In an ideal world, there wouldn’t be a need for any kind of surfing protection. If the weather was always co-operative and the water was always warm, surfers could simply head out into the waves with just themselves, their swimsuits and their board.
Unfortunately, in reality, surfers must take the correct precautions to protect themselves against the colder temperatures, especially during the winter months. Wetsuits and other means of protective articles work to create a safer, more comfortable experience for surfers, providing them with the thermal protection they need whilst performing in the water.
Over the past few decades, surf booties have become a much more popular accessory amongst surfers worldwide. Like a wetsuit, they are worn to insulate the feet and protect against rough surfaces such as rocky beaches and coral reefs.
The quality of your surf booties can have a major effect on your surfing performance. Their fit and style will have a significant impact on your ability to grip and maneuver your surfboard, whilst their material will determine exactly how warm and comfortable you will be whilst surfing in colder conditions.
With so many different options of surf booties on the market, we know it can be extremely difficult to decide which pairs are going to truly be effective and which will simply hinder your surfing abilities.
To make the process slightly easier, we have created this guide which outlines exactly what you should be looking for whilst choosing a pair of good surf booties. We have chosen our top 5 recommended picks of surf booties and have answered a few questions that we think you may find helpful.
Top 5 Best Surf Booties
OUR TOP PICK
The Neo Sport Premium Wetsuit Boots are an incredible choice if quality and durability are what you are looking for. This neoprene boot was designed with all water sports and riders in mind, whether that’s surfing, boating, kayaking, or jet skiing.
Available in three different neoprene thickness options (3mm, 5mm, and 7mm), these boots are designed to protect you against all temperatures and climatic conditions.
Their construction consists of a puncture-resistant sole, heavy-duty abrasion resistant seams and a water entry barrier behind the zipper to prevent leakage.
This durability and strength is something you should be looking out for whilst on the market for surf booties as it will ensure you are protected from not just the temperate of the water but shells, stones, and even jellyfishes!
If you are looking for a pair of booties that will last you all year-round, choose the 7mm thickness so that even in the coldest of waters, these will be sure to keep your feet warm.
The minimal, classic design makes these booties a perfect choice for all genders and will look seamless paired with any wetsuit.
Although designed to sit slightly higher up than most of the other options, the larger surface area ensures minimal water entry whilst protecting your ankles from impact.
These booties also fasten with a heavy-duty zipper, which can be extremely convenient when you are are going to be in and out of the water all day. At a slightly higher price than the others, these boots are a brilliant choice if you know you are going to get your wear all-year-round.
- Choice of neoprene thickness
- Puncture-resistant sole
- Secure zippers and Velcro straps
- On the slightly pricier side
- Synthetic / Neoprene
- Select thickness - 3mm warm water - 5mm moderate water - 7mm cold water
- Durable glued and sewn construction - Puncture resistant sole
- #10 heavy duty zipper for easy on and off - rugged traction sole
- WEB - Water Entry Barrier behind zipper helps prevent water entry
These shorter booties, at almost half the price, are a fantastic choice for anyone looking to surf in warmer or tropical conditions. Constructed with fluid foam neoprene and flat stitch threads, these booties, like the rest of O’Neill’s models, are sure to insulate your feet whilst providing you with optimum flexibility.
The soles of these booties are both thick and textured, making them a wonderful choice for someone who is going to be walking on rough surfaces such as coral reefs.
They are considerably lighter than the other options which allow for effortless maneuverability. The light-weight feel is due to the 2mm thickness of the neoprene, so whilst these booties may not be the ones to take into the winter waters, they are perfect for the warmer months.
Although quite tight-fitting on the feet, these O’Neill Reactors are designed to allow your feet to breathe and move as much as possible. With a round-toe shape and mesh drainage panels, you will be both comfortable and free from water leakage. They are also available in two colors and subtly feature the timeless O’Neill logo.
If you are someone that is just starting out in the world of surfing, these booties could be a perfect choice for you as they will keep you protected without having to break the bank.
- Low profile
- Reputable, classic brand
- Side mesh panels for drainage
- Highly durable
- True to size
- Not great for out of water walking/boat use
Made with 3mm quick-dry neoprene and anti-slip rubber soles, it is no wonder these diving water booties are extremely popular with surfers. These booties will provide all the thermal protection you need in most temperatures whilst keeping your feet safe from stings, seashells, sharp rocks, and coral.
Their quick-dry material and adjustable Velcro straps make them ideal for all water sports whilst their textured, rubber soles make them particularly great for board-centered activities such as surfing, paddleboarding, and wakeboarding.
The reinforced friction of the soles will allow you to grip onto your surfboard whilst also preventing you from falling on slippery surfaces such as algae-coated rocks.
Their sock-like fit means that they will keep your feet warm and snug whilst their light-weight profile will provide you with a barefoot-fell when it comes to controlling your board.
They are also perfect for being worn under diving boots making them a great choice for someone who is looking for something more universal. Whether you are looking for something seamless and classic or vibrant and unique, the variety of color options means there will be something for you.
If convenience and maneuverability are what you are looking for, you can’t go wrong with the Compozz Diving Wetsuit Booties.
- Choice of colors/design
- Great value for money
- Abrasion and tear-resistant
- Comfortable for all-day wear
- Breathable, quick-dry material
- Some buyers have mentioned issues with sizing
- 【No More Scratches And Bruises】 Our 3mm neoprene diving and beach water socks shield your feet from sharp rocks, sea shells, coral and jelly fish stings. You can enjoy the fantastic moments with no worries. Fit snug, dry quickly. Perfect for all water sports.
- 【Neoprene Beach Socks For Sports】Premium water socks with anti-slipping rubber grips soles, Perfect for varieties water sports like paddle boarding, kite boarding, wakeboarding, kayaking and more. The elastic ankle straps can be adjusted to fit any ankle size and keep the socks on. Comfortable enough to wear all day.
- 【Warm And Protective】These diving socks material is thick. Also the bottom has little rubber grips over the surface. Keep your feet warm when you paddle boarding in cool water. the elastic ankle straps really help with keeping the booties on and keep the sand out. Comfortable enough to wear all day.
- 【Diving Socks Worth Trying】Flexible but thermal diving socks with tougher than standard sole with reinforced rubber grip. Increase friction on the sole so it can grab the paddle board while standing. These dive socks are abrasion resistant and tearing resistant. Great for sandy, rugged or slippery environment without feeling dangerous or uncomfortable.
- 【Excellent Service】30 days guarantee.1 year warranty. 100% satisfaction guarantee. COPOZZ offer professional and fast-responding customer service (within 24 hours); Please contact us if you got any questions, we will always be here to help.
It is no surprise that these OMGear Neoprene booties are a bestseller on the surf foot-wear market. Without costing you an arm or a leg, these low-cut boots will provide you with the kind of insulation and protection you could expect from a much more expensive brand.
Unlike the other options, these booties come in a choice of two lengths (high cut and low cut), making them the perfect choice for a wide range of surfers. Made of 3mm thick neoprene and 4-way stretchy nylon, these booties are just as durable as they are flexible.
Their snug fit, adjustable straps, and glued and blind stitching ensure that your feet will be both warm and free from sand, water, and debris. For convenience, these booties also come with elastic loops on the backs of the heels. When it comes to putting them on, taking them off and hanging them up, these loops can be more helpful than you may think!
Their anti-abrasion and tear-resistant rubber soles mean that you can walk on all sorts of rough, hot, and slippery surfaces without feeling any sort of discomfort or anxiety.
For a surfer, this kind of durability and protection is extremely beneficial, especially when the booties are going to be worn in several different environments.
For their low price, these OMGear booties are known for their surprisingly high quality. They are not only very well-constructed, but their sock-like shape allows for the kind of bare-foot feel flexibility and comfort that surfers so often desire.
These booties are a wonderful option for anyone on a budget looking for versatility and comfort.
- Elastic loop on heel for convenient removal
- Low profile design with a barefoot feel
- Tractive rubber sole
- Can be worn for any water sport
- Highly flexible and insulated
- Misleading size guide
- 【SKIN-FRIENDLY 3MM NEOPRENE SOCKS】 OMGear neoprene water socks made by 3mm quality＆softy neoprene with 4-way stretchy nylon laminated,which is healthy,elastic and durable,can last long even frequent use and protect your feet from cut,puncture,scratch and cold water.
- 【LOW CUT DESIGN WITH ADJUSTABLE STRAP AND ELASTIC LOOP】Low cut design provide more flexible using experience.The adjustable strap can make the welt cover your ankle tightly, prevent sands or other small things coming in.The elastic loop on the heel part can be helpful for easily getting socks on and off.In addition,you can hang your socks on fins or wall easily with this loop.
- 【REINFORCED AND ANTI-SLIP SOLE】Reinforced and rubber printing sole,can be abrasion resistant,tearing resistant and anti-slip.When you ware this neoprene fin socks,you can walk on sandy,rugged or slippery environment without feeling dangerous or uncomfortable.
- 【GLUED BLIND STITCHING】Glued＆blind stitched seams and elastic strap on ankle minimize water coming in,keeps your feet warm,snug and cozy.
- 【BARE-FEET FEELING FOR VERSATILE USING】Your feet will be protected without letting you feel that you are wearing the socks.This flexible and bare-feet feeling neoprene socks are suitable for many watersports＆outdoors activities,What’s more,you can use it as slippers at home.
Here we have another great option from the reputable Californian surf-wear company. Made with FluidFLex and Krypto Forefoot neoprene, these booties are the only pair from our list with a split-toe design.
This shape allows for an extremely grounded, controlled grip which makes these booties a popular choice amongst both nervous beginners and professional surfers. The separation of the toes guarantees a much more natural feel as you can use your larger toe to grip onto the board.
These booties are composed of a durable foxing sole, glued and blind-stitched seams, and a thick rubber sole, making them a brilliant option for cold-water surfing or rough-surface walking. If a simplistic, professional look is what you are after, it might be worth considering paying a little more for this classic O’Neill model.
The brand’s superb craftsmanship is not only reflected in the timeless, minimal design but their best-of-both-worlds construction which ensures not only complete durability but ultimate comfort.
As it says in their name, these booties will allow you to move with the flexibility and precision of a ninja, so if agility is something that concerns you, you may want to consider putting these at the top of your list.
This pair of surf booties would be a particularly good choice for a more experienced or mature surfer who is on the hunt for a pair of high-quality booties that will see them through the years.
- Anti-flush shin strap
- Lightweight and great for traveling
- Minimal water intake
- Non-slip soles
- Classic, slick design
- Thin soled
Best Surf Booties Buying Guide
Now, the surf booties market is extremely dense. There is a vast variety of brands and models to choose from and it can be rather difficult to make a decision when there are so many options and factors to consider.
When you are new to the market, the difference between a pair of good and bad booties can be hard to distinguish. We have put together a summary of things that you should take into consideration to set them apart and find the best pair of surf booties possible.
Material and construction
Similarly to wetsuits, the common material used to make surf booties is neoprene. Neoprene is highly resistant to all sorts of temperatures and climates making it the ideal choice of material for a sport such as surfing.
Some surf booties are dipped in latex, which in combination with the single layer of neoprene, gives the effect of feeling barefoot whilst maintaining ultimate balance and control. These latex-dipped neoprene booties have emerged with popularity over the years with many surfers championing their use.
Whist double-lined neoprene is generally a lot more durable and long-lasting, you are likely to perform better with the additional latex. The decision simply comes down to your personal preference.
When looking for a pair of good-quality, effective surf booties, you should pay close attention to their outsoles. Traction is simply another word for 'grip' so you should be looking for a pair of booties with a good amount of traction to prevent slipping off your board.
Try and look for high-textured, rougher outsoles that will provide you with the proper grip and security you need to perform well in the water.
Fit and comfort
When it comes to finding the perfect pair of surf booties, comfort should be your main priority. You want the booties to be snug, but not too tight so that they fit comfortably, not necessarily perfectly. With many brands running smaller than others, it’s important to consider their individual sizing charts before making any decisions.
As the function of the surf boot is to insulate your feet by creating a thin layer of heated water between your skin and the material, you need to ensure there are no gaps between your feet and the boot. The boot should generally fit you as a sock would. If you can pinch the material between your fingers, the boot is likely too big.
The primary purpose of surf booties is to keep your feet warm and dry amongst cold, wet conditions. As the thermal protection is proportional to the thickness of the booties, it is always best to look for a pair that are 5-7mm thick if you are going to be using them in the winter.
In the summer months when you are using booties solely for surface protection, booties of 2-3.5mm thickness are absolutely fine.
Round toe, split toe
You will notice that one of the main differences between many surf booties is whether they have a round-toe shape or a split-toe shape. Whilst a round-toe boot is designed to look and feel just like a normal shoe, the split-toe boot, like a flip flop, features two or more sections in which the big toe is divided from the others.
Generally, both options work just as well, but whilst the round-toe shape is typically more comfortable and less expensive, the split-toe shape allows for a more natural/balanced feel which typically increases performance.
Best Surf Booties - FAQ's
How do I wash my surf booties?
You should wash your surf booties after every use. As the neoprene is so sensitive, this will help to get rid of any harsh bacteria or chemicals that have been picked up in the water. You should soak the boots for around 40-60 minutes in cold, freshwater which will help up to flush the salt from the ocean.
You should then cleanse them using an extremely gentle soap or wetsuit wash but please ensure to check that it is suitable for using on the material beforehand. It is not recommended, but if essential, you can use your washing machine but you will have to choose the most gentle and coldest setting possible and cannot use any old regular detergent.
When clean, you must dry your boots thoroughly in a warm, dry room before placing them back in storage to prevent mold.
How should I store my surf booties?
You should store your surf booties in a cool, dark dry space if possible. You shouldn’t expose the boots to high-temperatures or direct sunlight often as the neoprene can be damaged. Ideally, in a cupboard of some sort, the booties will be propped upwards with nothing leaning or resting against them.
If they are faced with weight, the neoprene will crease and potentially crack over time. You can also stuff the booties with newspaper or clothing to help them keep their shape.