Fishing waders UK: Everything you need to know about waders

Fishing wading boots are an essential piece of gear for anglers who wade in rivers, streams, and other bodies of water to fish. Wading in a river can be a great way to explore and enjoy the outdoors, but it can also be dangerous if proper safety precautions are not taken.

It’s important to know your options when it comes to waders, and also be informed of the safety precautions you can take before wading in rivers.

Here is our useful guide on wading, so you can enjoy the great outdoors without a worry…

How to wade safely in a river

First of all, it’s important to check the water conditions - Before entering the river, check the water conditions, including the depth, current speed, and any obstacles or hazards in the water. Avoid wading in high water or strong currents, as these can be difficult to navigate and increase the risk of accidents. Take slow, deliberate steps when wading in a river, and avoid sudden movements or jumping from one rock to another. Look for areas of stable footing, such as large rocks or gravel bars, and avoid loose, slippery surfaces like mud or algae-covered rocks. Watch for changes in water depth or current speed, as well as any hazards like downed trees or boulders.

Always wear a personal flotation device (PFD) or life jacket when wading in a river, even if you are a strong swimmer. Wearing wading boots with felt soles or cleats can help provide better traction on slippery rocks and reduce the risk of falling. Additionally, wearing a wading belt can help prevent water from entering your waders if you happen to fall. A wading staff can help provide additional stability and support when navigating rocky river bottoms or uneven terrain. Use it to probe the riverbed and test the depth and stability of each step before taking it.

Browse our range of durable wading staffs here.

The advantages of having zippered fishing waders

Zippered stockingfoot fishing waders have become increasingly popular among anglers in recent years. These waders have a zipper that runs vertically along the front of the wader, allowing the angler to easily put them on and take them off without having to remove their boots.

There are several advantages to having zippered stockingfoot fishing waders…

Most importantly, Zippered stockingfoot fishing waders are incredibly convenient. With the zippered front, anglers can easily put on and take off.  This is especially useful when you need to quickly get out of your waders to take a break or answer the call of nature - if you find yourself in a dangerous situation, such as being swept away by a strong current or becoming trapped in your waders, the zipper can be quickly opened to help you escape.

Additionally, zippered stockingfoot fishing waders are typically more comfortable than traditional waders. This is because the zipper can be used to vent excess heat and moisture from the wader, reducing the build-up of sweat and humidity inside the wader. The zipper in zippered stockingfoot fishing waders is typically made from high-quality materials and designed to be durable. This can help prolong the lifespan of your waders and ensure that they can withstand frequent use in challenging fishing environments. Also, since the zipper runs vertically along the front of the wader, it allows for a more customized fit, improving your range of motion and making it easier to move around in the water.

View our full range of fishing waders here, enabling you to get closer to your chosen catch.

What are the pros and cons of felt sole vs Vibram sole wading boots?

When it comes to the soles of wading boots, two popular options are felt and Vibram - each has its own set of pros and cons. Consider your terrain and outdoor needs, while also keeping comfort at the forefront of priorities…

Pros & cons of felt sole wading boots

To their advantage, felt soles are known for providing excellent traction on slippery rocks, making them a popular choice for anglers who frequently wade in fast-moving streams and rivers. Felt soles are typically softer and more flexible than Vibram soles, which can make them more comfortable to wear for long periods.

However, felt soles are known to trap and transport invasive species, such as algae and other aquatic plants. This can lead to the spread of these species to new bodies of water, which can have a negative impact on the local ecosystem. They also tend to absorb water and take more time to dry out than Vibram soles, they require more maintenance and wear out quicker than Vibram soles.

Pros & cons of Vibram sole waders

Vibram soles are known for their durability and can withstand heavy use and rough terrain, they also soles tend to be cooler and more breathable than felt soles, which can be an advantage in warm weather.

However, they also tend to have less traction on slippery rocks which can be a disadvantage in fast-moving streams, and can be harder and less comfortable to wear.

If you frequently wade in fast-moving streams and rivers and prioritize traction over durability, felt soles may be the better option. If you plan to fish in warm weather and prioritise durability and ease of maintenance, Vibram soles may be the better choice.

How do I measure myself for fishing waders?

Measuring yourself for breathable fishing waders is a straightforward process that can be done in a few simple steps. Firstly, take your height measurement, then measure your inseam by standing with your back against a wall and your feet shoulder-width apart. Place a book or another flat object between your legs, up against your groin, with one end against the wall, then measure from the top of the book to the floor. Also measure your chest, waist and hips, making sure the tape measure is straight and snug, but not tight.

Once you have taken these measurements, you can use them to select the appropriate size of breathable fishing waders from the manufacturer's sizing chart. It's important to note that different brands and models may have slightly different sizing, so always consult the manufacturer's sizing chart before making a purchase. Keep in mind that it's always better to be on the side of a slightly larger size, as this will allow for more freedom of movement and layering underneath the waders.


Of course, we are here to help. At John Norris we provide only the best quality waders, and also offer advice on measurements, sizing and which waders will do the best job for your angling situation and experience.

Visit us in store for expert advice, or browse our collection of waders online – we also have useful sizing guides with most of the brands we stock.