Following these instructions should prolong the life of your waders and will explain why some anglers get years out of their waders and some get a lot less.
Having manufactured every type of waders for over 30 years, we have seen just about every fault, issue or problem there is to see. And you might be surprised to hear that in more cases than not, it is not the waders at fault, but often the wearer or the tackle shop salesman. Apart from the obvious puncture damage, the most common leakage points we see time and again for all waders are the ankle (where the boot or sock joins the upper material), at the knees, at the crotch, or the seams. Very often these problems are not due to manufacturing faults, but are more likely due to the wrong size of waders being chosen.
Simple rules to ensure you get the correct size of waders
- When trying on waders in a tackle shop, try to wear similar clothes to those you wear when fishing for a realistic fit.
- Try the waders in a number of different positions, such as those you would realistically have to get into while fishing.
- Kneel down in them as if unhooking a fish (image #3 below). Sit down in them, like you will in the hut or on the back of the car while pulling on your boots. Make sure you can get your foot up onto a chair (image #2 below), like stepping out of the river and onto the bank. Then finally kneel down on the floor, sit on your heels and lean your body forward, as this represents the “longest” position your waders will ever be in.
If while doing any of these maneuvers you feel the waders pull tight at the knees, thighs, or around your backside, then the waders do not fit you properly and you need a larger size.
Any restrictions in movement put strain on the seams and the stitching in them. The weight of an adult sitting, or crouching down in waders that are too small, can put enormous strain on the seams, to the point of leakage. Microscopic pin-hole punctures can easily be caused by brushing against a gorse bush, or more commonly by standing on the wader fabric while getting changed. Try to avoid this by sitting sideways on your car seat or on the tail gate, to put waders on and off. Another frequent cause of damage to the ankle seam is through standing on one sock toe with the other foot, in order to pull the waders off (image #4 below). Don’t do it! Always try to sit down and pull each sock off in turn, gripping the waders at the back of the ankle and pulling the sock off. If you do puncture your waders on barbed wire, gorse or with a fly, get it repaired quickly, as dampness inside can lead to mold, which can cause further damage to the breathable membrane making matters worse!
(1): This photo shows a correctly sized pair of waders. There is room in the body and the legs are long enough, so they do not pull tight when crouching, kneeling, or sitting.
(2): Put one foot up on a chair, to replicate the action of stepping up, onto the bank. You should be able to do this without any “tight spots.” If not – you need a bigger size.
(3): Try kneeling, as if you were un-hooking a fish. If the body or crotch seam feel “tight,” you need a bigger body size. If the legs pull tight at the front or back of the ankle seam, you need a longer leg size.
(4): DO NOT pull your wader socks off by standing on one toe, with the other foot and pulling. This will over-stress the ankle seam and likely lead to the stitching tearing, resulting in a leak!
(5): This is the CORRECT way to remove wader socks. Sit down, or lean against the car or a tree, grip the sock at the BACK of the ankle and pull each sock off in turn.