During the winter, wetsuit boots are an unfortunate necessity. At the same time, they’re a great gift. When everyone else is nestled beside the fire, they let you chase the gnarly swells along the French Basque Coast. When December comes around, you’ll be able to surf those vacant swells in Canada. They encourage surfers to dream of carving the snow-covered climes of Norway, Iceland, Alaska, and so on!
Surf boots are a must-have for all surfers, from beginners to casuals. The kit is essential for getting wet in the wilder months and keeping practicing when the temperature drops. On this page, you’ll find a list of 11 of the best surf booties currently available for sale. We have the best surf booties for beginners and intermediates alike, as well as super-high-techy boots for the pros. Here we go…
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- 1 Best Selling Surf Booties
- 2 Which thickness should I choose?
- 3 What are the features that I should look for?
- 4 What are the pros and cons of round or split toe surfing booties?
Best Selling Surf Booties
Last update on 2022-05-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
1. Rip Curl Flashbombs Split Toe
There is always a claim that Flashbombs are the fastest-drying boots in the world. Clearly, this statement cannot be denied. In other words, you might find some 1mm rubber that’s without thermal technology that’s better at expelling water, but you’re in good hands. You want to pull on a warm dry boot from the day before, not a sloppy wet mush of a boot on a cold winter morning.
It’s not the only reason we picked these guys as our top surfing bootie for 2021/22, however. It has everything you could possibly want. This boot is not only excellent at drying quickly, but the flexy, thin E6 neoprene also makes the entire boot feel as light as a cellophane wrapper. RC’s thermoflex compound allows it to be uber free and flexible (the clue’s in the name), making it one of the leading new types of rubber.
They’re also versatile due to the placement of the compression strap across the front, giving them great versatility for a variety of foot shapes. In addition, this model has a hidden split toe, which is ideal for intermediate surfers, since it offers the feeling of a split boot without the annoying cut.
A perfect all-around surf boot, this is one of the best on the market. It doesn’t get any better.
Last but not least, I would like to thank Xcel. I believe that it deserves to be in this list regardless of it being the fourth boot from this brand. Their durability is unquestionable, but their performance is excellent (we have a pair of Drylocks that have lasted three seasons). The Infiniti is a premium model that falls between the mid-range to the upper-end.
The board comes with many features, including fast-drying fabrics and contoured fit for improved control.As a result, we think the finished boot is a doozy, able to work well with almost any kind of surfer. It also isn’t astronomically expensive at just over 55 pounds. We should expect to pay a bit more now that Xcel has dropped their Plush Thermo Lite lining. This was a nice compromise for a reasonable price, as they were super warm but had some flexibility.
With its split-toe 1mm style, the Xcel booty provides added control. With a single strap over the top, these are light and tight. On the front foot of the shoe, there’s a super slimline rubber sole that’s designed specifically for tube riding. Furthermore, limestone-based materials are lighter and environmentally friendly. Further, Xcel has built in a solid sole under the toe form to prevent leashes from tangling.
Generally speaking, we would consider these to be an advanced-level boot for surfers who appreciate the additional control split-toe designs provide. During summer, they’re ideal for riding in colder parts of the country, and during spring and fall, they are ideal for riding in cooler regions. Mainly, though, we think these are the best for anyone going Sri Lanka’s way or Indonesia’s way and not wanting to reduce their risk of getting nasty flesh cuts on the reefs or corals.
Considering the price is a little over $50, this is an excellent shoe. The boots are made with the excellent E5 material from Rip Curl. It dries quickly and is extremely supple. The neoprene reaches all the way to the top of the boots, so it’s a straightforward design. It’s simply pulled on and slipped off. The soul is also thin, so you get great control on steeper waves that require quick turns. It has a light crosshatch, which will help you grab the board.
It is true that the Dawn Patrol is a step down from the Flashbomb series. When we surf during casual winter sessions, we do not notice many big differences between the two. However, the main downsides may be that they might take a long time to dry and could be a little heavier in the water. However, occasional surfers looking for a great all-arounder boot for a great price simply cannot go wrong with this product…
While the Solite Omni range might come in at only 2mm in thickness and without the same high angle uppers as the others on this list, it is a good choice for those searching for a more versatile water sports boot. Because it has a minimal rubber cover on top and a high-spec soul unit, both of which prioritize control and “precision performance” over heat retention, the unit is tailored to wave craft of any type.
I don’t think they are made for the coldest of winter days. Their narrow thickness should suffice as evidence. In contrast, they are great for multi-sport enthusiasts, who are planning to do everything from surf to SUP to spearfishing in just one season. During activity, you are able to breathe with the perma Ventiprene neoprene that is used.
A pair of the Xcel Drylock boots we bought last winter sounded great before we bought them. The flagship takes the crucial step of cutting out flushing (water moving into and out of the neoprene) above all else, and we’re pretty bummed that it took us so long.
Xcel’s Rubberized ankle cuffs and Pull-over Strap work wonders to prevent H2O from moving through the boot, but they didn’t skimp on the other features they offer in their top-of-the-line Drylock models.
One of the most prominent thermal insulation products is Celliant Black. The jackets are unquestionably some of the best on the market right now, as they kept us warm even in a 3mm jacket throughout most of our winter sessions. There is a single rubber sole on the bottom of the shoe for a great connection to the board surface as well. All seams are taped.
The Xcel DL has been moulded to fit a variety of foot shapes, with a contoured sole that can accommodate both narrow and wider fittings. If you’re wary about changing surfing booties too often for fit reasons, you won’t experience this problem with these. In the same way a ski boot is properly fitted, that also helps reduce unused space inside the boot.
We’ve made them our top pick for 2021 for all the reasons listed above, and also because this surf boot looks stunning! What’s the downside? It’s pricey. When you are a beginner or intermediate, you won’t need to spend quite that much on a camera.
7. XCEL Drylock 5mm Split Toe Boot
Since Xcel began providing cold water, they’ve been pushing the boundaries. They’ve done the same with the Drylock TDC Black Split Toe. Warm and technically advanced, these surfing booties are one of the best on the market.
You can immediately tell how durable and high-quality these booties are as soon as you pick them up. Wearing a split toe bootie in cold water for the first time will amaze you at how warm they can be.
Xcel has solved the problem of leashes getting tangled between toes thanks to their split toe connection, which holds up to all the required movement.
In terms of pressure, the arch strap is intended to direct it toward the heel rather than the midfoot. The result is a much more comfortable wearing experience.
An exceptional seal prevents water from entering the calf area.
Which thickness should I choose?
When it comes to thickness, the temperature of the water plays an important role. When surfing at the coldest spots, it was common for surfers to wear 7mm and 8mm booties. The boots with a 5mm thickness are adequate for most cold-water endeavors today.
As a general rule, a pair of 3mm surfing booties will protect you from temperatures of 11 to 12 degrees Celsius. Keeping your feet warm down to 6-7°C is possible with booties that take up 5mm of space. 5mm neoprene suffers from reduced insulation properties when the temperature falls below 6°C. In this case, surfers typically wear 6 or 7mm booties or use 1-2mm booties lined with socks.
What are the features that I should look for?
The modern surfing booties come with many advanced features. Booties with thicker soles should be adorned with loops around the ankle and heel.
An arch strap is a Velcro fastening around the midfoot of your shoe that tightens it around your foot. When water is added, your booties will stay firmly in place instead of ballooning.
A good choice for surfing booties are ones with a thermal lining. Each manufacturer has a version of lining that is designed to keep the foot warm for a longer period in order to keep it cozy.
What are the pros and cons of round or split toe surfing booties?
Your toes are all positioned in the same area inside the boot when you wear it with a round toe. You imagine wearing a pair of mittens with four fingers each.
In the same way that mitten-style gloves tend to keep you warm the longest, round-toe surfing booties tend to keep you warm the longest.
Nevertheless, there is always a sacrifice to be made. Paddles are most difficult to perform in gloves with mitts, while booties with round toes are least performance-oriented. Surfing booties with round-toes tend to move around a little, especially the cheaper ones.
It is possible to prevent these problems if you wear surf booties with separate big toe spaces.
However, footwear with split toes does not keep your feet as warm as footwear with round toes. Due to the lack of other digits sharing the body heat of the big toe, the toe may become numb on its own. There’s also a possibility that your leash will get caught between your toes. That’s not good.
Split toe on the inside is the compromise. The warmth and comfort of round toe boots are provided by split toe boots, while performance is improved by round toe boots.
In modern times, manufacturers have mostly solved the round toe issue. To reduce the risk of movement issues, feet can be supported with areas which “grip” while walking. The best surfing booties that we’ve reviewed include many of these new designs.