TOP 10 Best Lightweight Wading Boots 2023 (Ultralight Wader Shoes)
There is no piece of fishing gear more important than your boots. When it comes to fly fishing, a good pair of lightweight wading boots can make all the difference. Not only do they keep you safe and comfortable while you’re on the water, but wading boots also help you move more easily and stealthily. So, what are the best lightweight wading boots for fly fishers? Keep reading to find out!
There are multiple wading boots available in the market. But the best lightweight wading boots from my experience are Orvis Ultralight Wading Boots.
Chota Outdoor Wading Boots is another great option under $150. They are extremely lightweight, and breathable. Plus provide great traction on slippery rocks.
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Best Lightweight Wading Boots – Reviews
While purchasing the best lightweight wading boots please note that not only does the weight of the boots matter but how quickly water drains from wading boots matters a lot. That is why good lightweight wading boots have multiple water ports so the water does not stay in the boots for a long time, and boots get dry pretty quickly.
Lightweight boots do not have to be less uncomfortable on treacherous terrain that is why it is important to invest in boots that are made from high-quality material and have comfortable soles such as Vibram EVA sole for long hours of wading in water. Considering all these basic features, we reviewed dozens of lightweight boots from various companies, and based on customer satisfaction here we have provided the 10 best lightweight wading boots currently present in the market. You can also check out our comprehensive guide on the best wading boots.
Now detailed reviews of all the best lightweight wader boots.
1. Orvis Men’s Ultralight Wading Boots – Premium Option
An angler would have seen this coming. When someone says “best lightweight wading boots,” our minds instantly name the Orvis Men’s Ultralight Wading Boots. The sole purpose of designing these is to provide anglers the lightest boot they yearn for.
The material of the Orvis Ultralight Wading Boots is called Clarino microfiber. It dries very quickly, is more rigid than leather, and has little weight. Plus, the top coating of a scratch-resistant rubber spray adds to the overall strength and life span.
The high-grade Vibram outsole and the EVA insole are the best possible combination for traction and comfort. Moreover, the outsole of Orvis Lightweight Wading Boots has strategic grooves to accept wading studs, if need be.
What’s not so good about them? The strong laces are pretty short. Though manageable, I would still like them a bit longer for better stability.
Similar to men Orvis Ultralight Women Wading Boots are designed specifically for women with better sizing. For review checked the best women’s wading boots guide.
2. Chota Outdoor Gear, Rubber Soled Boots – Best Quality
I was tired of heavy clunky wading boots and thought I would give these boots a try. I have been very delighted with them so far. They are light weight, but give good support and traction. The elastic shoe strings and clips make them very fast to put on and lace up. I have not worn them long enough to offer an opinion on long term durability but have worn them for some serious climbing and descents to access the streams. The boots are holding up well. I highly recommend these boots for the serious fisherman! Update! Having worn these boots for several outings now they are holding up well. They are like fishing and hiking in your house slippers. They can be a bit slick on rock snot but what boots aren't. I have not put studs in them.
The heels, toes, and ankles are all protected by padding and reinforcements. And the sole is a lush PU that keeps your feet relaxed when walking on the roughest terrain. Not to forget, the insole of Chota Rubber Soled Wading Boots is removable and replaceable to let you tweak your comfort level. You can take the sole out and make space for neoprene waders if the weather calls for it.
The laces are another attention to detail. They are elastic to help you tighten them all you want. Plus, a pair of lace hooks are very feasible to secure these laces. Next, the ingenious side panels have a micro screen that helps in removing the water from these lightweight wading boots.
But the unavailability of half sizes was a turn-off for me. The boots also run a bit smaller than the standard shoe sizes.
3. Foxelli Lightweight Boots – Best Under $100
Though I just received these boots, I am very happy with my purchase. I looked at (and tried on) several other brands (Simms, Reddington, Orvis) and these boots represent both value and comfortable design over the other brands. While it remains to be seen how durable they are in the long run I like the idea of purchasing from a smaller / family owned business...they seem to be proud of what they sell. I wear a size 10 shoe and the size 11 boots seems perfect for me, with enough room for heavy socks for colder weather. Looking forward to my first fishing trip in a couple of weeks!!
The rubber guards around the toe area protect your feet when you unknowingly bump into rugged rocks. Also, the upper of these lightweight wading boots are abrasion-resistant, increasing the shelf life manyfold. The drain holes work to remove all water accumulated in them when you step on dry ground.
The body of Foxelli Wading Boots is breathable to keep your feet from stinking. And the kick-log and lace hooks are small but convenient additions to the design. But what attracted me the most to buy these best lightweight wading boots is their affordable price tag. Foxelli has managed to keep the price down without compromising on durability and functionality.
However, the vague sizing caused me a bit of trouble. You can order a couple of sizes and send back the one that doesn’t fit. Other than that Foxelli Lightweight Boots are the best lightweight budget wading boots on the market.
4. Redington Unisex-Adult Boots – Best Lightweight Saltwater Wading Boots
I have only worn these boots for 2 hunts so far (grouse- traversing about 3 miles of thick, young aspen- and deer- sitting in a blind for several hours), and both times I completely forgot about my feet. That’s a good thing- if you’re thinking about your feet, you’re not only distracted from hunting, but it’s just a matter of time before you quit and go home.
My system includes a mid-weight sock plus a heavyweight, wool blend (REI brand) sock, plus a waterproof (neoprene bottoms and a tough, rip-stop style upper) sock/gaiter (Chota). I am usually a size 12 - 12 1/2, but I got a 13 in this boot.
So far, so good- I will have to see how they wear long term (obviously), but the fit and function on land (wet and dry) is just exactly what it should be.
The upper portion of Redington Wading Boots is rubberized for better protection against abrasion and scratches from the debris underwater. It also helps in keeping your feet safe from any injuries. Then, the drainage system is effective enough to remove the accumulated water and keep the boots light.
The Unisex-Adult Wading Boots hardware for the laces is rust-proof making these lightweight wading boots fit for use in seawater too. The laces themselves are elastic and long enough to ensure a tight fit.
One thing that I didn’t like is the wide toe box. Even after wearing waders, I could still feel some extra space around my toes. It didn’t bother me much, but the fit would have been better without it.
5. Kylebooker Men’s Fishing Hunting Boots – Best Budget Lightweight Wading Boots
The Kylebooker lightweight wading boots are one of my favorite budget wading boots for fly fishing. They are easy on the feet and provide adequate support while walking. The shoes are interiorly lined with foam all around. And the oxford upper with added reinforcements for toes and heels is tough enough to survive prolonged abuse.
Anyone who has suffered from an ankle injury will know the importance of ankle support. The ankle collar in these boots is rigid and padded to protect your ankles from rolling. In addition to that, it is wide enough to make room for your waders to let you fish in cold rivers too. The rubber soles provide exceptional grip over slippery river beds.
All in all, these are the lightweight wading boots that I usually recommend to seasonal anglers. You get great features in them, plus the price is pretty affordable too if you don’t want to splurge on high-end gear. The only issue with these is that they aren’t the quickest to dry.
6. Adamsbuilt Gunnison River Wading Boots – Studs Compatible
I know its weird to post 5 stars and a picture of a detaching sole. Got these in July 2018 and have fished a bunch so far this year, and our fishing is just getting good when this happened this weekend. I wrote Adamsbuilt on Sunday and got a reply from the owner Monday morning. The boots were great (fit per a conversation with them before purchase but I also ordered and returned a second pair to be sure), and they are making this right asap. I read an earlier review that complained about these boots and the lace "hooks" - these boots have a different design and work great.
I also bought their Truckee River waders at the same time, but can't figure out how to write a review on that purchase history because we ordered something else at the same time and the system only lets me review the other purchase. Despite a scraped knee in a fall in a parking lot, no exterior damage and no leaks! They are holding up great after many trips. Bottom line - my experience so far with their products is superior, and the customer service is absolutely top of the line. Support this business!
Apart from the soles, the upper part of Adamsbuilt Gunnison River Wading Boots has synthetic leather with mesh polyester which is pretty lightweight and adds no extra weight to your feet. The necessary protection for injury-prone areas is also there. The traditional laces are simple to use and last a long time without giving you trouble.
But the same cannot be said for the construction of the boot. Only suitable for those who wade sparingly, a little loose.
7. SoftScience The Fin Boot Men’s Boating & Fishing Boots – Most Flexible
4.5 stars. The insoles give me the best support compared to Simm's boots and Keen sandals, allowing me to wet-wade all day! No rocks get caught between the insoles and my feet! Being lightweight, contributes to the ease of wading. They don't smell! Really!
Would I buy them again, yes and I plan to.
However, I do have concerns about the longevity. One small area of stitching on the inside of a tongue appears to be falling apart. These are canvas. Also, if you are wet-wading in water with a fair amount of sand on the water's bottom, expect sand to sneak into these boots. Quite a bit of sand gets into my boots but that is after hours in the water. They did NOT design the boots with the sides of the tongues stitched to the boot. I believe this is where most of the sand enters the boot. Finally, while I believe they are designed with non-slip soles, I am still on the fence as to how stable these keep me when I am wading. I have only taking a big spill once while wading, and I was wearing these boots. Their traction on flatter, slippery rocks doesn't appear to be very good, and I think the highly flexible soles contribute to my being less steady in certain situations.
For wet-wading and at the 2018-year price point, I think this is currently the best boot out there. It isn't perfect, but it does a few things hugely better then its competition does. I hope Soft Science continues to improve upon this product, and I hope they include women's shoes in this particular line!! as well as in their other outdoorsy shoes! I currently own four pairs of their shoes-boots and would own more if more of their product fit my woman's feet.
I took SoftScience wading boot on a fishing trip with me that involved being on a boat and in the river for wading. The deck and river bed were both pretty slippery, but that didn’t bother me even once. The amazing anti-slip and non-marking rubber soles offer decent traction. The neoprene and mesh upper can keep your feet warm and is breathable as well. The mesh drains water quickly and dries even faster.
Also, the side zipper and the web strap on the top are convenient when you need to put on these boots.
They are easily the most flexible and lightweight wading boots I have ever tried. However, the mesh upper is not that good at keeping the sand out, but it is effortless to rinse them once you are done fishing. So, it’s a fair deal, in my opinion.
8. Korkers Redside Wading Boots – Customizable Traction
The interchangeable soles in these lightweight wading boots by Korkers is a nice touch of innovation. You can opt between a rubber, and a felt sole to better adapt to the wading conditions. The two soles are easy to place using six pins that snap into place on the bottom of these wading boots.
Moreover, the material of Korkers Redside Wading Boots is very fast-drying to ensure that you don’t spread any harmful species when hopping from one lake to another. The cinch laces are effective at giving you a secure fit. And durability is what Korkers is known for. Their boots use abrasion-fighting materials and technologies that keep the shoes in shape even after years of abuse. My pair turned seven this year and is still going strong.
The only issue I faced was with the lace clasps. I could feel them getting loose when I was walking in mud. The Redside Wading Boots stay put, a good choice for wading across the river banks.
9. Caddis Men’s Ultralite Felt Sole Wading Shoe – For Felt Lovers
These lightweight wading shoes by Caddis are a fantastic choice when the conditions call for Felt Sole Wading Shoe, and the regulations allow them. With felt, they provide optimum traction on mossy rocks, sandy riverbeds, and wet logs.
The outer body of Caddis Ultralite Wading Boots is high-grade polyester. The toe and heel caps have reinforcements for better protection against injuries. The insoles have a cushion to prevent sore feet at the end of a full day of wading. Plus, the side panels are internally lined with foam to keep your feet relaxed.
The speed laces are handy to keep your feet secured within these boots. The pricing on Caddis Wading boots is also pretty moderate, considering all the benefits you get in a single package.
There might be some durability issues, but a good choice overall of light wading.
10. Orvis Men’s Light Encounter Boots – Best Lightweight Wading Boots For Beginners
Being new at fly fishing doesn’t mean you have to settle for substandard gear. Instead, it must be rough and tough to withstand your failed attempts at wading. Hence, Orvis created these lightweight fishing boots specifically for entry-level anglers.
The upper body of lightweight wading boots is all synthetic material that is durable and fast-drying. These are rigid enough to fight off the scratches a river throws at them. The tough rubber toe guards protect your toes from injuries when you stomp your feet in rocks or protruded logs.
The soles of Orvis Men’s Light Encounter Wading Boots are felt for optimal traction, but the fast-drying property reduces the chances of exotic species getting a ride to other water bodies through your wading boots. Also, the ankle collar has subtle padding to keep you comfortable while supporting your ankles and preventing them from twisting.
The sizing is troublesome, however. Even though the website suggests ordering the exact wading boot size you usually wear, I think these boots run pretty large. I wear a size 8, which is what I ordered, and these lightweight boots are still roomy. I recommend ordering one or two sizes down.
Related Fly Fishing Guides:
Wading Boots Guides:
Best Wading Boots 2023 (Wader Boots Reviews)
Best Wading Boots 2023
Best Wading Boots Insole 2023
Korkers Wading Boots Review
Studded Wading Boots Guide (Studs Installation and Placement)
How to Size Wading Boots？ 5 Tips For Sizing Wading Boots
What are Wading Boots？ Buying Guide!
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Best Wet Wading Shoes For Fly Fishing
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Best Budget Wading Boots
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Ultimate Guides on Waders:
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Wading Pants Reviews
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Kylebooker Fly Fishing Catalog 2023
Here are some most frequently asked questions people ask while buying the best ultralight wading boot.
Q. Which are the best lightweight wading boots?
In my opinion, the Orvis Men’s Ultralight are the best lightweight wading boots. They are comfortable, durable, and offer the best possible traction. The material of these shoes is fast-drying, and the Vibram soles are studs compatible.
Q. Which lightweight fly fishing shoes are budget friendly?
The market is full of cheap options. But low price and quality products often don’t come hand in hand. Among the best lightweight wading boots, the Foxelli Lightweight Wading Boots cost the least and are the most budget-friendly wading boots.
Q. Why do I need light wading boots?
It is simple logic. The lightest wading boots will be the most comfortable. They don’t cause backache and are the easiest to walk in. Plus your feet won’t be very mushy after wading.
Q. Are lightweight hiking boots also suitable for wading?
Yes! Lightweight hiking boots make great boots for wading. They provide a good grip over slippery surfaces and support your feet while you jump on rocks.
Q. Which materials make the most comfortable wading boots?
The best boots are comfortable, lightweight, padded, and flexible. The materials usually used to make such shoes are synthetic leather, polyester, fabric mesh, rubber, etc.
So that was my take on the best lightweight wading boots that I have tried myself. The lightweight boots help me to wade through rocks all day and reel fish without having to think about my feet or back.
Although I reviewed ten, my favorite lightweight wading boots for fishing are the Orvis Men’s Ultralight. They are one of the lightest wading shoes that offer the most benefit. The lightweight Clarino microfiber combines quick-drying times and durability.
So next time you wade, don’t take any extra weight!
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