Wader safety starts from the moment you purchase them. One of the most common mistakes anglers make is choosing a pair of waders that are too large or baggy. If you go too deep, or fall, wearing a pair of oversized waders in the river will cause you to catch the flowing water and be pushed along like an underwater sail, otherwise known as a “drogue,” and this will tire you out. Make sure that there is enough room in the leg area to move around and crouch down, so that if you do run into trouble in the water, you will still have enough movement can get out safely.
The next important point is to ensure that your waders have an adjustable belt and adjustable quick release straps. Having the belt will make sure that water does not pool into your waders and being able to adjust your chest wader straps will keep them up nice and tight, again preventing water from spilling in. A well fitted belt will also create a an air bubble in the lower section of the waders so should you fall or go too deep. The trapped air will give you some buoyancy, allowing you to float and give you more time to help yourself out of the water.
Having a good pair of Neoprene stocking feet is also important for getting in and out, but make sure that they fit correctly.
If water does work its way waders with a stocking foot, such as from splashes or falls, it may be hard to take them off. This may lead to damaging them with tears and breaks if you pull them off forcibly, but this will also exhaust and slow you down if an emergency demands you take them off. The simple answer is always wear thick, breathable, socks so that air can get in an let you get out easily. Although bootfoot waders are more convenient, stocking foot styles with wading shoes give you the best foot support for long days of fishing. Felt soles are also a must have feature in rocky rivers, but are of no help to you in slick mud.