I would personally never buy waist highs when you can get chest waiders that double as waist high waders... I've had many close calls, both intentionally and not, where the chest high waders kept me from getting soaked...to be fair though I'm a very aggressive wader... If you were only going to fish small streams then waist high waders would be fine. I fish tailwaters enough that the extra height of the chest high waders allows me to cover a LOT more water. When I slip and fall in the Smokies, the chest high waders (which I only wear in the winter in the park) keep my dry...