If you don’t fish often, perhaps you can get away with something like “economy vinyl stocking foot waders.” After all, $7 sounds a lot better than a $120. But $7 buys the bottom-half of a swamp creature novelty costume that may only last for one use, and provides no protection from icy waters.
Neoprene waders are worth the investment. Without their durability and warmth, you might miss out on some of the incredible steelhead fishing of Lake Erie tributaries in Ohio and Pennsylvania, for example. I have a pair that has served well for 5 years.
Colder conditions mean less fishing pressure at many parts of the country as many fair-weather anglers may stay inside and sort tackle. However, with an investment in neoprene waders, the fishing does not have to stop. When it gets cold, yet not cold enough to ice fish, these waders are a must.
Like the sign I saw in a tackle shop, “Good things come to those who wade.” For anglers who must keep fishing, even when it is cold, neoprene waders would make a great Christmas gift. Might even make the ultimate stockings by the chimney!