What to Wear Under Waders?

Nothing should take precedence over your comfort which could easily be compromised based on what you wear under your waders. Even if you are extremely well-prepared, if you do not know what to wear under waders, you might end up having a miserable time!

What to wear under waders is one of the most important things to consider if you want to prioritize your comfort over everything else.

Layering under waders is often done incorrectly, which is why we created this guide, so the next time you set out for fly fishing, you know perfectly well what to wear under fishing waders.

So, let’s get started!

waders fishing

Factors to Consider

If you are wondering what to wear under hunting waders instead of fly fishing waders, don’t worry since the following factors can help you decide your attire underneath the waders for both occasions:


As we mentioned above, your comfort should be your top priority. You could be wearing premium waders and be as dry as sand but still comfortable if you are not wearing the right outfit under them.

Hence, when you are deciding what to wear under the waders remember that comfort is the key to enjoying your fishing excursion to the fullest. This will help you decide on the right outfit!

Session Length

The likelihood that you will begin to feel cold increases the longer you remain in the water. Even on hotter days, your body heat will gradually start to flow out, leaving you with cold legs.

If you are planning for an extended session, it is almost always preferable to overdress than to try to “pack light” and run the risk of being chilly as your session progresses.


Now, this might be an unfamiliar word for you, especially if you are new to all this fly fishing stuff. Wicking refers to the ability to get rid of moisture and sweat.

Even on colder days, you are likely to sweat after a prolonged session in the water. Hence, when it comes down to what to wear under waders in cold weather, the answer is definitely NOT something warm.

Regardless of the season, you must wear a moisture-wicking material so you can stay dry and comfortable all day long while fly fishing. Otherwise, you will just have to spend most of your time trying to scratch yourself from over the waders!

Temperature and Warmth

You won’t feel comfortable whether it’s sweltering hot or bitterly cold. Season and weather will be the two key determining elements in this.

In the same way that wearing shorts in the cold makes no sense, being as bundled up as an Eskimo would not make any sense either. The clothing you decide to wear “under the waders” greatly depends on the fishing conditions.

Let’s head over to the main section of this article now!

As you are now aware of all the elements that you need to keep in mind before you decide on an outfit to wear under your waders, let’s discuss what to wear under waders for fly fishing by style in-depth now!

What to Wear Under Waders by Style

If you intend to fish primarily in the summer, stockingfoot waders are the best option. They’re less heavy and offer way more comfort than bootfoot waders. Do I wear shoes with waders is a question we get a lot.

So, let’s clarify that before you head out on the water, you’ll need to get a pair of wading boots. To avoid scraping against the rubber in the booties of your waders, it is always a good idea to choose socks that extend above your ankle.

There are many different styles of wading boots available both for men and women, that can be worn with these waders. Make sure your fishing shoes or boots have good traction if you intend to wade across rocky waters.

In that situation, Vibram or felt sole wading boots make the ideal choice. Otherwise, wading boots with rubber soles will do just fine.

What to Wear Under Bootfoot Waders

Bootfoot waders have the benefit of having built-in boots, as opposed to stockingfoot waders, which means you have one less item of equipment to worry about.

Even though bootfoot waders are bigger than stockingfoot waders, their bulkiness makes them ideal for cooler days. Since there is no possibility for sand to get in, bootfoot waders are therefore perfect for those who intend to fish from the shore.

You should spend money on a good pair of wading socks whether you go for stockingfoot or bootfoot waders. Choose a pair of woolen or neoprene socks rather than cotton socks.

One thing to bear in mind while layering up before donning your waders is that, regardless of the season, you will probably perspire to some extent. You are going to feel hot in waders whether you’re making a long trek through the frost or sweltering in the sunlight on a warm summer day.

What to Wear Under Neoprene Waders

What you wear beneath your waders will be somewhat different if you happen to own a set of neoprene waders.  Because they are designed to keep you warm and comfortable during the winter, neoprene waders are much less breathable. Polypropylene and fleece are great materials to choose from for under-wader wear because you should wear moisture-wicking clothing.

What to Wear Under Waders by Weather

Now that you know what factors to consider, including the style of your waders, when selecting an under layer to wear beneath the waders, let’s check out how weather can affect your wader under-wear.


To sum up, all the information mentioned below, here is a quick guide to what to wear under waders in summer:

A lightweight pair of pants.
A wading jacket, or a rain jacket for added safety in case it rains.
Moisture-wicking and lightweight shirts, specifically designed for fishing.
A hat to protect you from the scorching sun rays.
A sun gaiter to prevent sun tan and bugs.
You can also invest in a pair of wading sandals for fly fishing in summers!

Can you wear shorts under waders if it is hot outdoors?

Wearing shorts underneath your waders is not advised when you anticipate hot weather. Chafing can occur when wearing waders over bare skin, and it also makes it harder to stay dry and cool. To avoid corrosion from saltwater, You can use best waders for surf fishing.

In the heat, you require a tight, flexible synthetic layer that will rapidly disperse the liquid thinly across tens of thousands of microscopic, fine wicking threads.

As a result of this distribution and your body heat, your liquid perspiration quickly evaporates into water vapor and is transported to the waders’ outside, leaving you feeling dry rather than cold and wet.

Athletic tights can also do the job of keeping you cool and comfortable perfectly well. The only difference in performance is that materials designed to be worn underneath waders frequently have an antibacterial treatment to keep the odor factor from rising to ridiculous heights.

Running tights are put on for an hour before being washed. The antibacterial treatments on your wading base layers, which you wear all day and perhaps for several days straight, make a significant difference.

Natural fiber with excellent performance, like merino wool, is great for base layers for fishing. Merino wool has finer, softer fibers than other varieties of wool, and since it naturally contains lanolin, which makes it hydrophobic, it effectively wicks sweat away from your skin. And it also contains antibacterial properties!

  Leg Layers for Summer

Leg layering is important when you are contemplating what to wear under waders summer. A pair of lightweight pants instead of a solid bottom can typically be worn underneath the waders during the summertime.

Think about the quick-drying pants since wool is slightly more insulating. In this manner, you won’t insulate heat toward your legs but will have a layer between your legs and the waders to help wick some moisture away from the skin.

  Wet Wading

You might think about wet wading if the weather is too hot for you to use waders. You won’t feel too cold if you wear wet wading shoes and quick-drying clothing.

When the temperature is too high, you might not be able to reach the typical areas of the water that you ordinarily could if you were wearing waders.


Here is a quick guide to what to wear under waders in winter:

An insulated wading jacket to keep your upper body warm and cozy.
A fleece sweater to serve as a mid-layer.
A pair of leggings combined with wading pants to add further warmth.
Insulated pants for extremely cold days.
A sung gaiter to protect you from chilly winds and add extra warmth around your neck.
A beanie to keep your ears and head covered and warm.
A pair of mittens to keep your hands warm and your trip enjoyable.
A pair of good wading boots and insulated socks to keep your feet comfortable, dry, and warm.

what to wear under waders

  Layering in Winters:

The secret to surviving and having fun on your fishing excursion when wading in the bitter cold is to stay warm. When you’re knee-deep in extremely cold water, hypothermia and frostbite are more likely to occur.

When fly fishing in the cold, correct layering is a skill. Your major goal is to be comfortable, which includes being able to move around without having too much material below your waders, which would otherwise slow you down, and is capable of remaining warm and preserving body heat.

Start with the flexible synthetic base layering that you use in the summer because your layers system in the winter needs to disperse moisture and turn liquid perspiration into vapor just as it does in the summer. Your insulation layer(s) should not be worn in close proximity to your skin because they help regulate your sweat production and keep you warm in conjunction with your base layers.

Since ski trousers and snow pants have their own shell material and aren’t made for this purpose, you can’t simply wear them underneath your waders for insulation. Your mobility will be significantly decreased if you don’t have a base layer designed specifically for fishing that isn’t bulky, works with your base layer to move wetness from your skin to the outside, and is elastic and nonbinding.

Also, the same concerns apply to your upper body, which should have a base layer as well as a stretchable insulating layer to deal with perspiration from your waist up while wearing waders. You need to control the moisture in your armpits because they sweat a lot. If you don’t, you’ll push yourself, build heat and sweat, and then freeze when you’re still and standing in cold water.


Here’s a quick overview of what you should wear under your waders during spring:

Insulating pants.
Fleece sweatshirt so that it keeps you warm but does not overheat you.
A pair of knee-length socks to keep your feet warm, dry, and comfortable.
Wading boots because water out there is still cold so wearing sandals is not recommended.
For accessories, you might want to wear a sun gaiter, an insect repellent, and carry a pair of gloves just in case your hands feel cold.

Layering in Spring

Layering up underneath the waders during spring can be challenging because the outdoors are somewhat warm whereas the water can be quite cold. So, you must dress up in a way that balances out these extremities in order to have a comfortable fishing adventure.

The insulating layers and thermals are what you’ll want to concentrate on more. You will always feel more comfy with some measure of insulation, even on warm days when the water’s temperature is cooler. Since fleece mid-layers are on the warmer side of the range, early spring and autumn are the best times to wear them.

Wear socks with the waders if you would not want your feet to be very hot or chilly. Waders’ neoprene socks can sometimes be uncomfortable to wear barefoot. A pair of higher sports socks will maintain your feet in great shape, even if they aren’t thick, woolen socks. If the water is too warm or too humid, you won’t freeze, and you won’t blister.

To prevent your socks from rolling up as you move around and stroll during the day, you can also bury your base layer inside them. Depending on how snugly your waders fit, your base layers may begin to bunch as you move. All you need to do to make things comfortable is tuck your socks in.


Let’s quickly go over the garments you should wear under the waders in fall:

A pair of leggings as a base layer.
Throw in a pair of thermal trousers for added warmth.
Wear insulating pants to ensure your leg area is strictly protected against the cold weather.
In the upper area, go with a light fleece shirt that is neither too warm nor too cool.
Make sure to wear a sun gaiter since fall invites dry and dusty wind. A sun gaiter will help you protect your nose and mouth in this scenario.

When you are contemplating what to wear under waders in fall, remember that the water would still be quite freezing so you are probably going to want to layer up in the leg area. Adding a lot of insulation to the upper body is not necessary, though.

If you want to spend extended periods of time wading rather than hiking, think about layering your clothing. Anyone who has spent a day in the water on a chilly day will attest to how your legs gradually lose heat as you stand in 35° water for an extended period of time.

To achieve the best warmth without adding too much mass under the waders, layer a few pieces together, such as a pair of leggings and insulated pants.

Ultimate Guides on Waders:
Best Waders For Fly Fishing
Best Women Waders
Wading Pants Reviews
Best Wading Jacket
Best Hip Waders
Best Neoprene Waders
Best Waders for Cold Water (Winter Fly Fishing)
Best Wader Bags
Best Wading Staff
What to Wear Under Waders?
Breathable Vs Neoprene Waders Explained 
Waders for Big Guys (Tall Fat Guys With Big Bellies)
Kylebooker Fly Fishing Catalog 2023

What Not to Wear Under Waders?

We have talked enough about what to wear under waders according to style and seasons. But now, let’s give you a quick overview of things you should avoid wearing under waders:

Avoid wearing denim. Wearing denim jeans under your waders will only result in decreased mobility and increased discomfort since denim is not a flexible material. Plus, it does not provide excellent insulation either.

Do not wear anything that is made of cotton unless you want to feel overheated because cotton offers pathetic insulation. Cotton does not absorb moisture from the body. Instead, it traps heat adding to your wetness and discomfort.

Ankle socks are a big no too. Regardless of the style of waders you are wearing, socks are a piece of attire you should never forget. But, these socks should be at least high enough to cover half of your legs or should reach your knees.

If you step in your waders wearing ankle socks, they won’t be able to provide enough protection against chafing which could result in bruises or blisters. And not to mention – your feet will be freezing the entire time too!

While some people prefer to wear shorts under waders, we would again say it is not advised since that will make your waders touch your skin directly which can be super uncomfortable.


Let’s go over some frequently asked questions about what to wear under waders:

Q: What to wear under rubber waders?

Answer: Since rubber waders are ideal for cold water fishing, layering up underneath them is similar to how you’d dress up under neoprene waders. Just wear multiple warm and insulating layers to stay dry, comfortable, and warm all day long.

Q: How to wear waders and boots in summer?

Answer: Wearing boots along with waders is not entirely necessary during hotter days. You can get away with wading sandals if you do not have to cover a lot of trek in order to reach the river or stream.

Q: Should I wear jacket over or under waders?

Answer: Jacket is worn over the waders. You can take off your jacket if you are immersing yourself in deep water or, tucking it in could work too.


It can be challenging to know what to wear under waders. You need to take comfort and wicking into account in addition to thinking about warmth. If you take our guidance and get everything properly, you’ll be able to fish comfortably for many days while staying dry. So, best of luck!

The cookie settings on this website are set to 'allow all cookies' to give you the very best experience. Please click Accept Cookies to continue to use the site.
You have successfully subscribed!
This email has been registered