Anglers who fish from the water will want a pair of waders that keep them warm, dry and comfortable. The two top material choices are either neoprene or a type of breathable fabric. Neoprene is a hefty, rubbery material, while breathable waders are made of fabrics (e.g., Gore-Tex) that keep water out but let body heat escape. Neoprene waders have their advantages for a number of reasons.
Warmth is one of the top advantages of neoprene waders over breathable versions. Neoprene keeps all body heat trapped inside, which serves to further insulate anglers in the chilliest of waters. Breathable waders allow sweat to escape, but that also means heat escapes. Neoprene comes in a variety of thicknesses to best suit the temperature of the water, with the thinnest generally at 3 millimeters. Breathable waders are available with or without insulation, but none will outperform neoprene for keeping you warm for long periods of time.
Mobility and Buoyancy
Neoprene, which is the same material often used in diving suits, is formfitting, making for easy mobility. Neoprene waders act like a second skin, moving with the angler in the water. Breathable waders are not as streamlined, making mobility a bit more difficult. Breathable waders are even bulkier and more cumbersome if the angler opts for an insulated pair waders or wears layers beneath them to help stay warm. Neoprene is also highly buoyant, a plus for float tubing.
Neoprene waders will generally outlive breathable waders by a long shot. Due to the durability of the material, neoprene waders can last about 20 years, according to Reaction Baits; a quality pair of breathable waders, on the other hand, even when carefully cleaned and stored, will last about five years at most, according to Reaction Baits. Neoprene can also be easily repaired in a pinch (e.g., if a fishing hook rips a hole in the material when the angler is out in the water): A quick dab of instant-bonding superglue will plug up the hole in a jiffy. Breathable waders are not as easily repaired. A quality pair of either waders easily run $100 or more as of August 2010, so regularly replacing breathable waders isn't a cheap option.
Article Written By Ryn Gargulinski
Ryn Gargulinski is a writer, artist and performer whose journalism career began in 1991. Credits include two illustrated books, "Bony Yoga" and "Rats Incredible"; fitness, animal, crime, general news and features for various publications; and several awards. She holds a Master of Arts in English literature and folklore and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in creative writing with a French minor from Brooklyn College.