Neoprene socks, water socks, or surf booties are a must-have for anyone dipping their feet into cold water. They provide that extra bit of insulation and warmth – not to mention comfort when you wear dive fins. Your feet can be one of the most sensitive areas in the cold, and having these simple socks will help you to enjoy your time in the water a whole lot more.
With neoprene socks, you can spend more time in the water, perform better, and feel a lot more comfortable when it gets chilly. Although these are pretty straightforward items, choosing the wrong pair for your needs can make a massive difference. Let’s take a look into neoprene socks, the different types, and some of the best products available.
What Are Neoprene Socks?
Neoprene socks are basically a kind of waterproof shoe made out of wetsuit material. These can be worn as an extension of the wetsuit, allowing for more coverage and insulation. Neoprene socks allow you to cover up your feet – a sensitive and exposed area. This can allow for far greater warmth when surfing or diving in cold waters.
While these accessories are mainly about providing extra warmth for your feet, they also add an element of comfort. By surrounding your feet with a layer of padding, they are great for divers wearing fins, or surfers over rocks and reefs. They can help to protect your feet against the elements and any underwater dangers.
The Different Types Of Neoprene Socks
Although these accessories may seem pretty simple and standardized, there are three different classifications of these products. These are outlined below.
Also known as surf booties, neoprene socks are a popular choice for surfers in cold waters. Surf booties are fairly thin wetsuit material socks that help to keep the feet warm. These are either worn with a wetsuit (to act as a kind of extension) or as protective “shoes” for those surfing over reefs and rocky breaks.
Surf booties are specially designed to provide the right amount of grip and freedom in the feet. While still being thick enough for warmth and protection, they don’t limit the surfer or get in the way of hopping up on a board. Booties help to keep your toes working in the cold. For any cold water surfers, booties are a must – as they make those icy sessions a lot more bearable.
Neoprene socks for swimming are specially designed to provide warmth during open water swims. These waterproof socks are breathable, easy to wear, and unrestricted for the swimmer. The thermal protection that you get from these socks is great for cold swims, while the extra padding is ideal for triathlons. Those that want to run into the water from land will benefit greatly from the protection and support that these socks bring.
Swimming neoprene socks are generally a bit lighter and thinner. This is to make sure that they don’t cause any drag or excess weight while swimming.
When you go diving, neoprene socks are essential. They provide a necessary warmth for the cold deep sea, adding an extra layer of insulation around your feet. They are also used to help diving fins fit better and more comfortably. When going on long dives, having these socks will help to protect your feet from the friction of these fins. Often, neoprene socks for diving are a little bit thicker (for extra warmth), but still thin enough to fit into flippers.
What To Look Out For When Buying Neoprene Socks
Neoprene socks may serve a fairly basic function, but there are many different variations out there. Depending on what you will be using the socks for, and the kind of conditions, there are certain aspects to consider when buying the right pair.
The thickness of the neoprene is one of the most important aspects to consider. Basically, the thicker the booties, the warmer they will be. Those looking for footwear for very cold conditions should consider something around 5mm thick, while thinner socks (2mm) are more preferable for warmer waters. Of course, the thicker the bootie, the more difficult it will be to wear with diving fins. Generally, surfing booties are a bit thicker, while swimming pairs are slightly thinner.
The grip, or traction, that the neoprene socks provide is an important feature. Some products are designed more towards use on the land and in the water. This means that they will have thicker soles, and offer more protection against rocks, coral, etc. Neoprene socks are made for use in slippery areas, so they should all have a certain level of grip. However, booties that are specific to surfing should have more grip. This can include a split-toe design and full rubber traction underneath the sole.
Different socks come in different lengths. There are two basic things to consider here: the warmth and ease of use. Ankle length neoprene socks are easier to slip on and off and are more suitable for walking around in. These are generally swimming specific products. Socks for surfing and diving often have a longer length. This creates greater insulation, warmth, and protection.
While neoprene is the common material here (wetsuit material), different products have different levels of durability. Some include more rubber, thicker areas, straps, and different styles of seams. It comes down to the kind of use that you will need from the product, but having something more durable is generally best. Those wanting to wear booties over sharp rocks and coral reefs will particularly need to consider this feature.
The Best Neoprene Socks
As neoprene socks have applications across a variety of watersport disciplines, we have broken our pick of the best into three categories, namely, swimming, diving and surfing.
The 3 Best Swimming Socks
These are the best socks for both serious open water swimming as well as for those visiting the beach on a weekend or a summer holiday.
Synergy Swim Socks
- 2.5mm thickness
- Limits water intrusion
- Extended hose
These Synergy Swim Socks offer more for the serious swimmer. They rise up to a higher level on the leg and are made using a special SCS smooth skin lining. This means that water intrusion is limited – allowing for better insulation and warmth. This also makes them more streamlined to swim with.
These durable neoprene socks have a silicone thread, as well as extra traction on the bottom. They are comfortable to wear over rocks or uncomfortable surfaces. The comfortable toe box also enhances the swimming and walking experience in these.
These swimming socks are durable, warm, and comfortable. They are great for slipping on underneath your wetsuit for maximum warmth in cold waters.
DigiHero Water Shoes
- A unique swim shoe
- Ergonomically moulded sole
- Available in a wide range of colours and prints
These aren’t so much neoprene socks as they are waterproof shoes. The DigiHero Water Shoes are made using a quick-drying and convenient wetsuit material. Unlike other socks, they feature a unique cushioned sole. This makes them ideal for walking on land, as well as easy to swim with.
These stretchy and breathable shoes are perfect for beach days, watersports, swimming, and any activities around water. Whether it is fishing, wakeboarding, snorkelling, or even doing a triathlon – these shoes will hold up. They have a good under-sole grip and are easy to take on and off.
They are also pretty stylish, being available in a range of different colours and prints. They come in many different sizes and are suitable for any water user. Although these are thought of as water “shoes”, they are still very slim and flexible. This makes them easy and light to wear while swimming or doing water sports.
Wetsuit Boots by Surf Gear Lab
- 3mm thickness
- Anti-slip grip
- Soft and stretchy
These neoprene socks by Surf Gear Lab are the ideal choice for open water swimmers or for those recreational beachgoers. They are easy to slip on and off and are not restricted by a zipper or strap.. They are stretchy, super soft, and breathable. The premium quality neoprene and flat-lock stitching makes them of the best quality neoprene socks on the market.
The bottom sole has a rubber dimple anti-slip pattern. This allows for plenty of traction when walking over slippery boat decks, smooth rocks, or pool areas. With a 3 mm thickness, these socks are not the chunkiest, so they are great for wearing with swimming fins. Thanks to their easy slip-on slip-off design, and unrestricted material, these socks are perfect for swimming in the ocean and in lakes.
The 3 Best Neoprene Socks For Diving
We’ve picked the three best booties for all diving pursuits including scuba diving, free diving and snorkelling.
Cressi Anti-Slip Neoprene Socks
- 2.5mm thickness
- Metallite lining
- Extended length diving socks
As a diver, you will want superior warmth, comfort, and protection. These are all things that can be found in these Cressi neoprene socks. These socks feature a non-slip sole, high-stretch neoprene, and a comfortable Metallite lining. This makes it easy to slip them on and off. The socks stretch further up the shin for increased warmth and support.
Being specially designed for divers, these socks can be easily worn underneath diving fins – providing full foot protection. They will keep your feet safe from blisters, chafing, and scratching. WIth the solid grip though, they are also great for use with open heel fins.
These socks are durable and available in a range of patterns. Their 2.5mm thickness means that they are pretty unrestricted, and best used in warmer waters.
Copozz Diving Socks
- 3mm thickness
- Anti-slip rubber grip soles
- Flexible but thermal
These neoprene socks by Copozz provide maximum warmth and protection for divers. They have a 3mm thickness and will prevent any jellyfish stings or injuries from coral. They have a firm anti-slip rubber sole, fit snug, and are quick drying. There is also a strap around the top to keep water out and ensure the best fit.
Even though these socks are slightly thicker and more reinforced, they are still flexible and easy to wear. They can be used for a variety of watersports, and worn comfortably in and out of the water. These socks are great to wear with diving fins and will allow you to enjoy longer, warmer sessions underwater.
The 3 Best Wetsuit Booties
We’ve hand-picked the best surf booties for both cold and very cold water. The 5mm bootie we recommend is designed for surfing in icy waters.
O’Neill Heat 3mm Split Toe Booties
- 3mm thickness
- A split toe design
- Anti flush shin strap
Anyone surfing in cold conditions will understand the importance of a great pair of booties. This pair by O’Neill meets all the requirements of a serious surfer. They are warm, durable and unrestricted.
The booties follow a split-toe design to allow for better movement and balance on the board. The grip is further enhanced by the premium rubber traction around the foot. There is an anti-flush shin strap to keep things watertight, as well as a forefoot strap.
These neoprene socks will work with any wetsuit and are suitable for the harshest conditions. The lasting quality of the materials should give any surfer a great lifespan out of these booties.
O’Neill Ninja 3mm Booties
- 3mm thickness
- Durable foxing sole
- FluidFlex and Krypto forefoot
These Ninja booties offer ultimate flexibility and movement through the minimal design. Although the booties seem pretty simple, they still boast a number of quality features. There is the clever split-toe design (perfect for surfers), the anti-flush shin strap, the durable foxing sole, and all held together by the glued and blindstitch seam construction.
This is a more budget-friendly boot by O’Neill – even though it is made with everything you would need for a cold surf. The stretchy, 3mm neoprene will certainly keep the chill-out. These socks are also flexible, easy to slip on, and grippy for walking over slippery surfaces.
Xcel Infiniti Split Toe 5mm Boots
- 5mm thickness
- Single rubber bottom construction
- Pull up ankle loop
Surfers looking for serious quality, high-performance booties should definitely check out this pair by Xcel. These booties are made with the best quality materials (quick-dry fibres, taped seams, and 5mm neoprene). The result is a durable and warm pair of surf booties.
For a great grip and board feel, there is a single rubber bottom. The booties also have a split-toe design and a pull-up ankle loop for easy entry. There is also a strap over the top of the foot for better fitting and less water penetration.
These booties have designed for surfers in icy conditions that still want a high-performance sock. These boots allow you to stay warm while providing optimal grip and comfort for active surfing.
Where Can You Buy Neoprene Socks?
As these are not particularly specialist pieces of equipment, neoprene socks are fairly easy to come by. Any good surf or wetsuit shop should sell a variety of these items. Even more, general sports shops, diving stores, or swimming stores should have some in stock.
Purchasing these items online is another great idea. This way, you can pick out the exact product that you are looking for and order it directly. Often, there will be limited options in stores.
Whether you will be swimming, surfing, running a triathlon, diving, or getting involved in any other watersport, neoprene socks are the answer to warm feet. Having cold feet can affect your surf in such a big way, something that booties can help so much with.
Not only do they help to keep you warm, but they also offer valuable protection and grip for slippery spaces. Neoprene socks may be an easy accessory, but they can add loads of value to your time in the water. If you’ve ever experienced chilly toes, then be sure to check these products out.
Do neoprene socks keep feet dry?
No, your feet will still be wet when wearing neoprene socks. The concept is the same as a wetsuit, where a thin layer of water gets trapped between your body and the material. However, this water warms up to body temperature, keeping your feet warm.
Are neoprene socks worth it?
If you swim, surf, or dive in cold conditions, then neoprene socks will make a major difference. These are simple items that can go a long way to improve your comfort.
Do booties go over or under the wetsuit?
Booties are meant to be worn underneath the wetsuit in order to avoid being filled up with water. This way, water can flush out of your wetsuit, and not into your booties.