10 Best Wading Boots – 2023 Buyer’s Guide (Guide Tested & Compared)

Pro angler's guide to the best wading boots for fly fishing including budget wading boots, features to look out for, best materials, ones to avoid & more.

I’ve been fishing for over 30 years, and in that time I’ve bought nearly a dozen pairs of wading boots. Plus, I’ve rented a lot of boots when I’ve gone on guided trips, and I’ve included some of those in this list as well.

Some of my wading boots broke down after a few weeks of use, and some are still going strong today. Some were comfortable right out of the box, and some I’ve had to break in a bit.

Quick Answer: 10 Best Wading Boots

Click Here To Read The Buyer’s Guide

Our team has worn, tested, and reviewed over 50 different styles of wading boots and we narrowed down all of our extensive testing to bring you this list of the top 10 best wading boots in 2023.

In this post, I’m going to go over all of the best wading boots on the market based on my own experience and that of my expert team here on the blog.

A custom diagram showing the most important features to look out for when choosing a wading boot
A Diagram Showing Important Wading Boot Features (More About Features Later In This Post)

10 Best Wading Boots of 2023

Below, I’ll go over 10 wading boots for fly fishing for 2023. Each of them will help you out in different fishing scenarios. So, check them out and see which ones will work the best for you.

Orvis Pro Mens Wading Boots on Sandy River Bank1. Orvis Pro Men’s Wading Boot

  • Pros: Quick lace, super sturdy construction, great grippy sole, strong lace hooks, good ankle support
  • Cons: Nothing we can think of…

We’ve been fishing the Orvis Pro boots hard for more than 3 years now, and they are super durable, comfortable, have great ankle support, and are built to beat the crap out of.

YouTube video

Our team angler Alex is on his second pair and swears by them as well. These are just a great all-around boot and they won out our spot of the best boot on this list in late 2023 thanks to their continued durability.

I love the big, easy-to-grab ankle loop that helps you to pull the boot on easily, the super strong lace hooks that feel like they’ll never bend or break off, and the extra stitching on all of the seams, especially the ones along the boot sole.

Speaking of these soles, they’re made with Michelin rubber,  which a lot of manufacturers (including Orvis) will tell you is better than any other sole on the market. They’ll claim these boots won’t slip and will last forever.

While we agree that the boots are built to last, don’t expect to have a perfect grip on the river. Any boot will slip on algae-covered rocks, and the Orvis Pros with Michelin soles are no different. Be careful out there!

Having said that, if you want a great boot, look no further.

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Why We Chose Them

I love the big, easy-to-grab ankle loop that helps you to pull the boot on easily, the super strong lace hooks that feel like they’ll never bend or break off, and the extra stitching on all of the seams, especially the ones along the boot sole.

Product Specifications

Sole Type: Michelin Outdoor ExtremeMaterial: Rubber & Clarino microfiber
Rise: High-RiseWeight: 50 oz
Quick-Lace: YesStud-Ready: Yes
Lace Hook Material: MetalWarranty: Lifetime

Vision Nahka Michelin Sole Wading Boots sitting in the sand on the bank of a river2. Vision Nahka Michelin Wading Boots

  • Pros: Cool design, good grip, strong lace hooks, strong build
  • Cons: They don’t drain quickly when exiting the water, price

I picked up a pair of Vision Nahka Michelin wading boots this year and I have to say I love them.

Vision is a brand out of Finland and they’re quite popular in Europe, but in the US they’re just starting to make some headway in the fly fishing gear scene. Traditionally the company was known for some decent budget rods and reels, but now they’ve upped their game (and their price tags) to compete with higher-end brands.

YouTube video

Their Nahka line of boots are one of these high-priced products they’ve been pushing out and I have to say that after wearing them extensively for a season. I think they’re a great boot.

The grip is good, but like I said, just because they’re Michelin doesn’t mean they’re perfect. However, when comparing these to the Orvis Pros and my cheaper 8Fans boots (listed below), I find that these actually do have a better grip on stone river bottoms.

The main gripe I have with them is that there aren’t enough drainage holes at the bottom of the boot, which means when you exit the water it takes a while for them to empty of water, making them a little heavier. It also means they dry a little slower.

But these things are built to last and I think they’re an excellent boot. They have a nice design, super strong lace hooks, double stitching along the sole as well as added glue, and lots of great features, like quick lace, gravel guard hook, and an easy heel loop.

Unfortunately, the price tag of over $300 puts them out of reach for some boot shoppers and firmly in the upper-end of the price category for wading boots.

VIEW ON VISION

Why We Chose Them

These things are built with excellent materials, are easy to put on and take off and they feel like they’ll last a lifetime.

Product Specifications

Sole Type: Michelin RubberMaterial: Leather, Microfiber, & Rubber
Rise: High-RiseWeight: 71 oz
Quick-Lace: YesStud-Ready: Yes
Lace Hook Material: Metal LoopsWarranty: 1-year

Simms Freestone Wading Boots sitting together on the river bank3. Simms Freestone Wading Boot

  • Pros: Great traction as well as durability
  • Cons: They’re a little on the heavy side. Waterproof boots can hold water while you’re walking.

Simms is known for producing some great fishing gear. It doesn’t matter if it’s packs, waders, or boots. You know when you purchase something from this brand that you’ll be getting something good.

The Simms Freestone Boots are strong and rugged. They’re able to stand up to being rubbed against submerged rocks, stumps, and other underwater abrasive surfaces. The bottom of the boot also prevents snow and ice build-up.

They’re made of synthetic waterproof leather and have scratch-resistant uppers. These boots will last you season after season.

Simms used right-angle footbed technology on these boots. This is a fancy way of saying it helps prevent foot and ankle fatigue, which will keep you out on the water for longer periods of catching fish.

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Trident Fly Fishing
Telluride Angler
Trouts Fly Fishing
SIMMS Fishing

Why We Chose Them

I added these to the list because Simms has long made some of the best wading boots on the market and in my opinion, their Freestones are the best value. They’re comfortable, durable, and great for cold weather.

Product Specifications

Sole Type: Vibrum Rubber or FeltMaterial: Leather, Rubber, & Neoprene
Rise: High-RiseWeight: 72.44 oz
Quick-Lace: YesStud-Ready: Yes
Lace Hook Material: Metal LoopsWarranty: Lifetime Manufacturer Default

Orvis Encounter Wading Boots sitting in sandy river bank4. Orvis Encounter Wading Boot

  • Pros: Great for the price. Reinforced toe box helps prevent abrasions
  • Cons: Can be bulky, and are a large fit

The Orvis Encounter is a great felt-sole wading boot for the novice. They’re cheap enough that they won’t break the bank, and they’re strong and sturdy enough to last you several seasons of hard fishing.

Just because they’re the best beginner boots for wading doesn’t mean you have to compromise. These are great and would be good for anyone. They have a scratch-resistant rubber toe cap that helps prevent abrasions from forced impact.

The upper is made of all synthetic materials and is strong enough to hold up to repeated use. They will also dry quickly once out of the water. This helps prevents the spread of invasive species.

A padded collar is a feature for extra ankle support and also provides cushioning. This will help prevent blisters and soreness on your ankle and lower shin, making you more comfortable out on the water.

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Why We Chose Them

The Orvis Encounter wading boots made this list because they’re a great beginner option and they have options for different soles. They aren’t too pricey, but they’re built well by a trusted company, Orvis.

Product Specifications

Sole Type: FeltMaterial: Ripstop, Rubber, & EVA
Rise: High-RiseWeight: 37 oz
Quick-Lace: YesStud-Ready: Yes
Lace Hook Material: Metal Loops & Punch HolesWarranty: Lifetime Manufacturer Default

me wearing my 8 Fans Wading Boots on the river bank5. 8 Fans Wading Boots

  • Pros: Lightweight, with a reinforced toe and heel
  • Cons: The lace eyelets not are rust-proof, and they’re not the best for heavy use

I’ve had my 8Fans boots for over 2 years and they’re still going strong. Sure the seams show a bit of wear and tear and the sole is has a bit less tread, but for under $100 these are a pretty amazing value.

YouTube video

The 8 Fans Boots are a lightweight and cushioned boot that will be very comfortable for the wearer. The thick soles on these quick draining boots will have you walking in and out of the water comfortably and safely.

The Oxford uppers and quick lace system make a durable boot for the price. The reinforced toe and heel will help keep your feet scratch-free when being banged off of river bottoms.

The bottom of the boots have non-slip rubber soles. These help with traction and are slip-resistant while in the water or on wet and slippery surfaces.

These boots are made to size. So, if you normally wear a size 11 shoe, then go a size up to ensure that your neoprene bootie will fit in these. If you plan on wearing a sock underneath, then order your normal size.

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Why We Chose Them

Believe it or not, these 8Fans Wading Boots are some of my favorite boots that I own. I’ve gone through a few more expensive boots since I bought these things and the 8Fans are still going strong. I had to sew the sole once, but for the price, they’re a bargain.

Product Specifications

Sole Type: RubberMaterial: PVC,EVA, & Rubber
Rise: High-RiseWeight: 43.2 oz
Quick-Lace: YesStud-Ready: Yes
Lace Hook Material: Metal Loops & Plastic HooksWarranty: 30-days (Not Worn)

Simms Tributary Felt Wading Boot on the river bank6. Simms Tributary Felt Wading Boot

  • Pros: Felt sole grips the bottom of the river or lake superbly. Strong toe and heel cap
  • Cons: Studs not included. Run large and can be heavy

The Simms Tributaries will provide you with excellent traction and grip, allowing you to easily navigate slick and rocky river bottoms. The upper is made of a strong synthetic material that will keep you fishing season after season.

The inside of the shoes is also equipped with a neoprene lining, making it easier to take off your boots after a long day. You’ll find that the felt soles are also stud-compatible. This will give you even more grip and traction.

You’ll also find that the rubber toe cap is re-enforced. This allows you to walk across slippery rocks smoothly and without issue.

These boots are also saltwater compatible. Just remember to rinse with fresh water when finished. This ensures that the pieces of the boot do not corrode or become brittle.

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SIMMS Fishing

Why We Chose Them

Another set of Simms boots on our list, the Tributaries made the cut because they have some great grip, even before adding studs. Choosing between rubber and felt gives you a great amount of versatility and you don’t have to break the bank on these.

Product Specifications

Sole Type: FeltMaterial: PVC,EVA, Felt, & Rubber
Rise: High-RiseWeight: 49.8 oz
Quick-Lace: YesStud-Ready: No
Lace Hook Material: Metal Loops & Punch HolesWarranty: Lifetime Manufacturer Default

One Compass 360 Wading Shoe (Cleated) on the river bank7. Compass 360 Wading Shoes (Cleated)

  • Pros: Durable internal heel for taking the boot on and off. Padded collar for extra comfort
  • Cons: Oversized fit. Heavy when walking long distances

The Compass 360 Cleated is a solid hiking boot as well as a great wading boot. The weight is a little heavier than desired, but it’s just fine for day fishing that doesn’t involve any super long hikes.

It’s made with non-shrinking nylon. So, you don’t have to worry about your boots shrinking when being continuously dried after being wet all day.

Why We Chose Them

The Compass 360 Tailwaters made this list because they’re an incredible value. It’s hard to find a regular boot for under $60, let alone a decent quality wading boot like these.

Product Specifications

Sole Type: RubberMaterial:‎ Nylon, Alloy Steel, Polyurethane, Neoprene
Rise: High-RiseWeight: 59.2 oz
Quick-Lace: YesStud-Ready: Yes
Lace Hook Material: Metal Loops & Punch HolesWarranty: 1-year Manufacturer Default

One Compass 360 Wading Shoe (Cleated) on the river bank8. Compass 360 Tailwater II (Felt)

  • Pros: Has LSG (locking stud grip). Can be worn with or without studs
  • Cons: Cleats don’t always come with the boot. Unreliable seams

The Compass 360 Felt is a solid budge to mid-range boot. It’ll get you out on the water, but once you become a more serious angler, you may want to upgrade to something nicer or more lightweight.

They can be a little bulky, but they’re not all that bad. The LSG ensures your cleats stay in pace when you’re walking in the river, and it helps prevent slips and falls.

Overall, it’s a solid boot than can be worn with or without studs. Feel free to use either. It just depends on what you prefer and what you feel will give you the most grip and stability.

Why We Chose Them

Same as the cleated version above, we just think that these boots are an incredible value.

Product Specifications

Sole Type: FeltMaterial:‎ Nylon, Alloy Steel, Polyurethane, Neoprene
Rise: High-RiseWeight: 59.2 oz
Quick-Lace: YesStud-Ready: No
Lace Hook Material: Metal Loops & Punch HolesWarranty: 1-year Manufacturer Default

Korkers Buckskin Wading Boots from behind view on river bank in sand9. Korkers Buckskin Wading Boots

  • Pros: BOA lacing system. Interchangeable soles
  • Cons: Interchangeable soles are great but not durable. Sole is not as flexible

For the price, the Korkers Buckskin Boots are the best boots on this list. You get a great brand in Korkers, which is known for making great boots. They don’t disappoint with these.

The interchangeable soles are great for flipping out felt vs rubber soles. The idea is great, but the execution is not quite there yet. They usually wear down after a few times out and can lead to breaks.

The BOA lacing system is great and allows for a snug fit that will shake around as you walk over uneven river bottoms.

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Trident Fly Fishing
AvidMax

Why We Chose Them

These boots are built like tanks, they have super handy interchangeable soles and they look damn cool in their buckskin finish. For under $170, these are a great value boot.

Product Specifications

Sole Type: Rubber InterchangeableMaterial:‎ Rubber, Felt, Hydrophobic Material
Rise: High-RiseWeight: 46.5 oz
Quick-Lace: YesStud-Ready: Yes
Lace Hook Material: Metal & Synthetic LoopsWarranty: 1-year Manufacturer Default

Orvis Men's Ultralight Wading Boot by itself sitting on sand by the river10. Orvis Men’s Ultralight Wading Boot

  • Pros: Very lightweight. Great for long days of hiking and wading
  • Cons: Laces are a bit short

This is an ideal boot for any angler. The Orvis Ultralight will work well on just about any river, and because of the rubber sole, you don’t have to worry about breaking wading requirements.

The boot is lightweight, making it great for traveling as you store it in your bag. Then, in terms of fishing, you can hike and wade all day in these things and not be fatigued as quickly as with some others.

Considering they’re a lightweight boot, they’re surprisingly durable. Usually, this isn’t the case, but these buck that trend.

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Why We Chose Them

These are some of the best low to medium-rise wading boots on the market. They’re a little pricier than a lot on this list, but their build quality and warranty make them worth it.

Product Specifications

Sole Type: Vibram RubberMaterial:‎ Rubber, Microfiber, EVA, TPU
Rise: Medium to Low-RiseWeight: 40 oz
Quick-Lace: YesStud-Ready: Yes
Lace Hook Material: Metal & Synthetic LoopsWarranty: Lifetime

BONUS: Best Wading Sandal

The lightest and often most affordable option for wading is a good pair of wading sandals. These are easier to transport, faster to take on and off, and often more comfortable.

The downside, of course, is the lack of support and insulation against the cold. But, if you have a good pair of insulated waders or are fishing in the summer, this may not be an issue.

KEEN Men's Newport H2 Sandal sitting on river bank with forested backgroundKEEN Men’s Newport H2 Sandal

  • Pros: Strong and durable material. Supportive contoured arch
  • Cons: Stitching may be damaged after extended use

I’ve always loved keen hiking shoes and I was super stoked when they came out with the Newport H2 Sandal that can also be used as a wading sandal.

KEEN is a footwear brand that builds high-quality shoes and wading sandals made in the USA. The KEEN Men’s Newport H2 Sandal and the KEEN Women’s Newport H2 Sandal are both great options for anglers.

They have a comfortable, sturdy sole and are very quick to put on and take off. They’re also machine washable and dry relatively quickly, ensuring you won’t have that musky smell for long if you’ve left them in a cupboard after using them!

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Why Are Boots a Worthy Investment?

Safety, comfort, and mobility — you’ll need to be able to rely on all three in your boot. You’ll want a boot that will fit your feet comfortably, while providing you with a stable base and allowing you to walk in and out of the water without slipping around too much.

Aerial Photo Wading Boots in a River

If these three factors are not met, then you could be in for a bad day out on the water. Nothing can ruin a fishing trip quicker than sore, painful feet.

So, whether you’re fishing the popular rivers and lakes of Montana and Wyoming or the quieter backwater streams of Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa, you’ll want a good pair of waders to be able to get into productive pools and away from other anglers.

Read over the three useful reasons for getting a good wading boot below. Use them to help you make your decision on what type of boots to get.

Don’t have fly waders yet? Check out our Buyer’s Guide To The Best Fly Fishing Waders.

Safety

The most important thing to consider when fishing is safety. If you’re not being safe, you’re going to get hurt, and if you get hurt you can’t fish. It’s that simple.

Wading Boots are best used on rivers and lakes

Safety starts with making the right choices. The first choice should be what kind of footwear you need. This is because if you have improper shoes, you’ll be slipping and sliding all over the river.

So, find something that will to give you adequate traction. Find a boot that will let you stick to the bottom of the river like peanut butter to the roof of your mouth.

Comfort

On top of being safe, you’ll also want something comfortable. You don’t want to be feeling blisters an hour into a trip. This will quickly ruin a day or an afternoon of fishing.

You’ll also want something that fits your foot shape. If you have a flat arch or a high arch, then search for something that will accommodate that. Fly anglers are much more active than people give us credit for.

A lot of our days fishing can see miles of terrain crossed. This includes elevation changes, climbing over rocks and fallen trees, and maintaining balance in a slippery, current-filled river.

Mobility

You’re not always going to be walking in the water while fishing. Depending on the type of fishing you do, that could be the smallest part of your day. Brook trout anglers who trek to mountain streams know about this.

So, you’ll need something that can handle dry land just as well as the bottom of a creek or river. Rubber bottom shoes with cleats are usually the best option for this type of fishing.

Felt bottoms do well in the water, but getting out on dry land can cause the fabric to break down more quickly. You’ll also lose much of your mobility when the wet felt meets a dry rock on land.

Buyer’s Guide

Below, I’ll go over a couple of different types of features for your boots, some different types of wading, and which boots work well for each. This should give you a better idea of what to look for.

Sole Types: Felt vs Rubber vs Cleated

Felt has the most grip of all the different boots for wading on rivers and lakes. This material grips the bottom of the river will cause fewer falls and trips. When compatible, felt with cleats is even better.

Felt is not ideal for walking outside of the water, though. For this, you’ll want a rubber or cleated sole. Wet felt on a dry rock or log is much more slippery.

A picture of me wearing my wading boots from an underwater perspective on a stone bottom river

Rubber soles are great for walking both in and out of the water. They provide a good grip on dry land and will keep you upright in strong currents. They’re great for anglers who hike back to their spots.

Cleats can be put on both rubber and felt soles. They add extra grip, and if your soles are compatible then it’s recommended you use them.

Wading Boot Materials

These days, wading boots are made of everything from rubber and neoprene to leather and buckskin. Overall the preference of what your boots are made of will come down to individual anglers.

Having said that, rubber wading boots are typically quite a bit cheaper, they won’t breathe that well and aren’t really recommended.

My favorite wading boots are leather, neoprene, buckskin and synthetic, or a combination of any of those. I typically try to avoid rubber boots for the reasons listed above.

Low-top vs Hi-top

Hi-tops will give you better ankle support, meaning you’ll have less chance of a rolled or sprained ankle on the river.

Hi-tops are typically heavier, though, because of the extra material. That’s where a low-top comes into play. They’re great for travel and for walking long distances. They reduce leg fatigue.

Boot Foot Waders vs Stocking Foot Waders

Stocking foot waders are made to be worn with wading boots. These provide extra stability and protection for your feet. These are recommended for just about all anglers who plan on walking in the water.

Best Boot Foot Waders Made for Fishing with a Fly

Boot foot is usually the cheaper option, and it’s fine for anglers who don’t walk around much. They’re not as stable and are typically just a rubber boot. They get the job done, but are not as safe as a wading boot.

Wet Wading vs Dry Wading

Wet wading is where you’re not wearing any waders. So, you’re getting wet. Typically it’s done is shorts or quick-drying long pants paired with a set of wading boots. This is typically done in the summer or other warmer months.

Dry wading is done with your waders. This can be done year-round and is the most popular form of wading. Here you can use stocking foot waders or boot foot waders.

Wet wading can be fun and enjoyable, but most don’t wear their wading boots with them. Find a good pair of neoprene booties or wading socks and use your wading boots too. They’ll keep you safer.

Wading Sandals vs Wading Shoes vs Wading Boots

Wading sandals are great to use for wet wading. They provide an excellent grip and can be nice to wear during the warmer months. Your feet will not be as protected, though. So, a stubbed toe or scratched resistant heel is possible.

Best Wading Sandals

Wading shoes are a lightweight version of boots. They don’t have as much support, but they do have great grip and traction for walking. These are another great wet wading shoe, but with more protection.

Wading boots are useful for all types of wading. They provide protection and keep you upright in the river. They can be a little bulky, but they’re great for wading in the water and keeping you safe.

Wading Boots Sizing

In general, you should always buy a wading boot that is one size up from your regular hiking boot. This will give enough space to fit the neoprene booties and usually a warm sock.

If you wear a size 10 normal boot, get a size 11 wading boot. On top of that, it’s worth checking each individual manufacturer’s recommendation on sizing. Usually, they’ll have a sizing chart on their website or on Amazon. If not, just go by the rule above.

What To Wear Under a Wading Boot

Don’t just wear any socks inside your wading boot. Your feet will be inside a neoprene booty and a boot and will be submerged in water for long periods of time.

This is why it’s vital to wear moisture-wicking socks that help your feet to breathe while in wading boots. You can order these online, or pick them up at any hiking/outdoor store.

Merino Wool, nylon, and Lycra are common materials used in moisture-wicking socks and they can make a huge difference in your comfort levels while out on the water.

Features of a Great Wading Boot

This all depends on the wearer. What are you looking for? Do you want something lightweight and strong? Or do you want a hi-top boot that will support you? Below I’ll go over this and more.

Breathability

Breathability is a big deal in the summer and for wet wading. When you’re in the water, it won’t be that big of a deal, but if you’re hiking to your spot, then your feet could get too hot and sweaty, which could cause blisters.

In the winter, it won’t be that big of a deal. If anything, you want it to be as warm in there as possible. There’s nothing like fishing in 45-degree water before starting hiking in the 35-degree air.

Seam Reinforcement

This is very important if you want your boots to hold up. Someone who may only fish a handful of times a year might not need something like this.

a man puts on his wading boots and tightens the laces while sitting on the river bank with his rod, net, glasses and hat sitting next to him.

However, a hardcore angler who goes out every weekend will need a strong boot. This is where seam reinforcement comes in. It will help keep you out fishing more and spending less time shopping for boots.

Price

Wading boots can be crazy expensive. I had some pricy ones on this list, but there are some others out there pushing several hundred dollars. These are usually great boots but not practical for the everyday angler.

In general, wading boots can range anywhere from $50 for a really cheap pair, all the way up to $500 for a top of the line boot.

As long as you’re using a brand you trust and a boot that fits your needs (and your feet), then you’ll be good to go. There’s no need to spend a crazy amount.

Durability

This is the same as seam reinforcement. Someone who fishes a handful of times doesn’t need a very durable boot, just something to get them through a few seasons before it needs replacing.

my left wading boot partially submerged under water next to a rock in my local river

A fishing guide, on the other hand, needs something strong and sturdy. Otherwise, they’ll be spending too much time shopping and not enough time fishing.

Comfort

Your boots need to be comfortable. This part is not up for discussion. A pair of boots that are too tight or snug and that slip or wobble will make you leave the river early, resulting in fewer fish caught.

Caring For Your Wading Boots

After you’ve picked out the perfect boot, it’s important to know how to take care of and maintain your boots. Below we’ve listed a few easy tips to help you ensure your boots last for more than just one season of fishing.

Rinse After Use

Rinsing your boots after use has two main purposes. Firstly, you’ll avoid cross-contaminating different bodies of water that you fish in. Secondly, you can help ensure your boots will last longer by doing so.

Letting dirt, sand, and particularly salt, build up on your boots will make them break down a lot faster.

Make Sure They Dry Well

Place your boots in a dry, warm place after each use. This will help make sure they dry out properly and don’t become moldy or damp for too long.

I’ve had plenty of wading boots that I managed to ruin because I didn’t (or couldn’t) let them dry out properly. Once that smell is in there, it’s hard to get out.

Replace Laces Before They Snap

If you see your laces starting to fray, go to your local fly shop or order some new ones online. The last thing you need is to be out on the water and have a day of fishing cut short because your laces snapped and your boots won’t stay on.

Get Them Repaired

If your boots start to break down, don’t just throw them out and buy new ones. These things aren’t cheap and there’s no point in wasting a decent pair of boots.

If you get a hole, the seams start to come apart or the sole starts detaching from the rest of the boot, take them into a cobbler or any shoe repair shop and they’ll be able to get them back in order.

I’ve had a few boots that start to break down after a couple of seasons, but a shoe repair shop has always been able to bring them back from the dead.

Wading Boot FAQs

What are the different types of soles for wading boots?

There are three main types of soles that you’ll find on all wading boots: rubber, felt, and studded. Felt soles offer the best traction for slippery rocks but are restricted in some places because they are thought to transmit angae and bacteria. Rubber soles are most common and won’t be as grippy on slippery rocks, but are great for long hikes in and out of the water, and for gravel-bottom rivers. Lastly, there are studs. You can buy your boots studded or add them later and this will help with traction.

What are the most important features to look for in a good pair of wading boots for fly fishing?

Durability, support, and traction are the most important features to look for in a good pair of fly fishing wading boots. Durability ensures that the boots will last through multiple seasons, support provides comfort and stability while wading, and traction helps to prevent slips and falls while out on the water.

What materials are typically used in wading boots?

Wading boots can be made from leather, synthetic materials, buckskin, mesh, or neoprene. Leather boots are durable and provide good support, but can be heavy and may not be as breathable as synthetic materials. Synthetic materials are lightweight and breathable, but may not be as durable as leather. Neoprene boots are flexible, warm, and waterproof, but may not be as durable as other materials. Generally, neoprene is used in the boot uppers and not for the entire body of the boot.

How do I choose the right size of wading boots?

Generally, just buy wading boots that are one size larger than your normal hiking boot. If you’re a size 10 hiker, get a size 11 wading boot. When in doubt, check the manufacturer’s website for a sizing chart.

How do I best care for and maintain my wading boots?

To maintain your wading boots so that they last for many seasons, always rinse them after each use and remove any debris from inside the sole. Store them in a cool, dry place and consider applying a waterproofing treatment to them periodically.

How much do wading boots cost?

Wading boots can cost anywhere from $50-$500 USD. Cheaper boots will generally be built with lower-quality materials, won’t last as long, and typically have a shorter or non-existent warranty.

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Conclusion

Hopefully you now a better understanding of what to look for in a great wading boot. You need something strong, comfortable, and supportive that has enough grip.

The last thing you want is for your boots to give out on you and you go sliding off into a current. So, take the information above and put it to use in your own boot search.

Good boots won’t only get you out on the water more often, but they’ll keep you on the water longer, resulting in more fish caught and more memories made.

Some images in this post are courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Nick Wharton is an expert fly fisherman who has been fishing since he was old enough to hold a rod. After switching to fly fishing at age 8, he never looked back. Today he writes for numerous websites and magazines about his fly fishing adventures around the world. Nick has had his writing and photography featured on Forbes, Lonely Planet, National Geographic Traveller and much more.

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