Boots, Water Shoes, & Socks
Boot, Shoe, or Sock?
A neoprene boot or water shoe will protect your feet from sharp coral and objects while walking in the water or along the beach. The rubber sole will provide extra grip on a wet, slippery boat. The neoprene will provide thermal protection, even in warm water. Boots or water shoes can not be used with full-foot fins. A neoprene or lycra sock will provide more comfort when worn with full-foot fins and may provide more thermal protection when worn inside a boot.
For temperate or cold water diving, snorkeling, boating and water sports, a minimum 7mm thickness is required to keep your feet warm. For warmer, tropical water, anything from 2mm to 7mm is comfortable. Don't worry about having too warm of feet with a thicker boot, this is usually not an issue.
Toe Cap & Heel Stopper
Some boots and shoes will have extra rubber that will extend from the sole up the back of the heel or over the toe on the top. The rubber toe cap will provide extra durability to the shoe or boot, especially when constantly sliding your foot in and out of a fin. The rubber heel stopper will stop your fin strap from sliding down and off your foot if you place the strap above the heel stopper.
Comfort & Fit
Based on sizing and overall fit, water shoes and dive boots should fit like a regular shoe. Not too big, not too small. Some lycra and neoprene socks will be one-size-fits-all while others will have a distinct sole and fit more closely to your shoe size.
Care & Maintenance
Be sure to rinse your shoes, boots, and socks with clean, fresh water after each use to remove as much of the salt and chlorine as possible. This will help prolong the life of the neoprene material and the stitching holding them together.
Over time, neoprene items like boots, shoes, and socks will need a good washing to rid them of stinky odors. A good soaking and washing with some neoprene shampoo will usually do the trick. Be sure to adequately rinse them after with clean fresh water to get rid of the soapy residue. Be sure to properly dry them inside and out before packing them away for storage.