Best Dive Boots: A Detailed 2020 Buyer’s Guide

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Neoprene

In cold water conditions, the best dive boots can help to extend your dive times. Because of this, you’ll want to find the right fit and style, and a pair of diving boots that will keep you warm and comfortable, even in the coldest water conditions. But how can you go about finding the right type of diving boots considering the many different types of boots that are currently on the market?

As an experienced diver, I’ve reviewed many of the best-selling pairs of boots on the market, narrowing it down to six of the must-have dive boots that divers of all skill levels can appreciate. I’ve also created an extensive buyer’s guide which lists all the important features that you’ll need to look for in order to find a pair of boots that will work for you based on the common water conditions and temperatures that you normally dive in. Below, you’ll find a comparison chart that lists each of the models that made it onto my list including their top features and how they rated.

Dive Boots Comparison Chart

ProductSizesClosureThicknessRating
Mares Neoprene Scuba Dive Boots
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13Pull-On2 mm
Neo Sport Wetsuit Boots
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13Zipper3,5,7 mm
Cressi Tall Boots for Scuba Diving
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10Pull-On5,7 mm
SEAC Super-Stretch Dive Boots
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6Zipper6 mm
Seavenger Atlantis Dive Booties
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13Zipper3 mm
Aqua Lung Echozip Ergo Boot
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9Zipper6.5 mm

Mares Neoprene 2mm Scuba Snorkeling Dive Boots


Our Rating: (5/5)

These diving boots are two millimeters thick and feature an ankle height that’s perfect for the diver since it won’t inhibit range of motion, but provides just enough ankle support to improve your comfort and stability. The rubber grip sole will allow you to wear these boots on shore, or in shallow waters, and helps to improve traction on slippery terrain. These shoes are available in thirteen different sizes, although half sizes are not available, so you’ll have to round up the size in order to get a comfortable fit. The boots are also available in three color options, so you can easily match it to your wetsuit and other dive gear.

Pros

  • Blind-stitched
  • Snug fit
  • Thick traction on the bottoms of the socks
  • Two-millimeter thick neoprene

Cons

  • Only four sizes available

Conclusion

These boots are built tough, feature a rigid sole, yet they’re comfortable enough for all-day wear and will not cause irritation or chafing. The ankle height is perfect for the diver searching for boots that offer excellent ankle support, but at a height that will not make it difficult for the diver to fin easily. These boots are versatile and will come in handy both in the water and on land.

Neo Sport Premium Neoprene Men & Women Wetsuit Boots


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

These neoprene diving boots are available in three different thickness levels including three millimeters, five millimeters, and seven millimeters. The thickness level you choose will depend on the water temperatures you normally find yourself diving in. For warmer water temps go with the three millimeters, while very cold water temperatures below fifty degrees will require neoprene that’s seven millimeters thick. The boots offer ultimate durability thanks to the glued and sewn design that does double duty to ensure water is not able to constantly flush in and out. On the side of the boot, you’ll find a heavy-duty zipper that makes it easier to take the boots off or put them on.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Glued and sewn design
  • Heavy-duty zipper
  • Thirteen size options

Cons

  • Zipper can stick at times

Conclusion

These boots are available in three different thickness level options, come equipped with a sole that’s puncture-resistant, and a heavy-duty zipper that prevents water from entering the interior. These boots are designed for both men and women, however, they are not available in half sizes, so you’ll have to round up when choosing the right size for you.

Cressi Tall Neoprene Boots for Scuba Diving


Our Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

These boots feature a pull-on enclosure that makes it easier to take the boots off or put them on. The boots are designed for any type of watersports, but excel at diving, thanks to their ability to keep water from flushing the interior and their durable sole and flexible design. The boot’s heel features a unique design that works perfectly with open heel fins and will prevent fin straps from slipping. The sole is made out of hard rubber so they can be worn to walk over challenging terrain on shore, including sharp rocks. The boots are made out of neoprene for improved comfort and are available in two thickness options; five millimeters and seven millimeters.

Pros

  • Two thickness options
  • Pull-on design
  • Unique heel design prevents fin straps from slipping
  • Rigid sole

Cons

  • Rigid soles can cause discomfort on land until the boots have been broken in

Conclusion

These boots feature an ankle height that allows you to easily move underwater, but will not prevent your movements. The height of the cut also provides much-needed ankle support, with a flexible material that will not cut into the skin. The heel of the boots comes with a unique design that prevents the fin straps from slipping and will help to keep your fins securely in place. The rigid sole adds to the boot’s durability.

SEAC Super-Stretch Zippered Hard Sole Dive Boots


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

The latest diving boots by SEAC are very stretchy and feature a heavy-duty zipper closure design. The molded sole heel is designed to reduce stress and promote wearer comfort. The boots are made out of Aqua Silk synthetic material that’s durable, and six millimeters thick, so the boots will be a good choice for colder water conditions but can be uncomfortable to wear in warmer water and humid climates. The Velcro zipper flap is designed to protect the zipper, ensuring it remains closed during a dive and prevents the boots from slipping off in more challenging water conditions. Affordable, built tough, and offering the right amount of flex, these boots are a steal for the price.

Pros

  • Molded sole
  • Aqua Silk material offers more strength than neoprene
  • Six millimeters double glued design
  • Velcro zipper flat secures boots to prevent them from opening during use

Cons

  • Only six size options available

Conclusion

These durable ankle diving boots are a great buy for the diver on a budget in search of boots that will last season after season. The Aqua Silk material is six millimeters thick and offers more stretch than standard neoprene material of the same thickness level. The heavy-duty zipper is protected by a flap, which further prevents the boots from coming off or opening during use.

Seavenger Atlantis Dive Booties


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

Available in six pattern options and thirteen sizes, these boots are made out of three-millimeter neoprene material, which tells me right off the bat that they’re a good choice for warm water temperatures but will not be able to keep your feet warm in colder water temperatures below sixty degrees. The vulcanized rubber sole and heel and toe guards will make these boots a good choice for wearing on shore. The adjustable buckles and strap cleat will prevent your fins from falling off during use and offer a nice tight fit.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Perfect for warm dives
  • Adjustable
  • Thirteen sizes available

Cons

  • Not designed for cold water temperatures

Conclusion

These are the perfect dive boots to wear when you’re diving in warm weather. They’re not able to protect the feet from colder temperatures, but they’re a great choice for wear during the spring and summer months. I’d recommend these boots for any diver in search of a pair that features the type of lightweight design needed in warmer weather.

Aqua Lung Echozip Ergo Boot


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

These shoes offer a contoured fit that conforms to your foot for ultimate comfort. The boot’s asymmetric heel and toe cap improve the boot’s durability and protection. The hook and loop zipper will keep the zipper securely in place, preventing it from opening up during use. The zipper itself is made out of non-corrosive materials, which is a huge plus for any diver. The boot’s thicker material measures in at six and a half millimeters, so the boots will be a great choice for warm water conditions.

Pros

  • Ergonomic outsole and footbed
  • Hook and loop zipper
  • Heel and toe cap
  • Boots are made out of six and a half millimeter material

Cons

  • Not designed for warm weather use

Conclusion

These ergonomic diving boots will keep you comfortable in the water, while they remain securely on your feet, thanks to the heavy-duty YKK zipper. The flexible rubber outsole allows you to walk on shore without injuring your feet and offers the perfect amount of flex. These boots are a great buy for those divers who swim in freezing temperatures and are in need of boots that can keep their feet warm, safe, and comfortable.

Dive Boots Buyer’s Guide

Dive boots are just as important as other diving gear and are designed for divers who normally freedive or open water dive in colder water conditions. These boots are designed to keep the feet nice and warm by trapping a thin layer of water between the skin and the boot. This water is warmed by the body heat and will keep you comfortable during a dive. However, not all boots are created equal. Some will experience constant flushing which will prevent the water from warming up from your body temperature. In order to find the right pair of boots you need to consider how thick they should be and the type of material they’re made out of.

There are other factors to take into consideration as well such as size options and price. The style and cut of the diving boots that you choose will also be very important. If you’re going to be diving in cold water conditions and you’ll definitely need to choose a high-top style that can provide ultimate protection. If you’re planning on diving in warmer weather than a low to mid-top style will work just fine. However, you may also want to choose a high-top style boot if you need additional ankle support, which will come in handy when you’re walking on shore and carrying heavy scuba gear equipment. I’ll go more in-depth regarding the benefits of low-cut and high dive boots, how they can help when using different scuba diving entry methods, what other features to look for, and how to choose the appropriate thickness based on your average diving needs and where you normally dive.

Design

Many of the leading types of diving boots will come with reinforcements on the instep, toe, and heel and will have rigid soles. This will allow you to walk back to the dock after a dive without injuring your feet on sharp objects on the shore. A good pair of diving boots should be built tough but easy to put on and should come equipped with a rust-proof zipper. In general, diving boots have soles that are more rigid compared to standard shoes. Many are made out of material that ranges from three millimeters to seven millimeters thick and are often made out of rubber reinforced neoprene. Choosing the right type of boots will depend on the size of your fins and the water temperature you normally dive in.

Thickness

Choosing the right type of thickness level will depend on the average water temperature of the environment you dive in.

  • Boots that are three millimeters thick are perfect for spearfishing, freediving, and scuba diving in water temperatures 60 degrees Fahrenheit and above.
  • Boots that are five millimeters thick are designed for water conditions that are fifty degrees and higher.
  • Six and a half-millimeter thick diving boots are designed for water conditions that are seventy degrees and up.
  • Boots that are two to three millimeters thick are perfect for warmer water conditions and can be worn during the spring and summer months.

Height

Special shoes

As I previously touched on earlier, these boots come in a few different heights ranging from low to high. Low-cut boots are often used in tropical conditions where the weather is nice and warm. High-top boots will sit higher up on the ankle and are designed to protect the lower leg while also preventing debris such as pebbles and sand from entering the shoe.

Closure

The type of closure and fasteners that the boots have can also be an important factor. Popular options include simple slip-on designs, Velcro straps, or zippers. Velcro fasteners will allow you to take your boots off or put them on quickly, but they are also more prone to water leaks, which can make them ineffective in cold water. A Velcro fastener over the zipper will seal across the zipper and prevent it from accidentally going up and down when you’re diving or walking around on shore.

Sole

The sole can be another determining factor and should be based on the type of diving that you intend to do. If you normally dive off of a large boat then using a pair of boots with thin soles is a great option. However if you plan on doing shore diving then you’ll need to wear boots that come equipped with reinforced soles, which can help protect your feet from sharp obstacles such as rocks that can easily penetrate thin soles.

Sole Firmness

The right pair of diving boots for you will depend on your diving lifestyle. Some models will have soles that are more flexible and a softer design which will be fine for walk-in dives. Rigid soles will be needed if you will be walking on shore at any point, or walking across different types of challenging terrain after or before a dive. Non-slip bottoms, added heel and toe protection, and arch support will also be important.

Sole Cushioning

If you’re looking for a boot interior that’s supportive and comfortable, then look for a model that features a foam sole. Aside from durability and support, comfort should also be a priority.

Fin Straps

Some boots will have a special rubber section located on the back of the heel which is designed to help secure the fin strap in place. If you’re combining your boots with fins, then you’ll need to ensure that the boots are compatible with your fins. You’ll also want to ensure that the fin straps are durable and easy to use. A good pair of fin straps will keep the fins securely in place and are highly adjustable.

Size Options

The size of the boot is also considered one of the most important factors when you’re shopping around. If you buy boots that are too small then it’s going to feel uncomfortable and constrictive. If you purchase boots that are too large, then they can cause chafing, blisters, and may even fall off in the water. Before you hit the buy now button, make sure you know what size you need. If you don’t know what size to get, try visiting a local dive store and trying on a few pairs. While the boots should be the same size as your shoe size, the sizes tend to vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. The boot sizes are not available in half sizes, so if you wear a shoe that’s a half size then you’ll need to round up to the next largest size. It can be difficult to find a woman-specific dive boot. If you’re a woman looking for dive boots and have to purchase a pair of men’s, then I recommend purchasing a size or two smaller than your regular shoe size.

Your boots should not be too tight or loose and should fit comfortably. If you have dive fins then you’ll need to take fin design into account when you’re choosing a new pair of boots. Be sure that the boots you buy are compatible with the fins you normally wear.

Arch Support

When you wear regular shoes, you may need to wear some that offer extra arch support, or you may have separate arches that you normally add to your shoes. If this is the case, you’ll need to look for boots that offer better than average arch support. While you won’t be doing quite as much walking in dive boots as you do with your regular shoes, the diving boots will be carrying more weight.

Fortunately, many diving boots will come with arch support, which will be essential if you don’t want to deal with sore feet at the end of the day. If you want to add your own arch support in the form of inserts, speak with your physician to ensure that the arch supports are designed for this type of boot and will not deteriorate if exposed to moisture. If you find arches that are compatible with diving boots then you may need to purchase boots that are a size larger than what you’d normally wear.

Counter

The back portion of these boots is referred to as a heel counter. This stiffer portion of the boot is designed to protect the ankles and heels. The counter should be solid. When a diver steps, it’s the heel that touches the ground first, which means it takes on all the initial weight. If the diver steps on anything sharp, then the counter will take most of the impact and damage. The counter will also protect the ankle from rolling when the diver’s walking. The counter should provide enough ankle support so that if the diver is walking on land and they step down awkwardly, their ankle will not roll to one side. If the wearer stumbles, they may still hurt themselves, but the ankle should remain stationary. The counter should also take plenty of stress off the ankle that’s added from the heavy weight of all the diving gear. A high-quality pair of boots will offer excellent heel support, which ensures that the diver’s ankles and heels will not be subjected to any type of strain or stress.

Forefoot Rails

These will prevent the foot from moving or sliding around inside the boots. If the boots feature a more open design, then the forefoot rails will prevent the foot from sliding off the sole entirely. The raised rail around the sole’s edge will come up and surround the foot of the boot. Search for forefoot rails that are made out of thick, durable material that’s designed to last.

Price

These boots are available in a wide range of prices, but if you’re looking for the best, then you can expect to pay more. Most models of dive boots that are fifty dollars and higher often offer more bells and whistles, a comfortable fit, adjustability, and the type of arch support you need to handle the added weight of all of your diving gear. Low-priced diving boots are still a great choice for the beginner who is setting out for their first dive and simply needs a tough pair of boots that can help to keep their feet warm. However, the experienced diver is going to need boots that are versatile, built tough, and quality all the way.

Do I Need Diving Boots?

There are many reasons to wear these types of diving boots. Obviously, safety will be the main reason. It doesn’t matter where you’re walking, there are potential hazards everywhere.

  • If you’re wearing a pair of diving boots, then your soles will be well-protected from the sharp rocks, dead jellyfish, broken glass, and other dangers on the shore. If you’re wearing diving boots, they’re going to take the brunt of the impact, so you won’t have to worry about injuring your foot or ankle. The thick material of the boot will also protect your feet and ankles from stings and bites both out and in the water.
  • Ankle protection is also essential. If you have existing problems with your ankles, then finding a boot that offers ankle support will be important and will depend on the height of the cut. The support provided by the boots will reduce the stress that’s placed on the ankles, preventing it from buckling or rolling. The added weight of all of your diving gear will significantly increase the chances of an ankle injury.
  • If you’re diving in colder water your feet can become uncomfortably cold, which can lead to discomfort and a shorter time spent in the water.
  • Comfort is another main reason to wear diving boots. If you’re wearing just fins, then the material can injure or chaff your skin. Wearing boots with fins will provide another layer of comfort and protection. The fins will not be able to rub against your skin or slide, so you can walk easier and wear the fins longer.

What’s the Most Common Type of Material that Diving Boots are Made Out of?

While it’s possible to find diving boots that are made out of a variety of materials, most models are made out of neoprene. As I touched on earlier, the thicker the neoprene, the warmer and more protected your feet will be. However, this can also be a bad thing in warmer water temperatures since boots that are too thick can cause the feet to sweat and may be uncomfortable to wear in humid or hot climates.

Are Zipper-Less Boots Better?

Most models of dive boots will come with zippers, but zipper-less boots are quickly gaining in popularity. These boots are easier to take off and put on, which is a huge plus for most divers. These zipper-less boots are usually made out of high-stretch neoprene, which eliminates the need of a zipper. The neoprene will stretch as your foot passes through it and will contract once the foot is securely in place, conforming to the contours of your foot.

Choosing a boot with a zipper or one with a zipper-less design will be a matter of personal preference. Over time the zipper on the boots can be prone to rust and corrosion. When this happens, the zipper will become difficult to use, until it gets to the point where you have to toss the boots out. Zippers can also collect dirt and debris such as sand. There’s also the added risk that the zipper may come down when you’re diving.

The biggest drawback with the slip-on boots is the fact that the elasticity tends to wear out over time, which can cause the boots to fit looser, causing the potential for them to fall off in rougher waters.

Boots, Shoes, Booties, or Socks?

When it comes to diving footwear, there are many options to choose from. Whether you choose boots or shoes is more a matter of personal preference and can also depend on the type of diving you want to do. Water socks can be used in the event you want to reduce chafing when you’re wearing fins. If you wear diving fins that are attached to boots, then you’ll want to wear some wear socks as well, to provide extra protection. This will help to save your feet and toes from blisters.

  • Water shoes can be used for canoeing and diving and more. Water shoes are perfect for use underwater, yet they’re not compatible with many types of fins out there, at least compared to dive boots. Because of this, I recommend using them for kayaking, canoeing, or on the beach use. They’re the perfect choice for walking on rocky or sandy beaches or walking around in the water. While they can be used for diving as well, they’re more suited as a footwear option that can protect the feet.
  • Booties are designed to be worn with certain types of fins for diving purposes. They’re a cross between a sock and a boot. They offer more protection compared to neoprene socks, however, you definitely would not want to walk around in them. They have a somewhat durable design and are often thicker than neoprene, however, they’re not the best at keeping the feet warm in cold water temperatures. I would recommend them mainly for use in warmer climates when you’re wearing fins.
  • Dive boots are more defined than booties and they’re a better choice for the wearer who is practicing how to freedive deeper. They offer much better protection and are the perfect footwear for diving. They usually extend to the ankle or higher, which also makes them a great choice if you need more ankle support due to having weak ankles or past ankle injuries. Boots are much thicker than booties and provide better than average warmth in cold environments. They’re significantly more durable than booties, wet shoes, and socks.

To learn more about the different types of diving gear available, click here to read my guide on diving tips for beginners.

Final Thoughts

The best dive boots should be comfortable, supportive, and secure. They should provide the type of arch support you need and a durable design that allows them to withstand exposure to sand, salt, and sharp rocks. Additionally, if you wear diving fins, then the boots you choose should be compatible with the fins and allow you to attach them securely in place. There are many boots on the market to choose from, but not all models are created equal. The boots that made it to my top six list are durable, well-designed, able to withstand heavy-duty use, choppy water conditions and more. I’m confident that you’ll find the perfect boots in my lineup, and a pair that you can rely on in any type of water conditions, whether you’re freediving, open water diving, or you need to wear your boots in chilly water temperatures when you’re snorkeling.