So you spent all your money on the newest and warmest wetsuit on the market, only to find out that your old booties are immensely inadequate. Now, not even your 7mm bio-fleeced hooded full suit can prevent that stinging chill from hindering your surfing experience. Quality booties are an essential part of surfing in cold water. They can be the difference between marathon sessions in frigid temperatures and you failing to even stand up on your board due to complete loss of feeling in your feet. Luckily, we have a wide assortment of warm booties that’ll keep you cozy, comfortable, and surfing longer.
O’Neill Heat 5mm Round Toe Booties
The O’Neill Heat is the workhorse of surf booties and the best-selling round-toe bootie we carry. The Heat booties make up the bulk of our rental fleet so you know they are tried, tested, and respected. These boots are made with O’Neill’s Fluidflex Firewall neoprene for maximum flex, warmth, and comfort. This is the same neoprene you’ll find on some of their higher end suits and feels great. These booties come equipped with seams that are both glued and blind-stitched externally and fully taped internally, leaving little to no room for water to enter. Furthermore, these boots come with upper and lower Velcro straps as well as a pull tab on the heel for maximum secureness, as well as ease of entry. The sole is a medium thickness with multi-directional grooves for decent “board-feel” and superior grip. If you are looking for the best all-around bootie that incorporates a little bit of everything, then this is the bootie for you.
Hotline Reflex 5mm Split Toe Booties
My personal favorite, as well as the employee favorite here at Cleanline, and that is the Hotline Reflex Split-Toe boots. These boots come with an internal split-toe design meaning the big toe is not detached from the rest of the boot and you won’t have to worry about your leash getting caught between your toes (one of the qualms with external split-toe designs). The thick reinforced rubber soles are perfect for walking along the rocky coastlines of the Pacific Northwest, or if you have to hike into a secret spot. The boots come equipped with both an upper and lower Velcro strap for minimum water entry and extra secureness. If durability and comfort are important to you then look no further than the Hotline Reflex. If “board feel” is a major factor for you, or you are used to surfing without booties then maybe look for a bootie with a thinner sole.
- For those who run cold or are surfing truly frigid waters, these boots also come in 7mm thickness.
Rip Curl Flash Bomb 5mm Split Toe Booties
If performance and board feel are important to you then look no further than these Rip Curl booties. These booties are made from the same E5 neoprene that comes stock in all of Rip Curl’s high-end wetsuits. You can expect maximum flex and comfort accompanied by minimum dry time due to the polypropylene Flash lining. These booties come equipped with Rip Curl’s Low Profile Super Soft Sole which is the thinnest sole out of any bootie on this list and has strategic sole cutaways for maximum grip and board feel. Furthermore, the bootie is taped on the all major stress points to ensure no water seeps through and cuts your session short. These are the perfect booties for someone who is transitioning to cold water surfing from a warmer climate where they are not used to wearing boots.
Patagonia R4 Yulex 5mm Round Toe Booties
As with all things Patagonia, these booties are the epitome of quality manufacturing. Patagonia took zero shortcuts in producing these cozy cold water slippers. The R4 round-toe booties come lined with a mixture of recycled polyester and spandex making these boots warm, comfortable, and surprisingly flexible. All external seams are triple glued and blind-stitched, while 100% of the seams internally are taped. That’s right, no water will penetrate these bad boys. The R5 booties have a unique Z-strap closure system which conforms to the user’s foot and guarantees a snug fit. The R5 boots are hands down the warmest bootie we carry. So if you’re looking for booties with superior craftsmanship that will keep your feet toasty, then the Patagonia R5 round-toes are for you.
- Patagonia also makes a 7mm model called the R5.
Billabong Absolute Comp 5mm Split Toe Boots
The final bootie I will be reviewing is the Billabong Absolute Comp 5mm split-toe. If you are looking for a price-point bootie that has everything you need without all the fancy bells and whistles, then this is the bootie for you. These boots come equipped with a pressure-bonded fluid seam weld on the external seams for minimal water entry. The Super Flexible Vulcanized Sole coupled with a compression arch support assures unmatched comfort for the price. The performance split-toe design gives your foot a wider range of motion and improved balance. These boots come with a durable heel-tab, making getting these puppies on and off a breeze. The Billabong Absolute Comp 5mm split-toe does not come with any Velcro tightening straps. I recommend spending an extra $7 for some bootie keepers which essentially act as straps and keep the bootie snug and secure. For $40 you will not find a better bootie then the Billabong Absolute Comp 5mm split-toes.
- Looking for a round toe? Billabong makes this same boot in a 5mm Round Toe design
What’s the Difference Between Round Toe and Split Toe Booties?
- Split-toe boots have a divider (whether internally or externally) that separates your big toe from the rest of your toes. Surfers in favor of the Split Toe design claim that it helps to give them better board feel and better prevents the toes from moving around in the boot
- Round-Toe boots are essentially just neoprene shoes with no divider keeping all your toes together. Some surfers find these boots to be more comfortable and like that all their toes are together.
There are arguments on both sides that would support one particular style over the other. However, it really comes down to personal preference. Whichever style feels more comfortable to the individual is the bootie that that individual should go with.
How Do You Size Booties?
- 95% of boots are only advertised in men’s sizes and only available in full sizes, not half sizes. Ideally, your booties will fit snug like a sock. So if you typically wear a size 10.5 shoe then I would recommend buying a size 10. They may be tight at first but you can expect them to stretch a bit after a few uses. A good rule of thumb is that if your toes touch the end of the bootie when you first try them on, then they will be perfect after a few uses. If your toes are in anyway curled, then go for the next size up.
- For the ladies, unless it’s noted as a women’s boot, or is a women’s brand such as Roxy, then know the size of the booties are in men’s and you should go down a size to a size and a half. Surf booties vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. If you do not know your size, give us a call or email and we’ll help you choose the best surf bootie.
And there you have it the 5 best-selling booties for cold water surfing. We have boots that suit everybody’s preference and everybody’s budget. Whether you’re looking for warmth, durability, or performance Cleanline has your feet covered. Don’t forget to check out more booties on our website. We have a far more expansive selection than the 5 booties named here. These are just the most popular. Hopefully, this helps make picking the right bootie a little more manageable. As always, we’ll see you in the water!
Latest posts by Spencer Lappi (see all)
- O’Neill Psycho Tech Review for 2018 - 26 February, 2018
- Top Picks: 4 Quality & Affordable Wetsuits Under $200 - 26 February, 2017
- 5 Best Surf Booties for 2017 - 18 February, 2017