Redington Sonic Pro Zip Front Waders
That slick red zipper is now black. You won't care.

I hate waders. Hate. I'm using the word hate, here. About waders. As soon as I'm physically able to tolerate still-frigid spring water and air temps, I'm wet wading. I usually make this jump too soon and end up regretting it, subsequently going back to the waders for another week or two before I can really stow them until autumn rolls around. I mean, why not hate waders? They're bulky, uncomfortable, a drag to take put on and take off and just generally inconvenient.

Admittedly, I've never had any of the true high-end waders, but that's simply because i find the idea of paying $750 for a nylon bag with legs objectionable. That said, I've been through many pairs of waders ranging in price from $125 to $400. Never really liked one of 'em. Lousy fit, tiny pockets, no pockets, poor durability, leaked like a sieve, you name it.

Truth be told, the sentiment expressed above only held true until a couple months ago. Since that time, I've had the pleasure of testing out Redington's Sonic Pro Zip-Front Waders and I've been converted. Not to a lover of waders, mind you. I'll still be jumping out of my waders in favor of wet-wading as soon as it's time. But, thanks to the wholly surprising experience I've had with these waders the last couple of months, I'll be less likely to prematurely freeze myself in icy spring waters. More importantly, however, I might even be enjoying the time I spend in waders while I wait for late spring and summer to roll around.

Redington seems to have gotten everything right with these waders. It would be enough for me to not have to think about the waders I'm wearing, to not be nagged or bothered by their shortcomings. To actually find yourself reflecting on how your waders are improving your day, now that's something.

If you 're unfamiliar with Redington's Sonic Pro Waders, they're a relatively new wader offering from Redington that features sonic seam welding as opposed to sewing. The idea being that not poking thousands of needle holes in a pair of waders reduces the chances that they'll spring leaks down the road. Sounds reasonable, no? They come in three configurations: Zip Front, Standard, and Wader Pants (only). This review pertains to the Zip Front model.

Here's what makes the Sonic Pro Zip-Front waders from Redington stand out.

The Zipper

This is what you really want to know about, right? That's why you're reading a review about waders with a big chunky zipper that goes all the way down to the waist and that you intuitively know is going to end up soaking your special purpose, isn't it? So let's get to it: the zipper rocks. It makes getting in and out of the waders exceptionally easy, makes accessing items in the Sonic Pro's ample interior pocket as well as items stowed in any clothing (including pants) that you might have on underneath your waders a piece of cake and most importantly, makes my increasingly frequent trips to the woods for much needed relief quick and easy excursions.

And it hasn't leaked. Not yet. Not one drop.

The Fit

As a guy who has never been able to find waders that fit properly, I don't expect much from waders in terms of comfort. I'm inclined to think that this is not a result of some physical abnormality on my part. My contention is that waders just aren't tailored all that well. The Sonic Pro waders, however, fit more like pants. They conform nicely to the body and aren't too roomy in the torso. I found them faithful to Redington's sizing chart, too.

The Pockets

When you go zip-front on the Sonic Pro Waders, you lose the big horizontal wader pocket that most of us are used to. You lose the included drying patch, etc. I wasn't happy with this tradeoff, at least not until I started wearing the waders. The zip-front Sonic Pros have five chest pockets. Two on each side on the front, and one interior pocket. At a glance, they look like they'll be limited in space and relatively useless, but they are anything but. As a self-proclaimed gear minimalist (who has entirely too much gear), I like to carry as little as possible on the stream. I ditched my vest for a hip-pack and now, thanks to these waders, have ditched my hip pack for the pockets.

To be fair, I won't be ditching my hip pack all of the time, but on a recent steelhead trip I was able to leave the pack behind and comfortably fit two fly boxes, 4 spools of Maxima, a wallet of sink tips, wool gloves and several other odds and ends while using only 4 of the 5 available pockets.

The Extras

Redington has taken the time to be thoughtful in adding a few extra little features, and they are appreciated. The d-rings that you can hang zingers, license holders, etc from are also molded to have a thin front end specially made for clamping your hemostat too. The gravel guards have a lace hook that's designed to avoid snagging your fly line, a phenomenon anyone who fishes small streams is familiar with. The exterior gear pockets have water-resistant (not waterproof) zippers to help keep short-lived chest-deep wades and splashes from soaking what you stowe inside. Redington included handwarmer pockets too, which although not unique like the other features mentioned here, are a very welcome inclusion.

The Price

As I mentioned, I've never owned any of the super-expensive waders out there. I don't doubt that they perform. They better for $600-700. What I do doubt, however, is that they perform twice as well as the Redington Sonic Pro Waders. That's what they'd have to do to justify their price, given that these waders come in at just $349. Sure, "just $349" might not be fair, since that's not exactly change you find in the couch. However, everything is relative, and relative to the other waders I've tried at various price points -- these may just be the best bargain out there right now.


These are the best waders I've worn to date, by leaps and bounds. I'll continue to wear them for quite some time and do so with a grin on my face. Although I'll still be ditching them for wet wading at the first chance I get, in the meantime, I'll be perfectly happy fishing in these. Also, don't be surprised if I end up missing all those pockets when wet wading time comes along.


I bought this pair of waders in late spring of this year based on this review. I used them on the trip I took with my son to Montana and southern Canada in July. I've also used them for several trips to our closest trout stream, the Lower Mountain Fork River in SE Oklahoma. I have to say, they are everything you said they were. I'd buy another pair in a heartbeat. I expect it will be a good many years before I have to worry about that, though. Thanks for posting the thorough review!

Very glad to hear the review served you well and that you're enjoying the Sonic Pros. We strive to make all our reviews honest and helpful, since much of the gear we invest in as fishermen can get very pricey. The hope is that our opinions and evaluations prove valuable, and we can aid in helping readers make well-informed buying decisions.

I don't recommend these waders. Why? They are not durable for serious anglers. I have worn through the 4 layer nylon fabric entirely and the booties leak very badly. The booties are only seam taped together - this is a poor design that is destined to fail. Buyer beware.

Do not by Redington waders! I have a pair of sonic pro zip front waders and while fishing earlier this week the zipper failed and opened up when fully pulled up. Y tried in vain to find and fix the problem because I had 2 more days of fishing salmon on the Restigouche River. This was the 8 or 9th trip for these waders since new. I contacted Redington several times via their "contact us" form on their site to ask if they would warranty this obvious defect. The waders are like new except for the failed zipper. Redington did not even bother to get back to me. They obviously do not provide good customer service. Do not buy a redington wader!

Dennis -

A few thoughts which hopefully will help.

No manufacturer produces runs of product that are 100% flawless. There will always be a bad egg in the bunch. At this point, Redington has a long record of success with zip front waders. The fact that you had a single pair fail isn't a reason for you to call it quits with Redington (let alone everyone else in the fly fishing world), it is a reason for you to utilize the warranty that came with your product and send your waders in for repair or exchange.

The good thing about the fly fishing industry is that we're blessed with a large number of companies (Simms, Sage, Orvis, Patagonia, Vedavoo and so on) that have a history of making good on product failures.

Give them a chance to do so.

I'd also suggest you get on the phone with them via the phone number on their website instead of relying on email. Those often fail to land where they're supposed to.

I agree with your comments that there are lemons. I am a seasoned Atlantic Salmon angler, (50 + yrs on the rivers..... addicted ... yup!) however I did not see a Redington contact number on their site, all I did see is the=ier contact us form to which I sent 5 or 6 contacts with no reply! Now this particular pair of waders was bought as a Christmas present for me by my dear wife, so I only started using them in summer 2012. I have only worn them on 8-10 three day trips since then, (I also use hip waders in lower water conditions). Thanks for your reply!

... a fishing buddy of mine says..(A stinky net is a happy day!)

You'll have to determine if they're still under warranty. Perhaps if they are not there will be repair options. Good luck.

BTW would you have their phone number?? Really I love the waders, they are light full of pockets good flexibility, nice belt, booties fit... and I look damn good in them at 63!! ;>)

I purchased the Redington sonic zip front waders about 4 years ago and have had issues with the zipper. While it has not leaked it has never functioned well. It is excessively stiff and difficult to zip, though I have applied zipper wax. It also does not zip all the way up to the top as there is a kink in the teeth that prevents them from interlocking without applying excessive force. I've received no satisfaction when discussing this with the folks at Redington. Aside from the issues with the zipper they have held up fine - I fish about 30 - 35 days/year.

I like the convenience of the zipper feature and next time i purchase waders will plan to spend more to get a brand that will be issue free or that the manufacturer will stand behind. Just my 2 cents.