Waders can be a fishing necessity. Fast flowing steams filled with spring runoff challenge both your body and your equipment. Without waders you won’t be able to fish long enough to catch anything.
We took a look at different types of chest waders to determine which were the best that money could buy. Versatility led us to focus on chest waders. You can make chest waders into waist waders if you want to. It doesn’t work the other way around.
For our first choice, price wasn’t an option. In our opinion, you need to invest in the equipment that protects you and keeps you safe. A proper pair of functional waders keeps cold water away from your body and prevents hypothermia. We don’t think you should skimp on safety. If you don’t have the budget for our top choice, then you can take a look at the less expensive option we reviewed.
Our Top Pick
The Redington Sonic Pro Waders are our number one choice. They are relatively expensive, but they are nearly perfect in every way. All the elements you would want in a set of waders are there. The Sonic Pros are completely waterproof, more breathable than any of the products we reviewed, and more comfortable in comparison to all of the other choices on the market.
Technology is the key to Redington’s design success. The fabric itself is 100% nylon with sonic welded seams that support increased mobility. There are 4 layers in total and the waders are completely waterproof. Redington claims that the fabric design is 25% more breathable than their previous designs. Not only did they meet their standard, but the Sonic Pro proved to be more breathable than anything else we have seen.
In addition to incredible breathability, the Sonic Pro waders include a number of features that most inexpensive options don’t have. For instance, there are two ergonomic hand warmer pockets that are lined with micro-fleece. When fishing in cold weather, you quickly get used to these hand warmers and wonder how you survived without them.
One of our favorite features is the Flip-Out tool pocket. This pocket acts as a tippet dispenser and area for storing any important items or tools you need to carry. It can rest outside of the wader top or flip inside for protection from the elements. This model includes other pockets as well that are convenient for storing your gear.
There are many small features that separate the Sonic Pro from competitor models. We noticed many innovative modifications that most people wouldn’t think of that improve durability and prove that they are definitely the best fishing waders. As an example, the seams on the Sonic Pro are double taped. This feature prevents wear over time.
The Redington Sonic Pros are lightweight, breathable, waterproof, and full of useful features that improve function and durability. While more expensive than other models, the Sonic Pro promises to last for years instead of just one season. These are the best fly fishing waders. Many fly fisherman purchase a set of Redington waders and keep them for 10 or 20 years. The company’s reputation in the industry is top rated.
The Best Budget Choice
If you don’t have much to spend, then the Redington Crosswater Waders should be at the top of your list. Our budget choice can’t keep up with the breathability or durability of the Sonic Pros, but they are still effective for fishermen who are price conscious.
The Crosswater Waders are made from DWR coated polyester fabric. The layers don’t vary like the Sonic Pros, as they are three layers thick throughout the entire length. The Crosswaters have a flip-out pocket, belt loops, high density neoprene booties, and integrated gravel-guards. They don’t have the hand warmer pocket or advanced storage options of the Sonic Pros.
For an affordable price, they perform admirably in the water. Initially, the Crosswater Waders keep water out. But over time, durability becomes an issue. The polyester coated fabric might be durable enough for one or two seasons of moderate use. They aren’t going to last a decade of punishment like the Sonic Pro waders. Overtime the coating might wear off and cause leaking problems.
Breathability is also an issue. You’re going to get wet if you have to move around a lot. The water might not get in, but your sweat will have you drenched in no time. If you plan to stay stationary, you shouldn’t have too many problems with breathability.
This brand will still get the job done. There are no options under $100 or even under $200 that offer superior fit, finish, and waterproofing. You can’t expect them to be as good as the Sonic Pros, but you can expect them to do their job.