Whether you’re someone who appreciates occasional fishing weekends with the boys or someone who takes fly fishing expeditions seriously (and does them regularly), high-quality, comfortable, and durable wading boots are a must. Whoever you are, you might have a hard time figuring out what the best wading boots are, though.
Wading boots are supposed to keep you grounded, help you keep your balance on slippery and tough surfaces, and even keep you warm, dry, and secure.
Now, some wading boots don’t offer the “waterproof option,” which could be one of the reasons why you need a rundown on what to look for when searching for the best wading boots out there.
Oh, and we can’t brush over the fact that there are too many wading boot options to choose from. Would, for example, rubber-sole wading boots serve your needs?
Or, would you be better off opting for felt-bottom wading boots? Or, even worse, would you be better off going for waders, rather than wading boots? And, what are you supposed to think of wading sandals?!
Worry not, we’re bringing you everything you need to know before you bite the bullet and purchase super, super expensive wading boots that you might not even need (depending on your fly fishing schedule). What are the best wading boots, then?
What are the different types of wading boots you can choose from?
One of the biggest “What the heck?!” moments you experience when you start fly fishing seems to be the confusion about what type of waders or wading boots you need. Even when you’re friends with others who appreciate the art of fly fishing, you’re bound to hear opposing opinions left and right.
Now, that doesn’t happen because your friends are gatekeeping the tea on waders and wading boots. That probably happens because they have different schedules, they go fly fishing more often than others, or they take fly fishing more seriously than others.
Serious anglers, for example, might urge you to spend a fortune on waders because “they’re must-have equipment you can’t go without.”
But, once-in-a-blue-moon anglers might suggest you save your money and opt for low-cost wading boots that are “just as good as the real deal.” What do you do then?
Before you start overthinking and overanalyzing, understand that there are different types of waders and wading boots that serve different purposes.
Depending on what you’re planning on doing (or how serious you’re planning on being), you can choose between rubber-sole wading boots, felt-bottom wading boots, boot-foot waders, stocking-foot waders, and wading sandals.
First off, rubber-sole wading boots are the best wading boots to get because they provide traction and they’re well-made, durable, and lightweight. What’s even better, rubber-sole wading boots work great on the land and in the water.
On the other hand, felt-bottom wading boots are more appropriate for wet, slippery rocks rather than rough surfaces.
Waders are even better for wet, slippery surfaces because they’re actually waterproof (unlike wading boots). Boot-foot waders already have the boot attached, while the stocking-foot waders don’t (and you have to buy the boots separately).
Wading sandals are… a no. They’re dangerous, don’t offer enough protection, and aren’t slip-resistant.
What to consider when choosing the best wading boots for you?
Now that you’ve learned about different types of wading boots, you’re closer to figuring out what the best wading boots for you are.
Whether you’re a rubber-sole or a felt-bottom type of guy (or a girl, we don’t discriminate), there are a couple of other things to consider when choosing what’s right for you.
Proper wading boots must offer one, more, or all of these things – comfort, safety, mobility, stability, ankle support, and/or moisture-wicking properties.
Other than that, nothing’s stopping you from upping your standards, and looking for wading boots that are lightweight, breathable, and have durable laces that won’t disintegrate the moment they hit the water.
Why are these things essential, though? First off, you need to purchase comfortable wading boots because you don’t want to get blisters within the first hour of what was supposed to be a fishing weekend with the boys.
Actually, most experienced fly fishers suggest buying a bigger wading boot than you need to ensure your feet and toes have plenty of space. Of course, wading boots should offer you enough protection from outside influences, adequate traction, and quality gripping properties.
Mobility and stability are must-haves, too. Opt for wading boots that are sturdy and heavy-duty enough to keep you grounded, but flexible enough to allow your foot to move in whichever way might be necessary.
Stability also ensures you have plenty of ankle support – you don’t want to roll your ankle the moment you get to your destination, right?
Last but not least, wading boots don’t have to be waterproof. But, moisture-wicking properties can serve the purpose of ridding you of water quicker once you get out. As a matter of fact, poor draining wading boots weigh a ton and aren’t fun to walk around. What do you do, then?
What are the best wading boots on the market at the moment?
Without further ado, here are a couple of wading boots we would recommend based on everything we talked about so far. Whether you’re willing to spend heaps of money or save some for other hobbies, we’re bringing a rundown on the best wading boots on the market, at the moment.
1. Simms Freestone Wading Boots
Simms has definitely paved the way when we’re talking about high-quality wading boots! With a great brand name comes great responsibility, and Simms seems to have taken that responsibility seriously.
The Simms Freestone Wading Boots are one of the best wading boots on the market because they’re built to last, comfortable, lightweight, and offer enough support and excellent traction. What more could a fly fisher ask for?!
Whether you’re trying to make your way through a rough path or you’re fighting with water, the Simms Freestone Wading Boots are a great option for you. We would go as far as to argue that the only downside they have happens to be the fact that they aren’t waterproof.
But, that’s the downside most wading boots have. Sure, they take a little longer to dry, but they’re worth every cent you pay for them. And, you might pay anywhere between $179 and $260 on Amazon.
2. Korkers River Ops Boa
Now, these are the beauties that are guaranteed to break the bank. But, they’re some of the best wading boots on the market as we speak and they’re making everyone gasp “Wow!” for a reason.
That’s right, the Korkers River Ops Boa wading boots offer everything you might need for a great fly fishing experience.
First off, they’re durable, offer plenty of protection, and give you excellent stability around the ankle. Even better, though, they’re innovative because they offer you the possibility to choose the type of soles that work for the occasion.
Option one comes with a felt sole and a classic Vibram sole, while option two comes with a classic Vibram sole and a studded Vibram sole which promises to be grippier than a rubber sole.
But, even with those additions, they’re a little on the heavy side which might not be for everyone. And, they’re quite pricey.
3. Simms G4 PRO Wading Boots
(Source: Simms fishing)
We have another Simms wading boot for you and we’re not saying sorry! Simms does seem to know what they’re doing and they’re not scared of experimenting with different features that might make everyone’s fly fishing experience better.
Hence, the Simms G4 PRO Wading Boots are the most durable wading boots available on the market at the moment.
First things first, they have the same features that other Simms wading boots have – they’re great on the land and in the water, they’re stable, durable, and grippy, and they’re (relatively) lightweight.
But, they’re also equipped with neoprene for added warmth and comfort. They’re enriched with rubber soles, but they offer a felt-bottom sole, too. They are vacuum-molded with stitchless TPU overlays for abrasion resistance.
Also, they’re easier to slip on and off because of the new lacing system. Now, they do cost more than one might think considering they go for $329.95 on the official Simms website. We’re rooting for them, though.
4. Foxelli Wading Boots
Here’s the thing, the Foxelli Wading Boots might be the best wading boots for anyone who occasionally goes fly fishing because they’re light as a feather but not as durable as some of the other, heavy-duty options.
Depending on what type of wading boots work for your needs, the Foxelli Wading Boots might be the answer to your question.
What are the key features you’re looking at, then? They’re lightweight, reasonably durable, and stable. They’re comfortable to wear, offer great support, cushioning, and traction of sharp rocks, and appear easy to put on and off because of the type of laces they have. And, they’re great for hunting, too.
On the other hand, we can’t overlook the fact that they’re not as durable as some of the other wading boots we talked about. They’re not slippery, but you might slide off wet surfaces. They are a little tough to purchase online because of the strange sizing, but they’re cheap which is always a plus.
Truth be told, they’re pretty decent for the price and they would be a great option for someone who’s just starting out.
5. Simms Flyweight Access Wading Boots
(Source: Simms fishing)
Okay, these are the last Simms wading boots on the list, we promise!
We couldn’t have skipped over the Simms Flyweight Access Wading Boots considering the fact we’ve been talking about how most lightweight wading boots don’t offer enough stability and protection. And that sucks for anyone who’s not a fan of heavy-duty wading boots.
However, the Simms Flyweight Access Wading Boots feature technology you haven’t seen before.
That’s right, these bad boys are equipped with new, exclusive-to-Simms Vibram Idrogrip Flex outsoles that are lightweight, durable, and stable enough to not ruin your fishing weekend.
They’re made with a softer rubber compound that makes them even grippier than other rubber outsoles. They’re lighter, but they’re also bound to wear down faster. But, that doesn’t mean they’re not great for anyone who goes fly fishing every now and then (rather than every single day).
They are pretty freakin’ expensive, but for a Simms lover they might not be that unattainable – they go for $249.95 on the official Simms website.
6. Korkers Devil’s Canyon Wading Boots
Looking for the best wading boots that are guaranteed to kill two birds with one stone (not literally, though)?! We thought you were, and that’s why we added the Korkers Devil’s Canyon Wading Boots to the list.
We would go as far as to argue that these wading boots deserve everyone’s attention considering the fact they feature interchangeable rubber and felt outsoles.
They’re great for anyone who can’t decide between the two and wants to experience both before committing to a purchase.
They’re not waterproof, but they’re fast-drying and made with hydrophobic fabrics bound to keep your feet comfortable, supported, and dry (for the most part).
They offer excellent ankle support and they go higher than other wading boots – which can be a red flag when you’re worried about the thought of your wading boots completely immobilizing your ankle. They’re supportive, but flexible at the same time.
And, they’re cheaper than Simms considering they go for $209.99!
7. Patagonia Danner Foot Tractor – Aluminum Bar
We’re bringing you more options you can wear on the land and in the water without worrying about anything! We’re pretty sure that the Patagonia Danner Foot Tractor – Aluminum Bar wading boots are the best-looking wading boots for the purpose, but we’re going to leave that for you to decide.
Other than the eye-catching good looks, the Patagonia Danner Foot Tractor – Aluminum Bar wading boots offer stability, durability, and perfect grip. They’re equipped with The Foot Tractor system made from aluminum bars which ensure safety on slippery surfaces.
They’re comfortable even though they’re built with aluminum, but they are on the heavier side when we’re talking about wading boots. They’re probably the most expensive wading boots on the list, but Patagonia does offer the possibility to resole the ones you go for.
8. Orvis PRO Wading Boots
Whether you’re looking for the best wading boots out there or wading boots that are going to carry you through your fishing trip without giving you too much trouble, you can’t go wrong with the Orvis PRO Wading Boots.
They have super sturdy construction, great grippy outsoles, strong laces and hooks, and good ankle support. They can last you a lifetime considering they’re made with Michelin rubber outsoles that many manufacturers praise as the best on the market.
They’re grounded on slippery surfaces and they’re more stable and sturdy than most other wading boots you can get for the same price. And, they don’t really have any drawbacks when we’re talking about those “key features the best wading boots should have.”
Actually, you can get them on the official Orvis website for not more than $279.
9. Orvis Ultralight Wading Boots
Now, the Orvis Ultralight Wading Boots are marketed as women’s wading boots. White most wading boots aren’t gender-specific, you might be struggling with finding ones that fit your foot to a tee.
Whether you’re looking for a wider or a snugger fit, you might be happier with a women’s take on the Orvis Ultralight Wading Boots.
Of course, these wading boots are great because they’re lightweight, durable, and padded. They’re enriched with moisture-wicking fabrics, and they’re quick to drain the water to not add weight to your feet while you’re walking.
They’re light, but they’re equipped with ripstop inserts that add to the strength without increasing the weight. And, they’re easily made even more durable with a scratch-resistant spray on top.
You can become the proud owner (and wearer) of the quick-drying, better-gripping, Ultralight Wading Boots for a reasonable price.
10. Chota Outdoor Gear Wading Boots
Repeat after me: “The Chota Outdoor Gear Wading Boots are the best wading boots for anyone who’s not willing to spend too much money!”
We have to offer you more affordable alternatives because most Simms, Orvis, and Patagonia models require a lot of money not everyone’s willing to spend on a hobby.
But, that doesn’t mean you need to give up the thought of fly fishing – get yourself Chota Outdoor Gear Wading Boots and you’re ready.
They’re pretty neat because they’re lightweight, supportive, and durable. They’re equipped with a quick lacing system and removable insoles.
That way, they become customizable because you can wear them with stocking foot waders, neoprene socks, or insoles that might work better for your needs. They have reinforced toes and heels which attests to the fact that they’re advertised as protective.
They’re great value for the money and we don’t see why you wouldn’t pull the plug and purchase them on Amazon or the official Chota website.
11. 8 Fans Fishing Wading Boots
While we’re on the topic of affordable alternatives, why not add the 8 Fans Fishing Wading Boots to the list?
We wouldn’t argue that they’re the best wading shoes out there, but they’re beaming with great features that are guaranteed to make your fishing weekend much, much better. What makes them better than other affordable alternatives, though?
They’re cheap ($75.99 – $89.99 on Amazon). They offer decent strength and durability, provide good support on slippery surfaces, and possess holes that are responsible for draining the water once you’re done fishing.
Moreover, they’re easy on the eye (always a plus). They’re equipped with toe and ankle reinforcement which provides plenty of support. And, they’re great for both fishing and hunting because they perform the same on the land and in the water. What more could a fly fisher ask for?!
12. Frogg Toggs Men’s Hellbender Fishing Boots
Frogg Toggs are a great brand when you’re hoping your hobby won’t make holes around your pockets! That’s right, that’s our way of saying that the Frogg Toggs Men’s Hellbender Fishing Boots are pretty freakin’ cheap, too.
Depending on the style, you can find them on Amazon for $72 to $115.
Starting from the beginning, these wading boots are grippy. They’re enriched with felt outsoles which make them appropriate for slippery surfaces. They have a lightweight (but strong) exterior and a nylon cover for protection.
They also have a padded ankle collar for added stability. They have the option of replacing the felt outsoles which can be quite handy considering they’re prone to wearing out.
They’re a little oversized, but they’re great with neoprene socks for added comfort and protection. They’re a decent boot for a decent amount of money.
13. Lurewilder Felt Sole Fly Fishing Boots
Lurewilder Felt Sole Fly Fishing Boots are OK… When by OK you mean obviously keen on experiencing a great fishing weekend without slipping on a rock.
We’re pretty sure these wading boots are a customer favorite because they’re that great at keeping everyone safe on slippery surfaces.
Right off the bat, they’re equipped with corrosion-resistant metallic rungs. They feature comfortable padding that makes them comfortable enough for walking for hours and hours on end.
They have a great grip on slippery surfaces because they’re enriched with felt-bottom outsoles (on a budget, too).
They take a long time to dry, but we would overlook such a minor offense for the sake of getting great boots for a fraction of the price of some of the other brand names. They’re $68 on Amazon, after all.
14. Frogg Toggs Saltshaker Fly Fishing Wading Boots
We know not everyone’s looking for aesthetics when searching for the best wading boots out there, but the Frogg Toggs Saltshaker Fly Fishing Wading Boots take the cake when we’re talking about looks.
And, luckily for you, they’re not lacking on the “necessary features for happy fly fishers” front, either.
They’re rocking a cleated sole that provides a better grip on the ground, both wet and dry. They’re embellished with plastic lace hooks and can fight off corrosion for quite some time. Even when you’re spending most of your fishing trip walking through water.
They’re lightweight, but they’re padded enough that they’re comfortable and supportive. They possess an ankle collar that offers added support, stability, and protection. They’re lined with neoprene to prevent clammy feet – they dry pretty quickly when taken out of the water.