There is no doubt that reliable waders are an essential piece of gear for any waterfowler. As such, KUIU has put its best foot forward with the heavily engineered HD Flex Wader. We have tested these waders from Lake Champlain’s shores to the Freezeout Lake marshes and many places in between.
This innovative boot puts the advantage in your favor when navigating the terrain, and the durable materials will help you endure the elements while waterfowl hunting. While there is a slight learning curve without a front zipper, full front pockets are a huge plus.
The real questions: Are these waders worth the price tag and do they compete with other longstanding waterfowl brands?
In short: The HD Flex Waders ($899) are a stellar pair of waders that are ideal for any waterfowl scenario. From the sturdy boot design to the durable materials and features, these waders are top-tier. Serious bird chasers will appreciate the purchase.
- Wader 5 lbs., 15.5 oz. / 2,707 g (L-10)
- Belt 7.4 oz. / 210 g
- Waterproof, windproof
- Toray four-layer waterproof fabric
- Primaflex Polyester high-density twill
- Dermizax non-porous waterproof/breathable membranes
- Nylon backer
- Neoprene-insulated boot
- Vulcanized rubber overlay
- EVA soles
- Duraflex hardware
- Sturdy boot design
- Minimal zippers
- Heavy-duty materials
- SIMMS warranty and repair service
- Sleek buckles and harness
- One camo pattern
- Lacks padding for icy water
KUIU HD Flex Waders Review
Boots Built for Performance
The HD Flex Waders come equipped with an impressive pair of boots. An ideal combination of lightweight performance and innovative engineering.
The mud release system tends to keep debris from building up on the boot, and water washes any remaining grime away — an awesome feature when wading through a wetland marsh. While the boot is lightweight, the construction is rugged, sturdy, and comfortable in many scenarios. These boots are great for long-distance walks across a rocky shore or standing for hours waiting on a morning flight without any rubbing or flexibility issues.
In addition, the fleece-lined neoprene kept our feet warm even in subzero temps. Overall, we were thoroughly impressed with the function and durability of these wader boots. They really made all the difference in keeping us comfortable and in the field longer.
Waders Constructed With Heavy-Duty Materials
The HD Flex Waders are made from Toray four-layer waterproof fabric featuring KUIU’s signature Valo pattern. While folks may think that a waterfowl line needs a unique print, the Valo pattern blends well in marshland and agricultural backdrops. Although the wader materials are dense, there is quite a bit of flexibility and stretch to move freely.
The Toray material should resist most minor punctures and wear from abrasion. Although there is durability paneling in the lower leg, knee, and seat to give some cushion, a knee pad would help in icy environments. The HD Flex Waders are built to a premium standard, to say the least.
A Specialized Fit
The fit of the waders is a bit more specific than others. To begin, the boot sizes range from 8 to 14 and seem true to size. However, this also means you should size up if you typically run in the half-size range. When determining body size, you should measure your chest and waist to see where you are between small and 3XL.
The inseam measurements are calculated by finding the length between your crotch and the ground. The sizes come in short, regular, and tall — KUIU’s terms, not ours.
With these three variables accounted for, you should be able to get your ideal size. Varying inseam lengths are a nice addition, both for style and function — especially for those who plan to do a lot of walking in their waders.
Necessary Features Only
The main features of waders are simple but necessary. Most apparent are the pass-through lined front pockets, which are great for your hands and storage. In addition, the main chest pocket with drop-in slots for shells is a great complement.
We regularly stored our shells in the nine slots for quick access — the less you must carry in your blind bag, the better. Inside the waders is a waterproof storage pocket for your phone. This is a much better option than having to use exterior pockets. The adjustable suspender system is easy to fit and doesn’t seem to impact any movement when shouldering a gun.
As a note, the clips are a bit difficult if you are using heavy gloves. Finally, the adjustable waistbelt keeps the waders in place while moving around.
Where the Flex Waders Can Improve
Aside from the clips being a bit difficult to operate with gloves (as are most clips), it’s hard to pinpoint a downfall. Obviously, the big one is going to be the price point. Unless you’re a serious waterfowler, the nearly $900 price tag is going to be a bit hard to stomach, though it isn’t much higher than other high-end waders on the market.
These aren’t insulated, either. That leaves you with the ability to stack layers to your preference and not get overheated if the conditions don’t call for insulation. But, many duck hunters might be a bit accustomed to built-in insulation; less a downfall and more something to keep in mind.
It would also be cool to see some other camo patterns or solids available, but that’s just a preference issue.
A Warranty Built to Last
The HD Flex Waders come backed with a warranty from SIMMS. KUIU’s terms state that SIMMS will repair or replace the waders for any defect in workmanship. If you don’t know, SIMMS is an industry leader in providing top-shelf quality and customer service — a likely reason KUIU partnered with SIMMS in the development of the HD Flex Wader.
While we all put our gear through the ringer, punctures or excessive wear may require a nominal fee for repair. However, based on our experience with the Toray materials, you almost have to be intentional to puncture these waders, but don’t be reckless.
KUIU HD Flex Waders: Conclusion
Overall, the KUIU HD Flex Waders come equipped with the same level of premium qualities you would expect from any KUIU- and SIMMS-designed piece of gear. In addition to the HD Flex Waders, KUIU has an entire line of technical gear now devoted to waterfowl hunters.
While there may be a slight hesitation from those accustomed to a front zipper or dedicated camo enthusiast — change is a good thing. The boots are a combination of impressive design and stellar performance that will raise your expectations going forward. When looking for your next pair of waterfowl waders, you’d be making a solid choice by considering KUIU’s HD Flex Waders.