When I started fly fishing years ago, the standard for waders were neoprene chest waders and felt sole boots. Waders with built-in boots were around, but more for duck hunting though they perform basically the same way. Chest waders also were often needed for float tubing. More recently, I've switched to breathable waders (and I like my Frog Togs), because they are lighter to hike in with, and for added warmth, you can wear sweats, jeans, whatever. You can buy shorter neoprene if you don't plan on wading above the waist, but you never know when you'll take a spill or misstep. But there's always the danger of drowning if water gets inside (neoprene is the same stuff used for wet suits), so iif you go breathable, it's good to belt them tightly above the waist or better yet, if there's sufficient risk, to wear a PFD vest. I guess if you're looking for your first waders, 6 mm neoprene stocking foot will cover the most conditions and might be overkill for some, but breathable waders are more comfortable in warmer weather.
As for boots, there's quite a cost range, and different sole compositions...felt, metal studded, etc. That selection often involves knowing the river bottom type where you intend to fish. I have both. Felt is now a concern for transferring didymo (rock snot) from one river to another, but if you make sure they dry out fully, I'm not so sure. Net-net, breathable waders and stud soled wading boots are probably the up-to-date choice for younger folks taking up the sport.
Edited by kaboboom (12/07/17 02:34 PM)