Gear Review: Orvis Silver Sonic Guide Waders

TL;DR: With waders, you get what you pay for. I really like the Orvis Silver Sonic Guide Waders.

I’ve gone through many pairs of waders from many manufacturers. My first three pairs were all at the low-end of the price range. And, they all leaked pretty quick. DIY Aquaseal didn’t work for me either.

Gradually, fed up, I bought the Simms G3 Waders. They performed like a charm. Twice, I mailed them back for repairs. Alas, after four years, the seals are coming undone, and they no longer can be fixed.

The Simms rep. generously offered a discount on any new Simms waders. It was tempting. But, the G3 waders list at about $500, and the G4 ones are at a whopping $700.

I opted for the Orvis Silver Sonic Guide Waders (listed at $425, but many vendors are pricing below that). One reason is my Orvis Friends in the Field discount. Another reason is that those waders are the most durable ones that Orvis sells.

Last, I love their customer service. My first pair of waders leaked pretty quickly, and Orvis offered to send me a brand new set, which was just awesome.

I’ve been fishing with the waders for a few months. And, I really like them:

  • Zippered and lined pockets. I store a bunch of random stuff there. In the winter, I will put my hand warmers in there, and the lined pockets will make a big difference.
  • Water proof phone bag. There’s a clear plastic bag that is sealable and attaches via Velcro to the waders. I put my phone there, and it’s very convenient.
  • Inside storage bag and tool dockets. You can store fly boxes, tippet and hemostats. So, for a quick outing, you don’t need to bring out a pack.
  • Time will tell, but the waders do feel thick and sturdy.
  • Gravel guards are attached.

What have you found with waders? What do you use and why? Thanks!

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10 thoughts on “Gear Review: Orvis Silver Sonic Guide Waders

  1. Great post. I bought a pair of the silver sonic guide waders in May after my Simms Freestone waders started leaking substantially in three or four spots spots less than a year into using them. So far they’ve been phenomenal, I could feel a big difference in material (the Silver Sonics felt stronger) and they seem to handle a solid beating if you find yourself bushwacking often. I was told to buy my size in ‘long’ to protect the crotch weld, which I noticed has helped with comfort as well.
    Have you found a preference for any brand/model wading boots you’ve had experience with? Mine are currently calling for a bit of duct tape.

    1. Great to hear from you!

      Yes, the Sonic Guide waders just feel heftier, I agree.

      Re: boots, I coincidentally last month just had to buy a new pair. Mine too were falling apart. I decided to buy boots with Vibram soles. So far, they’ve been very good. In fact, I think the hold has been better than my old ones to which I had added some tungsten spikes. Supposedly, the spikes can spook the big browns at the Farmington, and so, I’m hopeful my new boots will be both stealthy and have good footings. So far, so good.

    2. Sierra Trading Post has the Korkers K-5 Bomber boots on sale for a very reasonable price. This is an excellent boot with lots of ankle support and interchangeable soles but no BOA2 system. Then again, if the BOA system breaks when you’re out on the water (rare) it’s a bit of a mess.

  2. I’ve been in Simms G4z’s for a while and I’m happy with them. What I can tell you from experience is that NO wader is bullet proof and if you bushwack through anything thorny you will get pinhole leaks. My advice is to be VERY careful when walking in the woods off the beaten path. Also always hang your waders when you are done and treat them every year if you want any longevity.

    I’m very tough on gear…especially boots. I wade aggressively and cover way more water than most. I personally love Korkers Devil’s Canyons. The material is incredible. The BOA2 lacing system works like a champ and you can change out the soles. I personally wear studded felt as I find it gives the best traction for aggressive wading. I’ve heard the argument that studs will spook fish but that hasn’t been my experience.

  3. I’ve seen the Korkers have had good reviews, specifically the Devils Canyons. Thanks to both of you for weighing in on wading boots, interesting to see the preferences for two very different styles and why – especially the type of sole.

  4. For years I was an LL Bean guy because of their warranty and I still wear their $99 stocking foots in salt water, especially where true wading isn’t the goal. Barnacles will shred any pair of wader in no time, so I go cheap in that environment.
    For wading the river, where I spend all day in the water, I upgraded to the Simms G3 and they were great. Earlier this year, I had to stop wearing my Umpqua chest pack because it was killing my back/neck. Even with very little weight it was uncomfortable and there was no adjustment of straps or configuration that would fix the problem for me. I don’t really like sling packs and a waist pack is out of the question because it would be submerged at times. Therefore, I opted for the minimalist route and decided I would fish out of my waders. As it turned out, I had a warranty issue with the G3’s and the guys at Up Country allowed me to trade up to a pair of G4 Pro’s by paying the difference in price. The G4’s are great because the added storage and integral features allow me to fish comfortably without a pack. There’s more than enough storage in the wader pockets and interior flap for the type of fishing I do and as configured, I have a simple and efficient system with good visibility without the chest pack.
    On my feet, I wear the Simms G3 Guide boots with felt soles most of the time when wade fishing. I have a pair of Patagonia Foot Tractor boots with aluminum bars that I use on rocks in the salt or in the winter when there’s a lot of ice or snow. I’m a big fan of the aluminum bars because I often drive around in my waders and I feel better about getting in and out of the truck with bars instead of spikes or cleats.
    This year I tried a pair of Korkers K5 Bombers because I liked the interchangeable sole idea. Unfortunately, they lasted 2 days in the barnacle covered rocks of the Cape Cod Canal before the heel pin that secures the rubber sole flap was sheared off of one of the boots. The good news is that Korkers sent me a brand new pair.

    1. I have the Patagonias with aluminum bars, too, which I wear for winter fishing. My chest pack also feels heavier as I age. My solution has been to carry fewer flies with me, which matters as all those tungsten beads add up.

      Hope to see you on the water soon, Damon!

  5. Siver Sonic zippered.Great for us older guys.Orvis is supposed to come out with a new wader that’s better than the current silver sonic this spring.New technology?I cast the new H3F 5wt a few weeks ago.I think it lives up to it’s billing. I’m waiting on the 3-4wts. Dan

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