A boot that is waterproof and extends from the bottom of the foot to above the knee is known as a wader.  The height of the wader distinguishes them from the waterproof boot. Some waders extend to the top of the hip - hip waders.  Others protect to the waist while the more common wader, the chest wader, extends to the chest. 
woman fishingBig Man Waders | Expandable Waders

Waders are made from a variety of materials and fabrics but generally the traditional vulcanized rubber has been replaced by more modern PVC, neoprene and Gore-Tex. In addition to wader categories based on the height of the wader, there are 2 categories of waders based on the foot style. The bootfoot wader with attached boots and the stocking foot wader which have a stocking type foot and require wader boots or shoes to cover the stockingfoot.

In the 1850's, Hodgman manufactured the first waders. Hodgman is still one of the best wader manufacturers today. Then in the 1900s, with the popularity of rubber, waders took a giant leap in both quality and availability. Rubber was a particularly waterproof and durable material and a perfect match for a wader material. The modern wader was born around 1942 when, as a result of WWII, rubber was more or less perfected and wader manufacturers used the same technology to make waders.

Waders are used for a wide range of leisure purposes, they are worn while fishing, especially wade fishing, water gardening, playing with a array of water toys, waterfowl hunting, and off-road riding of ATVs. Waders have many industrial uses as well. Commercial grade waders are used by predominantly in the chemical industry, agriculture, and utility maintenance such as water supply and sewage. As a boy I recall waders being worn by pastors during full immersion baptism.

Trench foot is more prominent on those who spend a lot of time in the water without proper protection. Waders are the best protection from this threat and flood cleanup crews especially need waders for protection.

Some fish are easily taken from the shore and waders are mot required. But some fish are best caught when the fisherman is chest deep in the water. This is wade fishing and waders are essential for keeping warm during colder months, because they keep they keep the skin dry reducing problems such as hypothermia. Fly fishermen often fish for hours on in while wading in cold water trout environments. These fisherman select fishing waders that are not only 100% waterproof, they often wear fleece layers and/or select heavy neoprene waders with a fleece lining for a comfortable day in the cold waters of rivers and streams.

Two men hunting

Many states in the US are beginning to ban certain types of waders, specifically those with porous, felt soles. Porous soles easily host various types of invasive plant species that could be transferred from a contaminated water source to a clean source. These invasive plants are a threat to fish and fish habitats. On March 1, 2012, most counties in Missouri ban these kinds of waders for use when sport fishing in fresh water. And, in Jan 2012, all of Alaska, passed a similar law to forbid porous soles on men's waders.

While men's waders are more common, waders are made for every member of the family. Green, brown or camo are common colors for men's waders, but for women and children, the sky is the limit. Shop our huge wader selection to get the best wader for your outdoor adventure.