The best waders for fishing should keep you dry and comfortable.
From breathable chest waders to hip waders, wading boots to wading jackets, we have tested the best wading gear for fishing in Alaska.
Choose the best wading gear from our list of favorites below.
These are the best fishing waders and wading gear for 2019
|Caddis Breathable Stockingfoot Waders|
This a great pair of waders for the person looking for quality at a reasonable price. Lightweight, tough, and generously cut are just a few things that come to mind. The front chest pocket keeps essentials in easy reach and is large enough to hold most smart phones. The neoprene gravel guards stayed put and didn’t constantly try to roll up or ride up over our tester’s boots, a problem he has encountered with some other waders. Their light weight makes them comfortable for all-day wear.
|Orvis Women’s Ultralight Convertible Wader|
Our tester Melissa Norris tried several women’s wader models this year and discovered she liked these Orvis waders best. “It’s the fit,” she said, “At 5’5” and average proportion, the regular length fit my torso really well and there are’t miles of extra fabric in the legs.” In women’s waders it’s really all about budget and fit. You have to get out there and try on a lot of different pairs before deciding. Melissa also really likes the lightweight aspect of these waders; she was comfortable wearing them all day. They come in petite, regular, or tall.
|Simms G3 Guide Pant|
We tested these wading pants in 2018 and liked them. They work well when you don’t have to wade too deep and are less confining than chest waders. We like the waist belt and how it cinched the pants down, as well as gave us a place to hang pliers. These pants are made from GORE-TEX Pro fabric which is waterproof, windproof, and breathable.
|Orvis Ultralight Wading Boots|
These boots are lightweight, comfortable and provide both ankle support and excellent traction. They are cut a little lower than a normal wading boot and we liked that. They weigh about 2½ pounds per pair and that reduced weight helps fight fatigue over a long day spent wading. The Vibram outsole features Orvis’ lug pattern and is designed to accept metal studs.
|Orvis Ultralight Convertible Waders|
This fast became one of our tester’s favorite pair of waders. These things are super lightweight, tough and they aren’t over loaded with unnecessary features that get in the way. The convertible function makes getting into and out of the waders a cinch and the generous cut makes them comfortable for long days on the water. One feature we especially like is the built-in gravel guard that doesn’t look like an afterthought.
|Caddis Natural Ensemble Wading Shoe with Ecosmart II Sole|
These boots performed flawlessly all summer long. Our tester opted to add the smaller metal cleats that were included for additional traction on slippery rock surfaces and had zero problems navigating through some pretty nasty stuff while flyfishing for trout and salmon. The cleats were easy to install and remove, just a few minutes is all it takes. If you’re looking for a great pair of boots at a reasonable price point, these boots from Caddis are tough to beat.
|Korkers Devil’s Canyon Boot|
Korkers Devil’s Canyon boots are incredibly light, fit great and are a great choice for the angler who fishes in many different places due to the variety of OmniTrax soles you can put on these boots. What’s more, with their tennis-shoe-like comfort, the Devil’s Canyon boot is great for anglers who cover a lot of ground while fishing. The M2 BOA lacing system has proven itself over the years, and it’s a cinch to quickly don these wading boots and lace them with only one hand. Made of hydrophobic materials, these boots dry fast, so they are less likely to spread invasive species. Our tester loves them, and though the M2 BOA has proven reliable, he recommends having a replacement BOA kit in case you have one break.
|Redington Sonic-Pro HDZ Waders|
The Redington Sonic-Pro HDZ Waders are durable and versatile. The front zipper adds flexibility and makes getting into the waders easy. The zipper is waterproof and strong. The number of pockets offer ample storage and the two-sided, fleece, hand-warming pockets with water-resistant zippers are well done. The 3.5 mm neoprene booties have a 4 mm bottom for additional ergonomic comfort.
|Orvis Women’s Ultralight Wading Boot|
Melissa Norris admits, “I have big feet—I’m only 5’5” and wear a size 9 ½ shoe. In a size-small wader that usually means a tight stocking foot unless you order a custom pair. Wearing the Orvis Women’s Ultralight Convertible Wader, the neoprene bootie and these boots are a comfortable combination.” She also commented she likes the low-top aspect, and achilles-area cut outs, for maximum movement and comfort.
|Columbia Sportswear Men’s Flycaster OutDry Ex Wading Jacket|
This lightweight, water-tight jacket is unusual in that it has a tough, waterproof membrane on the outside, and a soft, wicking fabric inside. It’s made of Columbia’s OutDry EXTREME waterproof, breathable fabric, with zippered chest pockets, adjustable outer cuff, adjustable watertight inner cuffs to prevent water intrusion on your arms, and a rod holder. The hood can be rolled up into the collar. Our tester commented that this was the lightest wading jacket he’s ever worn.
|Korkers OmniTrax Soles|
Korkers has sole, enough for virtually any wading situation. It’s safe to say the OmniTrax V3.0 soles are proven reliable. OmniTrax soles are available in 12 different configurations, including a couple felt versions, the Svelte II version, and numerous studded and barred versions. By purchasing different soles, you can have a wading boot that you can use anywhere in the world and have the right wading grip. No longer do you need a pair of felt-soled boots, studded felt-soled boots, rubber soled for Alaska or for boat use, aluminum-bar-soled boots, and so on. Get a pair of Korkers boots and the appropriate soles and you’re good to go.
|AQUAZ Trinity Jacket|
Aquaz hit it out of the park with this breathable, three-layer wading jacket. It features a three-point adjustable hood, huge back pocket, multi-layered tool pocket on the left chest, fly-box pocket on the right chest, fleece-lined hand-warmer pockets with water-tight zippers, D-rings in strategic places and a fleece-lined collar. This jacket is cut just roomy enough to not restrict mobility. The front pockets and zippers are low profile which prevents fly lines or running lines from catching on them while shooting line. The adjustable cuff system can be cinched down tightly to prevent water intrusion. This is a high-quality wading jacket that stacks up well against more well-known brands.
|Patagonia Ultralight Wading Boots|
These boots live up to their ultralight name which makes them easy to walk around in all day, and when getting in and out of boats. They are fairly rigid and provide exceptional ankle support. We also found that the soles are grippy, which aids in staying upright when wading on slippery rocks. We tried them for both men and women and each of our testers found them comfortable and well made.
|AQUAZ KENAI Convertible Chest Wader|
The first rendition of the KENAI Convertible wader won an ECA a few years back. This version is even better. These waders are designed to be convertible from chest to waist height, and they are. What’s more, for some men it’s possible to answer the call of nature while wearing these waders without having to remove the suspenders. They feature a water-repellent front pocket with a water-resistant zipper, fleece hand-warmer pocket, built-in gravel guards, a waist belt, and 4 mm high-density neoprene feet. The wader fabric is three-layer AQUALEX breathable material. These waders are available in a boatload of sizes with varied foot sizes, too, so there’s a KENAI Convertible wader to fit almost everyone.
|Chota Tundra Hippies Adjustable Hip Waders|
Contributing Editor Troy Buzalsky shared, “While gearing up for an 11-day float trip in remote Alaska chasing rainbows, Dolly Varden, and coho, I brought a pair of Chota Tundra Hippies along for some serious testing. The Tundra Hippies are a lightweight hip wader made with a neoprene stocking foot to accept standard wading boots or shoes. I wore the Hippies from dawn-until-dusk, crawling in and out of the raft, while fishing ankle to mid-thigh water, dragging the raft through shallows and around log jams, setting up and taking down camp, and trekking the tundra while viewing caribou, moose, and bear. The Hippies are 100% comfortable, 100% waterproof, 100% practical, and they are very compact, making them ideal for remote adventures.”