Fishing waders have undergone some exciting changes over the past few years – and men aren’t the only ones to benefit. Companies are now investing significant time and money into designing women’s waders that fit female proportions and perform as well as the men’s gear.
The Patagonia Women’s Spring River Waders, for example, achieves its flattering (yet non-constrictive) fit with multiple darts and seams: Each leg features four stitch lines in addition to the main seam up the back. The booties are anatomically shaped to match the curve of the right and left foot, and they get a boost in warmth from wool-lined neoprene. Most women (who typically suffer from colder extremities than men) will appreciate that feature.
The Redington Siren comes in two versions: The “Kate” for slim fly-fishers, and the “Marilyn” for plus sizes. And it does a better-than-average job of accommodating breasts: Two elastic gussets under the arms adapt to various bust sizes, expanding to fit larger cups or cinching for a tidy fit on small-chested wearers.
One common complaint among dedicated female anglers is that guide-worthy waders only come in men’s sizes. But the Simms Women’s G3 Guide Stockingfoot features five-layer construction and a Gore-Tex Pro Shell membrane – making these breathable waders extra-tough. The fit is also dialed to feminine shapes.
This category’s best all-arounder, the Orvis Women’s Silver Sonic Convertible-Top Waders offers a winning balance of fit, performance and value. Not as bomber-built as the Simms, but significantly more affordable, this is a great choice for women who want durable, great-fitting gear at an approachable price.
L.L. Bean and Cabela’s also offer low-priced options for women. Their fit isn’t as streamlined or flattering as the top performers, but they give aspiring anglers an affordable way to get started in the sport.
Women are still fishing’s minority gender, but that gap is closing – and companies are increasingly catering to women by producing gear they’ll actually want to wear.
The trend in waders for both sexes is to move away from the excessively baggy fit of yesteryear. Partly, that’s because neither men nor women enjoy being saddled with bulky fabric (or the double-wide silhouette). But mostly, streamlining waders’ fit improves their durability: Leaks are most likely to occur in those creases and folds, which abrade the fabric over time.
For both sexes, most high-end waders now use a slimmer cut than they once did, and articulated seaming (rather than extra material) allows for full freedom of movement when hiking or stepping into a boat.