Buying Guide: Best Surf Booties (2017 – 2018)

surf booties

Wetsuit boots keep your feet warm in cold water and are considered a necessary evil by many surfers in colder climates. Few people enjoy wearing a wetsuit to surf, and the same applies to wetsuit boots. However, a good pair of boots with a fit and style appropriate to your needs and preferences makes a big difference.

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Finding the right surf booties to keep you warm while minimizing the impact on your performance is key. Spending time researching your options to find the best one is worthwhile; the following information is designed to help you find wetsuit boots that fit your needs.

Our Top Surf Booties Ratings At-A-Glance


Top 10 Best Surf Boots for Cold Water

O'Neill Wetsuits Mens 4/3 mm Psychotech Split Toe Bootsplit toe4/3mm (9.8 / 10)
Quiksilver Mens Syncro 3Mm Surf Bootssplit toe3mm (9.8 / 10)
NRS Paddle Wetshoeround toe3mm (9.6 / 10)
Hyperflex AMP 5mm Split Toe Bootsplit toe5mm (9.1 / 10)
Xcel Men's Drylock Split Toe Boot 3Mmsplit toe3mm (9.8 / 10)
O'Neill Wetsuits Mens Superfreak Tropical 2 mm Split Toe Bootsplit toe2mm (9.5 / 10)
Xcel Wetsuits 3mm Infiniti Split Toe Suit Bootsplit toe3mm (9.8 / 10)
O'Neill Wetsuits Mens Mutant Split Toe Bootsplit toe3mm (9.5 / 10)
O'Neill Wetsuits Mens Superfreak Tropical 2mm Round Toe Bootround toe2mm (9.1 / 10)
O'Neill Wetsuits Womens MOD Split Toe Bootsplit toe3mm (9.5 / 10)

Wetsuit Boot Fit

Air gaps in your boots will fill with water, resulting in a heavy boot that feels uncomfortable. Look for boots that fit your feet snugly without pockets of air, but beware of purchasing boots that are too tight. Wetsuit boots usually have a layer of rubber to provide additional support and strength over the heel and toe; when this rubber is too tight, it creates discomfort. Don’t expect the boots to stretch or conform to your feet over time. If they are too tight when you try them on, they will continue to be too tight and uncomfortable to wear. Instead, choose a wetsuit boot that fits your foot well and provides a snug, but comfortable, fit.

Wetsuit boots are sold in standard sizes such as 5, 6, or 7, with half sizes not commonly seen. However, there is often a difference between manufacturers because they use different templates, so a size 6 in one brand can feel like a size 7 in another. Take the time to try on a number of different brands and styles to find the one that fits your feet the best.

Types of Wetsuit Surf Boots

The following are the three main types of wetsuit boots available.

Round Toe Boots

These wetsuit boots are made with a rounded end and are the most popular boot available. Because they are easy to manufacture, they are generally less expensive to purchase compared to other boots. They are also usually easier to fit than other types of wetsuit boots. The downside is that your feet tend to roll around more in round toe boots, resulting in an inefficient transfer of energy from your feet to the surfboard.

Split Toe Boots

More serious surfers tend to prefer split toe wetsuit boots. This type features a separate chamber that isolates the big toe from the other toes, which often results in the toes being a bit colder than in round toe boots where they all together and can keep each other warm. However, the increase in performance is noticeable. The split chamber provides for better grip on your big toe, making your foot less able to move around in the boot and increasing the efficiency of energy transfer between your foot and the surfboard.

Latex Dipped Boots

Latex dipped neoprene is a new material that has become increasingly popular for surf boots. Using this material results in a very light and flexible boot with the appearance of a single-lined neoprene instead of the double-lined neoprene that is standard for most wetsuit boots. Double-lined boots have a layer of neoprene with a layer of fabric on either side, while single-lined boots have a fabric lining on one side only. This gives you a boot that is as close to the feel of being barefoot as you can get and provides for superior performance. The problem with latex dipped wetsuit boots is that they lack durability and don’t tend to last as long as other types. However, if you value performance and can buy new wetsuit boots every year, these are a great option.

Thickness of Surf Boots

The majority of wetsuit boots are made with 3mm, 5mm, or 7mm neoprene. The thicker the neoprene, the warmer the boot will be. In general, people prefer to use the least amount of neoprene possible to keep their feet warm because the thicker boots tend to impact performance more. In chilly water, 3mm wetsuit boots should be fine, but for cold water, a 7mm boot is more suitable.

Wearing Surf Booties

Once you have wetsuit boots that fit well, peel up the legs of your wetsuit, pull on the boots, and roll the legs of your wetsuit back down over the wetsuit boots. It is important to keep the tops of your boots under your wetsuit to prevent them from filling with water. If this happens, they can swell to twice their size and get pulled off your feet when you duck-dive.

Care of Wetsuit Boots

After using your wetsuit boots, rinse them with cold fresh water and let them dry in the shade. This little bit of care helps them last longer and keeps them from developing a potent smell of dead sea creature. While it can be tempting to toss them in the back of your vehicle after a surf, having them baking in the sun as you drive home is likely to make you think twice about doing so again.

The right surf booties will keep your feet warm without interfering too much with your performance. Although you probably won’t enjoy the feel of wearing your boots, choosing the style that works best for your needs and a fit that is comfortably snug makes a big difference. Taking the time to do a little research and following these tips will help you find the boots that fit your needs and preferences.

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