What to Wear Under Waders?

What to Wear Under Waders?
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Waders are an essential part of fishing and other outdoor activities, providing protection against water and keeping you dry. However, what you wear underneath your waders is equally important for comfort and safety. Here’s a comprehensive guide on what to wear under waders, taking into account different factors. 

You might potentially compromise your comfort depending on what you wear below your waders, therefore nothing should take precedence over it. You might have an unpleasant day even if you are incredibly well-prepared if you don’t know what to wear below the waders!

If you want to put your comfort first above all else, one of the most crucial things to think about is what to wear under waders.  We made this guide so you will know exactly what to wear under fishing waders the next time you go fly fishing, as layering under waders is a common mistake. 

Now let’s get going!

Aspects to Consider 

Don’t worry if you’re not sure what to wear underneath fly fishing or hunting waders; the following parameters will assist you in choosing your outfit: 

1. Comfort

You should prioritize your comfort above all else, as we just discussed. Even with high-end waders, you may be as dry as sand yet be comfortable if you’re not dressed appropriately underneath. 

Hence, keep in mind that comfort is essential to making the most of your fishing trip when choosing what to wear beneath your waders. This will assist you in selecting the appropriate attire! 

2. Duration of Session

The longer you stay in the water, the more likely it is that you may start to feel chilly. Your body heat will gradually start to escape, even on warm days, leaving your legs feeling chilly. 

It is almost always better to overdress if you are going to be in for a longer session than to try to “pack light” and risk being cold throughout the session.

3. Wicking

Now, this may be a new word to you, particularly if you’re just getting started with fly fishing. The term wicking describes the capacity to remove perspiration and moisture. 

After spending a long time in the water, you will probably start to perspire, even on chilly days. Therefore, the answer is certainly NOT something warm to put under waders in cold weather. 

Wearing a moisture-wicking material will keep you dry and comfortable over the whole fly-fishing day, regardless of the season. If not, the majority of your time will be spent attempting to scrape yourself off of the waders! 

4. Warmth and Temperature

Regardless of how hot or how cold it is, you won’t feel at ease. The two main factors that will determine this will be the season and the weather.

Being as covered up as an Eskimo would make no sense, much as wearing shorts in the wintertime makes no sense. Your choice of what to wear “under the waders” is mostly influenced by the fishing circumstances.

Now let’s move on to this article’s major section!

What to Wear By Style Under Waders

We’ll go over what to wear beneath waders for fly fishing by style in detail now that you are aware of all the factors to consider before making your choice! 

What Goes Under Stockingfoot Waders

The ideal option is stockingfoot waders if you want to fish mostly in the summer. Compared to bootfoot waders, they are far more comfortable and less heavy. We often get asked this question: Should I wear shoes with waders? 

Let’s be clear: you must purchase a pair of wading boots prior to entering the water. Selecting socks that are longer than your ankle is usually a smart idea to prevent scuffing the rubber in your wader boots.

These waders may be used with a wide variety of men’s and women’s wading boot designs that are available. In case you want to wade across rough waters, be sure your fishing boots or shoes have sufficient traction. Wading boots with felt or Vibram soles are the best option in the scenario. If not, rubber-soled wading boots will work perfectly.

What to Wear Under Bootfoot Waders

Compared to Stockingfoot waders, bootfoot waders feature built-in boots, so that’s one less piece of equipment for you to worry about.


Bootfoot waders are bulkier than Stockingfoot waders, but that makes them perfect for chilly weather. Bootfoot waders are ideal for individuals who want to fish from the beach since they prevent sand from getting inside; alternatively, you may try any of the options from the top waders for big men. Investing in quality wading socks is worth it, regardless of whether you choose bootfoot or stockingfoot waders. Opt for neoprene or woolen socks instead of cotton ones.

Regardless of the season, you will likely perspire to some degree, so keep that in mind as you layer up before putting on your waders. Whether you’re walking a long distance through the freezing cold or baking in the summer warmth, wearing waders will make you feel hot.

What to Wear Under Neoprene Waders

If you happen to possess a pair of neoprene waders, you’ll need to wear something somewhat different below your waders.  Neoprene waders are significantly less breathable as their purpose is to keep you warm and cozy in the winter. The best fabrics to pick from for underwear are fleece and polypropylene as you should wear clothes that wick away sweat.

What to Wear Under Waders by Weather 

Let’s look at how the weather may affect your wader underwear now that you know what to look for, including the type of your waders, when choosing an underlayer to wear below them. 


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! 
  • Quick-drying shorts or pants.
  • Breathable socks.

In hot weather, is it possible to wear shorts underneath waders?

When you expect hot weather, it is not advisable to wear shorts underneath your waders. Wearing waders over bare skin can cause chafing and make it more difficult to remain cool and dry. You may use the best waders for surf fishing to prevent corrosion from saltwater. You need a synthetic layer that is tight and flexible enough to quickly distribute the liquid thinly over tens of thousands of tiny and fine wicking threads in the heat. Your liquid sweat soon turns into water vapor due to this distribution and your body heat, which is transferred to the waders outside and leaves you feeling dry rather than chilly and damp.

wear shorts underneath waders

Additionally, athletic tights may work wonders for keeping you cozy and cool. The fabrics intended to be worn below waders are often treated with an antibacterial agent to prevent the odor factor from reaching absurd levels, which is the only performance difference. Before washing, running tights are worn for one hour. Your wading base layers, which you wear all day and often for several days at a time, include antibacterial treatments that really help.

Base layers for fishing are ideally made from natural fibers with exceptional performance, such as merino wool. Merino wool wicks moisture away from your skin because it naturally includes lanolin, which makes it hydrophobic. It also has finer, softer fibers than other types of wool. It has antimicrobial qualities as well! 

Summertime Leg Layers

When deciding what to wear beneath waders in the summer, leg layering is crucial. In summer, the waders may usually be worn with a pair of light-colored pants beneath instead of a complete bottom. 

Wool is somewhat more insulating, so consider the quick-drying trousers. By doing this, you will create a layer between your legs and the waders to assist drain moisture away from your skin rather than trapping heat against your legs.

Wet Wading

If it’s too hot outside for you to wear waders, you may consider wet wading. If you wear quick-drying clothes and damp wading shoes, you won’t feel too chilly.

You may not be able to access the usual sections of the water that you would normally be able to if you were wearing waders when the temperature is too high.


The following is a brief guide on winter wader attire:

  • An insulated wading jacket to provide warmth and comfort to your upper body.
  • An oversized fleece pullover for mid-layer warmth.
  • Wading pants with a pair of leggings to offer extra warmth. 
  • Pants with insulation for really chilly days.
  • A sang gaiter to keep you warm around your neck and shield you from brisk breezes.
  • A beanie to protect and warm your head and ears.
  • Mittens to keep your hands toasty and make the journey more pleasurable. 

Layering in Winters

Remaining warm is the key to enduring and enjoying your fishing trip despite the extreme cold. Frostbite and hypothermia are more common when submerged knee-deep in freezing cold water.

Correct layering is a skill while fly fishing in the cold. Being comfortable is your first priority, which involves being able to move about quickly and not having too much material below your waders to impede your progress. It also means that you should be able to maintain your body temperature and be warm. Since your layers system needs to distribute moisture and convert liquid sweat to vapor in the winter just as it does in the summer, start with the flexible synthetic base layering that you use in the summer. Wearing your insulating layer(s) in close proximity to your skin is not advisable since, when combined with your base layers, they assist control perspiration production and keep you warm.

Layering in Winters waders

You cannot use ski leggings or snow pants underneath your waders for insulation because they are meant for something else and have their own shell material. If you do not have a fishing-specific base layer that is not too bulky, works with your base layer to transfer moisture from your skin to the outside, is elastic and nonbinding, then your mobility will be much reduced. 

The same considerations apply to your upper body as well, which while wearing waders has to have both a base layer and a stretchy insulating layer to manage sweat from your waist up. Your armpits sweat a lot, therefore you need to regulate the moisture there. If you don’t, you’ll exert yourself, generate perspiration and heat, and then freeze in the frigid water when you’re still.


Here’s a brief rundown of what to wear in the springtime beneath your waders:

  • Insulating trousers. 
  • Wear a fleece sweater to be warm without becoming too hot.
  • Knee-length socks to keep your feet toasty, comfy, and dry.
  • Sandals are not advised because the water is still chilly, thus wading boots are advised. 
  • As extras, consider carrying a pair of gloves in case your hands get chilly, a sun visor, and bug repellent. 

Layering in Spring

It might be difficult to layer up below the waders in the spring since the water can be very chilly and the outside is very warm. To have a comfortable fishing trip, you must dress in a way that balances out these extremities. 

What you should focus on more are the thermals and insulating layers. Having some insulation will always make you feel more comfortable, especially on hot days when the water is colder. The greatest seasons to wear fleece mid-layers are early spring and fall since they are on the warmer side of the spectrum.

Layering in Spring waders

If you don’t want your feet to become too hot or cold, wear socks with the waders. Neoprene socks from Waders might occasionally be awkward to wear barefoot. Even if they aren’t thick, woolen socks, a pair of superior sports socks will keep your feet in excellent condition. You won’t blister or freeze if the water is too warm or too humid.

You may also tuck your base layer inside your socks to keep them from rolling up while you walk and move around during the day. The degree to which your base layers bunch when you move will depend on how tightly your waders fit. To make things more comfortable, simply tuck your socks in.


Let’s briefly review what to wear in the fall underneath the waders:

  • As a base layer, put on some leggings. 
  • For additional warmth, throw in a pair of thermal trousers.
  • Put on insulating trousers to make sure the region around your legs is adequately shielded from the cold. 
  • Choose a light-colored fleece shirt for the top part that isn’t too hot or cold. 
  • Fall brings with it wind that is dry and dusty, so wear a sun hat. In this case, a sun guard will assist shield your lips and nose.

Remember that the water would still be rather chilly in the fall, so you’ll probably want to layer up in the leg region when deciding what to wear under waders. However, covering the upper torso with a large amount of insulation is not essential.  

If you would prefer to wade for lengthy periods of time than hike, consider wearing layers of clothes. Anyone who has ever spent a whole day in the water on a cold day will attest to the way that standing in 35° water for a lengthy amount of time causes your legs to progressively lose heat. 

Layer items together, such as insulated pants and leggings, to provide the optimal warmth under the waders without packing on too much bulk. 

What Not to Wear Under Waders?

The topic of what to wear underneath waders based on style and season has been covered adequately. Now, however, let me to quickly go over what not to wear beneath waders: 

  • Stay away from denim. Since denim is not a flexible material, wearing denim pants under your waders will simply cause you to feel more uncomfortable and have less movement. Furthermore, it doesn’t offer very good insulation. 
  • Cotton provides very little insulation, so unless you want to feel hot all over, avoid wearing anything made of it. Cotton does not take up bodily moisture. Rather, it retains heat, making you feel more uncomfortable and damp. 
  • Ankle socks should also be avoided. Socks are one item of clothing you should never forget, regardless of the type of waders you are wearing. However, these socks ought to be knee-high or at least high enough to cover the majority of your legs. 

Ankle socks won’t be able to protect your waders against chafing, which might lead to blisters or bruises, if you walk in them while wearing them. You should also know that your feet will be cold the whole time! Although some people like to wear shorts underneath their waders, we would once more advise against it because it may be really uncomfortable for the waders to contact your skin directly. 


Let us discuss some of the most common inquiries concerning what to wear under waders:

What should I wear beneath my rubber waders?

The same clothing that you would wear under neoprene waders may be layered beneath rubber waders as they are perfect for cold water fishing. Simply layer on many warm, insulating clothes to keep warm, dry, and comfortable throughout the day.

How should boots and waders be worn in the summer?

In response, it’s not strictly required to wear boots and waders on warm days. If you don’t have to hike far to reach the river or stream, you can get away with wading sandals.

Is a jacket better to wear below or over waders?

In response, a jacket is worn on top of waders. If you are going to be submerged in deep water, you can remove your jacket or tuck it in. 

Can I wear jeans under waders?

It’s not recommended, as jeans retain moisture and take a long time to dry, leading to discomfort.

How do I prevent chafing under waders?

Wear moisture-wicking base layers and avoid seams or tags that may cause friction.

Are there special socks for waders?

Yes, neoprene or breathable wader socks are designed for optimal comfort and moisture control.


Choosing the right clothing under your waders is crucial for a comfortable and enjoyable outdoor experience. Consider the weather, material, and layering to ensure you stay dry and warm in various conditions. Always prioritize moisture-wicking and breathable fabrics for the best results.

If you follow our advice and set everything up correctly, you should be able to fish dry and comfortably for several days. Thus, all the best!

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