I love the *concept* of wader pants. 90% of the time I have my waders rolled down because I simply find it to be more comfortable than wearing them bib-style, especially if I am going to be hiking long distances. There’s a second good reason to keep your bibs rolled: it discourages you from plunging into the river to your hips before starting to cast. Trout and other fish use the river indiscriminately; they are as likely to be on your bank as the other, and many anglers blow the all-important first shot by charging right in.
The problem with wader pants to date has largely been one of *execution.* It’s a difficult sell to begin with, and not a design that’s likely to go through a lot of iterations. Most often the biggest problem is fit; since these are theoretically supposed to be pants, designers often cut wader pants slimmer than classic bibs. Most notably, these tend to be cut *shorter* in the legs, since again the idea is to eliminate some of the bagginess (at least I think that’s the rationale).
The problem with a tight fit is that while it may look good worn standing still, it isn’t very helpful if you need to get your leg up and over something. Redington’s new Sonicdry wader is a lot better cut than any previous waist high wader, and it also has some very smart clasping innovations. I think it’s the very best waist high wader made to date. However, it still has some fit issues.
First the very good: I love the waist clasp. Previous stabs at this from other manufacturers have often looked like a cummerbund on a tuxedo. The Redington solution is to provide doubled velcro clasps in the rear, with a band of loop-side velcro running all the way across the lumbar zone. The result is a wader that is very tightly secured, with no visible straps or buckles in the front. Although the wader provides optional suspenders, they truly do not feel necessary.
I also love the wader material; this is heavy duty, probably 4 layer Toray fabric, which should hold up for several years. Breathable wader construction has come a very long way since the late 1990s. Likewise the footies are well-cut and the gravel guards are straight up excellent; a huge improvement over the old-school neoprene guards of yesteryear, which would shred over time. These are stretchable, breathable material with a gathered cuff at the bottom which is also rubberized.
Now the bad: the cut is still a little short. I’m 5’11” tall and wear a medium. In jeans I wear a 33″ inseam. On me, these waders are 100% comfortable just walking around, but if I lift my leg, I can only get my knee to about 90 degrees before the pant binds. Breathable material doesn’t stretch, so this can be quite constricting. My advice to Redington would be to extend the legs by another inch even in the non-tall sizes (but I would avoid extending the crotch length, which can also cause binding issues if you can’t get your legs apart.)
See that plastic, rectangular-shaped D-ring? It pivots, binding the strap materials on both sides and locking the velcro in place in a bad way. The fix is simple; Redington simply needs to stitch the two straps on the right together in the middle so that the plastic ring stays aligned. I’ll likely add the stitches myself before my next outing.
Overall these are spectacular wader pants; the best I have seen so far. The fit issues I experienced may not apply to someone with slightly shorter legs.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Purchase: At your local fly shop.