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Wading boots offer many advantages when it comes to hunting, fly fishing, or any outdoor activity. With more and more brands coming out every year, it’s tough to keep track of who offers the best wading boots. I’ll help you wade through the muck in this guide to offer you my opinion on some of the best wading boots for the money.
This shouldn’t be a surprise, but one of the best felt wading boots is made by Korker. I’m talking about the Korkers BuckSkin Wading Boot with Felt and Kling-On Outsoles. What makes this a great choice is the interchangeable soles, making it a versatile wading boot.
The felt sole excels on slippery surfaces, and the sticky, rubbery Kling-On soles will help you with muddy areas. You’ll find the Kling-On soles especially helpful if you have to hike to your favorite fishing or hunting spot.
Besides the two sole options, this boot offers great drainage making walking in muddy spots helpful. The upper portion of the boot is made with hydrophobic material which greatly decreases drying times. The Korker BuckSkin Wading Boots weigh just under 3lbs. The edges are rubberized to minimize damage directly to the boot itself.
If you’re looking for a comfortable felt sole wading boot that is great for all day expeditions, look no further than the Korkers BuckSkin. Korkers recommends buying a size up from your street shoe size to get the best fit.
- Multiple sole options
- Hydrophopic materials help drying
- Comfortable for all day trips
- Price is on the high end, but it’s a high end product
Best Cleated Wading Boots
If you’re looking for the best cleated wading boots, one of your best options is the Chota Outdoor Gear STL Plus cleated wading boot. Interestingly, these give you the option to be cleated or not so they’re also multi-purpose. I’m always going to rate multi-purpose gear high because it gives you so much bang for your buck.
The STL Plus offers a felt sole with cleat receptacles, allowing you to customize how many cleats you want to add, and where you want to add them. There are 14 positions for the cleats and you’re given 28 with your purchase, so you’ll have plenty of spares.
Beyond the modular cleat aspect, the Chota STL Plus also offer fantastic drainage. With the use of micro-screens to keep sand, dirt, and other particles out of the drainage ports, you’ll keep your boots light. The cushioned soles will also help provide you all day comfort. One feature Chota added this is missing from many other boots is the “one pull” quick lacing system. If you hate fiddling with your laces while all geared up, this right here is worth the price!
The genuine leather used will ensure that your Chota STL Plus cleated wading boots hold up even in rough conditions. These get a “must buy” rating from me, especially if you’re looking for one of the best wading boots with cleats.
- Multiple sole options including felt and cleated
- “One pull” quick lacing system
- Can rearrange the cleats to your liking
- High quality leather
- Cushioned soles
- High initial cost, but it’s a multi-purpose wading boot that will last you awhile
- Cleats can be a bit of a pain to move adjust after set
Best Fly Fishing Wading Boots
If you’re looking for a boot designed specifically for fly fishing, then you’ll want to check out the Redington Prowler Wading Boots. These come available in a felt or sticky walnut rubber sole, and a single color: bark. Redington is known for their fly fishing gear, so it shouldn’t be a surprise they know how to design the best fly fishing wading boots.
Some of the prominent features include rubber overlays that help improve durability, helping to make your investment last. The padded collar provides much needed ankle support to help keep your footing sturdy on uneven river beds. Weighing in at 3.3 lbs, they’re heavier than some other pairs I recommend. Fortunately, you’re getting more boot with that extra weight, so the upside is a sturdier feeling boot. Redington designed the Prowler with a wider sole which will greatly increase your stability in the water.
The Redington Prowler is stud compatible, but we can’t say it’s this wading boots best quality. Nonetheless, it’s nice that it is an available option. Some other great features you’ll find on this boot include great drainage and they’re quick drying. Redington is known for their quality fly fishing products, and the Prowler Wading Boot is no exception. I highly recommend this as one of the best fly fishing wading boots.
- Created specifically for fly fishing
- Features ensure stable footing in rivers and streams
- Stud compatible
- Slightly heavier than other boots, but you gain stability with the extra weight
Best Lightweight Wading Boots
If you do a lot of walking while fishing or hunting, you quickly become aware of the weight of your boots. Fortunately, more companies are focusing on ways to lighten up. Chota Outdoor Gear makes our list again with their ultralight HYRB-800 Hybrid High-top rubber soled boot.
Weighing in at less than 1lb each, you’ll feel a noticeable difference in weight, especially as the day grows long. We also picked Chota for the best cleated wading boot, and those weigh 2.2lbs each. The Hybrid High-top is over 50% lighter! That is a significant improvement. One of the downsides to focusing on weight is you lose some multi-use abilities. This boot only comes in a rubber sole, so you’re limited to environments where you’re comfortable only with a rubber sole. There’s no good way of adding felt, cleats, or studs.
Even though you’re shedding some weight, you still get the core of a good wading boot. The Hybrid High-top still has a reinforced heel, toe, and ankle for support and protection. You’ll find wading and hiking in these all day comfortable with the cushioned mid-sole. Some other quality items include Chota’s quick lace system, and a removable sole insert. Being able to remove the sole is a great feature for customizing your boot fit depending on the gear you’re wearing that day.
Even though the Chota Hybrid High-top is limited by only coming in a rubber sole, that’s OK. This is a specialized shoe designed for lightweight applications and it excels at that. This is definitely one of the best lightweight wading boots you’ll find, and comes at a reasonable price. I highly recommending buying a pair today!
- Extremely lightweight
- Great for walking far distances in rivers and streams
- Doesn’t sacrifice quality features for being ultralight
- Only comes in a rubber sole
- Can’t add studs or cleats
Cheapest Wading Boots
On a budget when it comes to buying fishing and hunting gear? I’ve got a great pick for one of the cheapest wading boots that you’ll still want to wear. The Duck & Fish Sticky Rubber Wading Sole is my pick for you. While it’s significantly cheaper than the competition, I would say it still holds its own in value.
The Duck & Fish wading boot has an extra wide sole which is great for maintaining a stable footing, and still has a padded collar for ankle support. These are core qualities you should look for in any wading boot because nobody wants to fall over in cold water, or worse, sprain an ankle. It has standard drain holes, toe reinforcements, and a standard lacing system. It really is a great budget wading boot, and could even make a great backup pair you leave in your truck. If you’re looking for the cheapest wading boots that you’d still want to wear, I recommend buying the Duck & Fish Sticky Rubber Wading Sole.
- Much cheaper than other boots
- Surprisingly lightweight
- Maintains the core features of a quality wading boot
- Only comes in a rubber sole
- Not as many features as higher priced boots
Best Wading Boots Accessories
The main factor for your comfort during a trip is your wading boot. That doesn’t mean you should forget about your other equipment for your feet though! Here are some wading boot accessories I think you should consider buying to improve your quality of life (at least for the duration of your trip!)
Insulated Wading Socks
Water is deceptively cold, especially the longer you stay in it! Keep yourself warm with some insulated wading socks. I found this cool camo pair called Wetsox Wader Sox. These have slight compression to them which adds several benefits. One, they go on snug and aren’t in the way, and they won’t ever slip down. Two, compression naturally helps your blood circulate, so your body will keep doing a great job keep your limbs warm.
The Wader Sox also have 2.5mm of neoprene that are designed to keep your feet and legs warm, regardless if they’re wet or dry. That means a minor leak won’t ruin your day right away. The interior layer also helps wick moisture away. These really are a no brainer to at least try out, and they certainly make a great birthday or Christmas gift!
If you’re not interested in the insulated wading sock with compression, there is another highly rated one called ZEALIYUE Waterproof Windproof Breathable Socks. The outer layer is mostly nylon, and the inner layer is 100% waterproof and breathable. These also help wick away moisture and keep your feet nice and warm. I highly recommend you at least try a pair of insulated wading socks, they could really improve your fishing or hunting trips!
Ankle garters are great for keeping your pants secured while wearing your waders and wading boots. These stop them from shifting around at all and are worth every penny. You can find a few different types on Amazon.com, such as SAMSFX Neoprene Ankle Pants Garter (2 pack).
Now this accessory is definitely just a nice to have (and could certainly make a great gift for friends and family that like to fish, hunt, or do anything that involves wet gear). I’m talking about the DryGuy Travel Shoe Dryer.
If you’re planning on a multi-day fishing or hunting trip, it’s always nice to start the next day with dry gear. Simply stick the dryer into your shoe and turn it on. In 3-6 hours, your gear is dry. An additional benefit is you reduce the chance of bacteria growing and can also cut back on odors. So if you’ve ever wanted to know how to dry wading boots, buy the DryGuy Dryer!
If you’re looking for a drying rack that can handle more than a single pair, you’re in luck! DryGuy makes a Boot Drying Rack that can handle 2 pairs at the same time. You could even toss some gloves on here too! Check out the DryGuy Boot Drying Rack on Amazon.
Best Wading Boots Recap
As you’ll know by now, picking the right pair of boots all depends on what kind of hunting or fishing you like to do. Whether you require cleats, felt, or a combination, there is a wading boot out there for you. If you’re not happy with any of my picks, let me know in the comments below what are some of your favorite wading boots. If you’re looking for more suggestions, I recommend checking out the following that just missed the cut: