Scuba booties are like neoprene socks, some have a zipper up the side and hard bottoms so you can walk over rocks and other hard surfaces. They protect your feet from cuts, burns and abrasions when walking on rocky beaches, rough boat decks and hot pavement. If you are a cold water scuba diver they will help keep you feet warm. Booties can also prevent blisters from the heel strap of your fins rubbing directly against your heel when walking and swimming.
Choosing Scuba Booties
You will want to purchase your swim fins when you purchase your scuba booties. If you plan on using booties with your swim fins you will most likely need to purchase your swim fins in one size larger. You will need to wear your scuba booties when trying on swim fins to ensure your fins are the correct size.
Scuba booties come in sizes similar to your shoe size. They should fit like your shoes; snugly, without pinching your toes or heels.
Scuba booties also come in different thicknesses for different water temperatures. If you are diving in tropical waters a lighter neoprene is preferred. If you are a cold water diver you will want your booties to be made of thicker neoprene to keep your feet warm.
Scuba booties are either pull-on or zippered. Pull-on booties are literally just like your socks; they pull on your feet and conform to the shape of your foot. Depending on the thickness of your scuba booties they may be difficult to get on and off. The thicker the neoprene the more difficult they will be to put on and take off. If you are a cold water diver you will need thicker neoprene and may want to purchase zippered booties. These are much easier to put on and take off. If you do choose zippered booties check to make sure the zipper has a backing that will prevent cold water from entering the boots.
Maintaining Scuba Booties
The key to keeping your scuba booties clean and free of odor is proper maintenance after each dive. These maintenance procedures will help to keep your booties in good shape for many years of scuba diving:
- Rinse your booties in clean, freshwater after each dive and allow them to dry thoroughly before storing. After a div, your booties will be covered in a salty residue and/or dirt. This must be rinsed clean to prevent the neoprene from degrading. Your scuba booties must be completely dry before storing to ensure the neoprene stays clean, odor-free and free of mildew or mold.
- Scuba bootie zippers should be lubricated occasionally to prevent degradation of the metal or plastic.
- Always store your scuba booties out of direct sunlight. Direct sunlight will break down the neoprene after years of exposure.
- Periodically machine or hand-wash your scuba booties. A good rinse after each dive helps to keep your booties clean, but to ensure there is no residue or grit left on your booties you must properly clean them on a regular basis. You can purchase a commercially prepared neoprene shampoo, zipper lubricant/desalter and a neoprene sealant to thoroughly clean and seal your scuba booties. A commercial shampoo and sealant are specifically manufactured to care for your neoprene and is the recommended method for proper maintenance.
- Any holes in the neoprene on your scuba booties can be fixed using a commercial wet suit cement.