Wading boots are designed to be worn in the water, giving some the impression that they keep your feet dry. But wading boots are supposed to allow water to flow freely through their construction, and there's good reason for that.
Wading Boots Allow You to Wade
Wading boots are practical pieces of gear for anglers, and especially fly-fishermen, who take their expeditions seriously. Going fishing doesn't only involve staying alert and searching for fish; it also concerns maintaining your upright stature and balance. Balance is especially vital when the river currents run strong. If you have quality wading boots on, you can move with steady footing and peace of mind as you wade through the water.
That's why wading boots have this unique construction that allows the water to flow through them, rather than aiming for water resistance. Their explicit purpose is to not fill up with water and weigh you down, as well as to not catch the current and tow you in the wrong direction.
A day out on a fly-fishing trip without a pair of wading boots can often lead to an unplanned swim or a worst-case scenario: an injury. Therefore, equipping yourself with a quality pair of wading footwear before going out on fly fishing trips is a wise move.
Should You Buy Waders Instead?
The answer is simple—yes! If you want your feet warm and comfortable in the water while wading, you should consider choosing waders. As mentioned earlier, wading boots do not keep your feet dry, but waders do.
Waders are instrumental in insulating your calves and ankles to ensure they don't ache while you're in the cold water wading. Since they don't soak up in the water, they won't droop or slip like a pair of jeans or wool socks would. After a fun day of fly fishing, you will take off your waders, and your feet will be warm and relaxed. Here are the two major types of waders you can consider and why.
Bootfoot Waders: Footwear Installed
Bootfoot waders typically have heavy-duty rubber boots attached to them. Therefore, when you buy bootfoot waders, you won't have to buy a wading boot. These waders are ideal for salt-water anglers and surf casters because grit and sand can't easily find their way into the waders. They can also come in handy for winter fishing and hunting since they help retain your body heat.
With bootfoot waders, the boots have a subtle transition from the wader to the boot; thus, it is less likely for your fishing line to tangle. However, it can be challenging to use them if you move around a lot because they can be cumbersome and take up a lot of storage space.
Stockingfoot Waders: Boots Not Included
These waders come attached with sock-like boots. When you want to get out and go fishing in the water, you wear your wading boots over these sock-like boots. Unlike the bootfoot waders, these waders tend to be better fitting. You can go for that precision fit when you purchase waders and boots separately that are both sized to your measurements. Waders with boots attached may require a slight sacrifice in fit.
Stockingfoot waders are more versatile and adaptable because you can pair them with various boots. With bootfoot waders, the only boot choice you have is the type of sole. However, you could pair your stockingfoot waders with wading boots for a fly-fishing trip, wear those same waders with a pair of rubber boots for some late-season swamp casting, and then layer them up for ice-fishing in winter boots.
You will also find an easy time pulling stockingfoot waders on, off, and packing them away. They don't need much space to pack up or store.
Wading Through Shopping Considerations
When you're shopping for the ideal wading boots, the first thing that should come to mind is their weight. An angler should always think of buying lightweight boots with ankle support. These factors ensure that your feet feel comfortable and light.
In all honesty, wading boots can be pricey. Hence, you should be prepared to invest if you want superior quality wading boots to serve you for years to come. You will often have the choice of buying felt-soled boots or rubber-soled ones, and for longevity's sake—always get a rubber-soled option. Furthermore, if warm and comfortable feet are your aim, you'll want to add wading socks or stockingfoot waders to your order.
They Don't Keep You Dry, They Keep You on Your Feet
Wading boots may not keep your feet dry, but they serve the essential purpose of helping you to stay balanced, and not weighing you down, while you wade through moving water. You can still enjoy your wading boots in dry feet, with the addition of stockingfoot waders or wading socks for the best of both worlds.