April 14, 2023
Bootfoot waders offer important advantages over their stockingfoot counterparts. First, of course, the boots are included, so you don’t need to buy a separate pair of wading boots. Anglers who fish the surf from beaches and jetties—for example, for striped bass, bluefish, bonito, and false albacore in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states—favor bootfoots because waterborne sand cannot collect inside the boots. And there is no hardware on the boots that might corrode after prolonged exposure to salt water.
But the single biggest advantage compared to stockingfoots may be that bootfoots are inherently warmer: There are no tight boot laces to restrict the blood flow in your feet and lower legs, and there’s better air circulation inside the waders. This makes bootfoots ideal for fishing cold, snowmelt-swollen rivers in the spring, for fishing from a boat where movement is limited, or for those hardy souls who push the seasonal envelope—think Western tailwaters in December, or winter steelheading on Great Lakes tributaries.
Breathable Orvis PRO Zip Bootfoot Waders are designed to capitalize on these advantages with the best materials and design available today. From the bottom up: The outsoles are from Michelin (that’s right, the French tire manufacturer). You can add metal studs for extra grip on slippery bottoms if you like, but Orvis says the soles already provide “best-in-class wet rubber traction.” The bootfoot itself is vulcanized rubber over 5mm neoprene with grid-fleece insulation. Inside, the boots have environmentally friendly, algae-based BLOOM midsoles, which substitute algae derivatives for petroleum-based foam. The process actually harvests harmful algae, leaving clean water behind, and reduces CO2 emissions compared to petroleum-based foams.
The five-layer lowers and four-layer uppers are made of 100% Cordura fabric, which the company says offers twice the abrasion resistance and nearly twice the puncture resistance of comparable breathable waders. The lowers have removable OrthoLite X25 knee pads. The upper includes fleece-lined handwarmer pockets, as well as two external storage pockets with YKK AquaGuard coated zippers, perfect for fly boxes, keys, wallet, or other essentials. A split Hypalon daisy chain makes a perfect docking station for forceps, nippers, zinger, or other tools. Inside are two internal storage pockets for fly boxes and accessories. The main zipper is a TiZiP MasterSeal unit that opens the waders wide, making it easy to climb in and out. Available in 22 sizes from medium to extra-large, including short and long sizes, with boot sizes from 9-13.
“Few things are as important to an angler as their waders, and nothing ruins a great day on the water faster than a leaky pair,” said Shawn Combs, Orvis’s director of design and development. “We’ve been really pushing the limits of durability through 40 years of wader development, improving on each model with quality, fit, and convenience. Our customers know they can trust their waders season after season with minimal upkeep.”
$898 | orvis.com