Tips for buying and caring for diving boots

Some divers prefer wearing diving boots underwater in order to keep their feet warm and dry. Boots can also protect your feet from the chaffing of fins or injury from sharp objects beneath the ocean's surface. But, diving boots are not homogeneous. There are several types available. Below, you'll learn how to choose a pair of diving boots based upon their thickness, sole, cut and size. We'll also describe how to properly care for your boots once you've purchased them.

Choosing the right thickness

Most diving boots are made from the same material as your wetsuit (neoprene). So, you can expect them to affect your feet in the same manner your wetsuit affects the rest of your body. If you're diving in warmer waters, you can wear boots that are thinner (the thinnest is usually 2mm). If you're diving in extremely cold waters, consider buying a pair of boots that are much thicker (closer to 7mm). A good rule of thumb: your boots should follow your wetsuit. Try to use a consistent thickness between both.

Consider the sole and cut

Your boots' sole and cut should be based upon the type of diving you'll be doing. If you're planning to spend a lot of time on the ocean floor, invest in boots with a thick sole. There are plenty of sharp objects on the bottom of the ocean. They could potentially puncture a thin sole. If you're not planning on visiting the ocean floor, thinner soles will suffice.

The cut of your diving boots will either be high or low. Just like the thickness of your boots, the cut will depend upon the temperature of the water in which you're diving. If you're diving in warmer waters, low cut boots are usually better because they provide extra mobility. However, a dive in colder waters should be accompanied by higher-cut boots. Though they offer less mobility, they provide more warmth and dryness.

How to buy the right size

Typically, diving boots are only available in whole sizes. If a pair of boots feel even slightly too snug or tight, it's recommended that you move to a bigger pair. Extra room is better than not having enough room. Similar to buying shoes, your toes shouldn't be forced to curl in the front of your boots. If they do, buy a bigger size.

Caring for your diving boots

There are several things you should do to prolong the life of your diving boots. First, after each dive, wash your boots in freshwater. If not rinsed, neoprene can become less flexible after repeated exposure to saltwater. Before storing them away, make sure the boots are completely dry. If they're damp, they can develop mold or mildew (not to mention an odor). Once dry, store them in a relaxed manner that minimized the creases. If you crumple your diving boots while storing them, the creases could damage the boots' ability to provide sufficient insulation. Finally, store them so they're not exposed to direct sunlight. The sun's rays can also impact neoprene's flexibility over time.

Enjoying a great experience

Every diving adventure has its share of joys and potential setbacks. The setbacks can range from extremely cold water to injury from sharp objects along the ocean floor. A good pair of diving boots can help minimize the chances of these things happening. Keep in mind the thickness, sole, cut and size of your boots all impact your experience underwater. In the end, your diving boots may be one of the most worthwhile investments you can make for enjoying your diving experience.