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Wetsuit boots are the ideal water sports footwear for cold water and winter surfing, being insulated. When water temperatures plummet and you need to keep your feet warm they are specifically designed to deal with the cold. Perfectly suited for surfing in the northern hemisphere and UK’s more temperate regions! Below are some of the key characteristics to consider when shopping for wetsuit boots:-
Because wetsuit boots are technology and performance driven, the price of wetsuit boots will often reflect relative performance levels – the cheaper the boots, the less advanced its features and technologies will be – and the more expensive the boots the more feature packed and cutting-edge performance you can expect. So it is worth considering the water temperature and time of year your surfing when looking to buy wetsuit boots.
Buy according to your needs: you probably do not need top-end performance if you are learning to surf and will be mostly in the white water and you will be worn out before your feet get cold. Conversely you might be looking for a high-performance pair of wetsuit boots if you’ve been surfing for a while and looking to push your surfing skills, where flexibility and warmth of boot will play a big part in your surfing.
So please review the technologies and features offered with each type of wetsuit boot and you probably want to weigh up cost and performance to ensure value for money. At StVedas we try and bring you the best prices we can, but high-performance is not cheap and you do tend to get what you pay for so budget accordingly. Below we outline some wetsuit boot information and performance characteristics you may want to consider:
Glued and Blind Stitched: (GBS) Neoprene panels are glued together then blind stitched, which is where the stitching only penetrates the top part of the neoprene forming a water tight barrier.
Flatlock Stitched: Neoprene panels are butted up together not glued and the stitching penetrates through the neoprene, normally this type of stitching is used on basic 3mm and 5mm wetsuit boots.
Bootleg strap: The Velcro strap around the top of the boot leg it to help reduce water penetration.
Foot strap: This strap goes over the top of the foot and pulls the boot snug to the foot to help give a better fit and to help reduce foot roll when surfing.
8mm wetsuit boots: Thickness of neoprene in the wetsuit boots would normally be 8mm in all panels.
7mm wetsuit boots: Thickness of neoprene in the wetsuit boots would normally be 7mm in all panels.
5mm wetsuit boots: Thickness of neoprene in the wetsuit boots would normally be 5mm in all panels.
3mm wetsuit boots: Thickness of neoprene in the wetsuit boots would normally be 3mm in all panels.
2mm wetsuit slippers: Thickness of neoprene in the wetsuit slippers or also knowen as reef slippers would normally be 2mm in all panels with flat lock stiching.
Fireskin: is a hollow fibre lining usually found in all the neoprene panels to help keep some extra warmth in the boots.
FlashDry: is a new weave technology with 2-engineered layers – the first layer is designed so water passes through it directly into the 2nd Layer. The 2nd Layer then funnels the water rapidly out of the suit once it is hung up. As well as the rapid dry time the Flash Lining also works the same as Fireskin.
Liquid Tape: normally used on the outside of wetsuit boots covering the stitching to add extra strength to the seams and also to help stop any water penetration through the seams.
Round Toe: Is the style of boot around the toes, round toe boots are the same type of toe configuration as your normal every day shoes.
Hidden Split Toe: Is the style of boot around the toes where there is a piece of neoprene fixed internally between the big toe and second toe to help reduce foot roll in the boot.
Split Toe: Is the style of boot around the toes where the big toe and second toe are split to help reduce foot roll in the boot.
Bodyboard Socks: Are neoprene socks with out rubber sole’s so they can fit into your boadyboard fins.
Surfing is all about body position, stance and flexibility. So it makes sense that freedom of movement and ergonomics play a vital role in how you surf. A good pair of wetsuit boots will make a massive difference to your surfing, you need to be able to feel the surfboard beneath your feet.
As well as warmth of neoprene, other ergonomic considerations regarding functional designs that need thinking about are: Do I need a wetsuit boots with a split toe? Which is best for me thinner or thicker neoprene wetsuit boots? Will I need a 8mm, 7mm, 5mm or 3mm boots? Am I better with boots or reef slippers? Will I need more than one pair of wetsuit boots?
Wetsuit Boots work best in the water if you’re standing around out the water with your wetsuit boots on you will find one of two things will happen you will either start overheating on a sunny day or start and get cold on overcast days.
When in water the wetsuit boots will start and work as they should as long as your boots fits correctly, if the boots are to tight it will squeeze your muscles reducing the blood flow, which in turn reduces your natural body heat reaching the extremities, you can also find your cramp in your toes.
If your wetsuit boots are to big then at worst water will fill the spaces making the boots heaver which will make you will drag your toes along the surfboard catching on the deck wax, leaving you standing in the wrong position on your surfboard. Also the excess of water in the boots has no way of being squeezed out reducing the ability to keep you warm.
A correctly fitted pair of wetsuit boots will allow some water penetration but not flushing; you shouldn’t notice any water entering the boots and with the snug fit will allow for a damp membrane, which will form a warm barrier between you and your wetsuit boots.
Some surfing areas are colder than others, and certain times of year will also be colder too. So winter and spring surfing in northern hemisphere is generally colder than summer autumn surfing in southern hemisphere. If you know you will be surfing in very cold conditions think about thicker, more insulated wetsuit boots, if your surfing in warmer waters 3mm wetsuits boots will usually be good enough to keep you warm.
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