Ultimate Guide To Choosing Waders For Saltwater Wade Fishing

When it comes to choosing a pair of waders, it can be overwhelming!

You’ve got so many variables to consider, including:

  • Size
  • Price
  • Brand
  • Materials
  • Extra features
  • And more

So to help you find the right waders, I’m at Roy’s Bait & Tackle in Corpus Christi with Capt. Zach Gibson, one of their resident wading experts.

He’s breaking down everything you need to know about choosing a pair of waders in this video.

Check it out below!

Ultimate Guide To Waders [VIDEO]

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Entry Level Waders ($99 – $150)

The biggest pro of entry level waders is that they’re much cheaper than the higher tiers.

And two of the biggest cons include:

  1. There’s not much variability in sizes (i.e. if you’re a short guy with big feet, it might be hard to find the right size)
  2. The material doesn’t last as long as some of the higher tiers (most waders in this range last from 1-3 years, depending on use and maintenance)

Frogg Toggs is the leading brand in this level, with the variabilities in price being mostly due to design, such as different pockets, zippers, and loops.

Mid Tier Waders ($175 – $299)

Some of the pros of mid tier waders include:

  • More sizing options for different these waders usually last 2-5 years)
  • Variety of features and designs
  • Better warranty

A con is that the lifespan is still a little shorter than top tier waders.

Two of the more popular brands in this tier include Orvis and Simms.

High-End Waders ($400 – $800)

The biggest differences between high-end waders and the others include:

  • Materials are made to fit better, perform better, and last longer
  • Lifetime warranties (they typically last 3-7+ years)
  • Premium design features (i.e. zipper on the front, or having the option to slide the top down)

The con is that these features ain’t cheap!

You can pay up to 8x what you would pay for an entry level pair of waders.

Some of the major brands in this tier include Simms, Orvis, and Patagonia.


wade fishing with waders

There are a variety of options for waders to fit your budget, body, and fishing style.

If you’re serious about getting a pair, go find a local tackle shop and try some on to see what fits your needs best.

Have any questions about choosing the right pair of waders?

Let me know down in the comments!

And if you know someone who’s looking to get a new pair, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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1 year ago

Huge thanks for a great bideo Wyatt. Ended up picking up medium-budget ones (Striker Ice fishing waders ) and so far so good. Hopefully those gonna get me through Oct-Nov fishing!

Robert A.
3 years ago

San Antonio TX…twice a month I get down to Port A triangle…and use my Academy booties and Magellan shorts…video was excellent breakdown…next video wear them in action…thank you , ALMO

Patrick Devereaux
3 years ago

Wyatt…Thanks for doing this review…I’ve noticed on several of your videos that you wade fish from your kayak. How do you secure your Kayak when you wade fish from it out in the flats. Do you just use your anchor Pin and trolley? Sometimes you may wander a distance from the kayak. Thanks for all you do.

3 years ago

This won’t be popular, but I highly recommend wearing a life jacket with waders.
I saved a man’s life that I was wade fishing with on a lake. He was wearing waders, I was not, he was inside me and we were walking round the weeds along the shore casting ahead, he suddenly stepped in a hole, sank over his head, the waders filled up with water, he could not swim or get the waders off, I walked over to where I last saw him and reached underwater and found a flailing arm and pulled him back toward shore. He was glad he had a partner that day, who wasn’t wearing waders. Once his head was above water, he walked to shore. The waders were so full of water he had to lay down to drain the water out.

Robert Felle
1 month ago
Reply to  Rush

Years ago setting out decoys in a cranberry bog lake had my waders on and also stepped into a hole.Didn’t go over my head but was slowly sinking into the bottom mud.Gods honest truth, my friend who was still asleep in the camper brought his dog (yellow lab/golden mix) who was on the bank came out and helped me get out.Always wore a lite preserve after that.

24 days ago
Reply to  Rush

Wow! I’m just here learning about waders in preparation to buy my 1st pair. Thanks for this warning!

Lara DeLorenzo-Sims
3 years ago

Thanks for the helpful video. I very much agree with going to the local tackle shop and trying the waders on. I went to my local store, “The Sporting Life” last year and ended up purchasing a pair of Simms gore tex waders. I couldn’t believe how well they fit me, and could really appreciate the quality when I saw and felt them in person. How about a follow up video on boots?

Jean Long-Thomason
3 years ago

Thanks for the info.

Ferdinand Alsina
3 years ago

I have been thinking about buying an entry level pair just to try out wade fishing. So, I would go with a lower end to start with and go from there. My question is can you walk on oyster beds with the type of boots or shoes that they come with? Here in the NE the water is dirty and sometimes you walk on oysters. If not good for that, what type of shoes do you recommend that you can wear with waders? Thanks and great job with the info.

Ferdinand Alsina
3 years ago
Reply to  Wyatt Parcel

awesome. Thank you very much!

John Frymier
3 years ago

Thanks for doing something on waders; very informative. I moved to NE Florida in 2016 from Pennsylvania with two pairs of $300+ waders – one from Cabelas and one from Orvis – that I used for freshwater trout fishing. They have both been Aquaseal’d a couple times, but at this point, they are shot.

Considering the general harshness of the saltwater environment and the fact almost all of these things are designed for freshwater, I’m coming to the conclusion that the cheap ones are the way to go. They are only needed in NE Florida in Jan/Feb and pieces of Dec and March. I figure they’ll last one or two years and then just get another one.

I could offer two other tips:
1) don’t throw old waders away – especially the non-neoprene stocking foot ones. Cut the feet out of them and they make great rain pants, either for sticking in the boat or using with a kayak. Just because they may leak when under water doesn’t mean they won’t repel rain or general splashes nicely.
2) like everything else in saltwater – rinse them off after every (and I mean EVERY) use.

Pat Ogletree
3 years ago
Reply to  John Frymier

Great tip on the rain pants idea!

Bob Giambrone
3 years ago

I hate to rain on the wade fishing parade but what about sharks? They may not be around much in the winter but in the summer they sure are. I am thinking of bull sharks in particular since they are common in estuary situations and definitely more aggressive. I’ve got an older model 20 FT. Sea Arch that has tunnel drive can go in shallower water than most sharks I’ve seen. I spent 30 years working in fresh water habitats so I am real familiar alligators and water moccasins. I always preferred the heaviest most durable waders available. I have not worn a pair since I retired in 2015.

24 days ago
Reply to  Wyatt Parcel

I’m so glad I stumbled upon this older thread!

A few years back we were bay fishing with our teenage boys in Galveston. Usually, I just crab from the shore but this time I waded out into the calm bay where they were fishing. Until this time, my only real concerns in the Gulf were jellyfish and the slimmest chance of a shark. It wasn’t until I was quite a distance out that they mentioned all the stingrays they’d encountered. Until that moment, I didn’t even know they could be found there. (Galveston isn’t my idea of a swimming vaca; never had much of a reason to know what was in the water). I couldn’t get out quick enough but was frozen in terror. Panicking at amount of steps to make it back to land had me on the verge of tears! I’m sure it was pretty funny to everyone else at the time.

I’m planning ahead this time and really just started with looking for wader reviews. I’m actually picking up a lot of other good info here as well and plan to see if I can find your reviews/insights on the Ray Guard gear you mentioned. Thanks Wyatt!

Scott R
3 years ago
Reply to  Bob Giambrone

I have been wade fishing for years in the NE for Striped Bass and South Fl where I have been for 40 years. I have encountered sharks swimming but NEVER an incident. When was the last time you have heard of an intracoastal shark attack? Use due diligence, buy what fits and tight lines!

Dan Holland
3 years ago

Low coast waders are the way to go you’ll get at least 1 season I have had high end waders 2 to 3 years top I speak with over 40 years exp. and fly fish 300 days a year


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