When the water gets colder the first thing to add to your wetsuit are booties. Lets find out what to look for when buying them.
Neoprene boots are the first thing you put on when the water gets to cold for just your wetsuit. Again, most of the things we wrote about neoprene in our wetsuit guide also apply here. When buying them consider:
- the type and thickness of neoprene: There is not much to tell here about the type of neoprene, again flexible neoprene is better as it hugs the feet better. It is also much easier to put on and off neoprene boots that are made of flexible neoprene. The thickness of neoprene in neoprene boots can be between 1mm and 7mm.
- how are they stitched: stitching influences how much water can get into the boots through the stitches. Again, blindstitch and liquid taped stitches are the best, liquid taping on neoprene boots is now standard in all high end models. If you want more detailed description of stitches, read the guide.
Neoprene boots specific info
We have two types of neoprene boots:
- reef walkers – these are really thin (0,5 – 1mm) and low cut slippers that are made to protect your feet from rocks and coral when surfing in summer
- winter boots – this are thick (2 – 7mm) and are made for protection from the cold.
Besides the general things we mentioned above also look for:
- tight fit – if wetsuit booties are to big, they will fill with water and your foot will float in them – less control. But unlike with gloves, do not go to far. If neoprene boots are to tight they will slow the blood circulation and your feet will be cold. Also look for the ones with straps across the feet, so you can secure and adjust them better.
- length – how far up your do they reach? Shorter ones can slip from under your wetsuit and get filled with water. So the longer the better, if neoprene boots have a strap to tighten them around your ankle – that is also a plus.
- split toe – this is a personal preference, some people get annoyed when boots have separate toe but performance wise it is a good thing. Split toe will prevent you feet from moving within the boot, so you do not slip.
That’s it, maybe just one more beginner tip – put your booties UNDER your wetsuit. Sounds funny, but you can see people do all sorts of things.
If you want to learn more about which wetsuit goes with which water temperature and what are the factors that influence the feeling of cold check this article.