Best Waders for Surf Fishing: Types, Brands and More

best waders for surf fishing

What are the best waders for surf fishing? Every angler has different needs when it comes to choosing a pair of waders. In this article, I’ll help you make the decision for yourself and give you some recommendations at the bottom. There are a few different details to keep in mind when choosing a pair of surf fishing waders so lets get right into it.

Waders and Saltwater

Given that surf fishing is naturally going to take place in salt water, you want to choose a pair of waders that will hold up to the saltwater. The bulk of this has to do with proper washing and handling techniques.

When it comes to the actual material of waders, there typically isn’t any problem there. Saltwater isn’t “bad for your waders”. But, if you don’t take care of your waders properly, the saltwater might do some damage. Make sure to wash or rinse your waders after every session as this can prolong their lifespan dramatically.

Bootfoot Waders vs. Stocking Waders

This is a debate I’d been going back and forth on for a while. I’ve come to the conclusion that bootfoot waders are the best waders for surf fishing. But, I do understand that bootfoot waders are certainly not for everyone. Why? Well, first let’s talk about what they are and how they differ from stocking waders.

Bootfoot Waders

Bootfoot waders are one of two major styles. With boots attached directly to the base of each leg (like a onesie), these allow anglers to step into their waders and start fishing immediately. The beauty in these is the convenience and simplicity. You may sacrifice a little comfort for convenience, but with anything, price is a big factor and you can always pay more to attain the highest comfort and convenience.

If comfort is an issue but you don’t want to get stocking waders, try a custom orthotic.

Pros

  • Easier on and off
  • Convenient to purchase (no need to purchase boots separately)
  • Minimize sand and saltwater in any added creases or crevasses

Cons

  • One-size fits all model doesn’t always work
  • The boot is usually less customizable and comfortable
  • It really comes down to how much you like the boot that the waders come with

Stocking Waders

Stocking waders are more customizable. They too are like a onesie, but instead of being “ready-to-go”, you have to purchase wading boots separately. Like the name says, these are “stockings” and you need shoes to go with them. Let’s look at the pros and cons. While there are more cons to list than pros, the ability to customize these to your optimal comfort is a tough feature to pass up on.

Pros

  • More custom-fit (better for not-average body types)
  • Usually allow for overall better comfort
  • Sometimes machine washable
  • You just have a lot more versatility

Cons

  • Sand will get in between your stockings and boots which could lead to rubbing and eventually holes
  • You usually pay more $$$ due to the separate purchase of boots
  • Take longer to get on and off
  • If cold, untying shoes might suck

Neoprene Waders vs. Nylon Waders (Breathable)

Waders have come along way over the years, yet the debate still exists: What’s better? Neoprene waders or nylon waders (usually more likely to be breathable waders)? The answer, it depends upon your needs.

How are nylon waders actually “breathable”? Good question. It may seem confusing at first, but it really is quite simple. Neoprene that waders are made from is water proof as it doesn’t let water in and it doesn’t let water out. Nylon breathable waders (get more breathable as you pay more $$$) are constructed with a membrane that is dense enough to keep water molecules (while in liquid form) from passing through the membrane, while allowing water in vapor form to escape out through the membrane.

Neoprene

Pros

  • Warmer
  • More flexible
  • Durable

Cons

  • Prone to overheating/not breathable
  • Tougher to patch
  • Bulkier
  • Prone to snagging and hooks
  • Tougher to get off
  • Prone to odors if not washed properly

Nylon

Pros

  • More breathable
  • Durable
  • Light-weight
  • Better range of motion (depending on quality of the waders)
  • Easy to clean
  • Don’t hold odor too easily
  • Less likely to snag a hook in them

Cons

  • Prices can skyrocket as you search the top-tier levels
  • It’s said their less durable (that’d if you’re hiking through brush etc.)
  • The cheaper models are notoriously not breathable

Best Waders For Surf Fishing

Best for under $100

Frogg Toggs Canyon II Breathable Stocking Foot Chest Waders

  • 4-ply nylon upper
  • Stocking foot
  • Breathable
  • Machine washable
  • Adjustable shoulder straps
  • Zip chest pocket
  • Adjustable belt
  • User friendly sizing guide

HiSea Bootfoot Chest Waders

  • Bootfoot
  • Adjustable shoulder straps
  • Zip chest pocket
  • Adjustable belt
  • User friendly sizing guide

TideWater Bootfoot Chest Waders

  • Bootfoot
  • Adjustable shoulder straps
  • Chest pocket
  • Adjustable belt
  • User friendly sizing guide

Best around $100-$200

FROGG TOGGS Men’s Hellbender Breathable Bootfoot Chest Waders

  • 4-ply nylon upper
  • Reinforced knees
  • Large chest pocket
  • Zippered handwarmer/storage pockets
  • Neoprene-line boots
  • reinforced sole

Compass 360 tailwater Stocking Foot Chest Waders

  • Stocking foot
  • Adjustable shoulder straps
  • Zip chest pocket
  • Adjustable belt
  • User friendly sizing guide
  • 1-year warranty

Best around $250-$500

Simms Freestone Stocking Foot Chest Waders

Are Simms Waders Worth It?

Simms essentially owns the wading market. They manufacture some of the highest quality waders out there and there prices show it. Luckily, they usually offer a reliable warranty in the case that you’re unsatisfied due to malfunctions and what not.

  • Stocking foot
  • Breathable
  • Adjustable shoulder straps
  • Zip chest pocket
  • Adjustable belt
  • User friendly sizing guide
  • Simms 60-day guarantee

Find more surf fishing waders directly through BassPro or Simms. And as always, if you’re in need of surf fishing gear and tackle, this page has everything.

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