Picture this! After hours of walking upstream, you’ve finally found the perfect angling spot. You take out the fishing rod, hook the bait, and just when you are about to have a seat on a comfortable rock, the sole of your wader boot comes off!
We’ve all been there, haven’t we?
I’ve been an angler for as long as I can remember. The best tip I can give any beginner is to invest in one of the best wading boots out there when you plan on fly fishing. These boots are an angler’s best friend because of the traction they provide. They come in a variety of materials and specifications to suit different needs.
So which one will you buy? Tricky question, huh?
Through my years of experience in fly fishing, I have tried several brands and models of wading boots. Some have performed exceptionally well, while others, not so much. Here, I present this wader boots review with the 10 best fly fishing wading boots to help you decide before purchasing.
10 Best Wading Boots
If you want to get the best wading shoes for your next trip to the lake, this wading boots review can help you choose one.
- Simms Men’s Freestone Wading Boot – Rough and Tough
- Foxelli Wading Shoes – Light as a Feather
- Korkers Devil’s Canyon Wader Boots – Interchangeable Soles
- Orvis Women’s Ultralight Wading Boots – For Lady Anglers
- 8 Fans Men’s Fishing Wader Shoes – For Those on Budget
- Simms Tributary Felt Sole Wading Boots – Best Felt Wading Boots
- Orvis Men’s Ultralight Fly Fishing Boot– Travel Friendly
- Frogg Toggs Men’s Hellbender Fishing Boots– Felt Sole on a Budget
- Lurewilder Men’s Felt Sole Fly Fishing Boots – For Salty Water
- FROGG TOGGS Men’s Saltshaker Fly Fishing Wading Boots – With Cleated Bottoms
1. Simms Men’s Freestone Wading Boot – Rough and Tough
The Simms wader 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, but they won’t budge for countless seasons.
Simms Freestone Wading Boots feature a rubber sole, hence provide excellent traction in rocky rivers. Wear them on your trip to an uneven, bumpy riverbank, and watch them brave all atrocities. 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 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 toes 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.
So overall, these men’s wading boots are pretty heavy-duty 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
- Lightweight, comfortable to wear
- Ample ankle support and padding all around
- Repair and replace warranty
- Maybe too chunky for a beginner
2. Foxelli Wading Shoes – Light as a Feather
These wading boots by Foxelli are pretty underrated. They are light in weight and on the pocket and are more durable than you’d expect. Also great wading boots for duck hunting.
The sizing with these could be a little confusing. The usual size that fits me feels a bit snuggly in these. But 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. I suggest that you try the shoes on before purchasing.
Foxelli wading shoes are also great if you are looking for reasonably durable and stingray-proof wading boots. The rubber soles are very stable on rocky areas and provide a perfect grip. Hence, the best lightweight and durable wading boots.
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 best-wet wading shoes. 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.
- Sturdy and durable
- Comfortable to wear
- Great support and cushioning
- Provide good grip on wet rocks
- Easy to put on and take off
- Good for hunting too
- Sizing can be a little tricky
3. Korkers Devil’s Canyon Wader Boots – Interchangeable Soles
These are one of the best wader boots if you are looking to get the most out of one purchase (who isn’t?). Due to the interchangeable soles, these boots are fit for all seasons and are our top choice in this wader boots review. 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 Krokers wading boots are fast-drying, a key feature in minimizing the said risk. Hence, 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 Montana 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.
- 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
4. Orvis Women’s Ultralight Wading Boots – For Lady Anglers
I’ve seen my Ma struggle with finding the right wading boot 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 I 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, and are one of the best wader boots for women. 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. Therefore, best wading boots for women.
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.
But when it comes to traction, the rubber soles alone do not suffice. You may need to buy and install some studs in them for maximum grip on slick rocks.
- Light in weight
- Sizes appropriate for women
- Durable and strong
- Padded for avoiding fatigue
- Drain water quickly
- Need studs for better performance on slippery surfaces
5. 8 Fans Men’s Fishing Wader Shoes – For Those on 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 Best Fly Fishing Wading Boots for Men? These fly fishing boots are very economical and one of the best wading boots on a budget. Fans Wading boots are great for fishing as well as hunting. They have decent strength in their design, provide good support over slippery rocks, 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 clearance wading boots usually don’t have this good of 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 slippery 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. So I think these are the best fly fishing boots an excellent choice for beginners who are just trying their luck at angling or those who plan to do it only a few times.
- Reasonable price
- Satisfactory quality
- Fast-drying due to drain holes
- Good toe and heel support
- Comfortable ankle collar
- Need studs for better traction on slippery stones
6. Simms Tributary Felt Sole Wading Boots – Best Felt Wading Boots
It’s no secret that felt sole wader shoes are superior to rubber sole ones when it comes to traction on slippery rocks. They have been widely used in 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, these felt sole boots are not only the best when it comes to traction; 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 a 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. Best wading boots for cold weather, as the neoprene lining ensures warm feet even in the coldest of weather and insulates wading boots.
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. With their spectacular traction, you can brave even the most uneven terrains.
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
- Maybe a little heavy
7. Orvis Men’s Ultralight Fly Fishing Boot- Travel Friendly
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 have heavy boots to worsen it more!
Instead of the traditional leather, these shoes use a 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 in.
I, however, noticed a minor setback. The laces are abruptly 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
8. Frogg Toggs Men’s Hellbender Fishing Boots- Felt Sole on a Budget
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 slippery surfaces 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. Hence provide the best traction in cold water.
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 water.
To conclude, these are great for someone who wants to go wading and doesn’t want to spend a lot. They may not be as long-lasting as Simms, but still the best wading boots for cold water and entry-level anglers.
- 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
9. Lurewilder Men’s Felt Sole Fly Fishing Boots – For Salty Water
The metal used in the wading boots usually rusts away when used in salty water. A dear friend of mine asked for an option that could avoid such a scenario. After thorough research and analyzing different Wading boots reviews for saltwater fishing, I recommended these by Lurewilder, and boy did they make my friend happy!
After multiple trips to the sea in these, the metallic hardware is still standing. Far from corrosion, these shoes have been a pleasant experience. They feature a felt sole, so they are 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 shoes 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 forever to dry what little water they absorb. So this can be a two-way sword.
- Corrosion-resistant metallic rungs
- Comfortable padding
- Good grip on slippery surfaces
- Take a long time to dry completely
10. FROGG TOGGS Men’s Saltshaker Fly Fishing Wading Boots – With Cleated Bottoms
These wader boots constitute a cleated sole that helps achieve a better grip of 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 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.
The ankle collar provides support as well as protection. And internally, it is all neoprene, which gives insulation, cushioning, and helps your foot slide through it for putting on or taking off these insulated wading boots.
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. Also, the sizing is a bit weird, especially if you have slim feet. These shoes are pretty broad and may be too big for someone that doesn’t have large feet.
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
- Sizing is a bit bigger than usual
When treading in quick waters and skipping slippery rocks, the 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 value wading boots for the money.
But how do you know which is the best wading boot and which is not? An angler must invest his time and money in finding the best wading boots on sale for himself whether felt wading boots 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 sole wading shoes are still superior to rubber sole wading boots when you try them on a moss-covered rock. 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 wading boots use illegal because they assist the spread of certain invasive species. These microbes get trapped in the felt sole wader 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.
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 a wader boot for you, look out for its 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 backpack if you are not using them.
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.
When it comes to 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 for boots that take only a couple of hours in the sun to dry completely.
Also, faster drying boots 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 from any sharp objects underwater. Good quality rubber caps and reinforcements in the ankle and heel area protects these injury-prone areas.
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.
Q. How many studs should I put in my wading boots?
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.
Q. Are wading boots studs removable?
Yes! You can easily unscrew the metallic studs from the bottom of your studded wading boots to avoid any damage to your boat.
Q. Do wading boots keep your feet dry?
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 dry, try wearing wader socks or stockings.
Q. Do I need to buy a size bigger for wading shoes?
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 the extra space in your shoes.
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.
So it’s time for the big reveal now. Among these 10 best wading shoes I have reviewed above, which one is my personal favorite?
My go-to boots, which I always recommend to my fellow anglers, are (drum roll) the Simms Men’s Freestone Wading Boots. They are efficient, comfortable, and man, do they last! The rubber sole is unmatched when it comes to providing traction. Without a doubt, they are the best wading boots for fly fishing and a solid pair for hiking and hunting as well.
So buy yourself a pair and fulfill your dream of fly fishing at a mighty river bank. Adios!
The Wading Kit is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission, without any extra cost to you. Learn more.