When it comes to all water-related sports and activities, fly fishing is considered a relatively safer activity of them all than and risk-free. But, many fly fishing veterans will agree that if there are any chances of injuries in fly fishing, at all, then a major chunk of them can be eliminated by donning a great pair of wading boots. As the name suggests, wading boots for fly fishing, whether in saltwater or freshwater, are designed for wading through shallow waters. The main objective of these boots is to provide traction against algae, weeds, and slipper river beds and reduce fatigue. That’s because fly fishers might very well get exhausted while standing in the water for hours together, and that too in different temperatures. If that wasn’t enough, they also protect from debris and objects on river/lake beds and sharp rocks.
Not only that, but a good pair of wading boots can make you reach places that other wading boots won’t be able to, and that too while keeping your feet dry and warm. Whether you’re fishing or fly fishing, getting a good pair of wading boots is considered an investment. Just like the Best Fishing Rods With Reels and the Best Kayak Fishing Tackle Boxes are indispensable for a successful fishing session, so are wading boots. So, here are the 13 best wading boots for fly fishing, both in saltwater and freshwater.
How To Choose The Best Wading Boots?
Besides getting the Best Fly-Fishing Kayaks, you need other good fishing equipment too, such as the Best Kayak Fishing Nets and the Best Kayak Fishing Rods. You also need to have protective and communication gear on you, such as the Best Life Jackets For Fishing and the Best Waterproof Walkie-Talkies For Kayaking and Fishing. Likewise, you need wader boots too, which are part of protective gear for fishing. So, what do you need to look for while buying wader boots? Read on.
Basically, soles can be of two types – rubber and felt sole. Rubber soles have become very popular in the last few years, and are perfect if your holidays permanently involved the outdoors. Rubber soles provide excellent traction on wet surfaces outside the rivers and are very durable too. On the other hand, Felt soles offer superior levels of traction in the river, especially on algae and moss-covered rocks that are extremely slippery. With such felt soles, you can also walk easily over sharp oyster beds as well. Also, they work wonderfully on wet surfaces as well.
Notwithstanding the kind of sole you choose, you can always add studs/cleats to your best saltwater wading boots, as they provide extra stability and traction. When the conditions change, you can simply take them out as well. And for the same, rubber soles are an excellent choice.
Material and weight
What your wading boots for fly fishing are made up of is a rather important next consideration when buying them. Check whether the water flows in and out of the boot or not and whether it’s comfortable and lightweight to wear too. Some of the commonest and most popular materials used are synthetic leather, nylon, and neoprene. Not only do they not add additional weight, but also they let the water drain out as quickly as possible. Aside from the material, the build and shape of your wading boots also have an influence on their weight. For those preferring lightweight boots, go for one with a lower shaft. Meanwhile, if you want better sturdiness and stability, then go for one that’s indestructible and will last you years.
Last but not least, your wading boots should be very easy to lace up. So, you need to be able to quickly take it off and put it on, since you’re going to be out on the river. What’s more, the boots must have a pull system with hooks, ensuring that you can tightly lace them onto your feet. This will make you feel more confident and not worry about losing them anytime soon.
Which is the lightest wading boot?
With the word “ultralight” in its very name, the lightest wading boot is the Orvis Men’s Ultralight Wading Boot, which is a great saltwater boot too. Weighing less than 2 lbs together, these boots are extremely durable and come with well-designed quick-drying Clarino microfiber uppers and mini ripstop inserts. The Vibram midsole and abrasion-resistant rubber-sprayed high-wear zones add to the comfort and protection. Rounding up the features is the special rubber lug pattern that offers flawless traction both on the land and the water.
COMPASS 360 Stillwater Cleated Rubber Sole Wading Shoe
The COMPASS 360 Stillwater Cleated Rubber Sole Wading Shoe is one of the best wading boots for fishing, especially for those who spend a lot of time in the river. Well-designed with a reinforced toe, you don’t have to worry about hurting your toes when your feet bump into the rocks under the water. Another thing you’ll really like about these boots is the sole, which won’t slip or slide. Designed from durable and sturdy non-shrinking nylon, these boots are also comfy and lightweight and weigh just 1.6 lbs. So, you can wear these wading boots for hours together, even in saltwater! The adjustable ankle strap with a zippered top closure is stylish to be worn everywhere as well as keeps dirt and grit out. Finally, these wading boots can be worn both with as well as without steel studs or screw-in cleats.
- Quick lace system.
- The nylon doesn’t shrink from excess water.
- Can be worn without booties.
- Can be worn in saltwater.
- The insoles cannot be changed.
DUCK AND FISH Sticky Rubber Sole Wading Shoe
The neoprene triple-padded ankle collar and the polyester upper are what make the Duck And Fish Sticky Rubber Sole Wading Shoe one of the best wading boots for saltwater. Both ensure that it’s easy for you to walk in high-stream waters, while the reinforced heel and toe ensure that you don’t have to worry about injuries from stones or other debris. Moreover, the extra-wide midsole and base ensure that those with wide feet also find the shoe’s inners very comfortable. If that wasn’t enough, the sticky rubber sole even possesses self-cleaning properties, which means that mud and dirt won’t stick to the boots. That basically means you finally have a shoe that’s easy to clean! Rounding up the features is the drain holes, which drain all the excess water once you step out of the river. Plus, it won’t allow the water to get inside.
- Quick lacing system.
- Wide soles.
- Drain holes for removing excess water immediately.
- The laces are short.
Caddis Northern Guide Ultralite Ecosmart Grip Sole Wading Shoe
Women, these wading boots for fishing are for you. Behold the Caddis Northern Guide Ultralite Ecosmart Grip Sole Wading Shoe, which is a lightweight pair of boots that ensure superior levels of grip. These boots work excellently in all kinds of water conditions and won’t let you slip on muddy grounds or algae-covered rocks. Moreover, it has a very quick lacing system that allows you to put on as well as take off the shoes very easily and quickly. On the inside, the insoles are cushioned and the sides of the shoes are padded, feeling like you’ve put pillows on your feet! Even then, the boots come with reinforced toe coverings so that you won’t hurt your toe in case you hit it against a rock or a hard thing. Besides the padded ankle collar, if you want even more room inside, then you can simply remove the insoles!
- Quick lacing system.
- Stylish and lightweight.
- Padded and cushioned insides.
- Not suitable for saltwater.
Allen Company Granite River Wading Boots
One of the best wading boots for fly fishing is the Allen Company Granite River Wading Boots. There’s a lot to like about these boots, starting with the fact that they have felt soles that ensure great traction. Thanks to the reinforced heel and toe, your feet won’t have painful stabs in case you hit your feet against rocks. Moreover, the midsole build features lightweight EVA, allowing you to walk through fast-streamed rivers for a long time. What you’ll really like is that the collar and tongue have a pull-on heel strap, allowing you to easily put these boots on and off. Finally, the lacing system is very tight, which means that the boots securely sit on your feet and you won’t have to worry about them falling off. If you live in colder climates, this pair keeps your feet toasty, and won’t let water inside either.
- Can walk on slippery surfaces and oyster beds.
- Fast lacing system.
- They are lightweight.
- Keeps your feet warm.
- The loops come undone.
Hodgman Neoprene Wade Shoe
Yet another pair of excellent wading boots for fishing is the Hodgman Neoprene Wade Shoe, which is perfect for even hot-weather wading and fly fishing. The upper body is designed from 3.5mm tough and durable neoprene, complete with adjustable hook-and-loop cuffs. Thus, they stay tightly secured to your feet, and you won’t have to worry about them becoming loose in fast-moving streams or rivers. Additionally, the boots are designed as cuffs, which means that they keep the debris, dirt, and grit from entering within. However, one of the most unique features of these boots is that they don’t have laces! Rather, they’ve been designed with zippers on the front part of the shoes, allowing you to easily put them on or take them off. Finally, the rubber soles will provide superior levels of traction. All in all, these waterproof wading boots are a great buy.
- Can walk on oyster beds and slippery surfaces.
- The zipper is durable and easy to work with.
- They feel secure and tight.
- The Velcro might be too short for some people.
Frogg Toggs Hellbender Felt Sole Wading Shoe
The Frogg Toggs Hellbender Felt Sole Wading Shoe is yet another excellent pair of best wading boots for saltwater. Designed from mesh and PVC, these boots boast a padded ankle collar, thus making you feel very comfortable even when you walk in the water. Additionally, they have a protective rubber toe that keeps your toe from getting hurt lest you hit your feet against hard rocks. What’s more, the boots feature a replaceable felt sole for ensuring great traction. Plus, the midsole has a thick and plush PU foam so that you’ll feel comfortable walking even in rivers with high streams. Furthermore, the heavily padded tongue assures higher foot stability. Overall, these best saltwater wading boots are both comfortable and lightweight, and feature riveted speed laces with locking upper lace clips for easy closure and take off.
- Suitable for saltwater.
- Can walk on slippery rivers and lakebeds.
- Very comfortable.
- The laces are short.
Redington Fly Fishing Skagit River Rubber Men’s Wading Boot
Yet another excellent pair of wading boots for fishing is the Redington Fly Fishing Skagit River Rubber Wading Boot. These boots offer one of the best water drainage systems on this list. So, as soon as you leave the river waters behind, all the water drains immediately leaving nothing behind in your boot. Designed from a synthetic and nylon leather upper, these boots keep your feet cool and sweat-free by wicking all excessive moisture. Besides breathability, the shoe boasts a rubble sole allowing you to walk through rivers and streams with a lot of pebbles, stones, and even algae-covered surfaces. What’s more, you’ll also be able to add extra studs in order to ensure better traction. All you need to do is screw them into the holes that have been provided. Since they’re designed slightly larger, you can even wear them with neoprene booties or socks.
- Quick lacing system with pull loops.
- Has oodles of ankle support.
- It drains water fast with the mesh panels.
- The loops detach slightly easily.
Korkers Greenback Wading Boot with Felt & Kling-On Soles
The Korkers Greenback Wading Boot with Felt & Kling-On Soles is yet another best wading boots for fly fishing. Costing just north of $100, these wading boots are for those who cannot make up their mind about rubber or felt soles, for this pair is the best of both worlds! Featuring changeable soles, these boots give you the freedom of flitting between rubber and felt soles as and when you want to, and that too for no additional cost! Aside from the above, the boost can channel and drain all the excess water in a heartbeat the minute you leave the water. So, no more shaking your feet to get rid of it. The thick padding keeps you warm in colder climates, and that too without soaking any water. The best part is that these shoes can be used both inside and outside the water!
- The shoe doesn’t soak water or add to the weight.
- Generous and plush padding.
- Great for people with wide feet.
- The soles aren’t changeable with the boots on.
Chota Outdoor Gear Wading Boots
The Chota Outdoor Gear Wading Boots are one of the most well-designed wading boots for fishing. These boots have been designed with an advanced lacing system that will make you feel like you’ve stepped out in comfortable foam slippers. All you need to do is pull, hook, and slide the barrel for locking it into place. Furthermore, the molded heel offers superior levels of support. Meanwhile, the actual sole is made from high-quality poly-felt, allowing you to walk comfortably on hard rocks and slippery surfaces. What’s also great about these wading boots is that you can easily remove the rubber cleats on the sole in case the environment requires you to, and replace them with steel or carbide cleats. Moreover, the elastic laces won’t get ruined even if they’re exposed to a lot of humidity or water. Wrapping up everything in the polished exterior made from leather.
- Each shoe weighs less than 1 lbs.
- Designed with a padded collar.
- The toe and heel area is resistant to abrasions.
- You cannot change the laces.
Simms Tributary Felt Wading Boot
The Simms Tributary Felt Wading Boot is yet another excellent pair of wading boots for saltwater. The brand is already well-known for producing excellent fishing gear, right from packs to waders and boots, and this wading boot is no exception. The Freestone Boots are rugged and strong and can withstand being pitted up against underwater abrasive surfaces such as stumps and submerged rocks. What’s more, the bottoms of the boot also prevent the build-up of ice and snow both. Made from synthetic waterproof leather combined with scratch-resistant uppers, these boots will last you for a whole lot of fishing seasons. The brand also boasts an excellent right-angle footbed technology that helps prevent ankle and foot fatigue from standing or walking on rough surfaces or in the water for hours. Overall, these best saltwater wading boots make for an excellent buy.
- Excellent levels of durability.
- Great traction.
- The bottom of the boot prevents snow and ice build-up.
- On the heavier side.
Korkers Buckskin Wading Boots
One boot that features across many lists of best wading boots for fishing is the Korkers Buckskin Wading Boots, which again tries to give you the best of both worlds. The interchangeable sole system allows you to swap between two different removable soles, one rubber and one felt. What’s more, the boots are also compatible with the brand’s studded Kling-On soles. Not only are the Korkers Buckskin boots incredibly comfortable, but also they’re supportive, lightweight, and made from hydrophobic materials that reduce the drying time by a lot. Drainage is provided by large internal drainage channels and integrated ports. An enhanced scratch rubber toe cap and a midsole add to the overall comfort and longevity and durability. Rounding up the features are the abrasion-resistant rubberized synthetic uppers, the secure traditional lace system, and the sizes ranging from 5 to 15.
- Interchangeable soles.
- BOA lacing system.
- Enhanced midsole.
- Scratch rubber toe cap for preventing toe injuries.
- Sole isn’t as flexible as others.
Orvis Men’s Ultralight Wading Boot
If you like spending most of your day in the water or walk long distances to get to your favorite fishing spot, then consider the Orvis Men’s Ultralight Wading Boot. One of the best wading boots for fly fishing, these help you conserve your energy levels since they weigh just 2 lbs. Thanks to the quick-drying Clarino microfiber uppers and mini ripstop inserts, the boot is extremely durable and offers a superb strength-to-weight ratio. Moreover, the high-wear zones are sprayed with an abrasion-resistant rubber, adding an additional layer of protection. Meanwhile, the Vibram midsole is perfect for plush and all-day-long comfort. If that wasn’t enough, the special lug pattern on the rubber outsole offers flawless traction both on the land and the water. While the least must be bought separately, the wading boot features attachment points for well-placed metal cleats.
- Great for longer days out on the water.
- Very lightweight.
- Lug pattern for traction.
- Attachment points for cleats.
- The laces are a bit short.
8 Fans Wading Boots
Sitting atop the list of best wading boots for fishing is the 8 Fans Wading Boots. The cushioned and lightweight boot is extremely comfortable thanks to the thick soles and the quick-draining system. Both will have you walking in water as well as out of it very easily, safely, and comfortably. Adding to the durability is the quick lace system and the oxford uppers, while the reinforced heel and toe will help keep your feet from getting hurt when you’re walking on stony riverbeds. What’s more, the bottom of the boots is made from non-slip rubber soles that help with the traction especially when you’re standing or walking in the water. Features such as a padded collar further add to the comfort. Available in multiple sizes, these lightweight and comfy boots and are built to last for durability.
- Reinforced heel and toe.
- Quick-draining system.
- None, really.