10 Best Wading Boots: The Ultimate List

best wading boots

Wading boots are an underrated piece of fishing gear. You might not think of your boots as a super important part of your equipment, but consider their role on the water!

Quality wading boots provide you with arch and ankle support when traversing sketchy waters and protection from sharp or jagged wading conditions. If you’re someone who does a lot of hiking and moving around while fishing then your wading boots are particularly important. Owning nice quality footwear while fishing makes a lot of sense when you consider what you’re doing out there.

Bottom line — if you fish on your feet then take care of them.

Our top 10 list of wading boots includes a variety of different styles to match your angling needs. We’ve selected heavy duty, rugged boots for the fishermen out there who really beat on their gear as well as some ultralight options for those anglers who rack up the miles during a day of fishing. There’s even some wet wading options for those that like to keep it simple.

Whatever type of fisherman you are, we’ve got you covered on selecting the best pair of wading boots for you. Tight lines and stable rocks from all of us here at Heavy!

What are the best Wading Boots?

1. Orvis Encounter Wading Boot – $119

orvis encounter wading boots


Pros: Cons:
  • Well reviewed for comfortability making these great boots for long days of fishing
  • Rubber soles provide are well reviewed for traction — but they can also receive studs to enhance grip
  • Run true to size
  • Synthetic uppers and rubber soles/toe caps are tough as nails so you’ll fish in these for years
  • Some customer complaints that the uppers can become a bit floppy — perhaps not the greatest boots for particularly long days of hiking

Here’s a versatile wading boot from trusted fly fishing outfitter, Orvis. These are entry level boots that are none the less quite high quality considering the cost. There’s no such thing as a pair of cheapo Orvis anything — they build top notch angling equipment for the serious fishermen out there.

The synthetic uppers and tough rubber sole and toe cap on these boots make them tough as nails. This is a pair of wading boots you should own for years of fishing with the proper care — always remember to rinse your waders and boots along with the rest of your gear after fishing in salt water.

These are great all around boots. If you’re a fisherman who needs wading boots for a bunch of different scenarios these are definitely good choice. They’re built tough, are well reviewed for comfortability and long term durability and also look sharp. They’re not super light weight, but they’re also not at all particularly heavy so although not the ideal trekking boot these are still a fine option to hike in.

The padded collars up top provide some added ankle support and the soles are described as a bit wide for some added comfort during long periods of standing. These are totally worth looking into if you’ve struggled to find a pair of wading boots that’s truly comfortable for you all day long.

Angler reviews insist the rubber soles provide solid traction on most bottoms. There’s a neat circular pattern built into the Vibram soles for maximum grip while in the water. The Encounters can also receive stud inserts if you want some added traction for certain sketchy wading conditions. As far as rubber soles go, you won’t find a pair of boots that feels this solid underfoot for the cost.

Those fishermen that refuse to settle for sub par gear will love the quality of construction and performance of the Encounters. There’s no need to spend $200 or more on wading boots when options like this exist. All in all Orvis has built a nearly top quality pair of wading boots for a mid-range price that you’ll fish in for years.

Check out this link for women’s sizing.

Buy the Orvis Encounter Wading Boot here.

2. Caddis Men’s Northern Guide Grip Sole Wading Shoe – $73.10 – $86.31

Pros: Cons:
  • Great value boots — you get more than you pay for with these ones
  • Soles won’t transport aquatic organisms and are legal in all 50 states
  • Speed laces and added cushioning make for a snug and comfortable boot
  • Compatible with Caddis’ sole kit for some added traction
  • Complaints that these boots take a while to dry out
  • Although quite comfortable, these boots are a bit clunky and not great for long hikes

I’ve purchased a lot of wading gear from Caddis Wading Systems over the years. Their waders and boots have lasted me just as long as a lot of the other gear I own from other brands that’s considered to be much higher end. For budget wading wear, this is an outfitter I’ve come to love.

The Northern Guide Grip Sole Wading Shoes are no exception to Caddis’ value products. These boots have a price tag that’s dam hard to beat, and they should hold up well for you for at least a few seasons of fishing. The quality of construction might not be on par with outfitters like Orivs, Simms or Redington but if you’re not particularly hard on your boots it won’t make a difference. If you are particularly hard on your boots then maybe you’ll be glad you only spent around $80 on a pair like this!

These are fairly standard rubber sole wading boots. The uppers are built from durable polyester and the sides are padded for some extra comfort. The speed laces tie up nice and snug with ease and the insole is well cushioned to ensure a solid fit. As far as comfortability gos, these boots are not lacking at all.

If you’re a highly mobile fisherman you’ll likely want to keep scrolling for a pair of boots that’s good for long hikes — there are definitely lighter options out there that are better suited for days that involve a lot of trekking.

The Ecosmart Grip Sole is designed not to transfer aquatic organisms between water bodies and legal in all 50 states — definitely a big bonus if you’re someone who does a lot of traveling and fishing. These are well reviewed by anglers for traction and furthermore have a rock guard on the toe and heel.

Caddis builds their wading boots and shoes about a half size up in order to comfortably account for neoprene booties and socks so confirm that whatever you’re wearing as a wading sock are true to size.

Buy the Caddis Men’s Northern Guide Grip Sole Wading Shoe here.

3. Korkers Greenback Wading Boot – $119.99

korkers wading boots


Pros: Cons:
  • Felt and rubber soles are interchangeable so you can choose what kind of traction you want for every fishing trip!
  • High uppers provides some solid ankle support
  • Hydrophobic materials used here have fast dry times and minimize risk of transporting invasive species
  • These boots are built to last — you can go ahead and beat these ones up
  • Compatible with other Korkers 3.0 accessory outsoles
  • These are a bit heavy at about 1.25 pounds for each boot

I love my Korkers. I’m on my third season of heavy fishing with my Greenbacks and they’re still going strong. I spend a lot of time both wading the stony streams of New England as well as the tidal flats of my native Cape Cod and these bad boys have not quit on me yet.

The uppers on my boots are finally starting to come apart, but I’m still super impressed with their lifespan considering the amount of miles I’ve trekked in them as well as all the salt water they’ve endured. The synthetic materials used to build these boots are no doubt built to last for even the most rugged anglers.

You gotta love how the soles are interchangeable. I use my felt when wading stony streams and then pop on my rubber soles when I’m walking out on the saltwater tidal flats. The boots are of course significantly lighter when wearing the rubber soles because they absorb much less water.

If you’re the kind of angler who fishes in all sorts of different scenarios then you’ll want to check these out. It’s like owning several pairs of boots for different fishing contexts with one purchase! Korkers even sells a whole selection of wading soles compatible with the Greenbacks including ones with studs (felt and rubber) if you really want to customize your footing.

These might not be the lightest wading boots at about 1.25 pounds each, but their snug fit high up on the ankle makes them decent for longer hikes. They’re not ideal for big trekking days, but considering their versatility otherwise you should be able to tolerate them just fine on big hikes.

All in all a great value wading boot perfect for almost any fishing scenario.

Buy the Korkers Greenback Wading Boot here.

4. Redington Skagit River Wading Boot – $89.66 – $119.99

redington wading boots


Pros: Cons:
  • These are well crafted, durable boots from a trusted outfitter that will last
  • Very reasonably priced considering the brand
  • Includes mesh panels for quick drainage
  • Stud compatible
  • Fairly heavy at 1.8 pounds each (size 10)
  • Complaints that these boots take a while to dry

Here’s a pair of solid wading boots from Redington. These are built to be long lasting and durable through any conditions yet have retained a very reasonable price tag. Definitely a great value pair of rubber sole wading boots from a trusted and well reviewed outfitter.

Between the rubber toe caps for abrasion resistance, padded collars for ankle support
and mesh panels on the uppers for quick drainage these are some well designed boots. They effectively protect themselves and your feet against the hazards of hiking and wading.

Deep draw lacing coupled with non-corrosive metal hardware further ensures the performance of these boots won’t fall off due to stupid boot malfunctions. This is a pair of wading boots that you should own for years with the proper care — definitely check these out if you’re shopping for a long term pair.

The rubber soles are well reviewed for traction — but they are also compatible with studs for those that need all the help they can get on the stream. For a rubber sole, Redington has done a fine job in terms of traction.

At about 1.8 pounds each (size 10) these are pretty dam clunky and not ideal for big days of hiking. For a comparable but lighter pair of boots by Redington that’s more suitable for hiking check out the Siren Boots at #6.

Buy the Redington Skagit River Wading Boot here.

5. Frogg Toggs Hellbender Felt Sole Wading Shoe – $57.19 – $94.68

frogg toggs wading boots

Frogg Toggs

Pros: Cons:
  • Super affordable — you get more than you pay for with these ones
  • Felt soles are well reviewed for traction
  • Have a sharp, pro look that looks nothing like budget wading boots
  • These boots are definitely on the clunky side and not ideal for long hikes
  • Some complaints of the soles separating from the boots after heavy use — don’t expect these to last you forever

A ton of anglers swear by Frogg Toggs wading wear. I’ve always opted for more respected name brand gear, but to be honest a ton of the Frogg Toggs equipment I’ve seen on the water is on par with the top outfitters. The Hellbender Felt Sole Wading Shoes are a perfect example — don’t overlook these if you’re in the market for some felt.

Customer reviews praise these boots for their solid traction and comfortable fit. For the price, this is a killer pair of wading footwear that should last you at least a season or two.

The mesh uppers with PVC outskin are crafted to look sharp and remain durable. The padded collars also add to the comfort and all day support of these boots — they behave very much like a high quality pair of wading footwear while they last.

There’s some complaints about the soles separating from the main boot body as well as some issues with breaking the laces. These boots might feel and perform great but they aren’t top quality boots so don’t expect them to last like they are.

If you’re a leisurely fishermen or don’t get on the water a ton each season, then these could last you many years of fishing — it’s all about how hard you are on your gear. Those anglers that see 50+ days a season on the water are better off investing in a pair that can handle the consistent wear and tear.

Buy the Frogg Toggs Hellbender Felt Sole Wading Shoe here.

6. Redington Women’s Siren Rubber Boot – $123.48 – $149.95

redington wading boots


Pros: Cons:
  • Designed for women
  • Long lasting, durable and comfortable boots for the serious angler
  • Wide soles and padded uppers provide particularly solid support in fast current and for long days of standing/hiking
  • Have a bad ass, professional look
  • Molded Polyurethane midsole retains boot strength and helps to keep the design lightweight
  • Stud compatible
  • Fairly expensive

Here’s a killer pair of wading boots for the ladies. It’s not absolutely pivotal to buy wading wear specifically sized for women as a female, but it’s certainly preferred. The Siren Wading Boot from Redington is a top quality option that’s a great choice for those looking to invest in a long lasting pair of boots.

Molded rubber overlays for added ruggedness, a polyurethane midsole to reduce overall weight and a mesh lined interior for effective drainage are what makes these boots top quality. Non corrosive metal hardware and well placed drain holes further set these boots apart from the competition.

For those anglers looking for some serious stability in the water, absolutely consider the Sirens. They’re built with a particularly wide sole and snug, padded collars for providing some enhanced traction and confidence in fast water. The rubber soles have a great pattern for gripping the stream bottom and are furthermore stud compatible.

These boots are relatively lightweight at about 1.3 pounds each (size 8) so they make a good option for hiking. The lower weight coupled with the enhanced ankle support makes these boots particularly awesome for highly active days of fishing.

Redington has built these boots to look just as high quality as they perform. The Sirens have a totally bad ass aesthetic that every female angler can appreciate. No doubt a top of the line option for those who want the best.

Buy the Redington Women’s Siren Rubber Boot here.

7. Caddis Taupe Felt Sole Wading Shoe – $46.88 – $66.49

Caddis Wading Systems boots

Caddis Wading Systems

Pros: Cons:
  • Super affordable!
  • Insole is cushioned for added comfort
  • Come on and off easily
  • Uppers are foldable so these boots are highly packable for travel
  • Well reviewed for comfort and traction — if you are a leisure fisherman then there’s nothing wrong with these!
  • Polyester outers are susceptible to abrasion so don’t go to hard on these
  • The laces and eyelets are built pretty cheap, don’t expect these boots to last a lifetime
  • Not stud compatible

Here’s our choice of cheap felt wading boots. Caddis Wading Systems has come up with another winner with the Taupe Felt Sole Wading Shoe.

These polyester boots are about as simple as it gets. The soles are well reviewed for traction and also for comfort. The rubber toe and heel are reinforced to avoid damaging abrasions — but don’t beat to hard on these boots, they wont last long if you do. Fishermen praise these boots for their quality fit and performance — but they are not built with the long term craftsmenship of higher end alternatives.

These are geared towards the casual stream fisherman who isn’t crushing miles in the back country.

For the cost, these are seriously awesome boots, their lifespan is not on par with their performance however. The soles will likely separate and the eyelets and laces will come apart after a year or two of heavy use. On the other hand, if you’re only on the water a few days out of the year these will last you a lifetime.

The material of the uppers is foldable so these make a great pair of wading boots for compact travel. They have a pretty cool look too depending on your style.

All in all, these are a solid option for the strapped for cash angler that are worth trying your luck with for the cost.

Buy the Caddis Taupe Felt Sole Wading Shoe here.

8. Hodgman Neoprene Wade Shoe – $21.34

hodgman neoprene boots


Pros: Cons:
  • Great for wet wading and appropriate for wade fishing
  • Super light weight
  • Highly affordable and versatile wading option you’ll use for all sorts of purposes
  • Neoprene and rubber construction should hold up through years and years of fishing and will handle the saltwater well
  • No effective ankle support
  • Will likely need separate sizes for wet wading and for use with neoprene stockings attached to waders
  • Potential for the zipper to eventually malfunction — always rinse with fresh water after fishing in the salt

Neoprene booties or wading shoes are an awesome alternative to full on wading boots. This pair from Hodgman is a great choice for wet wading and can also be paired with waders if you carefully consider the sizing.

Neoprene is an excellent insulator so wet wading wear of this style will keep your toes warm. If you’re wet wading then the water temperature probably isn’t freezing but during those long days in the stream your extremities can get a bit chilly.

This 3.5mm pair of neoprene booties are simple but superior to the competition. Hodgman has built these wade shoes with tough rubber outsoles so they protect from anything jagged or sharp while wading. Lakes full of twigs, stony streams and coastlines ridden with sharp sea shells are no problem with these bad boys — they’re essentially just as tough as any other wading boot. They might eventually puncture because they’re neoprene, but a little leak isn’t a serious issue when you’re either wet wading or using them with waders

These booties have a tight fit with zippered closure that’s up above the ankle so there’s no need to ever clear them of debris if you do use them to wet wade. These can be worn barefoot, or with a pair of thin neoprene socks if preferred. Depending on your feet and how you walk you might find that these booties give your ankles some chafe — a pair of thin neoprene socks can solve this issue.

Consider buying a size up if you’re going to pair them with socks (or your waders) so there’s room for them! The majority of customer reviews insist these booties are comfortable barefoot, and you can always try wearing a thin regular sock if chaffing becomes an issue.

For $50 this is a great value product. These are built tough and the soles have solid traction so you can use them for all sorts of other tasks. Some tough and versatile wading booties at a reasonable cost — Hodgman is a killer choice for this category of wading foot wear.

Check out our list of the 5 Best Fishing Shoes for Wet Wading if you think you might want to lose the waders and just protect your feet during the warm weather months.

Buy the Hodgman Neoprene Wade Shoe here.

9. SoftScience Men’s Terrafin Boat Shoe – $58.00 – $89.95

softscience wading boot


Pros: Cons:
  • Compatible with waders and great for wet wading — buy a size up so you can use them for both contexts
  • Highly affordable
  • Built tough considering the low cost
  • Sporty fit and low weight makes these a great option for trekking
  • Three different color options
  • The soles are flexible with these boots to the point of being able to feel stones underfoot when wading freestone streams. If you’re a heavy angler consider something else for rocky stream fishing

Here’s a great wading boot option that can handle some more strenuous trekking. This style of wading footwear could be described as a wading sneaker/boot hybrid that incorporates the build of a more heavy duty boot yet maintains a lightweight and sporty profile.

These tough looking boots from SoftScience can be worn with your chest waders or on their own wet wading. I think it’s worth buying a size up so you can utilize them for both styles of fishing. If you pair them with neoprene socks then they’ll fit great for wet wading and therefore be sized properly for both contexts.

They’re a synthetic/fabric combination and have a nice and thick sole for comfortably navigating stony terrain. Customer reviews insist there’s good cushioning for those longer walks and nice bounce back with each step. The uppers on these boots furthermore extend above the ankle for some added support and stability.

At the end of the day, this option from SoftScience still feels more like a sneaker than a traditional wading boot. It’s a unique approach to the wading boot that gives you the option to utilize it however you please — and the price is right!

Buy the SoftScience Men’s Terrafin Boat Shoe here.

10. ALEADER Men’s Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes – $26.99 – $34.99

aleader wading shoes


Pros: Cons:
  • Super lightweight — you can hike all day in these compared to clunky traditional wading boots
  • Highly affordable!
  • Well rated for traction on wet stone — these shoes are believe it or not capable of stream fishing in confidence
  • Very low profile and therefore great for travel
  • 15 color options to choose from
  • These won’t last more than a season or two — if you’re ok with replacing these seasonally however then you’ll still save money in the long run
  • The design of the soles can become plugged up with gravel depending on what kind of bottom you’re wading on

Wading or water sneakers are a different approach to wading boots that you shouldn’t overlook. A nice pair of wading sneakers is essentially the same as a regular pair of athletic sneakers other than the materials used to make them water shoes. Depending on where and how you’re fishing, they could be right up your alley

The fit and feel of these sneakers is very sporty compared to a traditional wading boot. If a typical day of fishing for you includes a long hike and you want to wear something that keeps you light on your feet, this style option is worth investigating.

Wearing sneakers while fishing on the river or at the lake might seem a bit ridiculous at first, but this is one of those cases where simple is better. The soles are well rated for traction, but you might find they’re a bit sketchy on certain bottoms. For round $30 I think it’s worth finding out if they’re compatiable with where you fish.

I have a buddy in southern Colorado who swears by his cheapo Walmart sneakers for use as wading boots. He insists that although he goes through a pair per season there is no reason to spend big money on a pair of boots for his breathable waders. His traction was just as good as the rest of us while wading the sometimes very slippery freestone streams in the area and it really made me scratch my head. While hiking (often for hours) his sneakers were far lighter to trek in than our clunky boots.

I realized sneakers as wading boots (wet or paired with chest waders) is actually quite brilliant. These sneakers from ALEADER are a better version of what my fishing buddy was wearing that are actually designed for use hiking and wading.

The breathable air mesh fabric of these sneakers keeps them super breathable and lightweight in and out of the water. These sneakers are similar in concept to neoprene booties because of the full coverage they provide, but the material used will keep your feet much cooler in hot weather.

A ComforDry sockliner even helps to cushion the sole and promotes a drier and therefore healthier shoe environment between uses.

The rubber water-drain outsoles provide some great traction in slippery conditions and the Solyte midsole is desgned to give you some nice bounce back while hiking. You can keep moving all day in these comfortably and without them gaining any water weight.

There’s holes in the soles for draining water that might allow certain size debris into the shoe. If you fish streams or creeks with fine gravel bottoms then this feature might drive you nuts but then again there’s almost no customer complaints about the soles on this model.

Some Customer reviews insist buying a half size small for the proper fit. If you’re going to pair these sneakers with 1mm neoprene socks than buying true to size or a half size up is probably a good bet. If you want to try pairing these with your chest waders then try buying a full size larger than your true size to account for the neoprene stockings.

We think you’ll be impressed with their performance whatever the context.

Buy the ALEADER Men’s Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes here.

See Also:

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