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Our recent trip to Bodega Bay got us thinking about how much fun and easy clamming is. You really only need a bucket, shovel, and a good pair of clamming boots. Since the first two are fairly self-explanatory (check out our Bodega Bay article for more details), we thought it made sense to go deeper on clamming boots.
In this article, we’ll go over our favorite choices for both clamming boots and clamming waders. Depending on where you plan on clamming and how hard you want to go, we have various boots and wader options at different price points. We have either tried them out ourselves, or we’ve gotten enough feedback from our clamming community to recommend them. If you’re looking for something simple and affordable or technical and pricier, we’ve got you covered. Let’s jump in!
In a Hurry? Here’s Our Favorites
Best Clamming Boots
The Honeywell Servus 14” PVC Work Boots are our choice for the best overall clamming boots for the price. They have everything you need to start clamming and are very affordable. While they don’t have a steel toe, they are made of robust PVC and will withstand years of clamming and other heavy-duty use.
Our choice for clammers looking to have it all in a boot is the Muck Wetland Premium Field Boot. The Muck Wetland Premium Field Boot is built for comfortability, waterproofing, and durability by combining a PVC lower boot with a neoprene upper portion. This gives the boots flexibility for walking long distances while remaining durable and rock proof. A great choice if you have the budget or are looking to invest in a pair of long-lasting boots.
The Tingley Economy Kneed Boot is our runner up for best clamming boot. It is slightly more affordable than the Honeywell Servus but doesn’t have quite as durable of a construction. It’s also made from PVC and has an eco-conscious upper mold made from 30% recycled plastic.
Best Clamming Waders
The TideWe Bootfoot Chest Waders are our choice for the best clamming waders. They have everything you need to if you’re looking for a more advanced clamming setup and don’t cost nearly as much as other clamming wader solutions. They’re extremely comfortable and will keep you warm and dry when clamming under intense situations.
The Foxelli Neoprene Chest Waders are our choice for high-end clamming waders that can do it all. They are more expensive than the TideWe waders but come with extra features and are made from warm neoprene. If you’re a hunter or fisher and plan on using waders for other applications, you might want to consider spending a bit more and buying the Foxelli Neoprene Chest Waders. They’re built to last and will be great in a variety of situations.
If you have a tight budget but still want a pair of waterproof waders, we recommend getting the KOMEX Waterproof Chest Waders. They cost slightly more than a pair of boots and will give you the added water protection of waders. They’re also lightweight and won’t weigh you down while digging for clams.
What Makes Great Clamming Boots & Waders?
When picking the above choices for our best clamming boots and clamming waders, there are several factors we took into consideration. Our choices had to score well in the below categories for us to recommend them.
Clamming can be arduous work. You have to wait until the tides are at an agreeable level, then you need to find the clams and dig them out of the ground. This means that buying clamming boots or waders that are comfortable is crucial.
When reviewing the above boots and waders, we wore them while clamming for multiple hours to make sure they would give you all-day comfort. The last thing you want is clamming related blisters or kids complaining they are uncomfortable.
The second most important factor in choosing our favorite clamming boots and clamming waders was the price. If you’re willing to spend an arm and a leg there are plenty of good options on the market.
But considering you’re online doing research, that’s not your goal. We want to provide you with clamming boots and waders that have the best value of features at the lowest price points. That’s why we including options that are economical along with more expensive options.
Clamming is can put a lot of strain on a pair of boots, especially if you’re digging deep holes in hard sand. The pair of clamming boots you pick should be able to withstand years of heavy digging without breaking or leaking. The last thing you want is a hole torn in your new pair of clamming boots or waders.
To determine which clamming boots and waders were the most durable, we combined our personal experience of using the above boots and waders with aggregate reviews from our network. All of the choices we recommend have stellar reviews on durability for their various price points.
Breathability is usually more of a factor for waders than boots, but we also considered our boots breathability and how well they dried off after use. We recommend using breathing waders as opposed to neoprene waiters for several reasons.
Since clamming requires a decent amount of physical movement, we like our waders to be sweat friendly and allow us to dry off faster than neoprene. Neoprene waders also are much hotter than breathable waders, which makes for even sweatier clamming in warmer climates like California. Breathable waders often cost less than neoprene waders, which is an added bonus.
Should I Get Waders or Boots?
If you’ve never been clamming before you’re probably asking yourself if you should get boots or waders. Our answer is, it depends! We broke out the pros and cons of clamming boots vs waders below to help you decide.
Clamming Boots Pros
- They’re usually much cheaper than waders.
- Boots are easier to clean.
- They’re easier to store and fit in your car.
- You don’t have to change your clothes to use them.
- They’re more comfortable in warmer climates
Clamming Boots Cons
- They only go up to your knees (or less for taller people).
- Your feet can get cold.
Clamming Waders Pros
- They’re better for more intense clamming.
- They allow you to wade into deeper water.
- You can get messier than if you’re just wearing boots.
- They’re warmer.
Clamming Waders Cons
- They’re usually more expensive.
- You have to change your clothes to get in and out of them.
- They can be hot.
- Waders take longer to clean.
In general, we recommend first-time clammers get a pair of the boots above before getting waders. You can use a good pair of knee-high boots for many other uses (gardening, rainy days, etc) if you decide you don’t want to go clamming any more. They also cost significantly less and are great for first-timers. Most places you’ll go clamming won’t require you to get into water or mud above your boots or dig so intensely that waders are needed.
Clamming is a great activity for the whole family and can produce a delicious meal if you come prepared. We hope after reading this article on the best clamming boots and waders you’ll be equipped to catch your limit on clams during your next trip. And if you already own your own pairof boots and just want waders, check out our guide on the best waders without boots.
If you enjoy clamming, we also recommend you check out freediving.
Foraging for lobsters and scallops is also a ton of fun! Have another pair of clamming boots that work well that you want to share? Let us know about them in the comments below.