Best Wading Boots: Buyers Guide

This are my Korkers boots which are some of the best wading boots for river fishing

As a full time river guide, I spend over 300 days a year wearing wading boots. When it comes to wading boots, they not only help you fish, but they keep you safe and prevent injuries.

Some boots barely last me a season before they start to fall apart, while others might last me a few seasons. I know that most guys won’t fish 300 days over a five-year period, but it’s not always about durability.

Wading boots are designed to help anglers navigate through strong river currents and remain stable while walking over rocky and slick terrain. Good boots will offer more ankle support which protects you from getting injured.

Wading boots also protect your waders from punctures and wear. For this reason I recommend getting the best set of wading boots you can afford.

I do classes and river guiding, and sometimes I provide the waders and wading boots. Because of this, most years I own over 20 pairs of wading boots, so I have tested out many wading boots.

11 Best Wading Boots List

  1. Orvis Pro Wading Boots – Best Fly Fishing Boots Overall
  2. Simms Flyweight Access Wading Boots – Best for Hiking
  3. Korkers Devil’s Canyon Wading Boots – Most Versatile 
  4. Patagonia Foot Tractor Wading Boots by Danner – Best for Slippery Rocks 
  5. Simms Free Salt Wading Boots – Best Saltwater Wading Boot
  6. Orvis Men’s Ultralight – Best Lightweight 
  7. Simms Freestone – Most Durable 
  8. Redington Pro Bowler – Best for the Money
  9. Korkers Buckskin May – Best for Women 
  10. Orvis Encounter Felt Soles – Best Felt Sole 
  11. FroggToggs Men’s Aura – Best Budget Wading Boot

The Best Wading Boots Brands

Good wading boots are a must for rocky terrain.
Good wading boots are a must for rocky terrain like this.

Leading wading boots brands on the market for high-quality wading boots are Orvis, Simms, Korkers, Patagonia, Redington and Frogg Toggs. 

My current brand preference for the best fly fishing boots is Orvis and my boots are the Orvis Pro Wading Boot. I like the versatility of this wading boot in addition to the durability.

The also protect my stocking foot waders well.

Felt Soles VS. Rubber Soles

River Fishing Gear Reviews From An Expert
I do classes and guiding, and sometimes I provide the waders and wading boots. Because of this, I own over 20 pairs of wading boots so I have been able to test out a lot of wading boots.

Various factors, like location and environment, determine which sole is better for your fishing adventure. Felt soles are great for slippery rocks, but rubber-soled wading boots are the better choice for dry land. 

Felt-soled wading boots are prohibited in Alaska, Maryland, Nebraska, Missouri, South Dakota and Rhode Island because of the potential transference of invasive species. It is important to wear rubber-soled boots when you fish in territories with invasive species to avoid this.

If you plan to fish in any of these states, rubber-soled boots are a good solution. I suggest Korkers wading boots as the best choice for fly fishing boots because they offer outsoles that are interchangeable.

So, you essentially get a multifunctional boot with felt soles and rubber soles.

Patagonia Danner Foot Tractor Wading Boots: Best Wading Boots For Slippery Rocks

Category: Fresh and Saltwater Fishing, Hiking and Wading
Weight: 86.8 oz Waterproof: Yes
Likes: Vibram® Idrogrip outsoles with aluminum bars for increased stability.
Dislikes: A bit expensive initial but long-lasting durable design.

The Patagonia Danner Foot Tractor Wading Boots are quality boots with a Vibram sole and a waterproof design for durability and anti-slip features for extra stability. The adjustable lacing system makes this wading boot a top performer.

Orvis Encounter Felt Soles: Best Wading Boots With Felt Soles

Category: Hiking and Wading
Weight: 37 oz Waterproof: Yes
Likes: Quick dry features and cost
Dislikes: A bit expensive initial but long-lasting durable design.

Traditionally, anglers lean towards felt-sole boots. However, the more environmentally-conscious choice is rubber-soled wading boots. When you’re fishing in rivers or lakes with sandy or rocky bottoms, Orvis Encounter Felt Soles are my top pick for the superior fly fishing boots and hiking boots with felt soles because they have a wider size with a reinforced rubber toe cap for ultimate toe protection.

Simms Freestone Wading Boots: Best Wading Boots With Rubber Soles and Best for Wide Feet

Category: Hiking and Wading
Weight: 72.44 oz Waterproof: Yes
Likes: Excellent price for the quality and extra ankle support.
Dislikes: Durability features.

Simms Freestone Wading Boots are a popular wading boot with a Vibram rubber sole that provides extra traction to protect anglers fishing in rocky rivers. Whether you go fishing in lakes with mossy bottoms or rivers with slippery rocks, rubber soles provide anglers with a safe grip on the ground below and help maintain a stable footing when wading through water.

Simms Freestone Wading Boots are larger-size wading boots and an excellent option for anglers with wide feet. A popular pick among fly fishing waders with rubber soles, this wading boot has a synthetic leather waterproof layer and a partial neoprene lining.

Chota Wading Boots: Most Comfortable and Most Durable Wading Boots

Category: Hiking, Wading and Fly Fishing
Weight: 19.5 oz Waterproof: Yes
Likes: Comfortable and durable design.
Dislikes: Polypropylene Hydrophobic Felt Soles are made with built-in cleat attachment bases that use Chota Cleats that are not included.

In general, Chota Outdoor Gear is great! Chota fly fishing boots are best known for their superior level of comfort, making them an excellent choice for hiking boots, as well. The lightweight quality, while still remaining incredibly rugged, is a favorable feature for fly fishermen. Chota also has quality cleat options and wading shoes to keep your feet dry all day.

Simms G4 Pro Powerlock Boots: Best Quality Wading Boots

Category: Hiking, Wading and Fly Fishing
Weight: 66 oz Waterproof: Yes
Likes: Versatility and superior grip design.
Dislikes: Initial cost is high and limited cleat options.

My choice for a quality fly fishing boot is Simms G4 Pro Powerlock fishing boots. Highly innovative fly fishing boots by Simms. These wading boots feature an advanced cleat system that is customizable and durable. The Vibram Idrogrip outsole comes with a built-in Powerlock system that allows anglers to quickly customize traction and easily adjust.

Orvis Pro Wading Boots; Best-Rated and Best Fly Fishing Wading Boots

Category: Hiking, Wading and Fly Fishing
Weight: 50 oz Waterproof: Yes
Likes: Best wet rubber traction outsole and insole support features.
Dislikes: The price range is on the high end, but the quality is worth the initial cost.

Based on my experience, Orvis Pro Wading Boots are the best fly fishing boots on the market. A versatile boot, Orvis wading boots are always on my list! The reason I choose Orvis Pro as the best overall wading boot is that it can be used for all of the categories mentioned.In addition to the quality outsole, the 3D OrthoLite X25 insole provides superior support and extreme comfort.

Orvis Men’s Ultralight Wading Boots: Best Lightweight and Hiking Wading Boots

Category: Hiking and Wading
Weight: 40 oz Waterproof: Yes
Likes: Lightweight but still highly durable.
Dislikes: Imported polyester mesh material.

Made in the USA, the Orvis Men’s Ultralight Wading Boot is my top choice for the best lightweight and hiking-wading boots. In 2017, this boot won IFTD Best of Show for men’s wading boots for fly fishing. The ultralight wading boots make it easy for anglers to move through the water when fly fishing. Designed with Posigrip screw-in studs that come in 24 packs.

Redington Pro Bowler Wading Boots: Best Wading Boots For The Money

Category: Hiking and Wading
Weight: 1lb 10 oz Waterproof: Water-resistant
Likes: All-day comfort quality and fast-drying materials.
Dislikes: The grip, weight and durability.

Redington Pro Bowler Wading Boots are made with neoprene lining that improves the comfort quality and provides next-level ankle support. This lightweight boot is also comfortable for the cost. These wader boots rank Redington among the top wading boots for the money.

Frogg Togg’s Rana Elite Wading Boots: Best Budget Wading Boots

Category: Wading and All-day Fly Fishing
Weight: 3.76 lb Waterproof: 100%
Likes: Toe and heel caps, speed laces and locking clips.
Dislikes: Imported and rather heavy.

If you are fishing on a budget, Frogg Togg’s Rana Elite Wading Boots – Lug for Men is my suggestion. The corrosion-resistant lace loops are beneficial for saltwater fishing, as well. This boot is a versatile and durable option for wading boots for fishing. Frogg Toggs will keep your feet dry and comfortable on all-day fishing excursions.

Simms Free Salt Wading Boots: Best Wading Boots For Saltwater

Category: Hiking, Boating and Saltwater Fishing
Weight: 55.17 oz Waterproof: Yes
Likes: The outsole’s non-marking feature for boat decks.
Dislikes: Neoprene lining.

Designed by fishermen, Simms Free Salt Wading Boots are a popular pick for Saltwater because of the non-corrosive hardware design that is best for coastal brackish saltwater. Every saltwater angler is aware of the damage saltwater does to fishing gear. Simms designed these boots to be worn with waders and to withstand long hours in saltwater with synthetic materials for ultimate durability.

Pro-tip: After use and to avoid corrosion and rust, rinse your equipment with fresh water.

3 Best Wading Boots For Women

Women wear fly fishing boots, too!

Today, women account for 37% of anglers in the U.S., with so many options available for women’s wading boots, lady anglers find it a challenge to choose the best wading boots. So, I reviewed and assessed the best wading boots for women.

Here are my top three wading boots for women.

  1. Korkers Buckskin Mary Wading Boots: These popular rubber wading boots feature interchangeable felt but are still characterized as rubber sole wading boots. 
  2. Redington Aurora Wading Boots: An excellent choice for a comfortable wading boot with ankle support.
  3. Cabela’s Ultralight Wading Boots: These ultralight wading boots offer a lightweight, multifunctional fly fishing boot option for women.

3 Best Wading Boots For Kids

Lightweight and waterproof are two of the most essential elements for kids’ wader boots for fly fishing. A light boot for wading through the water is essential for young anglers.

  1. Simms Tributary Wading Boots: Simms has designed a good wading boot with rubber soles for young anglers.
  2. Chota Citico Creek Wading Boots: Chota Wading Boots include 28 “STL” cleats and are made with quality synthetic leather.
  3. Redington Crosswater Youth Wading Boots: Redington has manufactured a lightweight boot with extra traction designed for kids.

Korker’s Darkhorse Wading Boots: Best Wading Boots For Cold Water

Category: Wading
Weight: 3lbs 4oz (felt-soled) Waterproof: Yes
Likes: Interchangeable sole system and sustainability features.
Dislikes: The heavyweight design.

My professional fishing experience proves that Korker’s Darkhorse Wading Boots are the best cold-weather wading boots for fly fishing.

Most importantly, Korker is a sustainable wading boot manufacturer that makes quality, long-lasting products to eliminate excess waste in landfills.

Korker Darkhorse Wading Boots use the OmniTrax® 3.0 Interchangeable Sole System to give anglers strong traction for any aquatic environment. This wading boot offers two sole options, including felt soles and sticky rubber soles for fly fishing boots.

Korkers Wading Boots: Most Revolutionary Wading Boots

Category: Hiking and Backcountry Durability
Weight: 3 lbs 6 oz Waterproof: Hydrophobic material
Likes: The interchangeable sole system (rubber and felt).
Dislikes: A bit heavy but durable.

Another quality wading boot is the OmniTrax® Interchangeable Sole System, designed with rubber and felt soles for customized traction on the fly. The River Ops™ BOA® Wading Boots for fishing are manufactured with a hydrophobic material that is popular for a quick dry wading boot.

Pro-tip: It is extremely important that you keep your boots dry because it reduces the possibility of transporting invasive species.

M’s G4 PRO Powerlock Wading Boots: Best Simms Wading Boots

Category: Hiking and Wading
Weight: 66 oz Waterproof: Yes
Likes: Customizable cleat system and power lock features.
Dislikes: High initial cost but long-lasting.

M’s G4 PRO Powerlock Wading Boots are the most advanced wading boots for fly fishing. This wading boot has a felt Vibram sole that gives anglers a customizable cleat system for ultimate traction and stability. Additionally, synthetic leather materials used for this design create optimal durability.

Wading Boots Q&A

What are the best cleats for wading boots?

The result for the best cleats for wading boots is a tie between two Simms products – HardBite Star Cleats and AlumiBite Cleats. Best for soft, rocky bottoms, Hardbite Star Cleats, designed by Simms, is my first choice for best cleats. Simms AlumiBite Cleat has aluminum star-shaped cleats and provides a safe grip on the unseen ground below.

Are wading boots necessary?

A good wading boot is important to protect your ankles with extra support for walking on rocky bottoms. Wading shoes also prevent fishermen from falling into the water while fishing on slippery rocks. Safety is always a top priority.

So, yes! Wading boots are necessary.

Are wading boots waterproof?

Most wading boots feature waterproof qualities. Other wading boots allow water to pass through the boots but somehow manage to keep any sediment from entering the boot. Wading boot manufacturers suggest that you include your wading socks to create a dynamic waterproof.

What are the best wading boot laces? Replacement Laces

The BOA single-wire lacing system enables anglers to fish longer in any environment. These laces are the most rugged on the market, or the PRO Hybrid (rubber and felt sole) from Orvis, Simms and Korkers use the BOA lacing system.

Ultimately, the laces are woven tight and reduce the chances of your boots coming untied.

What are the best studs for wading boots?

Wading boot manufacturers like Simms and Korkers have their own wading boot studs that work seamlessly with their products. However, there are universal studs that work with any brand of wading boots. Goat Head Spikes and Grip Studs are at the top of my list, but if you are on a budget, Goat Head Spikes are more cost-effective.

What is the best stud pattern for wading boots?

In my professional opinion, the best stud pattern for beginner anglers is the 10-stud pattern. If you’re fishing on rocky, unsteady bottoms, I suggest you use a 14-stud pattern or create your own pattern.

What is the best way to dry wading boots?

Even the best wading boot becomes saturated after hours underwater and the most effective way to dry your wading boots is direct sunlight. But boot dryers also work well. If you don’t have a boot dryer, just use your clothes dryer.

Pro-tip: Be sure not to leave your boots in the sun for too long because UV rays cause damage from overexposure.

Best glue for wading boots?

Barge All-Purpose TF Cement Rubber Leather is the best glue product for wading boots.

Tight Lines,


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