle and heel area protect these injury-prone areas. And learn some techniques for safe wading.
Related Gear Guides:
Tips and Tricks for Prolonging Wading Boots Life
Here are some crucial points on taking care of your wading boots for increasing their life:
- Always rinse your boots with clean fresh water after you’re done using them. This prevents any rust or corrosion from the salt in the water.
- Use an old toothbrush or any other small brush to clean dirt from your shoes efficiently.
- Do not use soap or detergent to wash them.
- Instead, use a specialized boot cleaner or mild dishwashing soap with lukewarm water.
- Remove the laces before cleanup for reaching all nooks and corners.
- Do not keep the shoes near a heat source such as a heater, radiator, hairdryer, etc., for drying. The heat can melt or damage the glue and other material in them.
- Always air dry. Do not place them in bright sunlight for more than two hours.
- Do not stack them to avoid damage to their shape.
Here are answers to some most commonly asked questions by anglers regarding wading boot.
It depends on the kind of surface you are fishing on. For the slipperiest rocks, you may use up to 10 studs, while with other more stable ones, you can get away with using fewer.
Yes! You can easily unscrew the metallic studs from the bottom of your studded wading boots to avoid any damage to your boat.
This is a common misconception. Wading boots, on the contrary, are built to allow water in and out of them when submerged. If you want to keep your feet warm while fly fishing, try wearing wading socks or stockings.
For wide feet, you should consider wading boots for wide feet by Simms, Otherwise, going a size up may be a good idea while buying wading boots if you plan on wearing wader socks. These socks have a neoprene lining and take up extra space in your shoes. Or check out our guide on sizing wading boots.
A solid and sturdy wading boot is an angler’s best friend. It gives stability, protection, and comfort when you spend a long day in the sun trying your luck at fly fishing. They are the most critical gear you could have in your backpack. Take it from someone who has fished all his life.
Among these 10 best fly fishing boots I have reviewed above, my favorite are the Simms Freestone Wading Boots.
They are efficient and comfortable, and man, do they last! The interchangeable rubber and felt soles are unmatched when it comes to providing traction. Without a doubt, they are the best wading boot for fly fishing and a solid pair for hiking and hunting as well. And our budget pick is Foxelli Wading Boots.
So buy yourself a pair and fulfill your dream of fly fishing at a mighty river bank. Adios!
Also, do check our guides on the Best Fly Reels to learn more about fly fishing reels.