Best Fishing Boots & Hip Waders Reviewed
Are you an angler looking for the absolute best fishing boots and hip waders that you can find? Have you decided that you won’t be limited by the environment, and want to be able to get out into the water and fish, no matter what water or weather challenges confront you? Do you want dry pants and socks and no leaks, no matter what?
While you’re looking forward to the weekend or your next fishing excursion, wherever it will be, knowing that you have the best boots for the fishing environment you will encounter will be the best preparation you could possibly make. Are you in cold waters or warm waters? Are the waters spring-fed from the mountains, in which case they will often be freezing? Is the outside air cold or warm? All of these conditions will impact your comfort and wearability, and you should consider this before choosing your preferred boot.
- Korkers Greenback
- Interchangeable Soles
- Caddis Northern Guide
- Environmentally Friendly
- Allen Company Blue River
- Great for Warm Weather
There are 3 different types of fishing boots to choose from, and a number of variations with each one. We’ll look at what differentiates these, and what specific environments they are used for. After we’ve reviewed them you will know exactly which fishing boots to select for your angling requirements and preferences.
10 Best Fishing Boots & Hip Waders
1. Korkers Greenback
Korkers Greenback is the only wading boot manufacturer that offers the advantage of interchangeable soles. This feature allows anglers to change outsoles as needed depending on the environment they are going to be fishing in.
Upper Hydrophobic feature
The Korkers midsole has a built-in drainage system that allows water to flow through channels within the shoe, and then out through the midsole ports on each side.
Cost and Value
The Korkers Greenback Fishing boots are well-priced for the several useful features they offer to the user. Their value is well worth the price; they are positioned at the lower to middle end of most fishing boot prices.
- Several interchangeable soles are included
- Internal channels flow water out
- Omnitrax Sole system is compatible with other Korkers Accessories
- Hydrophobic materials have fast dry times
- Lightweight construction
- Boots can run 1 size small
- Rubber sole peels back at the toe for some users
2. Caddis Northern Guide
The EcoSmart II Soles provide a grip that is similar to the felt soles previously banned and also have the option of using the Caddis super grip studs as needed.
Reinforced toe cap and heel
With a cushioned insole and a reinforced toe cap and heel, these shoes will protect your feet from potential injury and provide a high level of comfort for your fishing expedition.
Cost and Value
Compared to the other shoes in this comparison report, the Caddis Northern Guide Wading Shoes are featured at a low-to-medium price point, and provide good value for money.
- Very comfortable fishing boot
- Excellent traction overall
- Soles do not track mud onto boat
- Shoes stay very dry inside
- Easy slip-on loop feature
- Soles can peel away from the boot
- On rocks the soles offer zero traction
3. Allen Company Blue River
For use in warmer temperatures, these non-insulated shoes are highly rated by professional users as well as recreational users for being non-bulky and completely waterproof in extreme conditions.
The fit works well for most users, taking the boot comfortably up over the hip and usable with heavy socks if desired. They can also accommodate a heavy pair of workpants.
Cost and Value
These boots are priced very low compared to the other fishing boots mentioned in this comparison review. They offer excellent value for a very low price. Some users report being surprised at the level of quality for this price point.
- Completely waterproof
- Light and roomy construction
- Durable and longlasting
- Easy to get on and off
- Good length for most users
- Buckles are not high quality
- Some users find the soles too pliable for use on rocky bottoms
4. Frogg Toggs Hellbender
The felt soles have been described as holding onto slippery rocks underwater as if they were velcro, giving the user a very stable experience while fishing in flowing waters.
Support from the thick yet lightweight midsole gives the user a comfortable and form-fitting wraparound feel designed for challenging environments where good footing is essential.
Cost and Value
Many users rate these Hellbender Wading boots highly because of their low price point and quality. The boots give value with excellent support and fit, as well as comfort in wearing.
- Felt soles grip well on rocks
- Comfortable on the first day
- Good midsole support
- Lightweight Mesh Upper
- Room for heavy socks inside
- Some states will not allow felt soles
- Rivets can pop out under certain conditions
5. Orvis Encounter
The felt sole in the Orvis Encounter Wading Boots has been described by some users as giving great traction in rushing water environments.
Comfort over the long haul
Many wearers report that although their feet normally hurt in any other shoe, these wading boots were comfortable after hours of wear on consecutive days of angling.
Cost and Value
These popular boots are very light, yet are also durable and last for years, according to many users. They have many features of more expensive waders, yet are priced very low in comparison and offer excellent value for money.
- Good ankle support
- Rugged construction materials
- Roomy toe box
- Arch support gives stability
- Comfortable and lightweight for wearers
- Water doesn't escape boot through mesh side holes
- Some users find the boots to run 1 size too large
6. Frogg Toggs Rana II
There is no need to worry about water coming into the boot, thanks to the nylon-reinforced PVC upper and 100% taped seams that will keep you dry no matter what.
Due to state regulations on felt soles, cleated outsoles may be the best choice and are preferred by many due to their excellent traction performance.
Cost and Value
The low price of this boot makes it a popular choice for anglers, who are happy to find a high-quality boot at a price which makes it good value for money.
- Stay-dry security pocket
- 100% taped seams
- Locking quick-release buckles
- Cleated outsole
- Nylon-reinforced PVC upper
- The cut is a bit on the tall and skinny side
- Plastic shoulder buckle breaks easily for some users
7. LaCrosse Trapline
The LaCrosse boots offer 100% waterproof protection due to the high quality of the premium natural rubber used in its construction, along with a felt lining that provides warmth and comfort.
The fully-vulcanized Trac-Lite outsole is extremely durable and will never separate from the Wader. With a 90 degree hell, it provides a gripping lug pattern that provides top traction in any environment.
Cost and Value
Although these boots are priced higher than the other boots featured, many users will opt to pay a bit more and choose for the great durable quality of this LaCrosse Hip wader that will last for a decade or longer.
- Sturdy Fiberglass shank
- Slip-resistant traction
- Warm enough for sub-zero conditions
- Wool felt insulation
- Removable EVA footbed
- Some long-term users say to order 1 size up
- Can be a bit tight for some users in the calf
8. Allen Black River Bootfoot
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Cost and Value
With a price coming in at the lowest end of the boots and waders range, these boots are popular with anglers who don't need a lot of heavy insulation but still require a durable waterproof boot.
- Two-Ply upper construction
- Waterproof membrane
- Sturdy and durable boot
- Cleated sole
- Belt loop and takeup strap
- Some users find the sole too soft on rocky riverbeds
- The shoes can wear out quickly
9. Duck and Fish PVC Hip Boots
The PVC construction of these boots creates a lightweight wearing experience for anglers, resulting in a 30% lighter boot than if it were made out of rubber. Great for long water treks.
Heat Welded Sealed Seams
For superior waterproofing the Duck and Fish PVC Hip Boots have heat welded sealed seams that guarantee there will be no water coming in to soak your clothing.
Cost and Value
According to many users, these PVC hip boots offer great value for price. They are highly rated and are at the lowest end of the price for comparable boots.
- PVC construction is 25% more durable than rubber
- Cleated outsole provides good traction
- 30% lighter than rubber waders
- Work great in mud and sand
- Heat welded sealed seams
- Tend to run a bit small by 1 or 2 sizes
- A bit too lightweight for some users
10. LaCrosse Big Chief 600G
The insulation is at 600 G, which is the top of the range for insulation weight. Unlike less-expensive foam insulation, Thinsulate breathes and maintains a more constant temperature around your foot.
The special ankle-fit design of the Big Chief hunting waders is good for anglers in slippery environments and provides a great supportive fit and a very comfortable experience for wearers.
Cost and Value
At the higher end of the pricing range for waders, these LaCrosse boots are justified by users because of the many features that are not available in other comparable boots.
- Cushioning EVA footbed
- Ankle-fit design
- Adjustable internal calf harness
- 600 G Thinsulate Ultra Insulation
- Stabilizing snap features
- So popular they are often out of stock
Now that you’ve reviewed all the boots and hip waders in our survey, you need to come to a decision about what’s right for you. It’s true that the most important considerations for any fisherman always have to do with the environment you face, and you must plan your equipment to fit that particular situation.
Of course, the most important thing first. You all want the best 100% waterproof boots so that you stay dry no matter what activity you’re engaged in. You also want to have comfort in fit. After all, this is necessary when you want to spend long hours standing and walking on uneven and slippery rocks in flowing water conditions. Your feet must be supported perfectly so that you are able to maintain your balance in constantly changing and sometimes adverse conditions.
And good traction is also essential. You must also find the right amount of insulation depending on the temperature of the water in your fishing environment, whether it’s sub-zero or a little warmer water.
So take a few moments to consider your budget and your specific needs for your environment. With the products listed above, one of these fishing boots or hip waders will be sure to be the perfect choice for your activities. Get angling!
Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Fishing Boots & Hip Waders
When you are selecting the best Fishing Boots and Hip Waders for your sporting or work environment as an angler or hunter, you must be aware of how important the choice will be to keep you healthy and safe, no matter what conditions you encounter.
Of this you can be sure: finding the right equipment will make all the difference in your comfort, safety, and enjoyment of angling and hunting for years to come. It’s also very important that you have the right fishing boots or hip waders for the temperature of the water you plan to be angling in.
So let’s review at some of the most important considerations below.
If you have read testimonials from fishing boot purchasers online, you will often see that someone will say that they had too much tightness in the ankle, or that the boots they bought were either too small or too large.
Keep in mind that different manufacturers use different lasts, or 3-dimensional molds made of wood or plastic to construct their boots. The overall fit of your shoe is determined by the last, which has the following dimensions: Forefoot width, heel width, and instep height.
Of course, you can always send them back for another size, but if you’re about to leave on a big fishing trip the next day, that may not be an option. So what do you do?
The sizing could vary accordingly. You can easily check the testimonials to see if the boots you have chosen has a few customers who write that they should have ordered one size up. Then you will know the tendency of that particular brand in terms of sizing.
Grip and Traction
When you’re out on slippery rocks, trying to cast and keep your balance at the same time, grip and traction are going to be your most important consideration.
If your fishing boot or wader does not have the proper grip and traction for the environment in which you are planning to use it, slipping and falling can become a real concern in a flowing or rushing water environment. You do not want to suffer an injury from not being prepared with the best boots or waders for the fishing conditions you might encounter.
With flowing water, you must be able to continually adjust and readjust your weight as you try to regain your balance as you traverse uneven rocks and varying degrees of slipperiness under the water.
It’s so important to make sure that the boot or wader you choose keeps you dry, which means it has to be 100% waterproof and doesn’t fail when you are out enjoying angling for the day.
To have your socks and pants taking on water will really spoil your day out, as well as being dangerous if you are in a colder-water environment of sub-zero, for example. When you’re out angling you’re often far away from having an easy change of clothing at hand. And suffering from hypothermia because your boots are not 100% waterproof is not an option anyone wants to consider.
Weight of Fishing Boot or Hip Wader
Some fishing boots and hip waders are much lighter than others. Although it may seem like a few extra ounces would not make a difference, if you are standing in the water for hours and days at a time, it’s something to consider, depending on the temperature of the water you want to fish in. If the temperature is cold, then you will have to choose for a heavier boot or wader to stay warm.
Unless you are angling in very cold water, you always have the option to choose for PVC construction soles over rubber soles, which are somewhat heavier and will increase energy expenditure.
So be sure to check the weight on the shoes you are considering, and compare. A few hours or even a day of wearing an extra few ounces could make a big difference in your day out in the water.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is rubber or PVC construction best for a fishing boot or hip wader?
A: Depending on where you are angling, you may prefer a lightweight boot. In this case, you should probably choose a PVC boot, unless the water where you are fishing is on the extremely cold side, where a rubber boot may serve your purposes better.
A PVC boot is around 25% lighter than a rubber boot, and if you’re standing all day in a rushing stream or river, this will have an effect on your stamina.
Q: How much traction does felt provide v.s. cleated soles?
A: The level of traction is dependent on many factors in the environment. Of course, sometimes the decision to choose between felt and cleated soles is already made for you. In some states, it is illegal to have cleated soles (so that the water environment is not too changed by human traffic moving about on the bottom of the river or stream) so in this case, you will have to choose for felt soles.
Actually, both types of soles provide excellent traction, but one has less impact on the natural environment and is therefore preferable. So it’s important to find out your local rules, or the rules of the area you plan to visit and make sure you have either interchangeable soles or that you purchase the right sole for the area.
Q: Will wading boots be safe on slippery rocks, both above and under the surface?
A: Many users report that their shoes “stick like Velcro” to moss-covered rocks that are covered by flowing water. If you know your environment, and where you plan to use the boots or waders, have a look at the comments of the users online to see how the traction compares from one boot to another. It’s usually best to cast from thigh-high water and not go much deeper.
It’s also really important that the fit is perfect and supports your feet properly so that you can maintain your balance under all conditions. You want to avoid any possibility of injury by being well prepared for your fishing activities.
Q: What is the main consideration when choosing a lighter boot over a heavier one?
A: A lighter boot or wader will feel more weightless on your feet, and if the conditions are not extremely cold or sub-zero, these may be preferred. A lighter boot will not have as much insulation, but the lighter weight will make it easier for you to stand in the water and move about for hours at a time.
Of course, in colder conditions, you will have to choose for a heavier boot. The good news is that Thinsulate insulation is available in many boots and waders, and does not add much weight to the boot.