A Woman's Practical Guide to Flyfishing

These Boots...er, I mean Waders Were Made for Walking
By Amy Becker Williams
  |  Gorp.com
Page 3 of 5   |  

So what will it be, waders with boots, waders without boots, hip length, chest length, breathable, neoprene—or will you wade wet (which means that you wear wading boots and socks but no waders)? The choices are mind-boggling. For years the only waders and wading boots out there were marketed to men, cut to fit a man, but were worn by both sexes. Shopping was easier, but those boxy, man-sized waders certainly did nothing for the feminine figure (especially the backside) and the wading boots were wide enough to fit both my feet into. Thankfully, this isn't the case anymore.

Personal preference, location, and conditions will factor into your choice of waders. One of my favorites is my pair of breathable stockingfoot waders from Orvis. They are tailored for a woman's shape and are touted (and perform) as"no sweat" waders, something you'll definitely appreciate. You can wear them chest length or fold them down to your waist. If you plan to spend more than a day on the water, I recommend that you invest in the best waders/boots that you can afford, mainly because if you're not comfortable, you're probably not going to have much fun.

Keep in mind when ordering or trying on waders that you'll need a little extra room for clothing and cushioned socks underneath. Equally important is buying a pair of wading boots big enough for your waders and socks to comfortably fit in to. Waders and boots designed specifically for women fit better, feel better, and even look better on. One thing that I haven't seen a difference in is in the amount of fish you can catch while wearing them!

When choosing what will work best for you, try many pairs on and get a feel for comfort. Know the types of water you'll be fishing in, depth and temperature-wise, and know how much you are willing to spend, It's also handy to have a little knowledge of wader construction. Most wading boots run from $60 to $175. If you already like the sport, and know you intend to keep fishing for a few years, the higher-end boots and waders are worth the money and will last longer. In particular, those with either padded knees or double construction knees will have longer life.

Waders typically come in 3mm to 5mm weights—the heavier they are, the warmer they are. If you'll be fishing in warm-weather locations, where the cool water temperature is as welcome as running through a sprinkler on a hot summer day, then you may want to try lightweight waders or even consider wading wet. Slip on a pair of neoprene booties with or without socks underneath and then slide into your wading boots and head for the stream.

I highly recommend felt soles on the bottoms of boots and bootfoot waders. The felt padding will help keep you from slipping on the rocks. L.L. Bean offers an alternative to the felt soles—Aqua Stealth Wading Shoes have a rubberized sole great for hiking on trails and wading in streams. Other companies selling women's gear include Cabela's, L.L. Bean, Simms, and Damsel Fly. By the way, there is nothing wrong with owning a few different pair of waders and or boots if you can afford it. After all, you want to be comfortable, right?


Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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