Choosing the right pair of wetsuit boots for surfing increases your overall comfort and performance. The right type and thickness booties make a whole lot of difference compared to any pair of random Noname slippery wetsuit socks.
Surf wetsuits boots also increase the grip on your board and help a ton when going in/out on rocky point breaks. In some places, like Indonesia, reef boots are a MUST if you don’t want to ruin your holiday because of a small infection!
As your feet are submerged most of the time on a regular surf session, surfing without the booties in cold water slowly loses the body temperature which will eventually shorten the overall time spent in the water.
How To Choose
How to Choose Wetsuit Boots?
- Split Toe Wetsuit Boots – A wetsuit boot where the largest toe is separated from the rest of the toes for better space, balance, and control.
The closed-toe section prevents the leash from tangling between the toes!
- Round Toe Wetsuit Boots – Classic wetsuit boots that don’t have the toes separated. Known for better warmth and protection.
- Reef Boots – Designed with a rugged sole, ranging from 1-2mm. The main point is to protect the soles from sharp coral, rocky bottom, and even the stingrays.
Split Toe or Round Toe Wetsuit Boots? It all comes to personal preference. If you are not a fan of split-toe socks/shoes, round-toe boots suit you better. Split Toe boots are also better for taller/larger surfers with small/medium feet, or for anyone who’d like that extra stance. Some say that the split toe gets you as close to barefoot as possible. I personally recommend trying both options for the best preference.
Wetsuit Boots vs Socks – In other words – Rugged Sole vs the Standard Sole Wetsuit Boots. Cheaper wetsuit boots are made of light neoprene that won’t take as much beating such as walking on rocks or the reef. Softer wetsuit boot soles have a better feel on the board while rugged wetsuit boots are definitely better when you are not only surfing on beach brakes. Also, using diving wetsuit socks is not your best bet since they simply slide through on the board when turning on waves. Wetsuit boots are sometimes confused with “wet socks“, which are actually bodyboarding fin socks and NOT SUITABLE FOR SURFING.
Straps – Helps to pull the boot up into the arch of your foot which minimizes the boot being loose.
Stitchings – Flatlock – Cheapest, easiest. Let’s the water sweep in. Blindstitched / Glued – Won’t let the water sweep in through the stitchings, only through the neoprene.
Xcel – Ventiprene
You are looking at a pair of ventilated ‘casual’ reef boots by Xcel. The Ventiprene offers awesome value by providing a great deal of comfort, grip, and protection from the sharp corals or slippery rocks. These boots can be easily used in-an out of the surf due to their comfortable fit and extra cushion underneath the sole. The pull-on adjustable lace takes care of a flexible fit when moving around.
O’Neill – Superfreak
Tropical Split Toe Reef Boots
Technical land- or sea walkers – those deep split toe reef boots offer proper balance and easy on-and-off. The Fluid foam exterior with a solid rubber sole is right about enough to keep your feet protected and comfortable. As these boots are low-top type – they might collect some water in the boot so it is advisable to raise your feet above the water when paddling to get rid of it.
- Sizes: 5-14
- Thickness: 2mm
- Mid/Low-top type
- Fluid Foam neoprene
- Torsion control front strap
- Textured rubber sole
- Drawstring closure
- Adjustable hook
- Front loop strap
- Deep Split Toe design
Xcel – Inifiniti Unisex
Best Price To Quality surf reef boots on the market!
Grip and rock protection. Slightly higher cut than most to offer more ankle protection. The split toe is covered to prevent the leash from tangling. Xcel is known for producing good quality technical surf gear and those boots are perfect to pack for a tropical surf trip, or whenever going in on rocky/reef breaks. Quite useful on sandy bottoms as well to prevent stepping on the rays!
- Sizes: 5-13
- Thickness: 1mm
- Mid-top type
- Velcro Adjustable Strap on the front
- Drawstring closure around the ankle
- Durable sole with great grip
- Available in 2 colors
- Minimal feel
O’Neill – Reactor 2
Cheapest Surf Reef boots by a known surf brand!
O’Neill Men’s Wetsuit Size Guide By land or sea, keep your feet fully protected in these O’Neill Reactor Reef Boots. 2mm neoprene upper. Side mesh panels for drainage to keep your feet dry when out of the water. Textured synthetic outsole and protective toe cap. WARNING California’s Proposition 65 Measurements: Weight: 6 oz Product measurements were taken using size 8, width D – Medium. Please note that measurements may vary by size. The weight of footwear is based on a single item, not a pair. If you’re not fully satisfied with your purchase, you are welcome to return any unworn and unwashed items with tags intact and original packaging included.
- Sizes: 5-14
- 2mm neoprene
- Low top design
- 2 designs
- Durable Textured Rubber Sole
- Fluid Foam Neoprene
- Flat Stitch Construction
- Round Toe. Snuggle fit.
Xcel – Reef Walkers
With a grippy sole and reinforced toe & heel caps, these are the most simplistic yet essential pair of boots you’ll need on a tropical destination. 1mm thick, these lightweight ‘slip-on’ reef boots by Xcel can never be too much when you are looking for an easy buy!
O’Neill – Heat
MSRP: 50-70 USD
The Heat series wetsuit booties help to improve the surfing experience by allowing you to stay longer in cold water. They also save you from pain when walking on sharp stones. An amazing addition to your superhero set!
- Available thicknesses: 3 / 5
- Available sizes: 5-15
- FluidFlex Split Toe.
- Interior taped seams.
- Anti-flush Shin Strap.
- Forefoot Strap.
- Glued & Blindstitched Seams.
Xcel – Infiniti
Xcel’s most advanced wetsuit boots
The most durable construction for keeping the pull loop attached to the boot. Pressure bonding also means a more watertight construction, since it requires no stitching that would otherwise penetrate the neoprene and let the water sweep in.
- Sizes 5-13
- Engineered design for a comfortable contoured fit.
- Plush Thermo Lite interior with Taped seams and quick-dry fibers to stay drier.
- Pull up the ankle loop for easy entry.
- Single rubber bottom construction for durability and board feel.
- Taped seams = Durability.
- Pull-up ankle loop = Easy entry.
- Single rubber bottom = Great board feel.
- Quick-dry fibers – Stays dryer.
- Engineered design – Contoured fit.
- Pressure Bonded Back Ankle Pull Loop.
O’Neill – Ninja
A great choice for the all-year-round surfer who’s after the best feel of the board
The NINJA Split Toe boot has all the basics that you need at a value price! The minimal design, nice grip, and ultra-lightweight make you feel like a ninja when you have them on. Although 3mm is something right in the middle, they’re on the thinner side but have a durable sole which will make them one of the best all-around booties for surfing.
PROs: Affordable price, great feel. Because of the minimal/thin design, those boots dry quicker! Some users have switched to Ninjas over rugged&overengineer boots due to their simplicity.
CONs: If you are walking over really sharp rocks to go surf you may want something with a thicker sole though. For most jobs, this will work just fine.
To prevent water-bogging, some users have cut off the velcro strap at the top to tuck them under the ankles of the wetsuit.
- Sizes: 6-13.
- Thicknesses: 3 / 5 / 7.
- FluidFlex and Krypto forefoot.
- Ultra Minimal design.
- Anti-flush Shin strap.
- Durable Foxing sole.
- Glued and Blindstitch seam construction.
O’Neill – Psycho Tech
Ultimate warmth & comfort
Ultimate performance-driven boot. The Psycho Tech is equivalent to Rip Curl’s Flashbomb series.
- Sizes: 7-14.
- Techno Butter 3 Neoprene.
- Round-toe design offers an additional warmth component.
- O-ring Seal creates complete closure, while also allowing ease of entry and exit.
- Exterior Seams Are Fluid-Seam-Welded And Interior Is TB3X Taped For Increased Durability And Longevity.
- Pull-on strap.
- Velcro strap.
- Toughened edges and nose.
O’Neill – Heat
The Heat by O’Neill is a commonly seen pair of boots seen further away from the equator, obviously. These are widely used surf boots by windsurfers and surfers due to their comfortable and durable fit. There’s plenty of engineering to put into the boots which has also shown on the rating and feedback on Amazon – 4.6 / 5 out of 24+ ratings.
- FluidFlex round toe
- Interior taped seams
- Anti-flush Shin strap
- Forefoot strap
Rip Curl – Flash Bomb
The warmest and most advanced technical cold water surf wetsuit booties
The warmest and lightest – two of the qualities most wetsuit manufacturers have been looking to achieve. As being the lightest, they are also the fastest drying boots. The Flashbomb neoprene booties provide structure and durability without the bulk. Built to help you set it off in cold waters, designed for demanding sessions in the frigid ocean. The Supersoft heel and stitchless compression strap give you just the right amount of cushioning when you need it most. Plus, the pull-on heel strap and hook-and-loop shaft closure make for a secure fit that’s easy to take on and off. Most likely the best pair of wetsuit booties you’ll ever own!
- Sizes: 5-13 Depending on the thickness
- Thickness: 5 / 7
- 8mm thick Sole on 7mm boots
- E5 FLASH LINING designed to increase warmth without adding extra weight
- SLIDE ON SYSTEM: Easy on and off to save more time for the waves. Supersoft, thin sole for a lightweight, aerodynamic grip. With a pull-on heel strap to secure and align with your Rip Curl Flashbomb wetsuit
- SECURE CLOSURE: Velcro shaft closure for easy seamless on and off. The E5 flash lining tape keeps the cold water out and improves mobility. Stitchless compression strap to keep your feet sealed and lightweight for maximum performance when surfing
- ODOR REDUCING anti-stink treatment to reduce odor caused by bacteria. No bad smells left behind in your surf backpack, car, or truck
WETSUIT BOOT SIZE GUIDE
What size wetsuit boots should I buy? It’s a topic that gives a hard time to online stores. As each brand has its own sizing chart to refer to, which is true 90% of the time, there are still variations. Make sure to check the right size accordingly! Wetsuit boots are not your everyday boots, where you can go for a little extra. When surfing in cold water, your feet will decrease a bit, unlike when running, where the size of your feet increases.
How Should Wetsuit Boots Fit? As you’ll be spending hours in the boots, they must feel comfortable. Not too small or big. The right wetsuit boots should fit snugly around the heel and ankle. Any excess room will let the water sweep in.
Too Small – Cuts off the circulation, makes it uncomfortable to move in.
Too Big – Slip through, make your trip over.
Which are THE BEST surf booties? It is an individual who regards the occasion. What might feel best to one, is over-engineered to other occasions.
Wetsuit Boots Inside Our Outside? Boots go under the suit since it prevents the water from entering the boots.
1. Roll up the ankles
2. Put on the wetsuit boots
3. Roll down the wetsuit over the wetsuit socks/boots.
Don’t put on the wetsuit boots before getting in the suit since that extra layer can and will make it harder for a safe and smooth entry!
How To Put On Wetsuit Boots? Most surf boots without the zipper are hard to put on. The easiest way is to scroll the boot so that you could enter the toes first, then carefully fold the heel over, and then make the final adjustments. DO NOT pull too hard from the back of the boot as the stitching doesn’t like to be ripped! It doesn’t really matter if the boots are wet or dry when chucking them on, and by getting in the boots on dry land you can wipe off the sand beforehand. It’s obviously a harder task in the moving water.
How To Dry Wetsuit Boots? Same as the rest of the wetsuit, gloves, and hood. Simply place them preferably upside down after rinsing and soaking so that the water gets off the boots. Bootie juice has the worst smell of all wetsuits since everything that gets washed down the suit ends up in the boots! No worries – it’s part of the game.
Why Surfers Don’t Like To Wear Wetsuit Boots? Most surfers say that booties are like condoms that ruin the flow. Barefoot surfing gives that intimate contact needed to feel the board. Although, once you find the most suitable booties, it basically feels like the closest thing to NOT having booties on.
Where Else Can I Use The Wetsuit Booties? As those boots are designed for water sports – they are great for wakeboarding, kiteboarding, windsurfing, canoeing, kayaking, cliff diving, and so on.
I created Nulltuul to share my experience, research and analysis with other surf enthusiasts out there. If I'm not surfing on my travels - I like to photograph waves, surfers, and the surf lifestyle in general.