A down and dirty look at waders!
We all know that waders are an essential piece of fishing gear for river (and lake) fishermen. With many types of waders to choose from, it can be difficult to choose the correct wader setup to assure maximum comfort while fishing. Below are quick rundowns on the different types of waders available, as well as some basic suggestions for choosing the right wader and accessories for the application you intend to use them based on the season.

Lightweight/breathable waders are taking over the wader market. This style of wader incorporates many advantages and comforts into their design. The term "breathable" relates to the material built into the garment that allows vapor particles that build up from perspiration to escape through the fabric. This phenomenon keeps the individual dry and warm during the colder season. Since the materials used to build this type of wader are very lightweight, they allow for more mobility when wearing them. Some models use articulated construction patterns to further their mobility.

Typical price range: $100-$475

Since breathable waders are now the standard choice, the suggestions below will be based on a setup that includes breathable waders unless specified otherwise.
Before the introduction of breathables, neoprene waders were the standard. Being constructed of thicker material (usually 3.5-5 mil.), neoprenes have a good amount of thermal value. Most companies also utilized insulation layers in their neoprene wader designs. While neoprene can keep you warm during the cold months, there are some disadvantages. The tighter fit of neoprene causes binding with the clothes that you have layered underneath, which detracts from the comfort factor. Neoprenes also do not let perspiration out, which can lead to dampness and ultimately keep the person from staying warm.

Typical price range: $80-$200

If you're on a trip and somehow forget your nice waders, the local department store might save you by carrying a few pairs of rubber waders. Rubber/canvas waders are all but extinct in fishing shops. Yes, they will keep you dry but they will not help when perspiration starts to build up from that long walk from the car to your fishing spot. Rubber waders are made of a rubber outer layer, and usually have a cloth layer inside to lessen the pinching and binding affects. You will not get near the comfort level that breatheables offer with rubber waders, but you can get into a pair for less that $20, and that will get you on the water at the very least.

Typical price range: $15-$75

So, we have three main categories for wader styles available. There are different types of waders that use combinations of neoprene and breathable material as well. As was mentioned earlier, breathable waders are now the standard in wading technology. There are still some neoprenes to be found, but most shops will usually stock breathables almost exclusively. Consequently, some manufacturers have eliminated neoprene waders completely from their product line.

There are two styles of boot design for waders, stocking foot and boot foot. Stocking foot models are waders that have a stocking (usually made from neoprene) for the foot end of the wader. Wading boots are then worn over the stocking feet to provide the foot with support. Boot foot models have a generic sized boot directly incorporated into the wader. There are advantages and disadvantages to choosing one over the other, but they hinge mainly on what time of year you are fishing. Boot foot waders will typically keep your feet and body warmer by maintaining a better air layer and not pinching or binding on your foot and lower leg. Stocking foot waders will be slightly colder but will afford greater mobility and more importantly they give the angler a range of options for wading boots.

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