Gone Outdoors

How to Use Hip Boots

by Carole Ellis

Hip boots, also called waders, are designed to let you wade in water almost as deep as your hip is high without getting wet. Hip boots are very popular among fishermen and other outdoor sportsmen, and they can make it possible for you to fish in weather of almost any temperature without endangering your health or soaking yourself to the skin. If you feel the best way to catch fish is to be in the river with them, then you definitely need a pair of hip boots.

Try out your boots with your pants and socks before you head out. Place the socks on first, then pull on your pants. Usually hip boots fit fairly loosely, so you should be able to work them over the pants. However, make sure that the pants fit under the boots tightly enough to prevent bunching, and that the boots themselves extend all the way up to your hip, covering your calves, knees and thighs. If you can walk comfortably, then you are ready to go.

Check the weather. If you will be standing in cold water, then you will need extra insulation. While your boots will keep your legs dry, they may not generate enough warmth if you do not wear the right clothes. Consider adding a pair of long johns to your attire if the weather is chilly, and make sure that everything still fits with the boots before you leave.

Practice walking in your hip boots. If you have never worn hip boots before, then you should wear them around the house before trying to walk on any other terrain. Even experienced hip boot wearers should practice walking in the shallows of the river or other body of water before venturing deeply in, since every riverbed is slightly different, and you will need to get used to the feel of the ground underwater before you get out in greater depths.

Feel your way as you move deeper. When you wear hip boots, you will need to walk slightly differently than you are used to. While hip boots worn as rain gear still allow you to walk normally, when you walk in hip boots in water you need to barely pick your feet up off the ground. This will help you keep track of the ground underwater and prevent you from stepping off into a deep hole or placing your weight on an unsteady rock. Always feel your way with your feet by sliding them along the ground as you move around in the water.

Items you will need
  • Hip boots
  • Narrow leg pants
  • Thick socks (knee-high is best)
  • Long johns

Tip

  • Practice makes perfect. Be patient with yourself when you first start wearing your hip boots. You may feel a little clumsy and cumbersome. As you continue wearing them, though, you will start to enjoy your ability to walk around in deeper water and make larger catches.