After my last trip, I decided that it was definitely time for some waders. It turns out that this is quite an investment, so I shopped around a bit online to see what was what, and ended up choosing a pair of Orvis Silver Sonic convertible-top waders, plus a pair of Simms Freestone (non-felt soles).
I’m a little annoyed with the Orvis waders, because the sizing is pretty limited. I noticed that they had a “Long” size, which I had hoped would mean I’d be able to get a really good fit. It turns out that “Long” also means “Huge”, and so the Large/Long size, which has a perfect leg-length for me, leaves enough room for me to carry a small child in the spare belly room that the waders have. Instead of swimming inside them, I’ve opted for the Large size, which is definitely not quite as long as I’d like in the legs, but the body fits much more reasonably. I really want to get out and try them though to make sure that the fit isn’t going to be too restrictive for getting in and out of waters, hiking around a bit, etc. The bootie is also probably not quite as big as I’d like it to be, so I’m a little concerned that’s going to be a problem if I want to be out there for longer and remain comfortable. The more I look at the specs online, the more I think maybe the guy at the store handed me the wrong size; I think I’ll take them back in and try again on a Large/Long.
As for the boots — I bought the Simms without trying them on, and I think they’re going to work perfectly. They’re pretty huge (size 13 after all), but seem to be a nicely put-together boot, somewhat reminiscent of my Keen hiking boots. I don’t have any studs or cleats yet, I figured I’d give them a shot and see how they feel before I go spending another $30+ on those modifications. After looking around at the options, the Simms had great reviews, seemed solid, and had options for additional traction. I opted for the non-felt sole, since it sounds like felt causes problems with “aquatic hitchhikers”.
UPDATE: I took the waders back to Orvis and exchanged them for a pair of Large/Long, which, while definitely bigger in the body, fit me much better as far as the inseam is concerned. The pair I got turned out to have a busted seam holding the flip-out chest-bag in place, so I’m going to go and exchange them AGAIN, and then hopefully I’ll finally have waders and boots and can actually go out and try them.