Wide Open Spaces

The Best Fly Fishing Waders Under $250, According To An Expert

Products featured on Wide Open Spaces are independently selected by our writers and editors. However, when you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Many anglers, especially beginners, find themselves wondering the same question: Are waders absolutely necessary to fly fish effectively? Because fly fishing waders can come at such a high cost (prices can climb well over $500), it's not surprising people wonder if they can still catch some large trout without shelling out the money on waders. I've asked myself the same question, and I don't recommend it — because without fly fishing waders, you won't get the full experience of fly fishing. For example, you'll be limiting yourself on where you can fly fish and how deep you can wade into the water, because waders provide a waterproof layer to allow you to immerse yourself all the way up to your chest. Another great perk of  waders is that they give you the ability to create some space for casting: Sometimes the best places to land trout are covered in thick brush and congested trees that will prevent you from casting from the banks. It's times like these where getting waist deep and casting into the current is crucial. Of course, the next question becomes: Can you get quality waders without having to break the bank? Absolutely. In fact, I have tested out several waders in every fly fishing situation imaginable and have found four budget waders that will meet all of your expectations.

1. Our Top Pick

Simms Tributary Stockingfoot Waders (S-XXL) - Simms, $199.00

The Simms Tributary Wader is an incredible entry-level fishing wader that provides all of the basics that even veteran fly fishers can appreciate. These waders have a breathable three-layer upper and four-layer bottom that allow for extreme mobility, and of course they are waterproof. For the money, it's hard to beat the comfort of these waders. The gravel guard and bottom hem combined with the neoprene stocking foot is something you would expect on waders that are $500+. These waders also come with Simms incredible 60-day leak warranty as well as their 12-month evaluation and repair warranty.

Please enable Javascript to view this content

2. The Most Breathable Option

best fly fishing waders


Orvis Clearwater Wader (S-XXL) - Orvis, $229.00

The Clearwater Wader by Orvis is their value-based wader that is ideal for every situation. One of the great features of these waders is the side release buckles that convert to waist-high waders for those warmer days when breathability is key. These waders come with a chest pocket to hold your fly boxes as well as a kangaroo style pouch that is great for keeping your hands warm on chilly days. The Clearwater Waders are backed by a fantastic warranty and with a price point at less than $300, they're hard to beat.

3. The Most Affordable Option

Frogg Toggs Hellbender II Waders (XS-XL) - Amazon, $120.00+

For someone who is just getting into fly fishing and wants a solid set of waders that will perform all of their basic needs, the Hellbender II Waders are perfect. The four-layer nylon upper and the double reinforced knees exceeded my expectations from a durability standpoint. The oversized chest pocket and the double-zippered hand pockets were a nice touch for waders at this price point. The neoprene booties were surprisingly warm and featured integrated lace hooks for keeping debris out of my boots. I keep these waders in my truck at all times as a backup set. They're the most affordable option on this list, too.

4. The Best Option Made for Women


BASSDASH IMMERSE Women's Stocking Foot Fishing Waders (S-XL) - Amazon, $119.98

These waders by BASSDASH IMMERSE have three layers of fabric and still manage to be breathable. It has a large storage pocket, a flip-top pocket, a fleece-lined pocket to keep hands warm, and adjustable suspenders. This also features three D-rings to keep your must-have gear close by. The belt and chest strap are adjustable, too: this is customizable to become your perfect fit.

This piece was first published in June 2022. It has been updated by the Wide Open Spaces Commerce Team. 

READ MORE: The Best Fishing Hats For Your Next Outing