If you spend time near the water, having the best wading boots is a necessity. Whether you enjoy fly fishing or have a beach with seaweed to remove, the best wading boots let you do your tasks while keeping your feet dry.
I tested ten products and found the Simms Tributary Wading Boots to the best on the market.
The best boots will also protect you from falling on wet slippery rocks or from moving river water.
As someone who spends a lot of time near inland lakes, I’ve suffered from soaked feet after wearing a poorly made pair of boots while fly fishing. After hours on a lake, I appreciate being able to take off my boots and have dry feet.
A well-made, lightweight pair of boots is essential to me while wet wading, and I know I’m not alone.
I don’t want to bring several pairs of boots with me when I go fishing. I just want one that keeps my feet dry and comfortable. With all of my experience in and around the water, I know what works and what doesn’t.
The best wading boots have strong material, a non-slip sole, and a comfortable fit. The overall winner, the Simms Tributary Wading Boots, has all of the necessities for working in water.
I found a few other good choices, but the Simms boots were the most comfortable boots on the market, especially for long days along the river.
Life on the water is different for everyone, so I’ve included a few other options for the best wading boots on the market.
Let’s get started.
BEST OVERALL WADING BOOTS: SIMM’S TRIBUTARY WADING BOOTS
The Simm’s Tributary Wading Boots provide comfort and traction in wet conditions. They have a rubber sole and a neoprene lining to keep your feet dry.
If you like to use studs and cleats, the rubber sole is compatible with them, so you can stay upright on slippery surfaces in lake bottoms and river beds while fly fishing.
The fishing boots also have a durable toe cap to protect your feet from unseen rocks or other hazards in the water. These boots stand up to freshwater and saltwater. If you use them in salt water, be sure to clean them to protect the lace grommets.
These boots are perfect for anyone who spends time in the water, whether for work or pleasure. They are also a good choice for a beginner or a veteran who has had several boots.
- Very durable
- Ideal for freshwater or saltwater
- Compatible with studs and cleats
- Extra cleaning required if exposed to saltwater
BEST FOR ATHLETIC FIT: KORKERS DEVIL’S CANYON WADING BOOTS
If you need a pair of athletic-fit wading boots, the Korkers Devil’s Canyon Wading Boots are my favorite. These Korkers boots come with two bottoms: stick rubber and plain felt.
They have a quick lacing system and hydrophobic uppers for fast drying. The exterior material also prevents invasive species from clinging and spreading.
The midsole has an enhanced design with large drainage ports to let water flow. The low seams reduce drag. They have a protective molded toe cap and rubberized anti-abrasion synthetic material.
The Korkers Devil’s Canyon Wading Boots are perfect for people who appreciate having all-terrain footwear with changeable bottoms. They function on snow and ice and are ideal for fly fishing.
- Dries quickly
- Protective toe cap
- Ideal for snowy and icy terrains
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Not as durable as other boots
BEST FOR KIDS: WINDWARD PVC HIPPER WADING BOOTS
- Nylon outer shell
- Heavy PVC coating
- Sonically sealed waterproof seam technology
- Adjustable web leashes
Children need rubber-soled wading boots, and the Windward PVC Hipper Wading Boots is the perfect boot for the job.
The best wading boots for children come to the top of a child’s thigh and attach to a waistband. The sonically sealed waterproof seal attaches PVC coating and a 420 denier nylon outer shell. With all of these features, they are still the best budget boot at the right price for kids.
The thigh-high rubber-soled wading boots keep children’s feet and legs dry, so they can enjoy fly fishing or spending time in the water. They are comfortable and durable.
The web leashes are adjustable, so they fit most children. They also have rubber bottoms with cleats to keep children walking in the water.
I like the boots for children because they entirely cover their legs. If children can get wet, they will, but these boots give them more protection than a lower-cut pair of wading boots.
Children usually need to get used to walking in them, so let them wear the boots around the house before they head out to fish.
- Adjustable web leashes suit most children
- Cleated rubber bottoms enhance stability
- Comfortable and durable
- Great value for money
- Can take some time to break in
BEST FOR WOMEN: SIMMS WOMEN’S FREESTONE FELT SOLE WADING BOOTS
Women need the best wading boots, too. The Simms Women’s Freestone Felt Sole Wading Boots have felt bottoms to prevent slipping.
Simms designed these for women’s feet with a slightly higher midsole than their men’s boots. Along with their felt bottoms, they also have waterproof neoprene linings.
The neoprene linings make it easier to slip the Simms boots on and off before lacing them up with the corrosion-resistant grommets. They have a protective rubber toe cap to prevent stubbing your toes while waiting in sandy rivers or lakes.
The Simms boot has an upper made of synthetic leather and durable rubber to keep your ankles supported on slippery rocks.
These Simms boots are ideal for women who enjoy fishing or playing in shallow lake water. Along with being comfortable, they offer peace of mind for women who want to keep their feet dry and stay upright in slippery conditions.
- Very durable
- Very comfortable
- Provides great traction and stability
- Tend to run small
BEST HIP WADING BOOTS: TIDEWE HIP WADERS
If you prefer to wade in hip wading boots, check out the TideWe Hip Waders. These lightweight boots fit men and women who want to keep their legs dry in changing water conditions.
These hip waders have two-ply nylon and PVC uppers making them lighter than a typical rubber wading boot. Despite being lightweight, they are strong and durable.
The hip wading boot is completely waterproof with welded boot attachments and taped seams. The cleated bottoms keep you from slipping in muddy or sandy conditions.
You can wear them in the water, but they are also helpful for messy, wet outdoor work.
- Adjustable belt straps for added comfort
- Suitable for sand and mud
- Fully waterproof
- Those with larger thigh circumferences advised to buy one size up
BEST PERFORMANCE BOOTS: HUK ROGUE WAVE BOOTS
The Huk Rogue Wave Boots for men is made of 100% neoprene rubber to make them 100% waterproof. Huk makes products for fishing, and these are ideal for fishing in a boat, walking on dry land, or mulling around in shallow water.
The neoprene exterior is durable and comfortable, and the wading boots have a non-slip outsole tread with lugs that grab the ground.
This wading boot has an EVA footbed that is eight millimeters thick, so your feet stay dry, even if you step in questionable places. The boots have webbing pull-straps for easy on and off in all weather conditions.
Huk designed the Rogue Wave Boots for men who enjoy spending time in and around the water. They weigh less than a pound, so it is easy to spend all day in them without any discomfort.
- Very durable
- Comfortable for wearing all day long
- Great traction and stability
- Not ideal for deeper waters
BEST AFFORDABLE WADING BOOT: 8 FANS MEN’S FISHING HUNTING WADING BOOTS
If you are looking for a low-cost wading boot with plenty of features, the 8 Fans Men’s Fishing Hunting Wading Boots are comfortable and lightweight.
They have plenty of cushioning, so they are ideal for hunting and fishing. They also have a wide collar, so they fit the 8 Fans line of waders, all at a low price to meet your budget.
The best-budget boot has a reinforced rubber toe and heel along with speed laces for quick on and off.
They have a non-slip rubber sole and a padded ankle collar for support, extra traction, and stability, even on slippery surfaces. The thick bottoms also protect feet from sharp objects and awkward rocks.
The 8 Fans Wading Boots are ideal for men and women who have long distances to walk before they get to their favorite fishing spots. The boots function well in wet and dry conditions.
- Ideal for wet and dry conditions
- Thick soles to prevent injury
- Great grip
- Padded ankle collar offers extra support and comfort
BEST ULTRALIGHT WADING BOOTS: ORVIS ULTRALIGHT WADING BOOTS
Often, a hiking-style wading boot can be overwhelmingly heavy, especially with other fly fishing gear. But this isn’t the case for the Orvis Ultralight Wading Boots. Orvis is a highly respected name in outdoor gear, and their ultralight wading boots continue the tradition.
Orvis Ultralight uses Clarino microfiber, so they dry quicker than traditional leather.
These ultralight wading boots have abrasion-resistant rubber in the areas that wear quickly. Each wading boot weighs about 20 ounces, depending on the size, and they have Vibram EVA midsoles to maintain their low weight.
The midsoles also add a level of comfort that another wading boot might not have. The rubber sole has pre-set locations that accept metal studs for added traction.
These lightweight wading boots are ideal for people who are on their feet all day and do not want to tire out because their boots and gear are too heavy.
- Quick to dry
- Can accept metal studs
- Some complaints about lack of support
BEST WADING BOOTS KIT: KORKERS GREENBACK WADING BOOTS
Outdoor enthusiasts recognize that Korkers leads the market with interchangeable bottoms. The Korkers Greenback Wading Boots come in a kit with the OmniTrax 3.0 Interchangeable Sole System, including the Plain Felt and Kling-On Sticky Rubber Soles.
Like other Korkers wading boots, they have internal channels in the soles to keep water flowing past your boots rather than into them. The channels keep the weight down, as this pair weighs about 2.7 pounds.
Korkers also consider the environment when making their wading shoes. They use hydrophobic materials to keep invasive species from spreading.
The Korkers Greenbacks with the kit are perfect for outdoor gear enthusiasts who like to have interchangeable bottoms in a comfortable pair of wading boots. The felt sole is best for rocky, wet conditions, while the rubber soles are best for wet and dry conditions.
- Suitable for a variety of environments thanks to the two soles
- Great value for money
- Putting the soles on the boot can take some getting used to
BEST CAMO WADING BOOTS: NEYGU BREATHABLE QUICK-DRY WADING SHOES
If you enjoy duck hunting or river wading, a camo wading boot can help you track and shoot your prey.
This pair of NEYGU Breathable Quick-Dry Wading Shoes keep your feet dry and help you hide in a natural environment. NEYGU features boots with felt and rubber soles for durability and flexibility in and around the water.
This wading boot has a mesh fabric that dries quickly and has an attractive camo design. They also have reinforced heels and toes to protect your feet in challenging conditions.
These boots have drain holes at the midsole, so water flows through them rather than pushes against them while wading in and out of your favorite river or lake.
The NEYGU wading boot has a padded collar for ankle comfort. Anglers can also put studs in place on the outsole. These are perfect boots for men and women who enjoy hunting and fly fishing around rivers and lakes. These best budget boots coordinate with other camo designs and fly fishing gear.
- Very comfortable
- Compatible with lots of other gear and camo designs
- Both felt and rubber soles are non-slip and flexible
- Not as durable as other boots
When shopping for a pair of wading boots, I always shop for certain features.
Rubber or Felt Soles
Wading shoes come with either rubber or felt soles, and some have interchangeable soles. Both have benefits for anglers who need grip in and around the water. Rubber soles are comfortable and sturdy, but you walk through rocky river beds, felt soles help you from slipping.
I often add cleats or studs for additional grip on the soles of my best wading boots. They give me more traction, especially when wading through rivers or in the shallows around my beach. However, I have to remember not to wear them in the car or in my cottage.
Why Choose Rubber Soles
Consider hiking-style wading boots with rubber soles if you have to trek long distances to get to your lake or river. The soles will protect your feet from dry and wet conditions while providing grip and sturdiness.
Why Choose Felt Soles
Felt soles are usually about an inch thick. If they aren’t already attached, they have a strap that attaches to the sole.
When you walk on rocks, the felt molds to the shape, so you are less likely to slip and fall in the water. Unfortunately, the felt sole does not have the durability needed for hiking on dry land. Fortunately, you can easily replace a felt sole.
Ultralight Wading Boots
Some wading boots are too heavy. If you find that your knees or hips get tired from walking in your wading boots, then they are too heavy. The lightest wading boots have lower shafts.
The rubber sole can also add weight to boots. Consider the work you do when wearing them and choose boots that fit your needs.
After wearing your wading boots, take them off so they can dry completely. Never store them while they are wet; otherwise, they might start growing mold and mildew.
If you spend a lot of time in the water, you might want to invest in two or more pairs. Some boots have materials that dry slowly, which can impede your active time.
Because most wading boots have waterproof linings, they have different sizing standards than other shoes or boots. Most people buy wading boots that are one size larger than their hiking boots. picking the right boots
If you plan on wearing thick socks, you might want to size them up another half size.
Wading boots must withstand the water, so they need to have different design features over traditional hiking boots or other types of shoes.
For example, rivers and lakes can be slippery, so wading boots need ankle support for stability and less ankle-turning. With good ankle support, you can have more fun while spending the day in the water.
Tongue and Lacing System
Along with the ankle support, look at the boot’s tongue. The tongue and lacing system should be attached to the boot to keep water out and comfort in. An attached tongue also keeps sand and other small debris that can make your fishing trip incredibly uncomfortable.
Water Flow System
Good wading boot design also includes a water flow system. Some fishing gear footwear has soles with open channels so water can move through the sole rather than pushing into them.
Water channels lighten the weight making the footwear more comfortable for a long day of fishing.
Styling For Fly Fishing
Fishing boots come in several styles. Many look like hiking shoes that stop just above the ankle, while others look more like rain waders with tall thigh covering.
Some also look more like athletic shoes with lightweight felt bottoms for more grip. Choose the fishing boots style that works best for the water you play in.
After testing several pairs of fishing shoes, my favorite pair is the Simms Tributary Wading Boots. Simms makes them in their factory in Montana, so they know all about the needs of fishermen and outdoor enthusiasts.
These Simms boots are the best because they are lightweight, comfortable, abrasion-resistant, and completely waterproof with their neoprene liners.
The other reason these Simms boots are the best is those neoprene liners. After several hours of fishing on my favorite river, my feet were just as dry as they were when I began fishing.
I like the durable rubber toe cap with abrasion resistance because I frequently stub my toes on rocks I can’t see when I’m wading. I also like that the sole matches up with Simms studs and cleats. read more on How to Break in Boots The Best Way
Because I fish in colder weather, I like wearing a pair of thick socks under my boots. So, I bought them a size and a half larger than my usual shoes. The Simms boots fit perfectly, even with the best thick wool socks inside the neoprene liners. The price is right, too.