What Are Stockingfoot Waders?

Hands of a fly fisherman holding a trout while wearing waders

When you’re out fishing, the last thing you want to be worried about while in the water is whether or not you’re wearing the correct attire. It’s essential to make sure that you have the right gear so that your fishing trip is as safe as it is enjoyable. One outfit that most anglers use is stockingfoot waders. 

Stockingfoot waders are a type of chest-high or hip-high wader used primarily by anglers. This type of fishing attire is useful in swamps and marshlands, and you can wear it in hot or cool environments. Unlike bootfoot waders, stockingfoot waders require you to buy wading boots. 

In the rest of this article, I’ll be including more information about stockingfoot waders, such as who uses them, when to use them instead of bootfoot waders, what material they’re made of, how expensive they are, and more.

What Are Stockingfoot Waders Used For?

Stockingfoot waders are a type of specialized attire normally used by fishers, particularly anglers, to keep them dry while fishing in bodies of waters and streams. 

While stockingfoot waders are primarily used by anglers and fishers, they do serve practical purposes in professional fields, including agriculture, the chemical industry, and the sewage industry, to name a few. 

Stockingfoot waders can also be utilized during flooding for rescue, cleaning, repair, and traversal purposes. 

Why Do Anglers Use Stockingfoot Waders?

Anglers use stockingfoot waders to avoid getting wet while fishing. Because angler fishing requires a hook and a line, you can do it off of docks, boats, and wading in water bodies, especially streams. 

fishing hook

Stockingfoot waders allow anglers to stand in bodies of water for long periods without getting wet. This is incredibly important because of the dangerous conditions that can arise from being submerged in water for too long.

These health issues include hypothermia or even trench foot, a condition that the CDC says can cause pain, swelling, numbness, dead skin tissue, and infection. Stockingfoot waders allow you to stay warm and dry so that you avoid these unwanted health issues. 

If you want more information on waders and wading boots, you can watch this short video below:

Stockingfoot Waders vs. Bootfoot Waders

Stockingfoot waders are different from bootfoot waders because they don’t come with wading boots. 

While that might sound like a missing feature at first, there are some logical reasons why you’d want to buy stockingfoot waders and a pair of wading boots instead of just buying bootfoot waders.

Below is a small chart that looks at a few of the differences between the two. 

FactorsStockingfoot WadersBootfoot Waders
EnvironmentMarshes, swamps, streamsSaltwater areas
Wading Boot Attached?No, it only comes with flexible socksYes, it comes with an attached boot
Hand wash or machine wash?Machine washHand wash
Fit OptionsMore options for those with non-standard sizingFewer options due to standard sizing
PackingLightweight and easy to store for backpacking, air travel, and moreHeavier and awkward to store, better for shorter trips

Because bootfoot waders come with a wading boot attached, they’re a better choice for those with mobility issues, as you don’t need to bend down and adjust any laces. This slip-and-go style is preferable to those looking for ease and convenience. 

However, stockingfoot waders are more cost-effective. 

Because you purchase the wading boots separately, if the stockingfoot waders or the wading boots become damaged, you’ll only have to buy the separate replacement piece rather than purchasing a whole new set of bootfoot waders.

Things To Consider Before Purchasing a Stockingfoot Wader

The kind of stockingfoot wader you want to buy will depend on what type of fishing you do, where you like to go, and what materials are legal in your area.

Type of Weather You’re Fishing In

There are breathable and non-breathable designs of stockingfoot waders available. 

  • A breathable stockingfoot wader will ensure you stay cool, keeping water out while still allowing heat and moisture to escape easily. While this style is mainly used for warmer months and environments, you can add wool or fleece insulating layers underneath in cold weather. This Paramount Outdoors Deep Eddy Stockingfoot Chest Wader is waterproof and breathable, making it perfect for deepwater fishing. 
  • A non-breathable style like the Allen Company Stockingfoot Neoprene Chest Wader is made of neoprene material, making it best for colder months and climates as it’ll retain all heat and moisture. 
man in waders was fishing on the pond at sunset

Type of Fishing You’re Doing

If you fish in smaller streams and shallow water, a waist-high stockingfoot wader like the HISEA Stockingfoot Breathable Waist Waders is your best bet with its shorter length and easily adjustable belt designed for convenience.

If you fish in larger bodies of water and often wade in deeper areas, a chest high stockingfoot wader like the Dark Lightning Breathable Chest Waders is thick enough to keep you warm and dry, while still being breathable and light for longer, more comfortable fishing trips. 

If you backpack to your fishing place or use air travel, you’ll want something like the Simms Men Tributary Stockingfoot Waders, as it’s lightweight and easy to pack. 

Most importantly, you want to make sure that the materials you buy are legal in the area that you plan to fish in. 

The material in your stockingfoot waders shouldn’t be a problem. But because you’ll be purchasing separate wading boots, you’ll need to determine what material they’re made of to ensure that they haven’t been banned. 

Felt-sole wading boots have been banned in several states because of their ability to hold and transfer invasive species and harmful bacteria to bodies of water, damaging the ecosystem in the area you fish. I’d recommend avoiding felt-sole wading boots if you don’t want to worry about whether or not they’re allowed where you fish. 

You can find out if your fishing area is on the Invasive Species Action Network’s list here.

Final Thoughts

Stockingfoot waders are a great clothing choice for anglers looking to stay dry. Because they don’t come with wading boots, you’ll have to purchase your own, which allows for more customization in sizing and better cost-efficiency in the long term. 

Additionally, stockingfoot waders are climate versatile, allowing you to fish in cool and warm temperatures. The variability of chest-high or waist-high waders also makes it so that you can fish in different levels of water depth. 

Overall, anglers can’t go wrong with a good pair of stockingfoot waders.

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