Orvis Silver Sonic Guide Waders
- Good feature set
- Good comfort, storage and protection with breathability
- Sizing is tricky
- Not much of a convertible option
The Orvis Silver Sonic Guide Waders offers the best features of any waders we tested, with a very handy waterproof storage pocket, roomy hand-warming pockets, and great durability. The fit was a bit hit and miss, though I could be an anomaly since I fell smack-dab between two sizes. Others found the fit exceptional. Overall, the performance, features and price of the Silver Sonic Guide had them in a tight race for best in class, and clearly won them the Best Value award.
Orvis can be tricky for folks, like myself, caught between two sizes. I tested the extra large/long size and it was just a bit big, particularly in the chest. My feet were happy with not too much space or too little in the 'sculpted' and anatomically correct booties. The waders fit better from the waist down. Needless to say, I didn’t feel confined, but I also didn’t feel like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. My brother-in-law, who is taller and not as heavy, preferred the Orvis waders when it came to sizing. The fitting issue, of course, is easy enough to address with a visit to the local Orvis dealer rather than hoping the pair delivered by UPS will work for your trip the next day.
Many companies spend a lot of time coming up with fancy names for a trademarked technology to make waders waterproof and breathable. Good luck trying to find such a name from Orvis. The best you can find is a “high-density four-layer breathable nylon.” Whatever the company uses it works. The Silver Sonic Guide waders performed as well as the other three waders considered in the review.
Anglers who tuck their secret fly box in a pocket and then forget which one, should consider not getting these waders, but only in the interest of saving time. There are five pockets on the Silver Sonic Guide waders. The largest is a lined hand warmer sleeve with access on each side. Being able to have both hands in the same pocket is key in cold situations because you can massage and rub your own hands to get them warm much quicker. Of course, every angler will totally ignore that cool feature and stuff every pocket full with fly boxes and snacks so they can go walkabout without a backpack or vest. A removable waterproof pocket large enough for a phone (yes iPhone 6) and a wallet can be attached with Velcro to another interior and flappable pocket or to the interior of the waders. The Sonic Seams of the waders run up the back of the wader, reducing abrasion in on the inside of the knees like other brands.
Attaching the word “guide” means the company is dubbing these waders the most durable and fly box friendly model of the lot. Orvis claims the Silver Sonic Guide waders “are designed to keep you dry and last longer than your last three pairs of waders combined.” The company also claims the Guides are up to 300 percent more abrasion resistant and 40 percent more puncture resistant than its own Silver Sonic Convertible Tops. Promises like those give anglers permission to treat waders like they have always wanted to, but were afraid to for the fear of destroying their means of staying warm and dry.
Compared to the other two waders at this price point, the Orvis Silver Sonic Guide waders standout as the best investment.
How We Tested It
We asked the companies to suggest their best all-around model and to select the appropriate size based on the information provided—they had to fit a 6’ 2’’ and 220-pound male with size 11 feet. The waders compared for this review were used in the summer on the Madison River in Montana near $3 Bridge, but it happened to snow on the nearby foothills one of the days during the testing. The waders were also used on the Green River below Flaming Gorge Reservoir in Utah in the late summer and on the Provo River in the late fall.
The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.
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