Sometimes the beauty of surfing is being able to strip down to the bare minimum and jump into the ocean to catch some waves.
Unfortunately, in some climates this isn’t possible.
Freezing cold waters force surfers to suit up and cover every area of exposed skin.
That includes the feet.
You might’ve had a surf recently where you felt like your feet were so cold they felt like they were gonna fall off, so maybe it's time to look into some surf booties.
We’ll break down some of the best options on the market.
Why Do You Need Surf Booties?
Surf booties are a necessity in some areas during the winter. Sometimes you don’t have a choice when water temperatures start to dip into the 50s.
Essentially if you want to surf in the winter you're going to need some booties.
They may not look glamorous but they are absolutely necessary.
Some booties will cater to your personal needs, maybe you need something a little grippier for your board or something a little looser.
Surf Bootie Factors
With so many surf bootie options today, how do you decide what’s right for you?
It comes down to your personal preference with several factors, including:
Surf bootie thickness
Surf bootie sizing
Surf bootie style
Surf Bootie Thickness
Almost all surf booties are 3 mm thick.
This thickness should be just fine for any cold water you might be encountering.
However, if you are traveling to somewhere like Alaska or Maine during the winter you might want to consider a bootie in the 5-7 mm range. Other than that 3 mm should be perfect.
Surf Bootie Styles
Depending on what you want there are plenty of sleek designs that will look great while you’re surfing.
If you want something a little more lowkey then maybe look for a bootie that slips on with no straps or logos.
If that doesn’t matter to you then there are plenty of options that might not look as great but offer a lot more comfort.
Sizing for surf booties is relatively simple.
Look at your favorite pair of shoe’s size under the tongue and get that size bootie.
Seriously though, surf booties just come in regular US shoe sizes.
Be careful not to size up or down because with surf booties you really don’t want something too loose or too tight.
The Best Surf Booties Today
Vans Surf Booties
Ever wished you could rock your Old Skool Vans skate shoes out in the water?
Well you might be in luck. Vans Surf Boot Hi looks almost identical to a pair of their iconic shoes with the stripe across the side.
These booties come in 3 mm thickness and a split toe between the big toe and second toe.
The bottom even looks like a Vans shoe with its iconic waffle pattern, this feature also helps increase grip on the board when surfing.
Other than the stripe these booties are perfect if you're looking for a lowkey bootie.
They are fairly affordable at $85.00.
Patagonia Surf Booties
When you buy gear from Patagonia you know you're gonna get the best quality out there.
Their R3 Yule Split Toe Booties are no exception. Made from 85% Yulex natural rubber and 15% synthetic rubber, these booties are also incredibly environmentally friendly.
The split toe design also helps to improve grip and keep a snug fit. The all black design also looks pretty sleek too. These surf booties come in at $99.00.
Rip Curl Surf Booties
Rip Curl remains a constant leader in the wetsuit game and their booties are just as trustworthy as their wetsuits.
The Flashbomb 3mm Hidden Split Toe Booties are probably the best bang for your buck on the market, coming in at $58.99.
These booties are super snug and offer quite a few straps and an unseen split toe design that adds a ton of extra grip and control.
Just because they are snug doesn’t mean they are impossible to get off, these booties slip off super easily. They also look great with an old school Rip Curl logo on these surf booties.
You can buy this surf bootie here.
O’Neil Surf Booties
Another trusty wetsuit brand with a dependable surf bootie.
These booties aren’t anything too special and come with a pretty standard design.
They offer a split toe design at 3mm thickness and provide a secure fit with nice grip on the sole.
The Heat St 3mm Boot also looks great on your feet with very few logos and an all black design.
These booties come in at $59.95
You can buy this surf bootie here.
Quiksilver Surf Booties
Another pretty standard design, the Quiksilver 3 mm Everyday Sessions Wetsuit Boots are a great addition to your cold water gear.
They aren’t too expensive coming in at $64.95. They also offer split toe design and a strap for extra hold and grip when ripping a turn on a cold meaty wave.
Made from neoprene (wetsuit material), these booties will feel great on your feet.
Surf Booties Frequently Asked Questions Q. Why do surfers wear booties?
For added cold water protection. Feet are the most neglected part when suiting up for a session. Leaving the water after a freezing session without booties can feel like stepping on pins and needles. Booties allow surfers to avoid this problem.
Q. What thickness surf booties do I need?
Depending on the water temperature 3 mm should be perfect. For California winters 3mm is the best option but for colder water areas farther up north then a bootie in 5-7mm range would probably be better.
Q. Do I put surf booties on before or after a wetsuit?
This comes down to personal preference but I would recommend putting them on after to avoid getting your foot stuck in the wetsuit. Wetsuits are hard enough to put on without booties so just put them on after.
Q. What size surf booties do I need?
It’s as simple as looking at your shoe size. You don’t want to size up or down because you really don’t want an uncomfortable fit. The goal of booties is to make you feel like you're surfing with your bare feet so get something that fits your feet.
Finding the Right Surf Booties For You
Sure surf booties aren’t ideal.
We would all rather surf on our bare feet in trunks but the waves are good during the winter when the water is coldest, so it's important to suit up accordingly.
Booties are just one aspect of this gear but they are extremely important since you work off your feet a lot when surfing, so hopefully you were able to find the right bootie for your next cold water surf session.