Best Wading Boots For Fly Fishing – For Every Temperature You’ll Encounter

You wouldn’t wear the same shoes for hiking trails, walking on slippery rocks, in the sand, in the mud, in a boat, standing all day in the hot sun, or in water barely above freezing.

But that’s exactly what anglers want from wading boots, and we want them to be comfortable as well.

The best wading boots will perform in a wide variety of conditions, but how can you know which pair will fit your needs and your feet?

That’s why Kempoo brings you our review of the best wading boots.

These Are the Best Wading Boots for Fly Fishing

Korkers Greenback

Why is it the best?

Korkers Greenback Wading Boot

5 Best Wading Boots For Fly Fishing

With that in mind, let’s now take a closer look at our top picks.

Let’s dive into the specifics and review each boot individually. You can use the list below to jump and review specific models, or you can read along and go through all the information.

Best Overall: Korkers Greenback Wading Boots

Like other Korkers boots, Korkers Greenbacks provide you with the great option to swap between rubber or felt soles on the fly.

The OmniTrax 3.0 interchangeable sole system boasts several sole options in addition to rubber and felt.

Korkers also offers studded felt, studded Vibram soles, and their Triple Threat sole can be fitted with studs, aluminum hex discs, or even full-width aluminum bars.

The upper is made from durable synthetics that stand up very well to rough wading and abrasive rocks.

The synthetics prevent water absorption, which reduces weight and allows for faster drying. Weight is also reduced further by internal channels within the boot that allow faster drainage.

For the best fit, Korkers recommends ordering a full shoe size larger than your normal footwear.

The online reputation of Korkers Greenbacks is quite impressive, with 94% of the reviewers giving them a 4 or 5-star rating. The internet reviews are stocked with compliments referring to its “very good design”, features, interchangeable soles that are nice and easy, while the boots seem to be very comfortable. This is exactly what you are looking for in a high-quality wading boot.

The ability to swap soles is really like having multiple pairs of boots, which can save you some serious coin while offering versatility. Moreover, if you want to be extra sure that you aren’t carrying any invasive species, the removable soles allow you to bleach the felt soles separately from the boots.

With the ingenious design and great price of Korkers Greenbacks, we don’t hesitate to recommend them as the best fly fishing boots.

PROS

  • Interchangeable soles are a huge plus
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Great drainage system

CONS

  • Slight heel lift with every step

EXTRA FEATURES

  • Plain Felt AND Kling-On Sticky Rubber Soles Included
  • Hydrophobic synthetic leather and textile upper
  • Interchangeable outsole

PRODUCT INFORMATION

  • Available Sizes: 7-15 M, 8-12 W
  • Material: Rubberized abrasion-resistant Synthetic
  • Sole Material: Rubber
  • Weight: 5.75 lbs

Runner Up: Redington Skagit River Wading Boots

Redington’s Skagit River is a great choice if you are a fly fisher in need of a rugged pair of boots at a reasonable price.

The Skagit boot is available in both sticky rubber or felt soles. The rubber soles are very grippy on their own, but they are also compatible with studs if you want additional gripping power.

Skagit wading boots feature a reinforced toe and heel for support and protection. Also, for extra protection and rugged abrasion resistance, Redington wrapped the Skagit boots with a high-sided rubber rand.

One of the features that you usually won’t find in fishing boots in this price range is good ankle support. Thankfully, Redington designed the Skagit to provide good, rigid ankle support to protect your ankles from twisting when you’re wading in bigger rocks.

The ankle and collar have ample padding for additional protection and support.

Mesh panels on the upper part facilitate faster drainage, and the quick-draw lacing and speed loops made of anti-corrosive metals make it more durable for long days in saltwater.

Reviewers online leave positive comments noting the stability, construction, and comfort of these boots. Overall, 80% of reviewers rate Redington Skagit with 4 or 5 stars.

Anglers recommend ordering a full shoe size larger than your normal footwear, particularly if you winter wade and use warm socks.

We prefer rubber soles, and Redington recommends Goat Head Spikes if you want to add extra traction to the sticky rubber sole. Sometimes that extra traction can save you a headache in slippery conditions.

The Redington Skagit River is a durable and comfortable choice if you are in the market for affordable boots for your fishing trips.

PROS

  • Very soft bottoms and strong soles for comfort
  • Secure fit and stays true to size with socks
  • No fatigue felt even when wading for long hours

CONS

  • A bit slippery when dealing with algae

EXTRA FEATURES

  • Nylon and Synthetic leather upper
  • Available with sticky rubber or felt soles
  • Rubber toe and heel cap

PRODUCT INFORMATION

  • Available Sizes: 8-13
  • Material: Mesh panel with Rubber toe
  • Sole Material: Sticky Walnut Rubber or Felt
  • Weight: 4.7 lbs

Korkers Buckskin Mary Wading Boots

Korkers Buckskin Mary offers more than just contemporary looks. They’re also comfortable and capable for serious women anglers.

Korkers boots come standard with the OmniTrax 3.0 interchangeable sole system which allows you to swap soles when needed.

In addition to rubber and felt, Korkers offers studded felt, studded Vibram soles, and their Triple Threat sole can be fitted with studs, aluminum hex discs, or full-width aluminum bars.

And the rubber toe cap and side panels increase durability.

The noncorrosive lacing hardware and heel lock provide a secure fit that reduces heel lift while walking.

Korkers is really smart about incorporating hydrophobic materials into their design to prevent the spread of invasive species.

Another benefit of the use of synthetic materials is faster dry times.

Korkers doesn’t insulate their boots as heavily as some other manufacturers do, which is no big deal.

You’ll just want some extra room for warm socks or neoprene booties while cold water wading.

Since Korkers recommends sizing up one whole size larger than your normal shoe size, you may want to consider a full size and a half if you fish a lot of cold water. It’s definitely better to have a boot that fits you a little big on occasion rather than have super cold and uncomfortable feet.

We really like that Korkers boots can swap soles. That feature alone can save you some cash because it is really like having multiple pairs of boots, and the removable soles provide the ability to clean your felt thoroughly to fend off invasive species.

With a fashionable look, innovative design, and great price, we gladly give Korkers Buckskin Mary our stamp of approval.

PROS

  • Omnitrax interchangeable soles
  • Hydrophobic fabrics dry fast
  • Traditional laces provide reliable closure

CONS

  • No noticeable cons

EXTRA FEATURES

  • RockGuard 420D Synthetic material front and heel of the boot
  • EVA midsole with an integrated drainage system
  • Removable insoles

PRODUCT INFORMATION

  • Available Sizes: 8-12 W
  • Material: Hydrophobic
  • Sole Material: OmniTrax Interchangeable
  • Weight: 4.5 lbs

Redington Willow River Wading Boots

The Willow has a sharp look and offers a huge value in a tremendously capable boot.

Redington offers the Willow in both sticky rubber or felt soles and their rubber soles are very grippy, but they are also stud compatible if you know you are going to face particularly slippery surfaces.

Redington wrapped the Willow boots with high-sided rubber rand for rugged abrasion resistance and additional protection.

Willow boots also feature a reinforced toe and heel for support and protection.

They offer a lot of comfort compared to other boots in this price range.

Redington designed the Willow with a padded collar around the ankle to protect your ankles from bumps and scrapes.

The upper also has good rigidity to support your ankle, which reduces the chance of twisted ankles.

The lacing system features speed loops and deep-draw lacing with anti-corrosive metal hardware.

The upper panels are made from synthetic mesh to facilitate fast drainage.

Online reviewers put their stamp of approval on the Redington Willow with 94% of the comments leaving 4 or 5-star reviews. Compliments cite the support provided for feet and ankles, comfort, and quality.

Women also comment that they recommend purchasing a size or even a size and a half larger than your normal shoe size.

If you fish in cold water for steelhead or salmon during the spring melt then you really need that extra room for warm socks.

We recommend rubber soles whenever possible, and for extra grip,neoprene-lined Redington recommends Goat Head Spikes. That extra grip can save you from ripped waders or even a broken rod in slippery conditions.

We don’t hesitate to recommend the Redington Willow River Wading Boots as a fashionable and comfortable option that comes in at a terrific price.

PROS

  • Supportive, lightweight, and quick-drying
  • Rubber toe cap for added abrasion resistance
  • Padded collar for ankle support

CONS

  • Low quality pull loops on the back of the boot

EXTRA FEATURES

  • Stud compatible
  • Available in Sticky Walnut Rubber or Felt soles
  • Deep draw lacing with molded, non-corrosive metal hardware

PRODUCT INFORMATION

  • Available Sizes: 6-10 W
  • Material: Mesh panel with Rubber toe
  • Sole Material: Sticky Walnut Rubber or Felt
  • Weight: 3.8 lbs

Redington Crosswater Youth Wading Boots

Young anglers need to be comfortable on the water, so they can enjoy themselves and hopefully reel in a lot of fish.

Redington produced the Crosswater specifically with the comfort of young anglers in mind.

The upper is stitched from a high denier rugged nylon to withstand the scrapes and abrasion that goes hand in hand with kids wading.

And the high coverage rubber rand wraps the boot with a layer of durability that is ready to take on the harshest conditions.

We really like that the Crosswater has a neoprene-lined collar and that the interior is neoprene lined as well. That adds a huge comfort factor to these wading boots. 

The deep-draw lacing also helps to hold your child’s foot securely. The great lacing system and speed loops help to prevent heel lift and discomfort from friction or blisters.

Like all boots in the Redington line, Crosswater wading boots feature a sticky rubber sole that is also stud compatible. Even though these boots provide excellent grip, we highly recommend the addition of studs with youth wading boots.

It is really worthwhile to give your kids that extra level of traction to avoid trips and falls that might cause water to accidentally enter their waders.

The beneficial and comfortable designs combined with an attractive price make the Crosswaters from Redington our choice for the best youth wading boots.

PROS

  • Designed specifically for youth and available kids 2, 4, and 6 sizing
  • Supportive, lightweight, and quick-drying
  • Sticky Walnut Rubber sole for additional traction

CONS

  • A bit heavy

EXTRA FEATURES

  • Imported
  • Rubber toe cap
  • Deep draw lacing with molded, non-corrosive metal hardware

PRODUCT INFORMATION

  • Available Sizes: 2-6
  • Material: Mesh panel with Rubber toe
  • Sole Material: Sticky Walnut Rubber
  • Weight: 1.32 lbs

Honorable Mentions

If you haven’t found what you are looking for yet, here are three more boots definitely worth mentioning:

  • Simms Freestone with felt soles and cleats is suitable for wading in strong currents and on rocky river beds. Scratch-resistant rubber-uppers provide a cushion against rocks, brushes, and water. Dual-density midsole aided by neoprene lining ensures warmth. Putting these two features together, it might be fair to say that it’s a perfect combination of hiking boots and wading shoes.
  • Orvis Ultralight Wading Boots are a relatively expensive option, but with their quick-drying Clarino microfiber, abrasion-resistant rubber spray, and Vibram EVA midsole, they might be worth their price. They are lightweight, they have a better strength-to-weight ratio than the others do, and they feature low-profile ankles. Mind that, if you are worried about your ankles while wading, these might not be for you.
  • Even a pricier option is Patagonia Foot Tractor, which is a product of the partnership between Patagonia, who excel in fly fishing gear, and Danner, a renowned boot manufacturing company. As a result of that, the boots are made of high-quality material, offering incredible traction, extreme comfort and durability, and perfect fit. Except for its cost, the only downside we could think of is that the product is not available on Amazon.
Table of Contents

Wading Boots FAQ

Flyweight Wading Boot

WHAT IS A WADING BOOT?

t is a boot that is specifically designed to meet the footwear needs of the wading fisherman. That means that it should be able to do the following:

  • Keep your feet dry.
  • Provide traction to enable the fisherman to safely navigate their way through the rocks and pebbles at the bottom of a river.
  • Drain well and dry quickly
  • Provides solid and reliable ankle support

The new breed of these boots has made use of the latest technology to provide lug patterns that deliver superior traction on the slippery surfaces that you will encounter at the bottom of a river, creek, or stream.

They also provide enhanced ankle support, which is very important. Many anglers end up in a hospital as a result of twisting an ankle while wading through a stream.

Good boots will also keep your feet dry and comfortable in the water. However, the most important reason to wear them is that they will give you better balance.

WHAT SIZE WADING BOOTS SHOULD I GET?

There is nothing worse than heading out fishing with the wrong-sized boots.

That will indubitably be uncomfortable, but, considering all the obstacles you will encounter under the water, it might also be downright dangerous.

When purchasing wading boots, do not get the same size as your regular street shoes. You should go up a size.

So, if you normally wear a size 10 street shoe, then you should buy a size 11 wading boot.

You will find that they usually come only in full sizes. So, what do you do if you wear, let’s say, a size 10.5 street shoe?

Your best bet is to jump up a size and a half and buy a size 12.

However, if your feet are overly wide, you could even consider going up two sizes. It is always better to err on the side of too big rather than too small.

However, neither do you want your foot to slide around inside the boot.

Ideally, you want the boot to hold your foot securely in place with just the slightest bit of movement possible.

ARE ALL WADING BOOTS WATERPROOF?Using Wading Boot

 

No, not all of them are waterproof. When you are standing in a stream for hours on end, it is pretty inevitable that water is going to get into your boots.

So, rather than being waterproof, it is more important for the boots to have a good drainage system.

This will ensure that the water flows out of the boot as soon as you get out of the water. This will make the boots lighter and reduce your energy demand.

CAN YOU WEAR WADING BOOTS WITHOUT WADERS?

Yes, you can wear them without waders. Some people prefer to avoid the trouble of putting on waders.

They may be fishing in water that doesn’t come up very high on their legs.

Or it may be an especially hot day, and they just don’t feel like the uncomfortable sweat-soaked experience of wearing waders with the sun beating down on them.

WHAT SOCKS WITH WADING BOOTS?

It is best to wear neoprene wading socks.

These are often worn with stocking foot waders which have built-in booties that keep your feet warm and secure.

Regular street socks are not recommended with wading boots because they will quickly get wet, which will make them sloppy, and they will not be bulky enough to fill out your wading boots.

As a result, you will be less steady on your feet, which is definitely what you do not want when navigating the bottom of a stream.

Neoprene socks are good because they will keep your feet dry and completely fill out the insides of your wading boots.

ARE WADING BOOTS WATERPROOF?Walking In Water

FEATURES TO LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING WADING BOOTS

PROPER FIT

Trout fishing and cold water go hand-in-hand.

When the fish are smashing streamers or rising for dry flies, the last thing you want is to have your day cut short because your feet are uncomfortable.

Keeping your feet warm in cold water is dependent on maintaining good circulation. Cold water fishing can be especially taxing if you have boots that fit too tightly.

The stocking foot on your waders will take up some space in your wading boots. But you also want some additional room for warm socks.

And even with additional socks, you’ll want to be sure your boots provide enough extra room to avoid compressing your feet.

GOOD GRIP

We recommend rubber-soled wading boots.

Felt-soled boots provide excellent grip on really slick rocks, but they have a terrible grip on most of the other surfaces.

More than one angler has punctured their waders because they slipped on dry pine needles or a muddy hillside.

Most manufacturers produce stud-compatible rubber soles which give a distinct advantage to rubber-soled boots in and out of the water.

If you are doing even a little hike-in fishing, rubber soles make much more sense. Rubber soles can save you from damaging your expensive gear, or worse.

UNWELCOME HITCHIKERS

Fishing With Wading Boots On

The other reason we recommend rubber-soled boots is due to invasive species.

Invasive plant life like didymosphenia geminata destroys entire trout streams and hides within the tiny cavities of felt-soled boots.

In fact, some states have banned felt-soled boots completely in an attempt to stop the spread of invasives.

With that in mind, rubber-soled boots may allow you to fish more water that might be off-limits by purchasing felt-soled boots.

However, there are some wading conditions where felt soles provide unmatched traction.

Conclusion

Anglers who are just getting started in the sport of fly fishing need entry-level gear.

Even the most experienced fly anglers usually start with inexpensive fishing gear and upgrade as needed.

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