Published Aug 29, 2022 5:00 PM
Waders for women are key for female anglers and hunters to stay comfortable while spending hours standing in frigid streams or duck blinds trying to land their next trophy catch. Even an entry pair of waders should ensure that you’ll remain dry and protected from the elements during your fishing or hunting adventures.
Like with any other hobby or sport, it’s vital to have the right gear for enhancing success. Selecting the perfect pair of waders can be daunting if you don’t know which features to look for or how to find the best quality and fit. To help, we’ve rounded up the best waders for women below, whether you want a new pair for this waterfowl hunting season or you’re looking for something on a budget.
Why It Made the Cut: The Gore-Tex Pro material is breathable and provides superior performance along with all-day comfort.
- Material: Three-layer upper/four-layer lower Gore-Tex Pro
- Bootie Material: Antimicrobial neoprene
- Sizes: Small to 2XL in regular, short, and tall inseams
- Warranty: One year
- Gore-Tex Pro for breathability and durability
- Available for larger girth sizes
- Height-adjustable waist belt
- Suspender system is bulky
- Premium price
These waders are based on a long-standing, award-winning pair from Simms but with a newly enhanced design that features Gore-Tex Pro material for superior breathability and more puncture resistance, as mentioned in our new Simms G3 Guide Waders gear review. The triple-layer Gore-Tex stretch in the upper torso allows full range of motion, while the breathability factor makes wearing these waders comfortable all day—regardless of the outdoor temperature—even on the move.
One feature that came in handy for my high waist is the included stretch nylon waist belt that you can wear high or low by selecting the correlating rear belt loop. Several organization pockets are great for storing essentials and the convenient fleece-lined hand warmer pocket is placed perfectly on the bib front. The anatomically engineered neoprene booties have an anti-microbial finish to ensure against bacteria build-up.
Best for Waterfowl Hunting
Why It Made the Cut: This pair is the improved edition of the already popular standard Shield Series, perfect for waterfowl hunting with a well-insulated boot and durable construction.
- Material: 4-layer breathable polyester & 900D reinforced high wear areas
- Bootfoot Material: 1600g Boot
- Sizes: S to 2XL in boot sizes 6 to 10
- Warranty: One year warranty and repair program
- 900D reinforced high-wear areas
- 1600g insulated boot w/aggressive tread
- Available in six colors
- Larger sizes usually means an excessively large boot
The Gator Waders Shield Pro Series is ideal for the female outdoor enthusiast that enjoys fishing and hunting. These waders are versatile for both and are offered in a variety of six colors, including Realtree waterfowl camo. With a 4-layer breathable polyester exterior, 100% waterproof membrane, quilted thermal cotton insulated interior, and 1600-gram insulated boot, the Shield Pro Series are the perfect waders for the coldest days tucked away in a duckblind. All seams are double-stitched and dual-sealed to ensure against leaks and weak seams.
The elastic shoulder straps and stretch nylon belt with slimline aluminum-hook buckle ensure a snug fit while still allowing full range of motion. The fleece-lined handwarmer pocket is perfectly placed for defrosting fingers for precision on a shotgun, while the magnetic pockets are a favorite feature for added convenience.
Best for Fishing
Why It Made the Cut: Orvis checked off all the boxes and added a few versatile features in these lightweight convertible waders.
- Material: 100% nylon outer, polyurethane membrane, 100% nylon tricot liner
- Bootie Material: Neoprene
- Sizes: XS to 2XL in petite, regular, and tall
- Warranty: 60-Day manufacturer warranty with repair option available
- Lightweight (small/regular = 31 ounces)
- Additional storage available
- Booties run small
- Integrated gravel guard is too snug
Orvis is well-known in the fly fishing world as one of the premier companies providing quality gear for anglers. So it’s no surprise the brand’s Women’s Ultralight Convertible Waders made our list. I found this pair of waders to be surprisingly lightweight and breathable, despite the 4-layer waterproof exterior. The roomy front chest pocket is large enough to fit a fly box without struggling, and the interior pocket has a power mesh interior that truly feels bottomless.
The lock-snap magnetic fasteners make it easy to convert the waist if you want to wear it higher or lower. The nylon material allows for less bulk at the waist when adjusted, keeping it out of the way while you fish.
The neoprene booties are designed to fit like a sock, so they run small, which could be a negative depending on what you’re looking for. Additionally, while the streamline gravel guard is designed to be snug, I found it too conforming over boot tops and the calf area; however, I have large calves, so this may not be an issue for others.
Best for Cold Weather
Why It Made the Cut: Patagonia includes some useful features that other brands don’t offer in a darker color that’s still neutral while fishing.
- Material: 100% recycled polyester microfiber with DWR
- Bootie Material: Neoprene
- Sizes: XS to XL in regular fit, short and long options in some sizes
- Warranty: No defined warranty but offers repairs for additional fee
- Darker color
- EZ-Lock suspenders
- Rear buckle system for easy drop-seat
- Runs large
- Some sizes are currently not available
These feature-rich women’s fishing waders were my personal favorites for several reasons, but at first glance, the smolder blue color was appealing to me. Color is critical when wade fishing, which is why most waders are a lighter color to blend with the sky or surroundings from a fish’s perspective. The smolder blue is still a neutral color but darker, which helps hide dirt and stains picked up from the outdoors.
Other helpful features like the locking slide buckles on the bib top allow you to customize where you would like the bib to stay and even lock down out of place to convert into waist height waders. The convenient rear drop-seat is a bonus and was easier to use than expected. For those frigid days, I found the reach-through hand warmer pocket a bonus in keeping hands warm between fishing and moving. The roomier fit allowed me to layer and include a wading jacket on cold days without restriction.
Why It Made the Cut: Frogg Toggs incorporated the most popular features of its wader line in the women’s Canyon stockingfoot waders at an affordable price.
- Material: 4-ply nylon
- Bootie Material: 4mm double-taped neoprene
- Sizes: Small to 2XL
- Warranty: One year
- Double-taped neoprene booties
- Affordable price for the occasional angler
The sizing of the Frogg Toggs Canyon Waders is not just a men’s wader shrunk down—instead, it’s designed with a women’s physique in mind, with ample consideration for the hips and thighs and a roomy waist. An included adjustable belt helps cinch the material close to the body for a more streamlined fit. The 4-ply nylon allows you to move freely when casting, bending, or kneeling, while the Y-back suspenders and belt hold the bibs in place.
The 4mm double-taped neoprene footies yield all-day dry comfort without the bulk, while the attached gravel guards ensure against sand and rocks getting in wading boots. The Canyon waders don’t offer many storage options in the way of pockets, but thanks to the slim fit, you can comfortably wear a fly fishing vest over the waders. Frogg Toggs products also come with a one-year warranty, so you can rest assured you are covered from any product failure.
Best Entry Level
Why It Made the Cut: Redington Sonic-Pro waders offer women anglers quality and durability in a pair of waders with all the essential features at an affordable price.
- Material: 100% breathable nylon
- Bootie Material: 4mm neoprene
- Sizes: S to XL w short, long, and full lengths in a few sizes
- Warranty: Original owner warranty with repair option for additional fee
- Economically priced
- Variable sizes and lengths available
- Fleece-lined handwarmer pocket
- Gravel guards are extremely snug
- Thicker material makes it feel bulky
The Sonic Pro-Waders were designed to be an upgrade from Reddington’s Escape Wader. The Pro-Wader’s biggest asset is the addition of the side stretch panels and a stretch mesh back panel on the upper bib. This design allows full range freedom of movement and the ease to put on and take off the waders. The material of these waders is thicker, making them stiffer than the others in this lineup.
Although the Sonic-Pro is durable, the fit is not as comfortable and streamlined as others. The suspender system was my least favorite and felt bulky with the sizing slides above the buckle. If an angler spends minimal time on the water and needs fishing waders for those occasions, this product would be a good purchase based on that need. If you spend a fair number of days fishing in waders, opt for a higher quality wader with a better fit.
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Things to Consider Before Buying Waders
In selecting the right waders for your use, you must consider some essential factors. There are several styles of women’s waders: hip waders, waist waders, and chest waders. Among those styles, you also have the option of bootfoot or stockingfoot. In my personal experience and the experience of many female anglers, stockingfoot waders are a better choice when it comes to proper fit because you purchase a pair of wading boots in your correct size. Bootfoot waders are typical of hunting waders and include a mid-calf rubber boot that is inclusive of the waders. The caveat with bootfoot hunting waders is that the larger the wader size, the bigger the boot—this does not always correspond to the appropriate fit for the female physique.
The type of weather and environment you will be fishing or hunting in is also vital in your choice. You will need a thicker material for primarily colder climates or a medium-weight fabric that you can wear comfortably in warmer weather. Here are the most important factors to consider when buying waders:
Waders’ durability will weigh heavily on the materials and construction of the product. Durability is the most critical factor in waders, so they do not fail at keeping you dry, warm in the cold, and comfortable in warm weather. Look for materials that are puncture-resistant, multi-layered, or reinforced for durability.
For comfort, you will want breathable fabrics such as polyester, nylon/nylon-reinforced PVC, or Gore-Tex. Neoprene and rubber are suitable for extremely cold weather fishing, but both are limited in breathability. Seams need to be stitched, glued, and taped for the best waterproofing method.
The fit of your waders is important not only for comfort and mobility but also to keep you insulated and warm. Adjustable suspenders and wading belts are essential to a customizable fit. You must get the proper length because waders that are too long can bunch up, and in the areas where the fabric folds, excessive wear can cause a breakdown in the material and eventually leak. Tapered legs keep pant legs from flagging in currents, but sometimes a tapered leg will be too snug over wading boots.
There are minimalist-style waders or feature-rich waders. Minimalist styles may incorporate a bib front pocket and an inner dry storage pouch, while feature-rich waders may include additional mesh tackle storage pockets, tool tabs, and D-rings for other attachments. Convertible bibs allow you to push down the bib portion to make waist-height waders in warmer weather. Built-in gravel guards or gaiters to cover the top of your wading boots help keep debris, rocks, sand, and dirt out. Drop-down rear panels are convenient when you don’t want to come completely out of your waders to relieve yourself or for whatever reason.
Most quality wader brands have a warranty, and nearly all brands offer a repair service, often for a fee. Make sure you understand the return policy before purchasing your waders. A return policy is usually 30 to 90 days and will allow you to return them before use if the sizing is incorrect. It is also an advantage to the consumer to seek a product the manufacturer stands behind. A warranty in case of product failure and a repair program will extend the longevity of your waders for several years of use.
Q: What is the best material for women’s waders?
The best material for women’s waders will depend on whether you’re wearing them in warm or cold weather. Neoprene fits closer to the body and will keep the body warmer but is less breathable. In contrast, nylon, polyester, or Gore-Tex will be thinner, fit looser, and allow for breathability. The latter will also allow layering and a wading jacket underneath the bib top.
Q: How do I know what size waders I wear?
The best way to know what size waders you wear will be to consult the product sizing guide and read the reviews to see how others found the fit. Stockingfoot waders are easier to find the right fit. Bootfoot waders come in various sizes, but the boot size ascends with each larger wader size, often resulting in the boots not fitting correctly.
Q: Should you size up in waders?
If you have researched the size guide and find that your sizing is at the end of the scale for a specific pair of waders, sizing up would be necessary if you plan to wear thicker base layers or a wading jacket underneath. Remember, however, that sizing up could result in a too-large boot if purchasing booted waders.
Every female angler or hunter’s needs will differ depending on how often they fish or hunt and the seasons and climates. If you are buying your first pair of waders or upgrading your current ones, durable waders that include the required features and will stand up to your level of use are your end goal. Depending on your budget, finding the best quality you can afford is key to enjoying your pair of women’s waders for many fishing or hunting seasons to come.
In my research and review of women’s chest waders, I researched several brands; some I had experience with and some I did not. I sought out local stores in my state to review the products that were new to me. With the essential factors of quality waders and the intended use in mind, I found five waders that met the vital elements: quality, durability, and incorporated features important to women anglers. I also considered the warranty and repair service offered by each brand. I included chest waders for women ranging in price to fit anyone’s budget.