The Top 5 Breathable Stockingfoot Waders – Comfort Is Essential

There are a few basic types of waders on the market. Most are either neoprene or thin, breathable synthetic materials. Neoprene seems to be the most popular choice during the cold months of the year, while breathable waders are more common during the warmer summer months. There are also different heights of waders. Hip boots go up to your hips, and chest waders go up to (you guessed it) your chest. They either come in stockingfoot waders (where the stocking is usually made of a neoprene boot) and bootfoot waders, where there is a wading boot attached to the end.

Fly Fishing Waders

Now that we have gone over the basic types of waders available, I will attempt to rank the top 5 stockingfoot, chest height, breathable waders on the market. Why am I choosing this type over the others? They’re better. Let me explain why before we go into the rankings.

First of all, breathable waders are comfortable to use year round. Sure, neoprene waders offer added insulation, but it is just as easy to layer your clothing underneath the waders to insulate against the cold. Being able to use my waders year round means I only have to buy one pair of waders rather than two, which saves me money for other fishing gear.

Secondly, breathable waders are lightweight and don’t restrict my movement. This is important when wading in swift currents. Bulky neoprene waders can hamper your mobility, which can be a dangerous situation in deep, swift waters. Sure, neoprene is more durable against abrasions and cuts, but most of the lightweight breathable waders on the market come with reinforced knee pads and seams, which reduces wear and tear.

Choosing a chest high pair of waders doesn’t mean that you can and should wade in water up to your chest. The extended coverage will keep out splashing water, and I just prefer chest waders to hip boots or wading pants. As for choosing stockingfoot waders over bootfoot waders, most bootfoot waders come with sub-par boots. I would rather buy my own boots to use with my waders than be stuck with boots with slippery traction.

Now that you know why I choose breathable, stockingfoot chest waders for year round fishing, let’s get into the rankings.

#5 – Frogg Toggs Anura Nylon Breathable Stockingfoot Waders – $160

Frogg Toggs Anura Nylon Breathable Stockingfoot Wader, Medium, Sand/SageWhile not a super well known brand name, the Anura by Frogg Toggs is a solid set of waders. The knees and shins are reinforced with a 6 ply section of nylon, with 4 ply coverage on the rest of the waders. The waders themselves are lightweight yet durable, and they are constructed with what they call ‘DriPore C3 technology.’ The socks are constructed of 3.5mm neoprene, and feature gravel guards and lace hooks. They also feature quick release buckles on the suspenders and a zippered chest pocket. Priced right at $160, click the following link for more information or to purchase your Frogg Toggs Anura waders today.

Frogg Toggs Anura Nylon Breathable Stockingfoot Waders

#4 – Caddis Northern Guide Zippered Breathable Stockingfoot Waders – $140-$220

Caddis Northern Guide Zippered Breathable Stockingfoot Wader, Large StoutI am a big fan of zippered front waders, but only as long as the zipper is high quality and waterproof, as they are on these waders. The Northern Guide waders from Caddis are extremely well built and offer several features, including reinforced knees, shin area, and seat for added durability; gravel guards with heavy duty lace latch; taped, glued, an and stitched seams; and several sizes (including stout sizes that add extra room without length) to fit perfectly on any fisherman. Priced at $220 (or $140 for the non zippered), no matter the size, these waders will last you a long time and provide comfort on the water. Click on the following link for more information on the waders or to purchase you pair of Northern Guide waders now.

Caddis Northern Guide Breathable Stockingfoot Waders

Caddis Northern Guide Zippered Breathable Stockingfoot Waders

#3 – Redington Sonic Pro Breathable Stockingfoot Waders – $250-$350

Redington Sonic Pro Zip Front Fishing Wader, Driftwood/Basalt, LargeI love Redington Products. Their fly fishing combos offer some of the best value on the market today, and I love my 5 weight Topo outfit that I purchased off of Amazon a few months ago. No surprise that they also make high quality waders. The Sonic Pro waders come with a front zipper or without, with the front zipper adding approximately $100 to the price tag. Is a front zipper really worth the added premium? I think so, but not to the tune of an extra $100. These waders feature 3 layer coated nylon, with 5 layers on the shins and knees. The name comes from the fact that the seams are ‘high-tech Ultra Sonic Welded,’ not sewn. Without seams, you are less likely to spring a leak while on the water. They feature ergonomic hand warmer pockets lined with brushed micro fleece, which is a nice touch. The outer pocket or pockets (depending on the model) are waterproof as well, which allows you to keep water sensitive items like cameras and wallets dry. The price is a little on the steep side here, but the quality is nothing short of Redington’s high standards, and is also related to the fact that there are absolutely no seams on these waders. Click the following links for purchasing information.

Redington Sonic Pro Breathable Stockingfoot Waders

Redington Sonic Pro Breathable Zippered Stockingfoot Waders

#2 – Simms Headwaters Breathable Stockingfoot Waders – $280

Simms Headwaters Stockingfoot Waders - Sage - Size XLKIt is no doubt that Simms makes some of the best waders on the market today. The Headwaters waders are no exception. Featuring 3 layers of Gore-Tex Performance Shell Fabric with additional reinforced knee and shin panels, you will hardly notice these waders are on. They are ultra-breathable, ultra-light, and ultra-comfortable. The exterior pocket includes a quick drying micro fleece liner, as well as an extra stretch mesh pocket with hook and loop closure. These are fantastic waders, and when it comes to comfort, Simms Headwaters waders are as comfortable as they come. For more purchasing information, click the link below.

Simms Headwaters Breathable Stockingfoot Waders

#1 – Hodgman Hickory Swale Breathable Stockingfoot Waders – $155

Hodgman Hickory Swale Breathable Stockingfoot Chest Wader, 2X-LargeChoosing the number one pair of waders on the market wasn’t easy, but when it comes to price, features, and comfort, only one pair of waders stood out from the crowd. Hodgman’s Hickory Swale zippered waders are absolutely awesome waders. Period. I’ve already mentioned how much I like zippered front waders, and these ones do not disappoint. But they are also very reasonably priced. In fact, these waders are the cheapest on the list (as of the publish date, subject to change), which is amazing to me. The full front zipper allows for easy on, easy off, and it is fully waterproof. The suspenders are also quite comfortable compared to others out there, as they are padded and vented. The knees and shins are fully reinforced for maximum durability, and the neoprene socks are durable and long lasting. A few other features that set these waders apart from the others are the fly rod holder tabs along the side, the removable fly patch, the retractable zinger, and the waterproof pockets. If you are minimalist fly fisherman, you might not even need to wear a vest or chest pack while on the water. Overall, Hodgman’s Hickory Swale waders are an impressive set, and will serve you well during any fishing scenario. Click the following link for more information on the top ranked breathable waders and to purchase yours today!

Hodgman Hickory Swale Breathable Stockingfoot Waders

Bonus Links

Hodgman has a few other zippered models that are also fantastic, so check them out as well!

Hodgman Sawbill Creek Insulated Stockingfoot Waders

Hodgman Pipestone Breathable Stockingfoot Waders

Hodgman Pond Hollow Insulated Stockingfoot Waders

The Bottom Line

Hopefully, this article will help you sort through the many different wader types, brands, and models on the market and cut right to the quality waders available. As always, happy fishing!

What do you think about this top 5 list? Where did I get it right? Where did I get it wrong? Is the entire list garbage? What is your top pair of breathable waders? Let me know in the comment section below. Thanks!

4 thoughts on “The Top 5 Breathable Stockingfoot Waders – Comfort Is Essential

  1. Pingback: Characteristics Of Top Breathable Waders

  2. I would like to order a pair of the
    #1 Hodgeman Hickory Swale Breathable
    Stockingfoot Waders.
    Priced at $155.00
    I need a Size Large

    I do not know how to order these for my Husband.
    I am not sure about the size as I do not thebchest size.
    Please help me order these ASAP

    I cannot find a phone number to call and place an order.
    Thanking you in Advance,

  3. I appreciate the time and research you put into this article and I think you probably hit the bullseye on your selection. But I find one thing extremely troubling and that’s the pricetag I see, not only on the ones you’ve selected here but others that you’ve not mentioned.

    I’ve seen waders priced as high as $700 and they must be for people who have so much money they’re trying for find stupid ways to get rid of it.

    Years ago (about 30) I bought a pair of light-weight nylon/neoprene waders from Cabela’s for $20.00 plus shipping. I still use them summer and winter and they still look almost new. As you indicated, I just add extra clothing for the winter when the water is cold…though most of the time, the streams I fish in are cold year round.

    Cabela’s discontinued these waders when they hit the bigtime and corporate greed took over. I know I can’t expect to find a decent wader for $20.00 today. but considering inflation, I would expect to be able to get the same pair for about $40.00, today.

    I wish I could find them because I have a young friend who’s just getting into fly fishing and he doesn’t have a lot of money to spare to pay $100+ for a set of waders. It’s almost as though the fly fishing industry is practicing conservation by trying to price newcomers out of the market thus reducing pressure on the fishing spots.

    When my daughter first started fly fishing, I bought her a pair of $10.00 PVC waders that served well. When I was sure she was hooked on the sport, I got her a pair of Cabela’s nylon waders like mine. They’re also still in use and that was 25 years ago. I guess I’m a cheapskate at heart. My favorite fly rod for fishing the small streams in my area is a 6 1/2 foot telescoping fiberglass pack rod I bought at K-Mart 40 years ago for less than $10.00.

    I think the action on that little rod is better than a very expensive bamboo rod I inherited from my dad though I occasionally use that bamboo rod on big water. I have three more fairly expensive name-brand fly rods that rarely see the light of day because I do most of my fishing with the little K-Mart rod and the bamboo.

    My point is that people are being discouraged from taking up the sport because of the outrageous cost of equipment. I suppose that happens because there are plenty people who are willing to pay $300 for waders and $300 for rods and $150 for a vest and another $150 for other accoutrements that do nothing more than fatten the purses of the equipment manufacturers and distributors.

    I suppose there’s always been more than a bit of arrogance in the fly fishing community and perhaps that is what let’s the manufacturers and suppliers get away with their outrageous pricing of equipment and apparel.

    But, ya know, I think I look just as good as the next guy when I put on my $20 waders and my $12.50 vest and my $10 hat and fish with my $7.50 rod. I’ll bet you that I catch just as many fish and I have just as much fun doing it.

    Thanks for an informative and interesting article.

    • I totally agree, I wish I could afford the gear I write about. Most of it is borrowed so I can test it. Although I will say I have purchased budget waders and found them to not hold water back from the get go. You really lucked out with your 30 year old $20 pair! Thanks for taking the time to chime in!

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