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Oakiwear Waders for Kids – Keep Kids Exploring!

**This post has been edited to include our thoughts on the neoprene waders from Oakiwear also**

One of my very favorite parts of my “job” is the fact that I get to connect with real people who have real dreams that they get to see come to fruitation (after lots of hard work, of course).  I get to see the ins and outs of great ideas and people working and working and working to get kids and families outside.

petrified forest familyMeet Sue, mom of three, that started Oakiwear in a desperate attempt to find something back in 2007 that would keep her twin boys clean and dry as they played outside in the mud.  She continues to be a stay at home mom during the day, and helps grow her business at night after she’s tucked her little ones in bed.  Oakiwear continues to expand and thrive and, most importantly, provide high quality gear to help kids get outside more often and for longer periods of time.

Sue says she wants “kids to be 100% comfortable and for them to LOVE the outdoors.  Anything that makes that more enjoyable for them is worth it.”

I agree with her philosophy that kids should be IN the water (or mud or dirt, etc.) and touching and feeling and in the midst of all that is happening instead of on the shoreline just hoping to see from a distance.

Oakiwear specializes in rain suits (both one pieces and jackets and pants) and waders (neoprene and breathable) for kids sized 2T – 10/11.  They have the market for the “little ones” and take it very seriously.  This summer we had the chance to get both our boys in the breathable waders ($79.99), which they absolutely love.  Besides the tan color, they are now available in pink too!

oakiwearwaders1 oakiwearwaders5

J and P wear the waders for fishing and playing in shallow streams.  As always, they are supervised closely and are obviously not in any deep or fast water without lifejackets on.




What we loved:

  • Easy to put on
  • Adjustable straps and a removable sternum strap to make that adjustment even better
  • Removable belt that keeps the waders from being too much loose fabric around them
  • They come with their own carrying bag to keep everything together
  • As long as they are the right size, they are easy to walk in and very lightweight.
  • The “girth” sizing is generous to allow for good air circulation, but also for adding layers
  • They are high quality, durable and are sure to get the kids through some years of playing (as long as their feet continue to fit in the boots!)



What we weren’t so crazy about:

  • It’s great that the sternum strap is removable, but we wish there were something holding on the belt so the chance of losing it was diminished a bit.  The carry bag does help with that, but the commotion of just getting them on could easily result in a lost strap.
  • P is so small that the 2T size was really pretty big on him.  The waders themselves could be adjusted small enough for him, but the boots were a couple sizes too big.  Not a defect in the design, just a bummer for a tiny kid!


The boots are connected to the waders, so I think it is important to know how the boot sizes correspond with the wader sizes:

2T – size 8 boot
3T – size 10 boot
4/5 – size 12 boot
6/7 – size 2 boot
8/9 – size 4 boot
10/11 – size 6 boot


Neoprene Waders $129 (on sale for $89.99):

This fall/early winter we checked out the neoprene waders.  For our needs in a cooler climate and what we are usually doing, we have found that these waders work best.  They are built just like an adult pair and measure up to the same quality you would find in any pair for you.  They are available in black, camo and blue.

Oakiwear Neoprene Waders

Oakiwear Neoprene Waders


What we loved:

  • Definitely more fitted so the kids don’t feel like they are ‘swimming’ in them.  The boots also fit slightly smaller than the breathable waders which helps my kids with smaller feet.
  • Super durable and a good extra layer between the kids and anything sharp or rough
  • Very warm – they wore theirs on a 32 degree day in the snow and had just a layer of merino + a layer of fleece and were sitting in the water.  No issues at all.
  • They clean up well – they were completely covered in mud and easily were sprayed off to dry.
  • The shoulder straps are adjustable via a buckle to allow for a better fit


What we weren’t so crazy about:

  • The ONLY thing I would say is I wish they came with their own packable bag like the breathable ones.

The boots are connected to the waders, so I think it is important to know how the boot sizes correspond with the wader sizes:

2T – size 7 boot
3T – size 9 boot
4T – size 10 boot
5T – size 11 boot
6 –  size 12.5 boot
7- size 1.5 boot
8/9 – size 4 boot
10/11 – size 6 boot
12 – size 8 boot


Wader Safety:

While waders are absolutely wonderful, the breathable ones especially can fill up with water if a child falls in water deep enough to go over the top of their waders.  Just like an adult takes caution, kids need to also.  Help them steady their footing in the water and just watch!  This, of course, is more applicable to the younger children than older and stronger kids.

He got in a little too deep...emptying them out!

He got in a little too deep…emptying them out!

Oakiwear Neoprene Waders

Oakiwear Neoprene Waders



Which waders do I want for my kids? Neoprene or Breathable?

This was my question for Sue because I was completely torn.  Bottom line – if it isn’t too hot, the Neoprene ones are best.  They provide a layer of protection if kids fall on rocks, sticks, etc. and are more durable.  They also are more fitted which means greater ease of movement.  However, some parts of the country are much too hot for neoprene in the summer.  Hence the breathable pair (which you can layer under when the weather gets cooler.)




Oakiwear values the feedback of their consumers greatly.  They read and discuss every single comment and email and want to know the good and the bad.  They make small changes with every order from their supplier and are constantly working to better their product.  A sure sign of a company that really cares….  Feedback can be sent to


A special deal for my readers:

Use the code “mountainmama” to get 15% off your entire order on their site!   This code has no limits and does not expire AND can be used on top of any other sales they have!


Oakiwear generously provided us this gear in order to facilitate this review.  However, as always, the opinions expressed here are completely and honestly our own.  You can find my full disclosure here.  

© 2013, Tales of a Mountain Mama. All rights reserved. Republication, in part or entirety, requires a link back to this original post and permission from the author.

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