How should waders fit?

How Should Waders Fit?

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If you only wet wade warm water during the summer then read no further. Instead check out a pair of wading boots and ensure your feet are properly protected. 

However, most of us will eventually find ourselves fishing in cooler water or in colder temperatures and you’ll need something more than just boots protecting your feet.  

If you’re new to the fly fishing game and are not sure how your wader should fit, then take a look below and you’ll see that there are several different types and they’ll all fit differently. So when looking for the right wader you should take into account exactly what you plan on doing in them.

Bootfoot or Stockingfoot?

Before you determine what size you need, you should figure out which type of wader you want. The bootfoot is just as the name implies. The bottom of the wader is a boot. While the stockingfoot is neoprene bootie that is meant to be worn underneath a Wading Boot.

Neither of these are better than the other, but you need to decide which one works best for you because they will fit differently. 

Bootfoot Waders

Bootfoot waders are sized according to the size of the boot. Which means these are pretty easy to figure out. So if you wear a size 11 boot then that means you would wear a size 11 bootfoot wader.

If you plan on wearing thicker socks underneath then you may want to go up a size. It helps if you bring the socks that you plan on wearing to the store with you to try on the waders.

Bootfoots also come in stout or tall sizes. If you think you’ll need one of these larger body sizes, then take measurements of your inseam, chest, waist and hips. Then you’ll be able to consult the sizing chart before ordering them or trying them on.

If you’re looking for a good pair of bootfoot waders, then check out the link below. These are great for someone looking for a solid lightweight set of waders.

Hodgman Mackenzie Bootfoot Waders


Stockingfoots will have a much larger selection of sizes in comparison to the bootfoot. Because of this, it’s important to get your measurements before ordering or going in to try on waders. You can easily purchase a small wader, which fits a size 6-8 foot, with an extra stout size. 

Keep in mind you’ll also have to purchase a pair of wading boots with these. Typically they are are sized with the extra girth of the neoprene booties in mind. So if you wear a size 11 you won’t have to take into account the fact that you will essentially be wearing a thick neoprene sock.

When taking your measurements its best to do so when wearing exactly what you plan on wearing underneath your waders. If their too baggy then it could cause you to be too clumsy in the water. Too tight will mean your movements will be restricted and you won’t have the same mobility, and you could potentially wear out your waders at a faster rate. Also, if you fish in winter, the water will constrict your legs and feet and make you much colder.

The waders below would make a great choice for someone looking for a pair that they could wear in both cool and warm water.

Frogg Togg’s Anura II

(click the image below to check the price on Amazon)

Test them Out

Before taking them out into the water put them through the ringer in either the store or your home if you’ve ordered them. If you got the bootfoot give a good walk around the store to see how the toe box feels, and feel if your feet are slipping. An improper fitting boot will lead to blisters and discomfort, which ultimately leads to a shorter day spent on the water.

Also, feel free to move around with them. Sit down, bend over, take a knee, hell, just go ahead and do some lunges and pushups to get your workout in for the day. While doing your lunges if you feel like the seams are going to burst them you might need to go up a size.

The important thing is to ensure they don’t feel too loose or tight when moving. 

It’s better to be slightly too big than slightly too small. However, keep in mind that if you plan on fishing in cooler water then know that because of its larger size you’ll lose insulation much quicker because it’s so baggy.

Wader Material

This is when you need to take into account exactly what kind of conditions you plan on fishing in. If you plan on fishing for winter steelhead then you want something that is going to keep you warm throughout the day. 

If you prefer fishing spring fed rivers in the spring, summer, and fall then you’ll need something lightweight that won’t overheat you in the warmer weather. 


This is a non breathable and heavy duty material. These would be ideal for fishing in harsh conditions such as cold water winter time fishing. 

These are stretchable and also come in several different sizes. Keep in mind that these are also very heavy and are not great if you plan on doing a lot of hiking during your fishing trip.

Neoprene waders come in a couple of sizes that range from 3.5-5mm thick. The 3.5 is the most popular and because these are not breathable be prepared to sweat when wearing neoprene.

Breathable Waders (Nylon, Gortex)

Breathable waders are lightweight and allow you to wear them in hot temperatures. They are similar to a rain jacket in feel and while they will not keep you very warm in cold conditions, you can easily layer up by slipping on some long johns and sweatpants to help insulate your body. 

These are some of the most popular waders on the market because of how versatile they can be during all different types of weather. These are usually some of the most expensive options out there but are worth the investment if you plan on doing a lot of fishing in different types of weather.

Some companies that make breathable waders are

TideWe Breathable Waders

(click the image below to check the price on Amazon)

Frogg Togg’s Canyon II Breathable Waders

(click the image below to check the price on Amazon)

Simms Tributary Breathable Waders

There are many other brands that make breathable waders, but check out some of the links above to help you get a better idea of what to look for.


Rubber waders are one of the cheapest you can get, although they are quite durable. These usually only come in one size, so if you need a stout or a tall version then you will be out of luck.

These do no breath at all and also will not retain heat. So be prepared to sweat in them during the summer and cold during the winter.

These are best used as waders for people who do not fish much and just need something to keep them dry the few times they make it out on the water.

So How should Waders Fit? Comfortably

Purchasing your first set of waders can be a little daunting with all the different types of fits, materials, and styles. Hopefully you have a better understanding of exactly what to look for and how to prepare for shopping in the store or purchasing online.

Just remember to always take your measurement before hand to ensure you have the proper fit, and with the proper fit you’ll be able to take on any fishing condition. 

Do Stocking foot waders come with boots?
No, not usually. You get to choose the boots you like separately

Are bootfoot waders more durable?
The rubber boots themselves are quite durable, but the wader material is subject to pin holes, tears, and rips just like any other waders.

Should I buy a size up in my wading boot?
YES! This is a good idea with almost all brands. If you plan on fishing in winter, or cold water, or want your feet to be extra comfy, buy a size up.

How should waders fit?
They should be comfortable, a little baggy, and allow for lots of movement.

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