7 Best Surf Booties for Women to Ride the Waves in Any Season (2021)
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When it’s cold or rocky, you’ll probably need a trusty pair of booties for surfing to prevent cutting your feet or freezing your toes off. While you may not need to use them all the time, surf booties are a necessary piece of surfing gear for any regular surfer who likes to check out new spots or surf in colder conditions. It can be especially difficult to find the best surf booties for women, though, because most of the products out there are catered to males.

As a female-led outdoor community, we were very disappointed with the lack of information and guidance online for women surfers while searching for the best booties for surfing. So, in response to that, we created this guide to help you choose a pair of women’s surf booties that will sufficiently fit and protect your feet in the majority of conditions you might find yourself in as a surfer.

What are Surf Booties and Why Should You Use Them?

Surf booties are neoprene ankle-height footwear deigned for water sports like surfing, diving, paddle boarding, and more. Similar to a shoe, they are closed-toed, cover your whole foot, and have rubber soles for traction on your board and to protect your feet from rocks and reefs below.

You don’t always need to use surf booties when you hit the waves, but they can be helpful in rocky/reef areas, when the water is too cold to go barefoot, or when you just want some extra foot traction while riding. Surfing booties are essential for riding in extreme weather conditions, especially in areas where the water is cold all year. However, warm-weather surfers typically have a pair they can use to prevent cuts on their feet or additional injuries.

What Should You Look for in the Best Surfing Booties?

If you’re going to spend the money on booties for surfing, you’ll want to make sure you get your hands on the absolute best pair for your surfing habits and preferences. Here are the characteristics we’d recommend considering before choosing a pair of surfing booties.

Materials and Construction

Surf booties are typically made of neoprene, the same thick, insulated fabric that wetsuits are made of. However, not all neoprene booties are created equal. The construction of surf booties is arguably more important than the materials it’s made of. Look for things like glued & taped seams, blindstitching or flatlock stitching (overlock stitching isn’t as durable). You’ll want to make sure the booties are reinforced so they don’t fall apart in the water.

Insulation & Fabric Thickness

Another important trait to look out for in a pair of surf booties is the thickness of the neoprene. Thicker neoprene = more insulation, and therefore booties with thick insulation are better in cold water. However, thicker booties can also be harder to maneuver in and can be a bit heavier, too.

We typically recommend buying either cool water or warm water booties if you generally surf in milder climates. You can use slightly thicker booties in warmer temperatures and your feet won’t get hot.

  • Cold/winter water: 7 mm or more
  • Cool water: 5-6 mm
  • Warm water: 3 mm
  • Tropical water: 2 mm

Round Toe vs. Split Toe

There are two main types of surf booties – round toe and split toe.

Round toe booties are typically more comfortable and feel more natural on your feet, and they insulate better than split-toe booties. However, they’re also known to slip around a lot more when you’re surfing, especially if the fit isn’t very precise. If you choose to go with round toe booties, be sure to get ones that fit snugly on your feet.

Split toe booties feel a bit more like flip flops or toe socks and are harder to put on and take off. These are better for preventing slippage and increasing traction because of their construction, but the design insulates your feet less.

There are also “hidden” split toe booties, which nest a split toe inner design with an outer round toe design. These are often more expensive but they have the best of both worlds in terms of comfort, insulation, and slippage.

Sole Traction

Good soles are a critical aspect of booties for surfing, as you’ll need to have grippy traction on your board and protection from rocks and reefs underfoot. You can usually gauge traction of a surf bootie the same way you would with hiking boots or any other shoe – just trying them on and sliding your foot on a hard surface. Cheap booties will almost certainly have flimsy (or no) traction.

Fit, Comfort, and Style

We can’t tell you how a boot is going to fit on your own foot, but it is a very important thing to consider when deciding on a pair. Don’t buy booties that chafe, hurt your feet, or feel uncomfortable. Similarly, avoid buying booties that are too big or bulky – this will make them harder to surf (successfully) in! While most booties are black, some of the straps differ between different models. The best way to decide on the comfort and fit of booties is to try them on and move around in them before committing to them.

Price

While we don’t typically factor price into our own reviews and evaluations, it is certainly a factor you’ll want to pay attention to when looking for the best surf booties for you. Typically, solid surf booties range in price from $40-90, but the most expensive booties aren’t necessarily the best.

Best Surf Booties for Women – Our Picks for 2021

Rip Curl Women’s 3mm Flashbomb Split Toe Boots
Overall Best Surf Booties for Women

  • Type: Hidden split toe
  • Women Specific? Yes
  • What We Like: Lightweight, solid construction; E5 Flash material and tape retains heat very well; the soles are durable and offer maximum dexterity in movement

Surfing gear has historically been catered towards men, and booties are unfortunately no exception. Many manufacturers of surf booties don’t even have any for women (and they’re called out in this article, in case that influences your decision making)! Luckily, there are a few more inclusive brands these days, and Rip Curl just happens to be one of them. They make a great surf bootie – the Women’s 3mm Flashbomb Split Toe Boots – that’s our top recommendation for female surfers for most surfing conditions.

These booties pack a punch in terms of value and features, with no detail left untouched. We love the split toe construction of these booties for surfing, the adjustable straps, and the heat-retaining E5 Flash material and construction. Combining these characteristics brings a super solid but lightweight construction, perfect for maneuvering through the water and on your board with minimal slippage. We’d recommend these to any lady surfers who want a great pair of booties for the waves, but we’ve got a handful of other great recommendations on our guide to women’s surf booties.


Solite 3mm Custom Wetsuit Boots
A Very Close Runner Up

  • Type: Internal split-toe
  • Women Specific? No
  • What We Like: This bootie has everything we could ever want – internal split toe configuration to prevent slippage, wrapped foot strap for extra snug fit, and grippy soles for excellent traction

Imagine surf booties that offer top-of-the-line performance while providing barefoot-level comfort, and you’ve got the Solite Custom Wetsuit Boots. These surf booties have everything we could ever want in a boot, with a snug fit that doesn’t slip or skid in the most important moments on the waves. With super grippy soles, a practical wrap-around foot strap for an extra-snug fit, and an internal split-toe configuration, these boots are a perfect companion for any surfer’s quiver.

One of the things we like about the Solite Custom Wetsuit Boots is that they come in a variety of fabric thickness options depending on the type of conditions you usually surf in. If you generally surf in warm water, we’d recommend going with the Solite 3 mm Custom Pro booties – they’re lightweight, very grippy, and feel like they’re not even there. Cool water surfers will appreciate Solite’s thicker bootie options, like the Solite Custom 5 mm booties.

Note: These are typically quoted in men’s sizes, even though they are unisex. For women, there are sizing charts available on the website to determine the best size for your feet.


Patagonia R3 Yulex Split Toe Booties
Another Close Runner Up

  • Type: Split toe
  • Women Specific? No
  • What We Like: Snug split-toe design holds feet well; very warm but versatile for different water temperatures; made with sustainable Yulex

For a sustainable, comfortable pair of booties for surfing, we love the Patagonia R3 Yulex Split Toe Booties. Made with Yulex – a natural rubber based material made without the use of petroleum – these split toe booties are snug and responsive, perfect for longboarders and shortboarders alike. The soles are very grippy, providing fantastic traction for a no-slip ride, and the split toe combined with the adjustable strap keep your foot in place even in rougher conditions. Plus, they’re super reinforced, with external and internal seam sealing with blindstitching, providing maximum durability and heat retention.

Surfers love these because they’re lightweight and stay really warm in cool water. The only downside is that many people have had issues with sizing, saying that they run very small. We’d recommend sizing down (there are only whole sizes) if you aren’t sure what to get.

Note: These are typically quoted in men’s sizes, even though they are unisex. For women, there are sizing charts available on the website to determine the best size for your feet.


Patagonia R5 Yulex Round Toe Booties
Best Wetsuit Booties for Extreme Cold Water (45 degrees F and below)

  • Type: Round toe
  • Women Specific? No
  • What We Like: Extra warm, highly durable, and made with Yulex, a sustainable rubber-based neoprene alternative

For fearless winter surfers, the Patagonia R5 Yulex Round Toe Booties are the #1 best booties for surfing in extreme weather. The round toe construction provides maximum heat retention without compromising comfort, and these booties will enable you to surf in temperatures lower than 40 degrees F.

Made with Yulex – a natural rubber based material made without the use of petroleum – these booties are sustainable, snug, and responsive. The soles are very grippy, providing fantastic traction for a no-slip ride. For extreme weather surfers, the thick, 7mm construction and polyester thermal lining keeps the cold out, providing maximum durability and heat retention. The whole boot is reinforced with external and internal seam sealing and blindstitching.

Reviewers have used the Patagonia R5 Yulex booties in cold climates including Alaska and the Great Lakes, and everyone loves how warm and snug they are. For performance, high-quality, and comfort in a very sustainable product, look no further than the Patagonia Yulex line of surf booties.

Note: These are typically quoted in men’s sizes, even though they are unisex. For women, there are sizing charts available on the website to determine the best size for your feet.


Billabong 5mm Absolute Booties
Best Cold Water Surf Booties for Women

  • Type: Round toe
  • Women Specific? No
  • What We Like: Super comfortable surf booties with minimalist design and enhanced flex

Beloved by many surfers, Billabong is a clothing and gear brand that caters to surfers of all levels. Billabong makes an excellent pair of surf booties for cool water – the Billabong 5mm Absolute Booties. We love and recommend these ultra comfortable, warm booties for surfing in cool or warm temperatures.

These sock-style, round toe booties slide on with heel loops and are sealed for extra warmth and durability. While they don’t have straps, they still fit comfortably and snugly around your foot, and many surfers love the minimalist construction and feel of these boots. With all of the necessary features for comfort and performance, these surf booties come at a great value and will last for many waves to come. There are split-toe and more lightweight options available as well depending on your preferences and typical surf conditions.


Roxy Syncro 2mm Reef Round Toe Booties
Best Warm/Tropical Surf Booties for Women

  • Type: Round toe
  • Women Specific? Yes
  • What We Like: Lightweight construction is perfect for protection from rocks and shells underfoot without restricting movement

If you mostly surf in warm to tropical waters and simply need a boot to protect your feet from reefs or rocks below, the women-specific Roxy Syncro 2mm Reef Round Toe Booties are an excellent option. The 2mm construction fits like a sock and offers a durable rubber sole for protection. There’s also a drawstring and an adjustable strap to make sure these don’t slip or fall off, perfect for bigger waves. We’d recommend these surf booties for women who primarily surf in the summer in warm climates, or women who want booties that are versatile for other water sports like kayaking, paddle boarding, swimming, etc.


Vans Surf Boots 2 Mid

  • Type: Round toe
  • Women Specific? No
  • What We Like: Stylish, fun, and lightweight for high performance and function in the waves

Known for its skate gear, Vans has worked its way into the surf and snowboard world and the Vans Surf Boots 2 Mid are a great example of what happens when all of those worlds collide. Marking with the signature Vans style, these lightweight, 2mm boots are super comfortable and flexible for high performance on your board. Additionally, these booties are reinforced with Vans rubber grip soles for optimal traction on your board. These boots tend to run large, so we’d recommend sizing down for a snug, sturdy fit.

Note: These are typically quoted in men’s sizes, even though they are unisex. For women, there are sizing charts available on the website to determine the best size for your feet.


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Kay Rodriguez is the founder of Urban Outdoors. She's also the writer and photographer behind Jetfarer. When she's not writing furiously on her laptop or editing photos, you can find Kay running, hiking, surfing, or playing in the snow.

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