Most surfers much prefer to surf barefoot. You get a better grip and feel for the board, and it’s also less faff if you don’t need to remember, put on, take off, rinse off and dry a pair of boots every time you go surfing. However, in winter, there’s little choice if you don’t want to lose your toes to frostbite.
Getting the right pair of wetsuit boots can make a real difference to your session. Usually, the more you spend on boots, the warmer your feet, the more durable they will be, and the better technology they will have. Here’s what to look out for…
Whatever style, shape or thickness you go for, you need your boots to fit you properly. Too big and your feet will be sliding around inside them, too tight and your toes will be crushed into them and you’ll find yourself dreading having to put them on – despite how much you might think they’ll stretch in time, they won’t.
Sizing for wetsuit boots is the same as for any normal pair of shoes, but it can vary between brands, so make sure you check out the brand's size guide before buying.
This largely comes down to personal preference for surfing. You want to go for as thin as you can bear, as the thinner the boot, the better you can feel the board beneath you.
As a rough guide, a pair of 3mm boots should be fine for in-between seasons in the south of the UK, but by winter you’ll probably need to upgrade to 5mm. If you surf further north, you might even need to go up to 7mm.
There’s two shapes of boots to look out for, each with their own pros and cons.
Probably the most popular option, as they tend to be cheaper to manufacture and are pretty straightforward when it comes to getting the right fit. They can also be a bit warmer than the alternative option, as all your toes are cosied up together.
The Gul Power 5mm Round Toe Wetsuit Boot is our bestseller for good reason – it’s versatile, affordable and durable. Designed using 5mm Dura-Flex neoprene and a Titanium 2 lining, the Gul Power Boot is super warm yet flexible. They have a reinforced heel and toe for durability and features Gul's EZ entry system and side zip for easy donning.
If you've got a higher budget, the Xcel Infiniti Boots are packed full of features to ensure your feet are warm and comfortable. Featuring a Thermo Lite Infra-Red thermal lining that retains body heat and a super-stretch neoprene that makes these boots really comfortable to wear. The quick-dry fibres help them to dry quickly between sessions.
If you’re looking for a superb mid-range round toe boot, the Mystic Star Boots could be a good option for you. These boots have been designed to be shaped around the toes, making them easy to get on and off, and great value for money. Made with a thin sole so you have an enhanced board feel.
Favoured by more serious surfers, as it enables better grip and balance on the board. The big toe is separated from the others, which is why it might get a little bit chilly. This also means there’s another aspect to think about when it comes to getting the right fit, but it’s worth it when you get the right pair. Note that sometimes the split is internal, meaning you can't always tell immediately from looking at the boot.
The Rip Curl E-Bomb Split Toe Boots are a great choice for winter waves. Featuring a new Rip Curl Exclusive 3mm single layer sole that provides the ultimate board feel without compromising stretch.
At the higher end, Mystic's Supreme 5mm Split Toe Boots are super toasty with a fast-drying lining to keep your feet warm and comfortable. These boots are made for the surfer, kitesurfer and windsurfer who want more grip. GBS and Liquid seams will prevent any water from seeping in. Getting in and out of these bad boys is a breeze.
But, for the ultimate winter boots, Solite wins the prize by a long way. Solite boots have revolutionised the boot world as they are the world’s only custom fit surf boots and guarantee a perfect fit giving you the ultimate barefoot feel. If you need more convincing, here are 11 reasons why you need the Solite boots.
Sometimes in the warmer season you might still find yourself in need of a pair of boots, but not for warmth. If you’re surfing somewhere rocky and don’t want to risk any damage to your feet, or somewhere that’s popular with weaver fish, a pair of lightweight reef booties are a great option.
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