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Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Korkers BuckSkin Wading Boots at Amazon
"You can tailor your boots to each spot’s specific terrain and/or conservation law."
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Orvis Clearwater Wading Boots at Amazon
"Crafted from durable, synthetic microfiber which is both lightweight and quick-drying."
Best Splurge: Korkers Devil’s Canyon Wading Boots at Amazon
"The most obvious benefit is the M2 Boa lacing system, which simplifies getting the boots on and off."
"If you’re on a tight budget or want an inexpensive pair of entry-level boots, this is the pick for you."
Best Felt Sole: Hodgman H3 Felt Wading Boots at Amazon
"Especially designed for slippery environments and can even accept studs for additional traction."
Best Cleated Sole: Compass 360 Cleated Wading Shoes at Amazon
"Unlike many cleat-compatible boots, the Compass 360 Ledges come with Get-A-Grip slotted steel cleats."
Best Lightweight: Orvis Men’s Ultralight Wading Boots at Amazon
"They are the perfect choice if you plan on flying with your wading gear."
Best for Women: Redington Women’s Siren Boots at Amazon
"Reviewers love them for their quality construction, comfortable feel and attractive pale beige color."
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Korkers BuckSkin Wading Boots
Deciding whether to buy felt or rubber-soled wading boots can be a tricky choice for many fishermen; but the Korkers BuckSkin Wading Boots solve the problem by giving you the best of both worlds. The OmniTrax Interchangeable Sole System lets you swap between two different, removable soles — one felt, the other Kling-On (textured rubber). This means you can tailor your boots to each spot’s specific terrain and/or conservation laws. The boots are also compatible with the brand’s studded Kling-On soles (sold separately).
Not only are the boots are incredibly comfortable, but they’re lightweight, supportive and made from hydrophobic materials that reduce drying time significantly. Drainage is provided by large integrated ports and internal drainage channels, while an enhanced midsole and a scratch rubber toe cap that extends to the side panels add to their overall longevity. The rubberized synthetic uppers are also abrasion-resistant. Use the traditional lace system to secure the boots tightly around your ankles. They come in one color (chocolate chip/black) and sizes range from 5 to 15. Size up for the best fit.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Orvis Clearwater Wading Boots
If you want boots that perform just as well out of the water as they do mid-stream, choose a quality rubber-soled pair like the Orvis Clearwater Wading Boots. These are the respected fly fishing brand’s mid-priced option but they have many of the same features as more expensive wading boots. The Vibram sticky rubber outsole features the proprietary Orvis lug pattern for enviable traction on all underwater surfaces. If you need additional grip, the boots are made to accept screw-in studs (sold separately).
The uppers are crafted from durable, synthetic microfiber which is both lightweight and quick-drying. The scratch rubber sidewall and heel protect your feet from unseen obstacles and keep the boots looking brand new for longer. Other highlights include a molded rubber toe cap (invaluable when navigating over a rocky riverbed) and a comfortable injection-molded EVA footbed. Use the traditional lace system to tighten the boots and the finger loop on the back to help you get them on and off in a hurry. Sizes range from 7 to 14.
Best Splurge: Korkers Devil’s Canyon Wading Boots
Those with a little more cash to spare should consider splashing out on the Korkers Devil’s Canyon Wading Boots. They have the same ingenious OmniTrax Interchangeable Sole System as the Korkers BuckSkin boots, but for an extra $50, they come with several additional features. The most obvious benefit is the M2 Boa lacing system, which simplifies getting the boots on and off and also means you don’t have to worry about your laces coming untied in rough water. Additionally, a neoprene stretch cuff gives the uppers a glove-like fit for unparalleled ankle support.
Reviewers love these boots for their overall toughness, achieved by recessed, triple-stitched uppers with reduced seams; an enhanced midsole and a molded toe cap. The rubberized synthetic material is abrasion-resistant and hydrophobic. Because they dry so quickly, the likelihood of accidentally spreading invasive species is also reduced. Lastly, oversized drainage ports and channels help to keep the boots light in the water. There are a variety of sizes to choose from but only one color — solid black. The boots come with two different soles.
Best Budget: Duck and Fish Men’s Sticky Rubber Sole Wading Shoes
The Duck and Fish Men’s Wading Shoes have a traditional boot-style profile and receive high marks for their traction, comfort, and durability. If you’re on a tight budget or want an inexpensive pair of entry-level boots, this is the pick for you. The self-cleaning outsole is made of grippy rubber and the upper is crafted from durable 1,200-denier polyester.
Drainage holes help to shed water and keep the boots light as you wade through streams and rivers. The neoprene collar is triple-padded for additional ankle support and the reinforced PVC toe cap and heel will save you from injury if you stumble over a hidden rock or log. Use the finger loop on the back to lever the boots on and off and the lace system to adjust the fit. The boots come in one color (dark khaki/black). Sizes range from 8 to 13 and should fit as expected.
Best Felt Sole: Hodgman H3 Felt Wading Boots
Although felt soles have their drawbacks, they still provide the best possible traction for certain slick bottom types including algae-covered rocks and sodden leaves. The Hodgman H3 Felt Wading Boots are especially designed for these slippery environments and can even accept studs for additional traction (sold separately). The felt soles are mid-grey in color and although they will eventually wear out with hard use - especially if you use them to hike to and from your fishing spot - they are easy to replace.
The midsoles are made of lightweight EVA and the uppers from a hydrophobic, abrasion-resistant synthetic material. Mesh drainage ports on the side panels keep water weight to a minimum. The boots protect your feet from submerged obstacles with a reinforced toe cap and a padded collar and tongue (for added ankle support). There’s even a D-ring attachment point for connecting your gravel guards, which prevent debris from finding its way in between the top of your boots and your waders. Sizes range from 7 to 13 and the only available color is Olive/Black.
Best Cleated Sole: Compass 360 Ledges Cleated Wading Shoes
If you plan on fishing in a location where felt soles are banned, the best way to improve your traction on rocky riverbeds is to add cleats to your wading boots. Unlike many cleat-compatible boots, the Compass 360 Ledges come with Get-A-Grip slotted steel cleats included. They connect to the solid-piece, rubber outsole via recessed attachment points and can be removed for situations where they’re not needed (e.g. for sandy river bottoms or for protecting the deck when boat fishing).
The boot uppers are made from 1,000-denier embossed nylon and polyurethane. A padded collar affords extra comfort and support, while the reinforced toe cap and heel come in handy if you do lose your footing. A webbing heel pull makes it easy to get the boots on and off even when they’re wet - all you have to do is loosen the traditional lace system first. The boots are available in sizes 7 to 13 and because they’re meant to be worn with a 3.5mm or 4mm neoprene bootie, there’s no need to size up.
Best Lightweight: Orvis Men’s Ultralight Wading Boots
If you walk long distances to get to your fishing spot or if you like to spend most of the day in the water, the Orvis Men’s Ultralight Wading Boots will make all the difference to your energy levels. They are also the perfect choice if you plan on flying with your wading gear. These boots only weigh two pounds, eight ounces per pair (size 10). Quick-drying Clarino microfiber uppers offer an excellent strength-to-weight ratio and are given added durability by mini ripstop inserts.
High-wear zones are sprayed with abrasion-resistant rubber for an extra layer of protection while the Vibram midsole is made for all-day comfort. On the rubber outsole, Orvis’ special lug pattern gives you flawless traction both in the water and on land. There are attachment points for metal cleats in strategic locations, although the cleats themselves must be bought separately. The boots are laced, range in size from 7 to 14 and come in one smart color: cobblestone/citron.
Best for Women: Redington Women’s Siren Boots
The Redington Women’s Siren Boots are specially designed with female anglers in mind. We love them for their quality construction, comfortable feel and attractive pale beige color (which is a little bit feminine without being pink — the color most manufacturers choose when making fishing gear for women). Choose between a felt or sticky walnut rubber sole and know that you can add studs at a later date if you want to. The uppers are made from quick-drying, hydrophobic synthetic material and have a padded collar for extra ankle support.
Mesh-lined interiors and ample drainage ports mean you won’t be carrying half the river around with you - keeping the boots nice and light in the water. Molded rubber overlays add to their overall durability. The polyurethane midsole is strong but light and the boots’ wide footprint gives you a little more stability on uneven surfaces. Non-corrosive metal hardware for the laces comes in handy if you end up fishing in brackish or saline waters. Sizes range from 6 to 10 and are meant to accommodate a neoprene bootie.