If you have damage to your neoprene stockingfeet use these tips to find and repair the hole. Neoprene stockingfeet on fishing waders can get punctured by things such as stepping on sharp rocks or gravel or from using worn out boots causing puncures or abrasion. Old worn out boots will damage neoprene stockingfeet when the liner is worn down and sharp edges are exposed. This can lead to damage on the top, toe, or bottom of the stockingfoot. Repairs are fairly easy and will hold up well if done correctly.
What you’ll need:
A water source for testing and somewhere dry to hang the waders.
Step by step instructions for repairing fishing wader neoprene stockingfeet
Find the hole. The first step is to look for differences in the area that seems to be letting water through. If you can see an indentation, or abrasion in the neoprene is a good indication that something is wrong in that spot. A surefire way to test the feet is to turn the waders inside out and fill the feet with water. Usually hanging the waders while doing this is the easiest way to control the flow of water when filling the inside. If there is a hole you’ll see water dripping out of it.
Next step; Fix the hole. Once the waders are dry this can be accomplished simply by rubbing a small amount of Aquaseal or Aquaseal NEO into the hole, making sure to rub it into the hole so that it fills the inside of the hole. We recommend backing the inside with some masking tape or Gearaid Tenacious Tape, and then filling the hole from the outside. Once it’s full and Aquaseal fills the hole apply a thin layer out to about 1/4-1/2″ on all sides of the hole. We like to apply a small piece of Tenacious Tape over the Aquaseal at this point, which will be removed later, to make a clean and smooth exterior to the patch.
How to find a leak and repair your breathable waders
Use these instructions and photo examples below to find and repair pinholes, tears, or holes in your breathable waders.
If there is a visible tear or hole then skip this step and proceed to step 2. To find a leak, first carefully visually inspect the area and see if you can see any tiny holes or tears. Often times you’ll be able to find the spot just by looking closely. If there is no visible hole or tear, then the alcohol method works well to find it.
To do this turn the waders inside out, and spray or rub a small amount of rubbing alcohol over the area you think is leaking. Then flip the waders back right side out and look for the wet spot. Any leaks will show as a damp spot on the outer side of the fabric. Mark this with masking tape or a marking pen, dry the waders and then move on to the repair.
Usually a small tear or leak can be completely repaired with just a little Aquaseal. Once you locate the leak, the easiest repair is to coat one or both sides with Aquaseal. A tip for using Aquaseal is to heat the bottle just a bit in warm water, which makes it much easier to use. To spread it, use a flat squeegee (a piece of cardstock or a business card works well) to form a thin layer over the affected area.
We recommend using some masking tape to mask off the area around the tear or pinhole to keep it contained to just the area around the tear.
For a durable wader repair using the material supplied in the repair kit, usually for a larger tear or rip, use a piece of the fabric supplied to cover the tear. Cut a piece of fabric to the relative size of the tear allowing it to overlap. Then Aquaseal over the tear, stick the fabric down and seal the edges of the fabric with Aquaseal.
This will create a permanent patch. Before doing any Aquaseal repair mask off the area with some masking tape, scotch tape, or any tape to help keep the Aquaseal in a neat area over the repair. Make sure to remove the tape after 10-15 minutes while the Aquaseal is still wet.
The seam tape that is included in the repair kit is heat activated. This is a bit more advanced, and there is potential for damage since you’ll be applying heat to an area of the fabric. For at home, an old iron set to medium high temp can work well to ‘iron on’ a bit of seam tape to the inside of the waders. This probably won’t be necessary and is not normally required. However this can seal the inside on a small tear, pinhole, or seam nicely when done correctly. This backing can also be done with gear repair tape like Tenacious tape.
Get back to fishing.
Note: Also recommend carrying Aquaseal UV on trips. It cures within 20-30 seconds in direct or indirect sunlight (UV) and can save the day in a pinch.
Photo examples of patching a tear.
In these photo examples we will show you steps to locate and repair breathable waders. This example shows an abrasion in the breathable wader fabric, that is repaired using Aquaseal and a fabric patch.
1 – 3. Photos showing the hole. This tear is visible on the exterior and interior. Photo 3 shows what the alcohol test looks like. For non visible pinholes it will just look like a wet spot.
4. Apply backing on the inside. In this photo we used heat sealed seam tape, essentially applied with a hand held iron. In place of seam tape you can use a gear repair tape like Tenacious tape, or skip this step altogether. If skipping, we recommend putting some regular tape on the inside over the hole to prevent Aquaseal from squeezing through in the next step.
5 & 6. Apply Aquaseal. We usually cut a small piece of cardboard stock from the packaging to apply. Apply Aquaseal and smooth over the hole, making sure it completely fills and covers the hole.
7. Measure and cut a piece of fabric from the supplied repair kit. Tenacious tape can be used in place of wader fabric in this step as well. Just be sure to cut the tape patch oversized enough so that there is at least 1/2 inch extra on all sides to stick to the fabric, and not over glue.
8. Apply a thin layer of Aquaseal to the backside of the fabric piece. Again use a small piece of cardboard or a business card as a tool.
9. Stick it down and let it dry. If the edges are lifting up you can use some masking tape to hold it down temporarily. So long as there isn’t a lot of extra glue coming out the edges the tape can be removed once it is dry.
10. To make a clean looking patch, surround the patch and any areas you don’t want to Aquaseal over with masking tape. Then apply Aquaseal around the edges of the patch. Be sure to remove the tape while the Aquseal is still wet. Otherwise it will be permanent. This step is completely optional.
11. The finished patch. This patch may not be pretty but is very durable.