The most relatable equipment for the masses when it comes to fly-fishing are the fly rods and the nets. A good rod and reel is the most important tool in a fly fisher’s arsenal. However, as any veteran fisher will tell you, there is so much more you need in order to start fly-fishing.
For instance, you need comfortable but protective clothing because you will be in the outdoors for hours at a time. The chances of getting sick due to exposure to the elements is low but it always pays to be sure. Usually, a comfortable t-shirt and some khaki shorts (although specialized long pants are available and recommended) are already acceptable. Do not forget the cap (or hat) for protection against sunlight. It is in the footwear that requires a bit more research.
Enter the wading boot.
Wading boots, as their name suggest, is for wading through shallow waters. As fly-fishers, it is always recommended to wade so that you can cross the distance between the area where the fishes are and you. As such, protective footwear is needed. Waterborne diseases, while rare, can still be present. Also there is always the chance of stepping on a sharp rock or piece of glass.
Below are the 7 best wading boots that you can purchase. They are group according to their category. To find more about other waders read our reviews.
- As for sizes, most brands have the same sizing system with other kinds of shoes. If you are size 10 then get a size ten wading boot. However, some wading boot brands (e.g. Korkers and Simms) may encourage you to buy one above your foot size.
- If you want to wade with shorts without stocking foot waders, buy neoprene socks and a sized-down pair of wading boots.
- 1 Beginner’s Section: Boots for Novices
- 2 Midrange Section
- 3 Our Top Wading Boot for Fly Fishing
Felt-soles vs. Rubber soles
Before we can discuss the best wading boots that money can buy, we must first talk about the optimal configuration of your boot’s soles. Yes, soles of your boots are very important in fly fishing. There are two kinds of soles, namely the felt soles and the rubber soles. Below are the criteria for choosing what kind of soles based on circumstances.
Felt Soles: Buy them if:
- The area where you will be fishing is full of slippery rocks. The advantages that a felt based sole will really be felt if the stream or pond that you will be fishing in is full of big rocks that are slippery or covered with slime. Nothing beats the grip that the traditional felt soles offer.
Rubber Soles: Buy them if:
- The state that you are in bans the usage of wading boots with felt soles. The reason for this is the fear that you might contaminate local wildlife by introducing alien bacterias from other streams, ponds. Felt soles sometimes bring with them the bacteria from the pond or stream that they were last used. Of course, this does not happen frequently but some states have taken action still. Alaska, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Rhode Island and South Dakota has banned felt soled wading boots for fly fishing.
- Rubber soles are good for the sandy banks of the rivers and streams. Rubber soles are heavily recommended if you are fishing in the aforementioned areas. The kind grip that rubber soles provide are matched for the sandy surfaces of a river.
- You fish in a variety of environmental conditions. Rubber soles are more adaptable than felt ones.
All-in-all, rubber sole technology has been gaining ground against its more traditional felt counterparts. In fact, rubber soles are more durable than felt soles. About the only advantage that a felt sole can provide is if you are wading in slimy areas with slippery rocks Right now, the future points to the wading boots with rubber soles.
- Most manufacturers of wading boots will have a felt version as well as a rubber version for its products.
- Avoid fabric based eyelets. They will not last long.
- Avoid lace loops. They are not very durable and deteriorate first.
Beginner’s Section: Boots for Novices
Cabela’s Ultralight Wading Boots with Felt Soles
- Very affordable, good match for those who just want to try fly-fishing and do not want to spend that much for now.
- Comes with 28 hardened-steel cleats. This addition gives the Cabela’s Ultralight Wading Boots much needed extra traction and grip while wading.
- Excellent side mesh for drainage.
- Steel shanks for much appreciated stability.
- Also comes with a rubber sole option for those who want rubber soles instead of felt ones.
White River Fly Shop Rubber Sole Wading Boots
- A very straightforward kind of boot.
- The low price means that prospective buyers (and novices) will not have to shell out much in order to get this good product.
- Bass Pro Shops have discounts for this (typically 60 dollars of the price).
- Felt sole versions are available.
- Made up of strong denier polyester.
Korkers BuckSkin Wading Boot with Felt and Kling-on Outsoles
- The Korkers BuckSkin Wading Boot with Felt and Kling-on Outsoles has the acclaimed OmniTrax 3.0. This technology allows you to change your felt sole for a rubber sole and vice versa. This means that the Korkers BuckSkin Wading Boot with Felt and Kling-on Outsoles is very versatile. You can change the sole to meet the demands of the environment.
- Upper is made up of hydrophobic materials while the base is made up of large drainage ports. Both conspires to keep the water off the boots.
The Korkers BuckSkin Wading Boot with Felt and Kling-on Outsoles has the acclaimed OmniTrax 3.0. This technology allows you to change your felt sole for a rubber sole and vice versa.
Simms Freestone Wading Boot
- Very stylish and pleasing to look at. If you want to wade in style, this is your boot.
- The rubber upper gives off much needed protection.
- The build quality is superb and is very durable.
- May be stiff at first but this will eventually be gone.
Orvis Clearwater Wading Boot
- High-end stylish design but with an affordable price. Very attractive for fashionable fly fishers but with a bit of a tight budget.
- Has a molded rubber toe cap and can be fitted with studs, should you want the extra grip that studs can provide
High-end stylish design but with an affordable price. Very attractive for fashionable fly fishers but with a bit of a tight budget.
Our Top Wading Boot for Fly Fishing
Simms G3 Guide Boot
- As with any Simm product, the Simms G3 Guide Boot is of high-quality design and material.
- Its internals are made up of f neoprene materials. Very useful in fending off cold and keeping you warm. This is very important once the winter season descends on us.
- The soles are stud-complaint. You may add Simm-approved studs to add grip for your boots.
- The Simms G3 Guide Boot is very durable and will arguably last for a long time.
The Simms G3 Guide Boot is of high-quality design and material.
Orvis Boa Pivot Wading Boot
- The Orvis Boa Pivot Wading Boot is built to last. The guys at Orvis designed this boot with durability in their minds. As such, your money will be well spent if you do choose the Orvis Boa Pivot Wading Boot because it will be at your disposal for a long time.
- The Orvis Boa Pivot Wading Boot is very comfortable to wear.
- The materials used for the laces are aircraft-grade.
- Has the Boa lace system for faster lacing. This ability is matched for those who does not want to waste time lacing up.
- Orvis Boa Pivot Wading Boot is also stud-compliant.
- Perfect if you will be spending much of your fly-fishing on the water.
- Does not have a felt version.
The Orvis Boa Pivot Wading Boot is built to last. The guys at Orvis designed this boot with durability in their minds
- Buy a wading staff if you are having some difficulty in balancing yourself
Wading Boots For Women
- Redington Siren Wading Boot
- Simms Women’s VaporTread Wading Boots
- Korkers BuckSkin Mary Wading Boot
- Orvis Women’s Encounter Wading Boot
Whatever your choice maybe, be sure to take into account the type of environment that you will be fishing in and the budget that you will have. Do not hesitate to reach out to veterans, they will have a thing or two to teach you. They will have the experience to know the outs and ins of fly fishing and the equipments to buy, listen to them.
Select the boots that you want, as well as the other accompanying equipments, and you are good to go. Happy Hunting!