How to Size Chest Waders

by Marie Mulrooney
Fly fisherman and his son wearing chest waders in a river.

Fly fisherman and his son wearing chest waders in a river.

If you're hunting or fishing and expect to end up in water deeper than thigh-high, chest waders are one of the best options for keeping dry. Chest waders should cover you from feet to armpits, so getting the best fit involves finding the balance between your shoe size and your inseam, chest and waist measurements. Some wader manufacturers also provide an outseam measurement, for the distance from armpit to floor.

Start With the Feet

Don't worry about getting a perfect fit, because waders usually come in whole foot sizes only; just find something that you can stand and walk in comfortably. This will narrow down your options to two or three sizes that you can then try on for fit in the other measurements.

Inseam Next

The next most important measurement is the inseam. Getting the right inseam length makes walking comfortable and easy; the wrong inseam will reduce you to a waddling mess. It's easiest to take this measurement with a friend's help, or you can just try the waders on and see if the crotch falls in the right place.

Special Sizing Options

Once you have the right boot and inseam length, you should have narrowed the field to just one or two wader sizes. Opt for something that comes up to armpit level and is roomy enough to wear with warm layers underneath. If you are unusually tall, short or need a little extra room in the girth, look for "tall," "short"/"petite" and "stout" sizing options.

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