Wetsuit booties (also called neoprene boots) are boots the you put on your feet when the water starts getting really cold and just wearing a wetsuit in not enough anymore. Even a full wetsuit leaves your feet, hands and your head exposed. The first thing you usually protect are your feet, this is where you will feel the most cold. Next is usually your head and your hands are last.
At what temeprature should you start wearing wetsuit boots?
This depends on your personal feeling of cold and also what is your attitude towards surfing in booties. Some surfers hate it because they don’t feel the surfboard under their feet. In this case you are probably going to wear them later as you normally would. In general, water temperatures between 54F and 59F (12C–15C) are when you need to wear booties. But even in temperatures above that you will feel more comfortable in booties. For more info on water temperature and wetsuit thickness read our guide.
How to choose wetsuit booties?
When you are buying wetsuit booties check the following:
- What kind of boots do you need? Reef walkers or winter wetsuit boots? Reef walkers are made out of thin (0,5 – 1mm) neoprene and are low cut. You wear them to protect your feet from from rocks and coral in the summer. Winter booties on the other hand are thicker (2 – 7mm) and are there to protect your feet from the cold.
- What kind of neoprene is used in booties and what is the thickness? Flexible neoprene is better, booties are easier to put on and of, they are more comfortable and they better hug your foot so less water comes inside. The thickness of neoprene in neoprene booties can be between 1mm and 7mm. For cold water surfing anything under 3 mm is useless.
- Stitching? Are seam waterproof? If they are, less water will flow into your shoe. That keeps your feet warmer and also the feeling is better. Glued, blindstitched and liquid taped seams are the best. A high end wetsuit boot should have all that.
- What is the right wetsuit booties size? They should be tight but not to tight. If to big, they will fill with water and your feet will float inside them (a stupid feeling and less control). On the other hand, if they are to small they will slow your blood circulation and that will make your feet cold. A good solution to this is booties that have a strap across your feet. This way you can tighten and secure them.
- Wetsuit booties length – how far up your leg do they go? The longer the better. If they are to short they can slip from under your wetsuit and leave your leg exposed. They will also fill with water… which also sucks. You want your wetsuit booties to reach high up under your wetsuit so there is no way they come out. While you are being active your wetsuit can crawl up your leg a bit and if your booties are to short they will get flushed.
- Straps! We already mentioned the strap across the arch of your foot. Then there is also a strap around your ankle. They both help you tighten your wetsuit booties and stop the water from coming in.
- Wetsuit boots with split toe? The idea here is that with your toe separated from other fingers your foot can not slide inside the boot. So unless you are annoyed by something between your toes, get boots with a split toe.
One last beginner tip to finish our wetsuit booties guide…
How To Put On Wetsuit Booties?
Just make sure you put your boots under the wetsuit not over it. Think – if you have your wetsuit tucked inside your booties they will be flushed with water.