{Find the fit}

A Guide to correctly sizing yourself for waders

Author: Kristian Cole


A good pair of waders are arguably your most important piece of gear. We know that figuring out what brand and size can often be a daunting and confusing process, and most walk out of a shop with a new pair, without knowing exactly why or how they decided on that particular model or size. We encourage you to come down to Tailwaters, or your local fly shop to be fitted by the experts, but if you're unable to do so, we’ve created a guide to help you feel more confident when purchasing a pair of waders so that you can confidently maximize your time on the water. In this full ‘Self-Sizing Guide’, we hope to instill some confidence in you, as a consumer, in this whirlwind of an industry.

where to start

Whether you’re looking to purchase your first pair or looking to step into an upgrade, we've put together some easy steps to follow to correctly size yourself for your next pair of waders and boots. 

When trying to determine your wader size we typically like to get a true shoe size first. Most boot companies do not provide half sizes, so it is important to guesstimate what whole shoe size you are closer to. For example, if you are an 11.5 shoe, you will need to decide if you are closer to an 11 or if you are closer to a 12. Once we have determined your shoe size, we can select a boot size that will fit.

When shopping for wading boots, it is a good idea to size UP a full size before purchasing. This ensures that if you ever need a thicker sock for colder wading temperatures, the boot will allow enough room for the neoprene stocking foot, as well as a few different weights of wool socks. It is never a good idea to have your boots fit too tight or too loose.

Measurement time

Once we have selected the correct wading boot size for you, we can start to find a wader that will fit perfectly. If you are sizing yourself, please refer to the Simms sizing chart. The three measurements you will need are:

 1) Your inseam - from ankle to groin 

 2) Your waist size ( if larger than your chest) 

 3) your chest size( if larger than your waist)  - from under your arms around the top of your chest. 

Depending on your measurements, refer to the sizing chart below and select the size that matches.

* Important things to remember - once you have a wader that you feel is the correct size, put them on and check for the following below to make sure you’ve found the right fit 

Double-check the fit

  1. Make sure you have at least a full hand (3-5 inches) from your chest to the top of the wader to allow for extra layers or a puffy jacket. 
  2. Always squat down (like you are releasing a fish)  to make sure the knees of the waders and the crotch area are not too tight and allow for plenty of movement. 
  3. Try on your waders with a sock similar to one you will use on the river to make sure the stocking foot fits well. It is also a good idea to try waders on with a thicker sock than you would normally wear to make sure the feet aren't too tight in the event you are fishing in colder temperatures. 
  4. ALWAYS wear performance layers under your waders. Capiline or wool works well at regulating temperatures and allows for moisture to wick away from your skin and through the wader. Breathable waders are not breathable if your next to skin layer is cotton. 

Maintenance & Care

  • SIMMS waders are all built from a durable breathable fabric. Whether that is GORE-TEX® or Toray®, the care that should be taken is the same.
  • Waders should be dried after each use, both inside and out. Simms understands that certain situations do not allow for time to fully dry between uses. It is the expectation that this circumstance will contribute to a potential shorter lifespan.
  • Breathable fabrics are porous in nature and can collect dirt, oils from the skin and other environmental substances. Regular cleaning of waders is a key contributor to their lifespan.
  • Depending on the number of days used, annual, bi-annual or tri-annual washing is recommended.
  • Exposure to salt water or salt air requires special care: The waders must be rinsed thoroughly with fresh water and dried after each use.
  • Do not store inside your car for long periods of time. Excess heat will damage your waders.
  • Always put your waders on using a protective mat to shield the neoprene feet from rocks. SIMMS makes the perfect companion for your waders, the SIMMS Taco wader storage bag and changing mat. The Taco Bag zips completely open to provide an ideal changing surface. When you're done fishing, you can store your damp waders in a ventilated bag such as a Simms Taco Bag.
  • When you get home, you can hang your waders to dry thoroughly.
  • Regular washing helps maintain the waterproof, breathability of your waders. Wader fabrics are actually micro porous, allowing body moisture to move outwards while preventing water from coming in.
  • Do not let your boots dry in full sun. This can shorten the life of your wading boots, as well as potentially shrink the boot and make them difficult to get on in the future.