Has your fins heel strap ever rubbed your foot or ankle the wrong way? Have you ever had to walk over scorching hot sand? What about over rocks or abrasive shells when shore diving? All of these represent a myriad of reasons why wearing dive boots is awesome and makes your experience with scuba diving or snorkeling so much more comfortable. This article will take a look at some of the best scuba diving boots and further explore why they are a very underrated piece of your gear.
Let's dive in!
Best Dive Boots for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
Best Overall Dive Boots
Cressi is a highly reputable dive gear brand and their Isla 5mm dive boots are exceptional. Even at 5mm, which is usually fairly thick, we have used this boot in hot and tropical climates without ever feeling like it was too warm. The rubber soles, toe, and heel reinforcements give you a lot of confidence walking around with them both on and off the boat.
Not only do they work seamlessly with open-heeled fins thanks to the built in strap holder, but they are comfortable enough to walk around the beach, the dock, and around the boat in. The side zipper ensures a snug fit without rubbing your ankle the wrong way.
The overall construction feels sturdy and doesn't slide around within your fins while you swim. Even though these dive boots are meant for use with open-heeled scuba fins for diving, you could just as easily use them for snorkel or beach trips because of how well they protect your feet and how comfortable they are.
Given the very reasonable price point for such a quality piece of gear, we think the Cressi Isla dive booties are amazing!
Best Value Dive Boots
Versatile footwear that can be used in other water sports, not just in scuba diving. Manufactured using 2mm neoprene, which means your feet will be warm while underwater, but they are still thin enough to feel flexible and forgiving.
To ensure that this boot will not unravel after a few uses, it also has sewn seams that mean it will be something that you will enjoy for a long time. It has a rubberized heel that makes wearing it highly comfortable with the right security to keep your feet safe from any material while walking on the beach. The heel makes it also possible to wear the fins without slipping or getting removed.
Made with the right durability, is sturdy, and also lightweight. This pair will not give you discomfort while wearing it cause of its lightness. It is also the perfect footwear not just for diving but for other water sports because of its comfortable built and durable design. Another advantage is the use of a mesh panel that ensures good ventilation.
Best Low Top Booties
If you are looking for ideal scuba diving boots without the bulky zipper, but still wrap around your feet and keep it protected from the cold water, these are the diving boots for you.
They manufactured this boot using NeoSports nylon premium with a 3mm thickness of neoprene and reinforced rubber for durability.
These diving boots are not just ideal for diving but also for all-around water activities or even when you are up for navigating beaches and such. You can also enjoy a one-year warranty for this product, which is a benefit for any prospective buyer.
Overall this is a high quality and comfortable dive boot that doesn't use a zipper and you should be able to just slip on.
Highest Quality Diving Boots
ScubaPro is of course a great dive gear manufacturer so you know you can count on these dive boots for being exceptionally high quality. The Delta dive boots are a high top boot with a large side zipper to make it easy to get in and out of them.
Like many of the other dive boots, the toe and heels are reinforced with rubber padding and these boots have a durable anti-slip rubber sole. While these look and function very similarly to the Cressi Isla boots above, they do have a revised ankle opening and contoured top that make the fitting a little bit for all shapes and sizes of feet. However, they also come at about double the cost of the Cressi boots.
The TUSA Imprex is another side zippered, high-top dive boot. This style is our favorite given the overall durability, support, and comfort that the boots provide compared to thinner, low-top boots.
These TUSA boots are really sleek and nice looking, with injection molded soles that provide what is arguably the best traction of the dive boots on this list. We think the ScubaPro boots have a bit of a better fit design at basically the same price point, but this dive boot is certainly of very high quality and worthy of consideration for anybody seriously looking into having their own pair of dive boots.
How to Choose the Best Dive Boots (Buying Guide)
Benefits of Wearing Dive Boots
Dive boots provide extra warmth for your feet, are more comfortable to wear with certain kinds of dive fins, and provide protection both in and out of the water for anything from hot sand, to abrasive rocks, and everything in between.
High Top vs Low Top
Dive boots come in a few different cuts, most notably a high-top and low-top style. The high top boot cut typically fits a little better as it can go above the ankle and tighten around your lower leg. Additionally, a high top dive boot also provides a little more protection. However, the low-cut dive boots and booties feel less constricting and more free, which some divers prefer (especially in warmer climates).
Dive boots can have a few different sole types. They can have hard sole, which provides the ultimate protection and you can use to walk over shells and abrasive material no problem. These also provide the most sturdy connection with your fins. Soft soles have a little bit of structure to them, but are generally thinner. They are therefore not quite as protective as hard sole dive boots, but are more breathable. Boots with no soles, are considered "socks" and provide very little protection. The benefit of dive socks is that you can still wear them with full foot fins, whereas hard and soft sole dive boots can generally only be used with open-heel fins.
Fin Strap Pad
Many high-top cut dive boots have a small lip on the back heel. This lip is supposed to be a place for you to rest your fin strap on to keep the fin strap from sliding around or coming off. Think of it like a "shelf" for your fins straps when wearing your fins.
Anytime you wear neoprene, thickness will be a consideration as neoprene can be really warm. As a general guide, 70°F (21°C) water requires 1-3mm thickness, while 60-70°F (15.5-21°C) needs 4-5 mm, and 50-60°F (10-15.5°C) needs 6-7 mm thickness. However, feet aren't a common area to get overheated, and in fact your extremities typically run colder than other parts of your body, so even something as thick as 5mm neoprene won't feel overbearing even in very tropical climates and water temperatures. In fact, that might be a sweet spot for your feet in most common recreational temperatures.
Type of Fins You Use - Full Foot vs Open-Heel
The type of dive boot you need will depend what kind of fins you wear or will be wearing. Dive boots with hard soles and/or any rubber padding will be difficult and awkward to fit into full foot fins (the kinds that are commonly used as rentals). The hard sole and high-top dive boots are the best quality, but are also best used in conjunction with open-heel fins for the best comfort and performance. You can, however, wear dive socks (no soles), or potentially soft soled dive boots with full foot fins.
Dive boots can be slip-on, have velcro closures, or utilize zippered closures. These methods go from least to most in terms of how good of a seal they provide and how form fitting they end up feeling. Velcro, while highly adjustable, typically leaves excess material being squished together, or the velcro can fray and degrade over time. Zippered closures are usually the best overall in terms of seal and stability, but are only utilized on high-top cut dive boots.
How to Take Care of Your Diving Boots
Like any other piece of dive gear, especially neoprene, give your dive boots a thorough rinsing with fresh water after use. Let them dry completely before storing them and always store them in a cool, dry place so that the sun doesn't degrade the neoprene over time.
Choosing the Right Size Dive Boot
Your dive boot size should correspond with your normal shoe size. In general, neoprene and the other materials that make up dive boots are a little more forgiving than the sneakers you wear around town, so you can even afford to go a little smaller than your usual shoe size. For example, if you are between a 10 and 10.5 in shoe size, it may be worth going with the size down first.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Are Dive Boots?
Dive boots are a piece of gear that gives your feet extra warmth, protection, and stability in the water. They are often more comfortable to use with open-heel fins that by wearing certain fins by themselves.
Do You Need to Wear Dive Boots?
No. Whether you want to wear dive boots or not depends on what kind of fins you have and whether or not you feel comfortable in the water without them (or whether you may be looking for some additional comfort).
How Do You Wear Dive Boots With Fins?
Most open-heel fins have a little extra room to accommodate dive boots, along with material that grips well with rubber soles. You simply put your dive boots on, slide them into the fins, and strap up. Ideally, your boots also have a small rubber lip on the back heel to put the fin straps on to keep them from sliding.