The Orvis Silver Sonic Convertible-Top Wader is a great midrange fishing wader with an excellent price-to-value ratio. Like its name suggests, the Orvis Silver Sonic Convertible-Top Wader boasts a nifty trick: In hot weather, you can slide the top down to your waist, converting it to a pant-like wader.
Better yet, this Orivs wader comes in a wide variety of sizes, which means you can likely — and easily — choose the right fit for your body size. There is more, though: Orvis’s “SonicSeam” technology creates welded, waterproof seams without any stitching at all. That means the wader material is never poked with a needle then sealed over the top of the threading holes.
Is it a significantly better method than more traditional seams found in similarly priced waders? Maybe. Either way, most fly fishers I know are far more likely to poke a hole in their waders from a nasty blackberry bramble or a fall down a steep and rocky slope than have a seam fail without an awful lot of use. Through close inspection, the Orvis seams appear to be pretty darn solid.
In fact, the Orvis Silver Sonic Convertible-Top Wader has excellent construction, making it one of our overall top ten best fishing waders.
Orvis Silver Sonic Convertible-Top Wader Review
The whole point of choosing the Orvis Silver Sonic Convertible-Top Wader is to get the ability to slide the chest portion down when you’re fishing in hot weather. Basically, all you have to do is detach the clips holding the top portion to the shoulder straps and then push the chest portion down to get it out of your way.
It works well — instant heat release. Of course, if you want to wade deep, all you have to do is pull it up and re-clip it into place. Easy enough when you’re out on the water.
As for the rest of the construction, the Orvis Silver Sonic Convertible-Top Waders are made with a 4-layer nylon outer fabric with anatomically correct neoprene booties that are curved to better fit your feet. Orvis also adds a little fish-shaped texture to the bottom to help reduce slippage inside your wading boots.
Of course, any good wader has built-in gravel guards, so the Convertible-Top Waders have a generous gravel guard to help keep debris out of your boots. The waders also have a built-in, easily-adjustable waist belt, which you need because you absolutely must cinch it down when wading in any fast water. (If you don’t and if you fall down, even in just a couple feet of moving water, the rushing water can immediately fill up your waders. You probably won’t be able to stand back up and you won’t be able to swim, so yeah, use the waist belt!)
Orvis includes a big exterior chest pocket as well as an interior pocket that has a clear waterproof pouch for car keys or phones — the touchscreen on my iPhone works through the pouch if you need to take a quick look at something.
The Orvis Silver Sonic Convertible-Top Waders come with a partial mesh storage bag.
The shoulder straps allow the chest portion to slide down.
A nice touch.
The outside of a seam.
The wading belt clips and adjusts easily.
The built-in gravel guards even cover burly wading boots.
Orvis Silver Sonic Convertible-Top Wader: Lots of Sizes
Remember my point about finding the right size? In my mind, the best thing about the Orvis Silver Sonic lineup is the wide variety of sizes. You can choose the Convertible-Top Wader in Short, Regular, Long and Extra Long in sizes ranging from Small to XXL. For instance, I’m a relatively tall guy with a long inseam. The Extra Long in size XL gives me a 34-36 inch inseam, which means I can step over a log without a bunch of extra material getting in the way. Similarly, the XL has a 46-48 inch chest. A lot of other wader manufacturers make extra long waders but they pair the length with massive chest circumferences, which means that relatively tall and slim guys end up with a gob of extra material around the chest. Orvis has done a great job with sizing its Silver Sonic wader lineup, and I appreciate that.
Meanwhile, what about price? The Orvis Silver Sonic Convertible-Top Wader retails for about $279. Most entry level waders top out at around $150 or so while most high-end waders slide well past $400, including the Orvis Silver Sonic Guide Waders, which retail for about $425. The “Guide” version is very similar to the Convertible-Top version, but the Guide Waders don’t have the convertible top. They are, however, tougher than the Convertible-Top Waders — Orvis says they are 300% more abrasion resistant and 40% more puncture resistant.
Are the Guide versions worth $146 more? Maybe — but only if you have the budget and only if you don’t want the ability to convert the chest down to shed heat while you’re fishing (or taking a quick sandwich break) in warm weather.
All-in-all, I’m impressed with the versatility of the Orvis Silver Sonic Convertible-Top Wader. The overall sizing and fit is comfortable and the durability seems like a cost-effective step up from most entry-level waders. Highly recommended.