Most experienced surfers and water sports enthusiasts protect their feet as they indulge in their sports. Surf booties or surfing boots will keep your feet safe from rough, spiny, or sharp objects like corals, rocks, and sand. This type of footwear will also keep your feet warm as you stay longer in the water. The best surf booties are mostly made from high-quality, puncture-resistant materials and thus are suitable for regular use. And whether you’re looking for your first surf booties or you want to replace an old one, here are the five best selections this year.
The Top 5 Surf Booties for 2021
Check out our top five best bets for surf booties this year.
Star Rating: 4.6 out of 5
Best Neoprene Men and Women Surf Boots from Neo-Sport
- These are the best surf boots for warm, mild, or cold water.
- This is available in different men and women sizes.
- This is available in 3, 5, and 7 mm neoprene thicknesses.
- Dimensions: 10 x 12.1 x 3.4 inches, 1 pound
- Available Sizes: sizes 4 to 16 both men and women sizes
- Material: neoprene
- Special Features: these booties are assembled using glue and stitching, with zippers, with WEB at the back of the zipper
Neo-Sport wetsuit booties are among the best surf booties this year because of their many amazing properties. It is made from neoprene and is available in 3, 5, and 7 mm neoprene thicknesses. This pair is also available in many sizes for women and men but we recommend getting a size larger than your size to avoid cramping, pain, and scraping your skin.
The Neo-Sport booties are very durable with a glued and sewn structure. You can safely use these boots to walk over any surface. You don’t have to worry about corals, shells, sand, and dangerous sea creatures that can sting your feet as the soles are puncture-proof.
These booties have a very durable zipper that allows you to easily put it on and take it off. At the back of the zipper is a WEB or a water entry barrier that keeps water from going inside the booties.
- You can select from 3, 5, and 7 mm neoprene thicknesses.
- With a durable, heavy-duty construction.
- With WEB to prevent water from seeping in when you open or close the zipper.
- Available in different sizes for men and women.
- Complaints that it’s not great for rough terrain.
- Complaints with sizing.
Star Rating: 4.6 out of 5
Best Split Toe Booties from O’Niell
- This is made from neoprene 3mm thick.
- Designed with FluidFlex split-toe with a forefoot strap.
- With very durable construction, with interior taped seams.
- Dimensions: 13.2 x 6 x 5 inches, 1.05 pounds
- Available Sizes: 5 to 15
- Material: 3 mm neoprene
- Special Features: FluidFlex split toe, taped seams, anti-flush strap, forefoot strap, and glued + stitched seam
The O’Neil Heat Split-Toe Booties is one of the most popular split-toe surf booties because of its design and good fit. It is available in many sizes for men and women but just like shopping for the right shoe, you should get one that’s a size higher for maximum comfort and a good fit.
Too bad it’s only available in black as it has a rugged design. It is made from neoprene while the material near the toes and sole is rubber. The toe section is FluidFlex and thus, your feet will keep warm and provide a good grip on your board.
These booties have interior-taped seams so they won’t leak and will last a long time. It also comes with a shin strap so your boots will stay in place even when you dive or perform all kinds of tricks. It has a GBS (glued and blindstitch seam) construction making it one of the most durable and longer-lasting surf booties.
The soles are thicker to allow you to step on rough terrain. But it’s not too thick to protect you from scratches, pointed corals, and other sharp debris on the ocean floor.
- This is made from very durable neoprene and a rubber sole.
- This has a FluidFlex split toe to keep your feet warm and anchored to your board.
- With a forefoot strap and shin strap to keep the booties in place.
- Available in many sizes.
- Complaints that the sole is not as thick as other surf booties.
- These booties are only available in black.
Star Rating: 4.7 out of 5
Best Tall Neoprene Boots from Cressi
- These may be used for different water sports including scuba diving, snorkeling, or canyoning.
- Comes with a pull-on closure system so it’s easy to put on and remove.
- Designed to fit scuba fins as the straps won’t easily fall off.
- Dimensions: 11.4 x 13.5 x 3.6 inches, 1.59 pounds
- Available Sizes: 5 to 15 with men and women sizes
- Material: neoprene, rubber sole
- Special Features: with a pull-on closure, can fit open fins
The Cressi Neoprene Booties is a pair of tall booties perfect for snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, and canyoning. This is made from very durable and efficient neoprene material in 5 and 7 mm thickness. This means you can use these booties in cold and even in freezing water as it can keep your feet and toes warm and will keep water from seeping in.
These booties have a pull-on closure zipper system which will let you easily take it off or wear it as you please. You can use these boots in any kind of water sport as they will keep your feet warm and protected. The hard rubber sole will prevent punctures or holes even when you walk over rocks, sharp corals, or shells. Meanwhile, the back of the heel comes with a design that lets you wear fins with confidence. The fins will never fall off even when you’re in strong currents.
Neoprene is elastic and comfortable. Inside is a built-in sole that offers enhanced protection. The sole is very grippy and will keep you steady even when you walk over wet surfaces. These Cressi surf booties are available in many sizes for men and women and come in red/black, grey/black, and black/black colors.
- Available in 5 and 7 mm neoprene thickness.
- These have an easy-to-use zipper closure system.
- The soles are thick, very durable, and grippy.
- The neoprene material is elastic but will keep you warm and safe from punctures and cuts.
- These are available in different sizes and color combinations.
- Complaints about sizing. We recommend following the manufacturer’s sizing guide to ensure a good fit.
Star Rating: 4.7 out of 5
Best Round Toe Boot with 5mm Neoprene from Hyperflex
- Comes with BionicFoam, which is very durable and will help make the boots last.
- With a Diamond Skin Sole for enhanced traction and added protection.
- With a vulcanized heel and arch which also enhances support for a better fit.
- Available Sizes: 5 to 13
- Material: BionicFoam, neoprene, vulcanized heel, and arch
- Special Features: BionicFoam, Diamond Skin sole, ExoShell Membrane, GBS seams
The Hyperflex round-toe boot has a neoprene thickness of 5 mm allowing you to wade, swim and play in colder waters. It is available in many sizes and thus, you can find the right one that fits you very well.
These round toe booties are very durable and will last many uses thanks to their wear-resistant neoprene material. The sole is Diamond Skin that protects very rough and tough surfaces. You can step on sand, corals, and shells or wade in river water without a worry. The Diamond Skin sole also offers improved traction and enhanced protection but you’ll always be in control.
These booties also come with an ExoShell Membrane, a layer of vulcanized material along the arch and heel. You’ll get enhanced support and a good fit. Everything is double-glued and blind-stitched therefore the neoprene is not punctured through and through.
These boots are longer so you can easily place them under your wetsuit legs. This way, you can greatly prevent water from seeping in and you’ll feel warmer longer even in chilly waters.
- These are very durable booties.
- Offers enhanced traction and protection.
- You’ll feel completely in control.
- Provides the best fit, very comfortable to wear.
- With GBS seams, the neoprene stays intact.
- Available in many sizes.
- Only one color is available.
- Problems with sizing.
Star Rating: 4.7 out of 5
Best Split Toe Surf Booties for Reef Activities from FCS
- These are high-performance reef or warm water booties.
- With dual traction for enhanced sensitivity and improved grip.
- With a Metalus locking system for improved security and greater fit.
- Dimensions: 11 x 4 x 4 inches, 2 pounds
- Available Sizes: 6 to 13
- Material: 2-panel neoprene and rubber
- Special Features: Dual traction, Metalus strap locking system, flatlock seams, drainage holes, heel toggle, split-toe type
The FCS Split-Toe reef booties are a pair of high-performance surf booties for warm water and reef activities. It comes with a very sensitive rubber sole for enhanced sensitivity and improved grip. It is very lightweight so you can use it for all kinds of water activities.
These booties will remain on your feet thanks to their Metalus strap locking system. This feature also provides a better fit. The flatlock seams provide maximum durability and drainage holes allow water to drain out. Your booties won’t feel heavy even when you’re out longer in the water. These boots also come with heel toggles which help you slide right in and out. These are split-toe booties so you can guarantee the best grip on your board.
- Very sensitive sole.
- Flexes well and lets you move safely on your board.
- Fits well thanks to its Metalus strap.
- With breathable seams and drainage holes.
- Only a few sizes available.
- Complaints about fitting.
Take note of the following when buying surf booties.
Surf booties fit
Wetsuits or surf booties come in different sizes ranging from 5 to 15. There are hardly any booties in half sizes. Take note that manufacturers have different size templates. A size 7 from one brand may already feel like a size larger or smaller than other brands. It’s best to follow the brand you want to purchase.
Also, if there are pockets of air or gaps between the neoprene and your foot, water will simply come in and fill these gaps. Water will be around your foot and thus, will make the boot very heavy. This is why you must get booties that fit very well.
All users want a tight-fitting pair of surf booties, but not very tight. Booties come with thicker layers of rubber along the toe and heel. This offers improved support and enhanced strength to the boots. However, if these areas are too thick, these will feel tight and will only feel uncomfortable. Compared to regular footwear, booties will not give in even when you use these regularly. You will only make things worse if you continuously wear this kind of surf booties.
Surf booties style/types
There are many types of surf booties: round toe booties, split toe booties, and latex-dipped booties.
Round toe surf booties are one of the most popular and are readily available in most retailers. These are so-called because the ends are rounded and are very easy to make. Round toe booties are the cheapest and are the easiest to fit.
Split toe surf booties are often the choice among experienced surfers. Split toe booties have the big toe separated from the other toes. This type of booties may be harder to keep warm as the big toe is enclosed in a separate section. In regular booties, all your toes are together and thus, it’s easier to conserve heat. Aside from heat conservation, split toe booties allow you to perform better compared to round toe booties. Energy is more efficiently transferred from your feet to the board in split toe booties compared to round toe varieties.
The third most common type of surf booties is the latex-dipped booties. This is made from a new kind of material that’s light and flexible which looks and feels like a single layer of neoprene. Many surfers prefer latex-dipped boots as these will make you feel that you’re surfing barefoot. However, there are some issues when it comes to the material’s longevity.
Surf booties thickness
Neoprene is the most common material used to make surf booties. Neoprene comes in 3, 5, or 7 mm and the thicker the neoprene layer, the warmer your booties will be. 3 mm neoprene booties will be enough to keep you warm in 19-degree waters and will also keep you safe from stinging fish and jellyfishes. But if you prefer to surf or swim in colder waters (8 degrees Celsius or lower then you must use booties with 3 to 5 mm neoprene. For freezing waters, surf booties with neoprene with 5 to 7 mm thickness would be the best choice.
How to find out if you’re wearing good-fitting boots
Surf booties that fit well won’t have any space or gaps between the neoprene material and your skin. The boot feels comfortable, with no thick material scraping your skin. Also, you know that the booties are the perfect fit when these feel like a second skin. You can move easily and surf without any worries with a perfectly fitting pair of booties.
And when you’re sure that your boots fit perfectly, peel up the wetsuit leg and place the boots on. Afterward, roll the leg part of your wetsuit down to cover the booties. With this fit, water won’t move inside the boot. You’ll also conserve heat more efficiently plus, you can take advantage of the neoprene thickness to avoid freezing your toes and feet.
Getting water inside the booties is unavoidable but placing the top part of the boot underneath the leg part of the wetsuit will greatly avoid this. Take note that water can easily accumulate inside the boot and this could lead to the booties ballooning to double their size. This also makes it easier for your boots to get wrenched off from your feet as you dive.
How to care for your surf booties
Surf booties are not as complicated to care for compared to other footwear. All you need to do is to remove all standing water inside the boots right after using them. Remove all small objects too like sand and pebbles. Immediately before you head home from the beach, rinse your boots with fresh water; no need to use soap or detergent. Afterward, dry these in a shaded area. By following these simple steps, you can make these surf boots last longer and avoid common foul smells that develop from unwashed neoprene.
The following are the most frequently asked questions and corresponding answers when buying or using surf booties.
How do you shop for surf booties?
Choose surf booties that fit well around the feet and your ankles. Snug-fitting means that the booties fit well and won’t cause strain or cut off blood circulation to the area. Your toes must be able to move freely and must not be forced to curl because there’s limited space. The booties should never let any water come in however, this may not be completely avoided especially when you’re diving or you’re staying too long in the water.
How do you know you need thick surf booties?
You need thick surf booties when the water you’re surfing in is cold or freezing. If you get cold easily then you should also need thick surf booties. If you’re swimming in jellyfish-infested waters then you should use thick surf booties.
How do surf booties keep you warm?
Surf booties keep you warm because they are made from a special kind of material called neoprene. This material is waterproof and will prevent cold from getting inside your wet suit. Wearing surf booties with a wet suit properly will keep you warm and dry even in very cold waters.
Will split-toe booties perform better than other types of surf booties?
Yes, split-toe booties are more efficient when it comes to gripping the surfboard. These are also more comfortable to wear as the big toes and smaller toes are spread all over the board. But when it comes to preserving warmth, split-toe boots are less efficient as the toes are spread apart and unable to contain heat.
How warm are 5 mm neoprene surf booties?
5 mm booties are great for water temperatures from 43 to 52 degrees Fahrenheit.
How warm are 7 mm neoprene surf booties?
7 mm surf booties are for temperatures that are 40 degrees Fahrenheit and below.
Can you swim while wearing surf booties?
Some types of surf booties will allow you to surf and swim as these fit perfectly on your feet. Latex-covered booties look and feel like a second skin and thus, you will hardly notice that you’re wearing them. You can surf and swim with this kind of booties.
Which is better, neoprene or Thinsulate?
Thinsulate is another type of material used to make surf booties. Thinsulate has better insulating properties compared to neoprene. The insulating capabilities of Thinsulate can help retain body heat than neoprene which is why it’s preferred for very cold air and waters.
From our list, we recommend the Neo-Sport Wetsuit Booties and the O’Neil Heat Split-Toe Booties. These two surf booties are almost equal when it comes to neoprene thickness, overall protection, and size availability.
These booties are very durable, easy to wear and take off, and can be used in very cold waters. But if you prefer round-toe booties, the Neo-Sport Wetsuit Booties got you covered. Meanwhile, split-toe lovers may use the O’Neal Heat Split Toe Booties. These best surf booties will give you maximum protection against rough terrain and cold exposure whether you’re a beginner or experienced surfer.