Dan Bailey Hipwaders.
For the past few years I’ve made a point of wearing breathable hipwaders whenever possible. In fact, I’ve been able to convince a few of my fishing buddies to do the same. No, these are not the rubber/canvas jobs with molded boots that offer nothing in the way of arch support, these are stocking foot waders manufactured with the same high-tech breathable materials as your big-ticket chest waders. (Taslon in this case) Light weight, great for hot weather, you can use them with the wading boots you have already, lower cost, pack-up to a small size….what’s not to love?
The Dan Bailey breathable hippers are by far the best example of hipwaders I’ve had the pleasure to use. Besides functioning flawlessly, they have a few features that just make them that much better. For starters, the neoprene feet are actually made IN THE SHAPE OF A FOOT. Seems obvious, but not all waders are. This adds immensely to the comfort as there is not an excess amount of extra material bunching up in the boot. They have integrated gavel cuffs with Velcro tabs for drawing them tight. As a fly fisher with several sets of unused gravel cuffs piled on my book shelf, I find these simple and very quick to use.
All gravel cuffs serve a purpose, but having them in place to tighten after your boots are tied is a snap. There is also a Velcro tab at the top of each leg that allows you to adjust the fit, and prevent the waders filling with water too quickly when you do finally go a little too deep and get a soaker! If you’re a little more flexible than I am, attaching the strap that holds these up to your belt is probably pretty easy. Therein lies the only drawback to these waders. A closure that can be looped around your belt and closed with one hand would be ideal. The plastic buckle they use is a two- handed job, but I opt for threading my belt through. Minor inconvenience in an otherwise great product.
Dan Bailey Outfitter II Wading boots.
I’ll try not to overstate this, but here goes; These are the fourth pair of boots I’ve spent a good amount of time in. They have changed my mind about wading boot comfort for good. Until I wore these, I thought that sore feet were just part of wearing wading boots. Not so, and what a pleasure its been. The Outfitter II boots feel as comfortable as running shoes, even with my big feet packed into them. I’ve punished them "real good" fully expecting to see some drastic sign of wear~not so. Long hikes, long days standing in the river~all done in comfort this year….and for the first time! If you are looking for a great pair of wading boots, dust off the credit card and give Dan Bailey a try. Order a pair when you’re buying your new hip waders!
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