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Keep Your Toes Warm: Best Surf Booties For Cold Water (2022)

Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned surfer, it is important to wear surf booties. Proper surfing gear will not only offer protection and comfort but also help increase your performance when riding the waves.

When it comes to surf booties, there are a lot of options from which you can choose. This is why it is important to choose the best boots for your needs.

There is a common saying among surfers that goes, “the best surfer in the water is the one having the most fun.”

Apart from being a fun, exciting, and challenging sport, surfing is associated with a host of health benefits. The sport tends to become more fun as you progress and improve your surfing skills.

Since not one wave is the same, it means that your playground is constantly changing, and you have to surf differently every single day.

However, depending on your attitude and training, surfing can also be a dangerous sport. Elements such as wind, swells, and tides will affect the waves, presenting inherent risks such as drowning.

There are also people who are determined to make all their surfing moves dangerous and will seek out extremely risky experiences. Choosing the best surf booties can be a daunting and time-consuming process.

Regardless of the type of surfer you are or the conditions under which you surf, wearing the perfect pair of boots will make a big difference. Here is some information to help you find surf booties that fit your needs.

What to consider before buying surf booties

In order to choose the right pair of surf booties, you will need to do some research. Below are a few things to consider if you are to ensure you buy the best boots.

Water temperature

When it comes to water temperature, you will have to think about where and what time of the year you will be surfing.

Boots are manufactured in 3mm, 5mm, and 7mm sizes. During the warmer months, you can either surf in 3mm boots or without booties.

The 7mm boots, on the other hand, are perfect for protecting your feet from freezing in cold waters.

In case you cannot stand to have cold feet, have circulation issues, or cannot stand being barefoot on the ocean floor, you should definitely wear boots.


Terrain plays a big part in influencing the type of surf booties you choose.

While boots may not be essential on sandy beaches, you will need something to protect your feet if you have to hike down rocky passages to get to the surfing spots.

You should consider the terrain you will be spending the majority of your time surfing when choosing surf booties.


There are two main types of boots you will have to choose from: round toe and split toe.

Split toe booties are separated into two sections, one for the big toe and the other for the rest. These booties have a natural feel that delivers great balance. These boots do not slide off the surfboard.

Round toe booties are designed like your everyday pair of shoes, with all toes resting in the same area. Although these boots keep your feet a lot warmer, they can easily slip off your feet.

The style you choose depends purely on your tastes and preferences.

Materials and construction

The materials and construction of the boots you choose should offer adjustability, comfort, and durability.

This means that the materials should be resistant to weather elements, chemical spills, and extreme temperatures.

The seams and stitches should also promote long-lasting use.

Today, most manufacturers use a combination of neoprene and latex, a material that is lightweight and supports stable performance.


You need a certain level of traction in order to surf. If you are to stand up on your board without sliding and slipping, you should pick boots whose outsoles provide adequate grip and traction.

Fit and comfort

Good surf booties should not only fit perfectly but also be comfortable. Boots that fit perfectly will keep your feet from getting cold by heating a layer of water between your skin and the material.

At the same time, the gear will not let in water that may result in a heavier bootie.

In terms of comfort, the boots should be tight but not too tight to prevent circulation.

They should also ensure proper strength and support without causing discomfort to your feet.


The thickness of your surf booties determines how warm they are and affects how you surf.

Most surfers prefer thinner boots because they provide grip without being too heavy.

However, thinner booties are typically not very durable. It is important to consider terrain and water temperature when deciding the thickness of the boots to buy.


Surf booties come in two cuts: ankle and high.

Ankle length boots are flexible and offer protection to the soles of the feet, making them great for warm water.

High cut booties, on the other hand, are warmer and are tucked under the wetsuit.

Common features of surf booties

The importance of wearing surf booties when you head out to the waters cannot be denied.

There are several things that all booties share regardless of the brand, style, thickness, and the material from which they are made.

Here are the reasons you need to bring your booties for your next surfing trip.


Surf booties provide protection for your feet in many ways.

The gear keeps your skin on your feet when surfing over dangerous coral or limestone banks.

Booties also act as a shield against harmful UV rays and will protect the sole of your feet as you walk to your car in case the pavement becomes too hot.


All surf booties are designed to keep your feet warm, especially when surfing in water that is around freezing temperatures.

Booties can help reduce the risk of frostbite and hypothermia in case you fall off your surfboard into this kind of water.

Apart from helping to keep you safe when surfing under extreme conditions, the warmth that booties provide also promotes comfort.


While surf booties are usually recommended for colder waters, they are not useless in warmer waters.

The outsoles of these boots are designed to offer traction and ensure a solid grip on the board.

his helps you to keep your balance, especially when your feet feel numb or when you hold back on waxing.

Choosing the Right Fit

Everyone’s feet are different sized, but shopping for good surf booties isn’t quite like shopping for shoes.

All surf brands now use the same standard sizes, though very few ever offer half-sized booties.

The problem is that each company uses their own template, so a size 8 from O’Neill won’t necessarily fit like a size 8 from Quiksilver or Xcel.

Keep in mind that any extra space between your toes and the side of you surf boots will fill up with water.

You want to have a short layer of water inside, but having too much will make your feet feel heavy.

It’s hard to pop up to your feet when you’re waddling like a duck, so you’ll want your booties to fit snugly.

Wet booties will offer you a tighter fit than dry ones.

Most surf booties now feature a thick layer of rubber around the toes and heel.

While this provides extra support when you grip the deck of your board, you don’t want it to grab your toes too tightly.

You’ll want to aim for a healthy medium between the two extremes. Unlike regular boots, surf booties usually don’t wear in or get larger over time.

If you’re lucky enough to get a chance to try out a pair of booties while wearing your wetsuit, then you should take a moment to roll the wetsuit leg back down over your booties.

When you take your first duck-dive, your booties have a chance to fill to the brim with water, and a good fit between the leg and the top of the boot will keep this from happening.

Picking a Shape for Your Booties

More surfers wear round toe booties than any other kind.

As their name suggests, they feature a rounded toe area that makes them fit different sized feet easily.

While it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution, you can generally get away with being slightly off when you buy round toe booties.

This shape is easier to make as well, which means that they cost less than other options.

Several top competitive surfers prefer split toe wetsuit boots to round toe ones.

By splitting the big toe off from the rest of the foot on each side, these booties prevent your feet from moving around inside of them.

This means that you can transfer more energy to your board when you shift your weight while wearing these booties, which is extremely important when you’re carving under a barrel.

While no one makes a wetsuit boot that allows you the same freedom of movement you get from surfing with bare feet, split toe booties come close.

You’ll notice that you’re warmer when wearing round toe booties as opposed to split toe booties.

Packing the toes together helps keep them warmer.

When the big toe sits in its own chamber, it tends to lose some of its heat in the process.

That’s why this style of surf booties isn’t for everyone.

How Thick Do You Like Them?

Manufacturers usually stick to standard double-lined neoprene construction when making surf booties.

They use a single layer of neoprene with pieces of fabric stitched on either side.

Latex dipped neoprene construction is making a huge wave in the industry, though.

These surf booties look like they’re made from a single layer of neoprene with only one piece of fabric, but they’re actually physically dipped into liquid latex that later congeals into a solid mass.

While they look sick, these booties are all about performance and not fashion.

If you want really thin booties, then this is your best bet.

They’re as close as you can get to the feel of surfing without footwear, and some surfers who ride switchfoot say they feel equally as good when riding reg or goofy.

Split toe booties are so thin, however, that they’re not particularly durable.

You might expect to replace them about once a season or so.

Some razor-thin pairs made with performance in mind might develop nicks or tears in the neoprene after one or two times out on the waves.

This isn’t due to quality control issues.

It’s a side-effect of making latex dipped surf booties as thin as they are.

Many professional surfers put up with this issue and tend to replace them all the time.

Most of us can’t afford to do that, so think about whether you actually need that kind of razor-thin neoprene wall or not.

Regular surf booties come in 3mm, 5mm and 7mm thicknesses.

Thicker boots tend to be warmer, but they’re hard to surf in.

If you’re a hardcore wave rider who plans to travel to beaches in Norway or Iceland, then you’ll want a thicker boot.

If you’re sticking to Malibu and Waikiki, then 3mm neoprene construction is fine.

As with everything else, some surfers prefer one type of surf booties while other surfers like different styles.

Some of these choices are nothing more than personal preference but make sure that they fit well before buying them.

Good fitting booties that are the right thickness can turn an otherwise dull day into a gnarly one.

Top Surf Booties For Surfing

Below are summaries of some surf booties to help you make comparisons and make it easy for you to choose the right one for your needs.

1. O’Neill Heat 3mm Split Toe Booties

These 3mm surf booties are designed to keep your feet covered and protected as you spend hours chasing those irresistible peaks under harsh conditions.

O'Neill Heat 3mm Split Toe Booties

The 3mm thickness ensures they are performance-focused, allowing you to surf both in warm weather and cold water.

The FluidFlex neoprene material from which the boots are made makes them adjustable and comfortable while ensuring a long life.

These booties feature quality craftsmanship, with glued and blindstitched seams as well as interior taped seams to ensure the fabrics are firmly joined together.

The stitched and taped seams keep the booties intact even under harsh weather and extreme conditions.

A split toe design lets you enjoy that natural feel and provides the balance you need while surfing.

These O’Neill Heat booties and high cut, a factor that offers reliable warmth and extra protection for your feet.

There is also an anti-flush shin strap for a secure yet comfortable fit, so the booties do not slip off your feet.

What makes these surf booties stand out

  • Lightweight material and durable construction
  • Right thickness for a variety of surfing conditions
  • High cut design for warmth and protection

2. Neo Sport Premium Neoprene Men & Women Wetsuit Boots

These Neo Sport wetsuit boots give you the flexibility to choose the right thickness for your surfing needs. You have the option of 3mm, 5mm, and 7mm thicknesses for warm, moderate, or cold water.

Neo Sport Premium Neoprene Men & Women Wetsuit Boots, Shoes with puncture resistant sole 3mm, 5mm & 7mm for warm, moderate or cold water for watersports: beach, boat, lake, mud, kayak and more! Sizes 4 - 16

Premium neoprene material makes them highly resistant to chemical spills and weather elements, effectively promoting comfort and durability.

The construction of the booties includes glued and sewn seams that hold the fabrics and sole together even when you face strong and high waves.

Heavy-duty abrasion-resistant thread is used for stitching to deliver exceptional strength.

The durable traction sole is also puncture resistant to ensure long-lasting use and offer added protection to the sole of your feet.

Each of these booties features a heavy-duty zipper for easy on and off. The zipper is also meant to hold the booties firmly in place when surfing, preventing them from sliding off easily.

High cut design delivers warmth during the cold season or when surfing on cold waters, while the water entry barrier prevents water from entering the boots and making them heavier.

What makes these surf booties stand out

  • Different thicknesses to choose from
  • Quality materials and construction
  • Durable, puncture-resistant sole

3. O’Neill Superfreak 2mm Tropical Split Toe Booties

Practice your surfing skills safely with these O’Neil Superfreak booties. The 2mm thickness is designed to make the boots lightweight, giving you the feeling like you are barefoot while still offering the traction you need to balance on your surfboard.

O'Neill Superfreak 2mm Tropical Split Toe Booties

The split-toe design promotes both comfort and balance so you can surf for hours. There is a baldspot, meaning that there is no extra material between the split toes in order to provide maximum comfort.

The four-way super-stretch neoprene material makes these booties lightweight and ensures they are warm, flexible, durable, and long-lasting.

A breathable flat-stitched seam holds the fabrics together even when exposed to vigorous conditions.

The construction of these shoes features textured rubber sole material that extends to the top of your foot, providing traction and protection.

These booties have a torsion control forefoot strap for added security. The ankle-length boots are flexible enough to support today’s new school moves and provide protection for the sole of your feet.

What makes these surf booties stand out

  • Lightweight design for comfort and flexibility
  • Split toe design improves balance
  • Strong neoprene material for durability

4. O’Neill Heat 5mm Round Toe Booties

These booties are ideal for anyone looking for warm boots that will let you enjoy your water sport in the cold winter months.

O'Neill Heat 5mm Round Toe Booties

The 5mm thickness ensures your toes are covered when surfing around dangerous terrain and protected from extreme water temperatures.

The soft, FluidFlex neoprene material delivers comfort while at the same time providing strength and durability.

O’Neil’s quality craftsmanship features glued and blindstitched seams as well as interior taped seams to keep water out and promote the longevity of the seam.

A firewall lining makes it easy to get the booties on and off and also makes them warmer so you can surf even in the harsh winter weather.

A split toe design provides increased balance, allowing you to surf better and for longer.

These booties have a forefoot strap and anti-flush shin strap for extra security. The high cut design lets you tuck the boots under your wetsuit for maximum protection.

As the physical link between you and your surfboard, these boots ensure grip and high performance.

What makes these surf booties stand out

  • 5mm thickness for protection on different terrains
  • Soft yet tough neoprene material for strength and durability
  • Firewall lining to keep your feet warmer for longer

5. O’Neill Superfreak 2mm Tropical Split Toe Booties

Learn and practice a variety of surfing techniques with these O’Neill Superfreak split toe booties.

O'Neill Superfreak 2mm Tropical Split Toe Booties

The deep split-toe style ensures your toes feel natural and provides increased balance so you can confidently ride the high waves.

These surf booties have a fluid foam exterior that offers maximum protection from harsh UV rays as well as cold water.

The foxing rubber outsole is thick enough to offer plenty of protection for your feet against the sharp tropical reef and the sharp edges of oysters.

The adjustable hook and look front strap is for added security, keeping the booties on your feet even when you try out different moves or when riding strong waves.

The lightweight design of the shoes allows you to surf for long, while the drawstring closure keeps water from getting in to prevent the booties from getting heavier.

What makes these surf booties stand out

  • Split toe design is comfortable and promotes balance
  • Fluid foam exterior and foxing rubber outsole for maximum protection
  • Adjustable front strap for extra security

Summary: Top Surf Booties

Last update on 2024-07-14 at 18:32 / Affiliate disclosure / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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