Our surfing ancestors might laugh seeing us in neoprene boots as we shred and ride the waves. After all, they loved the feeling of waves and the sand on their feet. Surf booties have now become a necessity more than a luxury. What was once not listed in the surfer’s things to bring list is now the regular part of a cold-water ensemble. The best surf booties help to complete your wetsuit in keeping your whole body, including your toes warm as you tread on the waves.
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Top 10 Best Surf Booties Reviews
The market is swamped with different surf booties, and it can be tough to make the right choice according to your needs. Fortunately, we’ve got you a list of our choices that you can check out. Make sure to exercise caution if you are going to use these reviews to help you decide.
- Rip Curl Flash Bomb Hidden Split Toe Wetsuit
- O’Neill Heat 3mm Split Toe Surf Booties
- O’Neill Reactor 2 2mm Reef Booties
- XCEL Men’s Drylock Split Toe Boot 3M
- Aqua Lung 5mm Superzip Ergo Surf Booties
- Neo Sport Premium Wetsuit Booties
- O’Neill Superfreak Tropical Split Toe Booties
- Hyperflex AMP 2mm Low Reef Surf Booties
- Mares Equator 2mm Dive Surf Booties
- Seavenger Zephyr 3mm Neoprene Dive Socks
#1. Rip Curl Flash Bomb Hidden Split Toe Wetsuit – Best Unisex Surf Bootie
Rip Curl is a household name when it comes to any surfing product. Thus, it comes as no surprise to have their Flash Bomb Hidden Split Toe top our list of the best surf booties. Flash Bomb is the perfect surf bootie mainly because of its unique design that fits in a stylish hidden split toe design.
Made from the same E5 neoprene and taping that most Rip Curl’s high-end wetsuits have, Flash Bomb offers superior flex and comfort combined with minimum dry time, thanks to the polypropylene Flash inside-lining. The Stitch-Less Compression straps help greatly in added mobility, making it perfect for any surfer.
Sometimes, the downside in wearing boots is the odor that it comes with, with prolonged use. However, Rip Curl uses an anti-microbial technology that is embedded in the fabric that gets rid of odor-causing bacteria. Flash Bomb isn’t just warmth and comfort; it is hygienic, too!
The Rip Curl Flash Bomb comes with soft heel cups and hidden split-toes. Its hook-and-loop closure design guarantees unwanted moisture out. Aside from that, its stitch-less compression straps keep these surf booties secured to your feet at the same time it is offering great mobility.
This 3mm masterpiece has very thin soles with rubber gaps that are cut out for better board feel and grip. The design is Rip Curl’s answer to most rider’s feeling of having the booties disconnect them from their boards.
The Rip Curl Flash Bomb is the surf bootie you are looking for if it is style, comfort, and durability you are up to.
|Unique hidden split-toe design||Sole may be too thin for colder waters|
|Velcro straps for nice and snug||Sizes can be a little confusing
|Great for rocky surfing||No arch support
|Good value for your money|
#2. O’Neill Heat 3mm Split Toe Booties – Best for Cold Waters
What started as a small business for shaping boards and selling wax, O’Neill, whose store first opened in 1952 ventured in insulated surf vests for extended surfing sessions in the frigid waters of Northern California. The company’s success led to the creation of wetsuits and their line of surf booties.
O’Neill’s Heat 3mm Split Toe Booties are the best sellers in most surf shops. Its split-toe design lets your toes feel free and loose on your board without entirely losing touch. They are strapless, but they come equipped with glued and bind-stitched seams that keep them safe and snug on your feet. These also keep the water and moisture out.
The dryness, durability, and comfort come from the soft, fluid flex neoprene design that is unique with O’Neill’s excellent craftsmanship. The materials and construction guarantee that these surf booties will survive years despite the harshest of conditions.
The O’Neill Heat 3mm Split Toe Booties are the surf booties you need in super cold waters.
|Great fit and easy to walk with||Leashes get caught in-between the split-toes|
|Minimal water intake||Fills easily with water
|Good traction||Sizes run small|
#3. O’Neill Reactor 2 2mm Reef Booties – Best for Warm Waters
Another pair from the O’Neill Company is the Reactor 2mm Reef Booties. These are manufactured with 2mm synthetic mesh neoprene that is thinner than most designs.
These light booties have surprisingly strong soles that let you surf in waters filled with reefs. Reefs are dangerous to your feet if exposed to sharp edges. And, O’Neill Reactor 2 2mm Reef Booties are designed to shield you from those elements and some more.
They are best for warmer climates too. The materials utilized dissipate heat faster when in warmer waters. O’Neill is well-aware of water intake but resisted adding a drainage hole. Instead, they designed into the liner to fit tight to avoid too much water from coming in.
The soles are considerably strong that it can also withstand numerous rounds of surfing. The lightweight structure faintly minimizes the stability compared with split toes or some of the other round toes. The fluid foam from which they are made from aids in keeping them breathable when in warm water.
O’Neill Reactor 2 2mm Reef Booties are considered the standard water shoes that you can find at your local surf shops. If you are not an everyday surfer, but somehow always find yourself in the waters, this is a good pair for you.
|Versatile for both reef and summer usage||The fit at the ankles is not always great
|Tight-fitting to keep out water||Too thin you can feel the rocks|
|Great for rocky beaches||No drainage holes
|Minimal water intake
|Thin and lightweight
#4. XCEL Men’s Drylock Split Toe Boot 3Mm – Best for Wide Foot Surfers
The founder of Xcel saw the opportunity to create and to connect high-performance products with the athletes. His creativity found him no shortage of inspiration, making his stores full of superior products. Founded in 1982, Xcel has been passionate about product development that it became the defining characteristic of this brand.
One of the best from their line is XCEL Men’s Drylock Split Toe Boot. These surf booties are different than most as they are specifically and exclusively made for surfing. Its ergonomic fit makes you feel like reeling out turns, and its high-technology design keeps it on top of the shelves.
The XCEL Men’s Drylock has an excellent grippy rubber sole that covers the bottom and the sides. They are layered for a more supportive fit that makes way for less bulk in the arch. This design keeps good traction under the heel.
The Velcro straps connect the ankle to the arch, effectively locking in your foot. The strength and durability it holds are from the seams that are glued and bind-stitched. They are then taped on the inside, making it liquid-sealed to keep the leaks out.
Another technology that XCEL has on this surf bootie is that it is fully lined with Thermo Dry Celliant (TDC) smart fabric. This means that your body heat is recycled, and it dries up quickly. They look stylish and psychedelic, and you may just have to put it on the list of the fanciest surf boots around.
|Ultra-stretch neoprene is perfect for wide-footed surfers||Heel finger loops are reported to come unglued after a few uses
|Sole is thick enough to protect your feet from the rocks||Not the most durable on the bottom|
|Warm, good fit, and great feel on the board
|Spot-on size chart
#5. Aqua Lung 5mm Superzip/Echozip Ergo Boot – Best for Different Water Sports
Surfing in colder waters requires you a surfing boot much thicker than 3 mm. Thicker booties are perfect at keeping your feet warm as the temperatures become unbearable down there. Aqua Lung Superzip Ergo Boot is a particular product that has a thickness of 5mm to better warmth trapping and retaining.
Aqua Lung is no doubt one of the best players in wetsuits and surf booties. Since the company started in 1943 as a pioneer in modern diving equipment and with a new diving gear always in development, they continue to be the diver and the surfer’s choice.
Aqua Lung 5mm Superzip Ergo Boot features an ergonomic sole with an outsole that is significantly fitted to match your foot’s profile. Its Ergo design, aids in keeping these booties eliminate any excess water inside. Consequently, your feet can maintain its warmth as you go about surfing or any other water sport.
The unique design involves a customary neoprene upper layer and a surface with thickness markings. The zippers are kept in place with the use of loops and hook zipper locks. Its outsoles are made from vulcanized rubber.
The whole of the boot is held together by four seams, two at the front and two at the heels. These seam cuts are placed far from each and at the widest parts of your feet to minimize the chances of seam abrasion.
|Hook & loop zipper lock keeps the zipper in place||Takes a while to remove
|ERGO™ shaped footbed and outsole
|Tough vulcanized rubber outsole
|Zippers are corrosion resistant|
#6. Neo Sport Premium Wetsuit Boots – Best for Women
Since Neo Sport’s acquisition by Henderson Group in 2019, they remained focused on Thermal protection and innovation and development of neoprene products. Coming with a refreshingly simple design, Neo Sport Premium answers to gender-specific watersport gear. Their line of Neo Sport Premium Wetsuit Boots is a decent choice for women that surf in all types of water conditions.
This standard neoprene boot is offered in different thickness options, from 3mm to 7mm. Its construction includes a double-glued and puncture-resistant sole. The heavy-duty zipper it comes with on the inner side has a water entry barrier.
Rocky beaches have challenged surfers over and over again with its sharp coral edges, rough reef terrains, or even urchins and spiky fishes. Neo Sport Premium Wetsuit Boots’ sole is puncture resistant. This means you are surely safe and protected no matter where you ride. Or walk or decide to go.
It may not look as fancy as most of the surf booties featured but, it works as intended and with a less hefty price tag. This doesn’t mean it isn’t worthy of trying. Neo Sport Premium Wetsuit Boots is a solid and simple option to take with you on your next water sporting trip.
|Various thicknesses available||Rubber soles tend to separate from Velcro after a few rough uses|
|Puncture Resistant Sole||Misleading size guide
|Sizes range from 4 to 16||Bulky
#7. O’Neill Superfreak Tropical Split Toe Booties – Best Low-Cut Ankle Design
The third product from O’Neill is the Superfreak Tropical Split Toe Booties. This incredible but cheaper surf bootie from a reputable brand is perfect for tropical and warmer waters. The craftsmanship on this model is unmatched by any other model out there.
Tropical weather can get the water pretty warm at times. On account of which, you will need a thin surf bootie that can cope with the penetrating heat generated at the feet as you put forth yourself in the water. For warmer water conditions, the 2 mm thickness provides the appropriately needed functionality.
O’Neill Superfreak Tropical Split Toe Booties weigh in at about 0.7 pounds each. This is considerably light compared to most surf booties. Almost as if you’re not even wearing them. They are constructed with neoprene uppers that provide both flexibility and insulation.
Equipped with rapid drain ports on the side, the water drains out quickly and efficiently so you wouldn’t feel like floating atop of your board. The durable fluid foam nylon prevents them from wearing as you paddle out.
As the name suggests, this surf bootie is ideal for warm waters. It shouldn’t be the bootie to bring on colder waters.
|Lightweight construction allows for effortless maneuverability||Split toe can be uncomfortable for those with a big toe|
|Great durability to maximum use||Confusing chart size
|Superior craftsmanship||Thin soled
|Tractive rubber soles
#8. Hyperflex AMP 2mm Low Reef Boot – Best for High-Performance Surfing
Hyperflex Wetsuits didn’t emerge until 2002 when they renewed their focus on the surf wetsuit business. Intending to provide the best possible wetsuit on the market for the most affordable price, they have strived and remained to be one of the strongest in the markets. Hyperflex has over 400 core US surf accounts that are distributed internationally.
One of their best products yet is Hyperflex AMP 2mm Low Reef Boot that is designed and built to be simple, but efficient, from warm to cold water conditions. These surf booties offer excellent comfort and insulation properties and can reasonably be on this list of best surf booties.
Hyperflex AMP 2mm Low Reef Boot possesses a heavy-duty neoprene upper that provides equal parts warmth and comfort while withstanding wear and tear. They are waterproof with their single-needle engineering method designed to keep the water out. As tough as the materials sound to be, they are incredibly warm, comfortable, and flexible for that maximum range of motion.
Hyperflex uses their Diamond-Skin soles on this line. This technology provides stable grip and traction, without compromising your feel of the board as well as your range of motion. Its flawless stitching and the easily adjustable drawstring are perfect to fit them snug to the contours of your feet.
|Drawstring and Velcro strap makes for maximum adjustment||Can be difficult to put on
|Grippy enough to walk on rough surfaces||Not for windsurfing|
|Durable AMP-foam neoprene
|Flexible and highly insulated
|Reduced water intake
#9. Mares Equator 2mm Dive Boots – Best for Slippery Environments
Mares is a world leader with its line of diving products. Their engineering and technology aren’t just limited to scuba diving but other water sports like surfing. Their passion for the marine world pushes them to come out with innovative products so you can enjoy the waters with a unique and unforgettable experience.
Their 2mm thick Equator is a mid-top boot that is both great for water activities in warm water conditions. Made from a combination of nylon II neoprene and vulcanized rubber soles, you are not only provided insulation from the water, but the bottoms of your feet are well-protected. Your walks on hot sand, rough surfaces, and pointed rocks will keep you from worrying about injuring yourself.
The material and construction used with Mares Equator give the bootie a lightweight structure that easily dries up and absorbs the least amount of water. The seams on these boots hold together well as they are glued as well as blind stitched. The sole on the heel of this bootie extends upwards for about 2 inches to give protection to your ankle.
The best feature Mares Equator showcases is the patterning at the bottom. Its tractions soles make it a good bootie for any kind of surfaces. The ribs minimize your chances of slipping if you want to go surfing in any slippery environments.
|Can also be used with other watersports||Not ideal in colder waters|
|More affordable than most brands||Water fills in overtime
|Lightweight, great for traveling
#10. Seavenger Zephyr 3mm Neoprene Dive Socks – Best Budget-Friendly Surf Boot
They are cut way too low to even be considered as a boot, but they work the same purpose as those that are highly cut. Plus, the price tag makes it worthy to be on this list. Seavenger Wetsuits Premium Neoprene Water Fin Socks provide decent amounts in the ways of construction quality and insulation.
These booties are constructed with a rather thick neoprene that provides above-average insulation. They are flexible, and they shape according to the exact contours and movements of your feet. The outsoles have a fair amount of traction to help you keep your feet to the board.
Seavenger Zephyr has no attachment or strapping mechanisms. The materials used to construct this bootie include spandex to fit snugly to your ankles. This mechanism keeps the booties from moving around a lot, and from external debris to get in. Overall, Seavenger Zephyr isn’t bad for a good budget surf bootie.
|Honeycomb sole provides a grip on slippery surfaces||Flimsy and size chart is confusing|
|Spandex ankles allow for a snug fit||Stitching rips out over time
|Can be worn on any watersports
|Most affordable in the market
|Flexible and highly insulated
Our Top Pick
The search for the right footwear to keep you warm while reducing the impact of your performance can be overwhelming. But, spending time to research and try each surf bootie yourself won’t hurt your decision-making process. The best surf bootie you need is the one that best fits your needs.
Our top pick goes to a well-known and reputable brand. A household name in water activities, Rip Curl considers that performance and board feel are necessary for every surfer. The materials that they made Rip Curl Flash Bomb with, develop the surf bootie’ maximum flexibility, comfort, and stylish design.
The Rip Curl Flash Bomb is perfect for any rider who is transitioning to cold water surfing from a warmer climate where people don’t feel the need to wear boots.
What are Surf Booties?
One would think why someone would wear shoes at the beach? Traditionally, beaches are for flip-flops or barefoot walking. So, what are surf booties, exactly?
Surf booties are essentially thick socks that you wear when in water to keep your feet from corals or sharp objects in the ocean. They also help keep your feet warm in cold waters. Analogously, wetsuits are for the body as surf booties are for the toes.
Wetsuits and surf booties go hand in hand. Surf booties help you maintain the right balance and stability on your board while keeping your toes safe and warm when in water. They are called booties, but they are not always looking like boots. Some of them resemble normal light sneakers.
Why Do You Need Surf Booties?
Your surfing trip needs you to bring your surf booties for these three reasons;
Protection. Surf booties keep your skin on your feet when you surf over coral or limestone banks. The corals may look pretty and colorful, but it can be deadly if you aren’t careful. They serve as a shield against harmful UV rays and stingers, too. Pavements can be too hot, walking from the line up to your car. Booties are there to make that a walk in the park.
Warmth. Strange as it may sound, some areas in the ocean can be around freezing temperatures. Falling off from your surfboard to this kind of water can cause hypothermia. Without these booties, you might risk frostbite in colder waters.
Grip. Sure, surf booties are recommended for waters around 40 to 60°F. That doesn’t mean they are useless in warmer waters like Hawaii. Surf booties have traction on the bottom that can help you have a solid grip on the board and keep your balance. Perfect if you’ve held back on waxing, or if in the water that’s too cold, your feet already felt numb.
What to Consider in Picking Your Surf Booties?
Almost every surf bootie looks the same. But there are a few things about them that separate them from the other. Take the following into consideration, and you just stand the chance of getting the best surf booties you need for your rides.
Fit and Comfort
Like your normal shoes, you want your surf booties to fit you not just perfectly, but comfortably. There are booties shaped to fit perfectly on the contours of your feet, and there are others that are flat and rigid. The challenge on this criteria is the fact that surf booties come in whole sizes only, no halves.
Aside from them coming only in whole sizes, each manufacturer uses its own template and could be far different from the other one. Size 7 from brand Y might feel like size 8 in brand Z, or vice-versa. Your gamble by trying out different brands until you find the right that is perfect for you – without looking whether it’s a 7 or 8.
Surf booties prevent your feet from getting cold by heating a layer of water between your skin and the material. Make sure there are no gaps between your foot and the bootie. Otherwise, water can get in and swill around, resulting in a heavier bootie.
A comfort fitting surf bootie should feel snug like a sock. If the material can be easily pinched, it can likely be loose. Have a tight size, but not too tight to cut off your circulation. The good tight offers extra support and strength. just make sure it won’t cause discomfort to your feet in the process.
Materials and Construction
The surf booties you’re picking should be able to adjust to meet the exact specifications of your foot size. Slippage because of wrong-fitting surf booty will result in leakage that defeats the purpose of wearing them in the first place. They should be designed with maximum adjustability, comfortability, and durability.
To make the surf booties durable and warm enough for the feet, a specific fabrication method should be done. As with most wetsuits, neoprene is the material to be used. This is because neoprene is highly resistant to weather elements, extreme temperatures, and chemical spills. It is the perfect material for the ocean waves and terrain’s battering.
As technology advances, manufacturers adapted the process of dipping neoprene in the latex. This adds up to the lightness and flexibility. The latex-dipping method also lets the manufacturers design the surf booties in a way that shows the single-lined layer of neoprene on the outside.
Neoprene and latex combination has demonstrated a fantastic design for riders who want the same connection with their board. This technology gives the thickness that results in the surfer’s feeling of being barefoot, making it more stable to help you with your performance.
Note that, thinner surf booties may not be the most durable. Such construction could last you a surf session. It wouldn’t be a bad investment to have the well-designed, double-lined neoprene that lasts long.
Dealing with water temperature is one of what manufacturers had in mind during the development of surf booties. This is why the majority of these apparels are made out of neoprene that is specifically designed to insulate the feet. No pair of surf booties will make your feet too warm. The trick is to get the thicker one as these contain internal layers that provide the feet additional warmth.
Most surf booties are designed to be 3mm to 7mm thick. It all depends on your preference but, in locations where the waters go up to mid-30s, 5mm will work. 3mm is perfect for warmer months. For colder climates, stock up on 7mm surf booties to keep your toes warm and dry.
Surfing requires a decent amount of traction. Smooth outsoles can’t help you when standing up on your board. It would be a fist of sliding and slipping on your board. Look for surf booties that have rougher and more textured outsoles that will provide appropriate grip and traction.
Surf Bootie Styles: Round Toe vs. Split-Toe
Another consideration you will have to make in deciding which is the best surf bootie is choosing between Round Toe and Split-Toe. You might have already guessed what they are, but if not, they simply refer to the footbed part of the surf bootie. The round toe is just like a normal shoe, whereas the split-toe is split into sections, like flip-flops.
The split-toe surf booties feature a toe that is separated into two. The big toe fits into the first section with the rest fitting into the other section (or sometimes sections). The increase in performance is noticeable since it guarantees natural feel as the balance is created in the process. It also does not slide off the board, thanks to the split chamber that offers a better grip on your big toe.
Round toe surf booties are the easiest to manufacture and are generally less expensive compared to split-toe. They are easier to fit since they are built just like your everyday pair of shoes where all your toes rest on the same footbed. Its biggest advantage is having all the toes warmer together in the same way fingers are warmer in mittens than gloves.
Some riders feel that split-toe surf bootie design is less comfortable since it forces your toes apart. The round toe riders think theirs are not as secure. Surfers may argue for each quality of these surf booties. The bottom line is they both work great, you just have to find out what makes you comfortable.
How to Take Care of Your Surf Booties
Your surf booties are an extension of your wetsuit, therefore should be taken care of the same way the latter is too. Taking care of your surf booties help in making them last longer.
There is no special tip except that you should not forget to rinse them out after each use. This is to get rid of the salt that may build up as it dries out. You may soak them in cold water occasionally. You may also use a wetsuit detergent in case they become smelly.
Take note that neoprene and the sun don’t go well together. So, when drying them out, don’t put them directly under the sun. Make sure that they are fully dry before putting them away. As with most things that are kept with moisture, they can get moldy too.
An avid surfer knows that there is no limitation to the kind of water to surf. Mushy or high waves, warm or cold waters, if the feel to surf arises, you sure will be hitting the waters. However, surfing in cold waters would not be as fun or could even be dangerous. Cold waters could cause hypothermia or frostbite. It wouldn’t be fun to have your toes feel numb in the middle of shredding.
That is what surf booties are for. They are like wetsuits to your feet. These booties keep your feet insulated to handle the harsh temperatures of the water. Not only that, but they also keep your toes from sharp objects that are not often noticeable in the ocean.
So, if you’re still wondering whether you should buy or not, think about whether you’d like to turn your toes into ice the next time you go surfing. Or, if walking barefoot from the beach to the parking lot on a scorching summer day is fun.
Surfing booties are not just millennial fad. They are here for a purpose. They weren’t here during the early eras of surfing, but we sure are thankful someone thought of making one.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: Should I wax my board if I wear booties?
Q: Should I have thermal socks within my surf booties for extra warmth?
Q: How can I prevent water from filling in my surf booties?
Q: Are seams important?
- Surf Wax
- Fish Surfboards
- Longboard Surfboards
- Surfboard Travel Bags
- Bodyboard Bags
- Longboard Fins
- Surf Gloves
G’day, my name is Rach Taylor and I’m the proud Founder of Surf Hungry. I am a former Australian Olympic athlete and Australian representative surf sports athlete. I’ve worked in the surf industry and lived at many of Australia’s best surf spots, sparking a life-long love of the ocean and a passion for surf sports which also rubbed off on my two young sons! I am also lucky to spend a lot of ocean-time in my favorite second home, Indonesia. In addition to SurfHungry I have founded several other websites in my areas of passion, namely coffee and rock climbing, and am also a regular rowing content contributor.