11 Best Kids Waders: Reviewed and Rated 2024

One of my young clients releasing a fish and squatting in the river wearing good waders for kids
One of my young clients releasing a fish and squatting in the river wearing good waders for kids.

Every season I get parents that want to bring their kids on guided trips and I often need to provide the kids waders. I’ve also have plenty of kids in my fly fishing and Centerpin fishing classes, so I went out and bought a bunch of different kids waders to find out which ones were the best kids waders.

The best kids waders are breathable stockingfoot waders combined with a quality wading boot. This provides the kids with the most comfortable waders that are lightweight, with good range of motion, and the safest waders with the best ankle support and best traction.

All of these waders can be used for hunting, fly fishing, or as general fishing waders.

GUIDE TIP: before you buy any waders, you must consider the part of the waders known as the boots. In some areas of North America, felt-soled boots are not legal. I will discuss this more below under the boot section.

Importance of Proper Waders for Kids

Three of my clients wearing waders provided by me. When it comes to kids, sometimes the fun of waders is just sitting in the water.

Waders help to protect children! The waders protect them from cold water temperatures and keep them dry and comfortable.

Most importantly, and for the same reason I wear waders, they’ll cover their body and also offer adequate protection from brush or sharp rocks, poisonous plants, and from insects like tics.

They can also protect them from snake bites.

Waders with boots also help protect their toes and ankles.

My List Of The 11 Best Kids Waders

  1. Orvis Kids’ Clearwater Waders – Best Overall
  2. Simms Kids’ Tributary Stockingfoot Waders
  3. Redington Crosswater Youth Waders
  4. Frogg Toggs Youth Hellbender Pro Stockingfoot Chest Waders
  5. White River Fly Shop Three Forks Lug Sole Chest Waders for Kids
  6. Cabela’s Neoprene Boot-Foot Chest Waders for Kids
  7. Caddis Youth Promo Breathable Stocking Foot Waders
  8. Oaki Toddler & Children’s Neoprene Waterproof Fishing Waders
  9. TIDEWE Chest Waders for Kids
  10. HISEA Kids Chest Waders for Toddler & Children Neoprene waders
  11. HISEA Kids Chest Waders Youth Fishing Waders for Toddler

Features to Consider When Buying Kids Waders


  • Neoprene – Neoprene waders offer the best protection from cold temperatures since they are so thick, but that thickness means they are very hot in the summer. They are often 3mm thick with some up to 5mm thick.
  • They are also not breathable and can trap in moisture and sweat and you may find you are damp after a day of fishing.
  • Neoprene waders are made from a more durable material than breathable waders but they are heavier, and bulky, and they do not allow as much movement or flexibility. I generally do not recommend these except for winter fishing.
  • Neoprene waders are the most common waders for hunting.
  • Nylon/Polyester – Nylon or polyester waders are thin and family lightweight but they are not insulated and are not breathable.
  • They are better for warmer temperatures but in very hot weather they trap in moisture and sweat and you will likely feel wet or damp after a day on the water.
  • Additionally, they can be more affordable and lightweight than neoprene waders and often come in less than $100.00, however, quality is often a concern.
  • Breathable – Most breathable waders are made from a type of nylon and/or polyester material.
  • They are not insulated but laying pants properly is a great way to stay warm and dry.
  • These are the most common types of waders you’ll find guides and anglers using.
  • Breathable waders have microscopic holes in the fabric to allow accumulated moisture to escape but won’t allow moisture or water in.
  • They are also the most lightweight and comfortable and almost feel like you are wearing pants. They are also more expensive but I think they are worth the extra money.

Guide Tip: Although it is said that Neoprene waders are warmest in winter, I disagree, and based on 37 years of winter steelhead fishing, and guiding over 90 days in ice-cold water for the last 12 years, that breathable waders with proper layering are much warmer and dryer. For more see my article Winter Fishing: Staying Warm.

Size and Fit

One of my clients in breathable waders which are the best waders for kids.
When it comes to kids waders, a loose fit is always better than a tight fit.

Be sure to fit waders for kids properly so the kids are not restricted in movement which can be more dangerous on the trails and on the water.

If anything, I would recommend going up one size and being slightly too big instead of being a tight fit.

This is the same with the boots on both the bootfoot and the stocking foot waders.

Bootfoot vs. Stockingfoot

Many ask the question, which is better bootfoot wader or stocking foot waders?

Bootfoot Waders

HISEA Kids Bootfoot Chest Waders for Toddler & Children
These are the HISEA Kids Bootfoot Chest Waders for Toddler & Children

Kids’ bootfoot waders mean the boots are included or built into the waders. They are quicker and easier to put on than stockingfoot waders which I think is especially helpful for squirmy munchkins!

Bootfoot waders for kids can be cost saving, as you don’t need to buy a separate pair of boots. 

The one-piece construction of kids bootfoot waders helps to retain body heat better than stockingfoot waders. This also helps keep feet warm if the bootfoot waders are insulated.

The main downside to bootfoot waders and why I don’t buy them from my kids is that kids bootfoot waders don’t offer as much ankle support and traction.

Stocking Foot

A bunch of my breathable waders for steelhead fishing
Stocking foot waders like these usually have neoprene feet and a breathable material from just above the ankles to you upper chest.

Stockingfoot waders don’t have boots built in so you need to buy separate wading boots. Stocking foot waders generally have neoprene booties or foot sections.

However, this lets you customize your footwear.

In my opinion, it helps to have the best pair of wading boots which will keep you safer while on the water. The stocking foot wader design also helps give a better range of motion.

With the neoprene booties, these waders are completely foldable and therefore are much easier to travel with, fold, and put away.

Lastly, the wading boots will offer you far more ankle support and a better grip on the rocks and trails. This is why 99% of guides wear stocking foot waders.

Reinforced Knees and Seams

One of my young clients enjoying herself just sitting in the water in her waders.

Kids can be tough on all fishing gear and I know from experience that waders are no different. I’ve seen the kids sitting in the river, rolling on the rocks, climbing river banks on their knees, so having waders that can handle this is important for me.

Look at the parts of the waders that endure the most force or abuse. Typically, this will be in the knees, shins, butt areas, and the seams.

Certain waders will include features like triple layering on the knees.

Depending on the brand and the quality, some companies may also double tape the seams on the inside and outside so the waders are more durable.

Adjustable Straps and Belts

One of my young clients with a trout in hand while standing in the river in kids waders.
One of my young clients with a trout in hand while standing in the river in kids waders.

Adjustable straps and belts are a must for growing kids!

A wading belt and straps can adapt to your child’s waist and height and help you get the most out of your waders.

Your wading belt is also a safety device.

Take it from me who has seen hundreds of guys fall in, your tight wading belt prevents water from rushing to your feet and weighing you down, which can be very dangerous.

In fact, a wading belt can temporarily trap air in the lower half of the waders which can provide a little extra buoyancy.

You’ll find several types of wader sizes. Hip waders go to the top of the thighs. These hip waders don’t cover the chest which helps mand kids feel more secure.

But, others might prefer the freedom of motion it a lower wader offers. Waist-high waders are a little taller and fit like pants to your waistline, but they are not quite chest waders that will go to almost your armpits.

Price and Value

If your kid is a first time angler, a pair that’s low price and a good value can be a good option. However, if you’re committed to fishing with your child for the season, a higher quality but more expensive option may be the right choice.

Like with all fishing gear, I generally recommend buying the best kids waders in your budget.


Some waders will have a chest pocket built into the chest section of the waders. Often the front chest pocket on the inside is for keeping stuff like your phone. There may also be an exterior front pocket. Some waders will also have hand warmer pocket in the stomach area of the wader.

Gravel Guards

Guide Graham in waders which are an important part of river fishing gear

Some stocking foot waders will have built-in gravel guards and some don’t.

Gravel cards go over the top of your separate boots to prevent gravel, sand, and rocks from getting into your boots.

If your set of waders doesn’t have built-in gravel guards, you can purchase SIMMS Gravel Guards which fit on most waders and boots.

Guide Tips: Always prevent sand and gravel from getting into your boots. Sand between your stocking foot waders and the inside of your boots can rub and cause holes in the bottoms of your waders.


If you are getting your kid bootfoot waders the boots are already built onto the waders but before you buy there are some things you really need to know. Even when buying separate boots for stockingfoot waders.

When buying boots, consider these things;

  • Legal Aspects – In some parts of North America, felt soled boots are illegal.
  • Traction: Felt and studded felt soles are usually best on slippery rocks, Deep lug rubber with studs is the next best, followed by just rubber grips soles.
  • Comfort – When some wading boots get wet and then dry they will shrink until you wet them and stretch them out again. For this reason it’s best to go up a half size or more, see below.
  • Durability
  • Insulation and padding
  • Fit/Size for both summer and winter – When you buy boot foot waders you may need to upsize them by a half size or a full size so that in the winter when the water is very cold you can add thick heavy socks.

Guide Tip: When buying wading boots for your stocking foot waders, read the boot brands sizing recommendations because the neoprene stocking foot is very thick so you may need to go upsize 1 or 2 sizes so your foot is not squished. However, some brands take this into consideration so they make the boot a bit bigger to accommodate for the stocking foot.

In winter or when hunting in cold weather, I wear larger boot than normal so I can add multiple socks without squishing my feet and cutting off circulation which can make your feet even colder. See Winter Fishing: How To Stay Warm for my tips and tricks that I and other guides use to stay warm even in ice cold water.

Best Breathable Kids Waders

Orvis Kids Clearwater – Best Overall Waders

Orvis Clear Water Waders

I’ve tried all the top brand waders and I’m currently using the men’s version of these Orvis kids waders.

These are deluxe stocking foot chest waders for kids, and they are a great choice with some seriously great features.

I could not find a better set of waders for kids.

The fabric has a waterproofness rating of 30k and a breathability of 8k. 

The build includes side-release buckles for more airflow on hot days.

There’s an external, stretchable chest pocket for storing fishing gear. Also, the front handpocket is great for keeping hands warm

The design has built-in gravel guards to reduce water drag and keep the sand and rocks out. Finally, it is machine washable.

Caddis Youth Promo Breathable Stocking Foot Waders

I have recommenced the Caddis brand waders for both my adult clients and for youths and they have proven to be some of the best affordable waders for the money and are decent quality.

These children’s waders are constructed from a lightweight breathable fabric with a neoprene feet section which is pretty standard for adult and children’s waders. This way, you get the best of durability and comfort.

The high density neoprene soles keep your kid’s feet comfortable and protected with added. They are definitely one of the best fly fishing waders for kids.

Features like the front hand warmer pocket help keep kids warm and toasty. It’s also good for keep spare fishing equipment on hand. The attached gravel guard and wading boots gives additional protection.

They have an extra durable construction with taped seams that are also glued and stitched. Additionally, the foot is taped inside of it and outside of it.

These H-style suspenders include a repair kit so you can keep them in great condition.

Frogg Toggs Youth Hellbender Pro Stockingfoot Chest Waders

These 100% breathable waders for youth are available in three sizes: small, medium, and large.

Frogg Toggs are one of the best known brands for a comfortable fit. This makes it extra convenient to find the right fit for your kid.

The Frogg Toggs X back suspenders have a quick-release function to make them super safe and adjustable.

The outer layer has a nylon construction, and the middle layer is also waterproof. The super soft inner layer has a tricot design that is comfortable to the touch.

The Frogg Toggs Waders has seven zippered pockets, including a hand warmer pocket for keeping warm and belongings secure. The waterproof pocket is the best place to put some snacks as well.

The neoprene wading boots keep feet warm and safe while fly fishing.

Redington Crosswater Youth Waders

The waterproof youth neoprene waders features a DriPore plus upper and are some of the best waders for young fishermen. The knees are double reinforced, and the booties are a rugged 4 mm double taped neoprene. The outer shell is made from a durable nylon. The middle is also waterproof. The inner layer is soft and insulating in the cold weather.

The X back suspenders are quick releasing and excellent for adjusting. Its pockets are secured with a zipper to keep your belongings safe. In total, there are seven pockets and rubber boots.

Simms Kids’ Tributary Stockingfoot Waders

These waders are in a flattering dark color that give these waders a more grown-up feel and are a solid choice for warmer conditions.

It has a durable three layer upper made from polyester, while the lower layer is 4 layers.

The attached belt loop includes a 1 mm wading belt. There are built-in gravel guards and anti-microbial neoprene stockingfeet. The built in “whoa-there” handle helps give parents more security when fishing with their kids. Attached wading boots make these excellent chest waders for busy parents while fly fishing. Neoprene booties are always a plus!

Plus, the durable waders include a 60 day warranty for all leaks, and 365 warranty for leak repairs.

Best Insulated Waders For Kids

HISEA Kids Chest Waders for Toddler & Children Neoprene Waders

These stylish neoprene waders have three camouflage pattern options and twelve sizes for kids of all sizes. The material is double stitched with armor weld, high-heat sealed seams. It also has a Water Intrusion Resistance processing treatment to keep water out.

The lightweight neoprene is easy to move around in. Plus, the adjustable belts help you to fit it to your child’s frame and rubber boots keep them dry.

Oaki Toddler & Children’s Neoprene Waterproof Fishing Waders

These youth waders are constructed from an ultra cool 4mm neoprene fabic. The front chest pocket is particularly large and great for item storage. The adjustable chest strap allows for a snug fit. Also, the durable seams are taped.

The unique build of these waders are made to keep kids comfortable. With their rugged grip design, the wading boots are perfect for river walks.

Best Budget Waders For Kids

HISEA Kids Chest Waders Youth Fishing Waders

These adorable youth waders have two colors, blue and green. Also, they’re available in sizes from toddlers to teens.

They are ultra lightweight and weigh up to 35% less than similar products. The lab-made material is up to 2.5 times denser than other types of nylon used for waders to keep water out.

It uses a H-shaped design with a D ring attachment for accessories. Reflective safety bands help to improve visibility and keep kids safe.  These waders also have an awesome one year quality assurance. 

Caddis Youth Promo Breathable Stocking Foot Waders

The Caddis Youth waders are an affordable and heavy-duty option. The simple design provides full coverage from chest to your kids feet. 

The Caddis Dry Breathable technology helps prevent leaks. The waders also have attached integrated neoprene gravel guards, glued stitches, and insulated boots. Finally, the included repair kit is a great value. 

White River Fly Shop Three Forks Lug Sole Chest Waders for Kids

These waders have a grown-up design including a fleece lining for extra warmth. Its ultra heavy-duty material is made from 420-denier nylon and is also coated with PVC.

The suspenders have webbing for comfortable adjustment.

A kangaroo style handwarmer pocket is a great addition. It also has snaplock buckles and adjustable shoulder straps. Its top is elasticized to help it be snug. Plus, a front pocket is ideal to store things.

TIDEWE Chest Waders for Kids

The TIDEWE Chest Waders are lightweight, weighing up to 35% less than traditional youth waders. The kid friendly design is ideal for a casual fishing trip and is made from a breathable fabric.

Taped seams help keep kids dry and safe. The included boot attachment also helps keep water out. The H back adjustable shoulder straps gives these chest waders the perfect fit every time.

Best Hip Waders For Kids

Care and Maintenance of Kids Waders

  1. Proper Storage

The best way to store your youth waders is hanging. If that’s not an option, folding them in a cool, dry place is also good.

  1. Cleaning

Most youth waders can be machine washed or hand washed. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions.

  1. Repairing Leaks and Tears

Many waders actually have a repair kit so you can fix any leaks or tears. Patching or hand sewing is a great option.

Safety Tips for Kids Wearing Waders

  1. Proper Fit and Adjustment

Properly fitting youth waders are key to a great fishing tip. Be sure to adjust all belts and straps accordingly.

  1. Avoiding Water Hazards

Teach kids about potential water hazards to look out for before your fishing trip. Communicate with them vocally while fishing, and always have a safety system.

  1. Teaching Kids About Water Safety

Bringing proper safety equipment and having a safety plan is essential for a safe trip. Teach them to keep all hooks and lures in a safety box. Also, aim for a relaxing trip and to know your limitations.

Best Kids Waders FAQ

How to Choose the Right Size?

The best way to choose the right size is to try them on! Also, most companies will have a sizing chart that makes it easy to measure. When in doubt, sizing up is the right thing to do for kids.

How to Determine Boot Size?

I think that sizing up from street shoe size by one size works for almost anyone when measuring for wader boots. If it’s girls measuring for boys sizes, then size down one number.

Are Waders Safe for Kids?

General yes, waders are safe for kids. However, it is very difficult to swim with waders on, especially if they have filled up with water, therefor, kids should not wear waders in deep water, or around deep water, and near fast currents.

Also, avoid wearing waders on boats of any type.

Tight Lines


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