Best Neoprene Socks for Diving, Kayaking, & Paddle Boarding:2020 Buyer’s Guide

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Scuba diver

When you’re spending a day on the water, it can wreak havoc on your feet, if you’re not using the best neoprene socks to keep your feet dry and comfortable. While purchasing water socks may seem like an easy enough task, you’ll be amazed by how many pairs there are to choose from, and some perform better than others. There’s really nothing worse than being out on the water for the day, in freezing conditions, with soaking wet feet.

I’ve taken it upon myself to try out several of the best-selling pairs on the market, narrowing it down to the top six pairs that are durable, comfortable, and designed to keep your feet dry. I’ve also created a buyer’s guide that will go over the many features to look for, what indicates quality, and how these socks will work to keep you dry and comfortable whether you’re paddle boarding, diving, or angling out on the water. The comparison chart below includes the six pairs that made it onto my must-have list, in addition to their best features, sizes available, and other important information.

Neoprene Socks Comparison Chart

ProductSizesTractionThicknessRating
Seavenger Zephyr Socks
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7Yes3mm
CAPAS Neoprene Socks
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4Yes2 mm
Fun Toes Water Socks
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4Yes2.5 mm
FitsT4 Neoprene Socks
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5No3 mm
NeopSkin Neoprene Socks
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7Yes3 mm
ZCCO1 Neoprene Socks
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6No3 mm

Seavenger Zephyr 3mm Neoprene Dive Socks


Our Rating: (5/5)

These heavy-duty socks from Seavenger are three millimeters thick and designed to conform to the contours of your feet, thanks to the four-way stretch design. In terms of durability, the socks have blind-stitched seams that have also been glued to improve the waterproof design. The bottom of the socks features a non-slip design that will prevent you from sliding on your paddle board, surfboard, or a rocky shore. The pattern consists of a dotted silkscreen. The soles have no padding and cannot provide protection from rough terrain and sharp objects.

The thickness of the neoprene is designed to keep your feet nice and warm by trapping a layer of water around the feet that’s warmed by your body heat.

These socks are perfect for:

  • Diving
  • Paddle boarding
  • Kayaking
  • Swimming
  • Scuba diving
  • And more

Pros

  • Glued and blind-stitched seams
  • Three-millimeter thickness
  • Seven size options available
  • Perfect for colder water conditions

Cons

  • Not breathable
  • Bottom of socks lack padding

Conclusion

In terms of durability, these socks scored high, however, they can cause the feet to sweat excessively in warmer water temperatures. Additionally, the bottoms of the socks do not have any padding, so they cannot be worn on a rocky shore, or any type of environment where there are sharp objects that can cause mild to severe foot injuries. Overall, the socks are built tough and can withstand cold temperatures, so they’re a great choice for a wide range of water applications.

CAPAS Neoprene Socks


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

These socks are made out of neoprene that’s two millimeters thick, with a breathable design that keeps the feet nice and cool. The bottoms of the socks are designed to protect the feet from injuries caused by sharp rocks and rough terrain. The inner portion of the socks have seams that have been glued to improve the waterproof design and overall durability. The super-stretchy design allows the socks to conform to the wearer’s feet.

The top portion of the socks is made out of high-quality nylon, offering a snug fit that improves comfort and prevents debris, sand, and dirt from getting inside the socks.

The exterior of the socks features a seamless glued blind-stitched design, which you’ll commonly find on wetsuits.

Pros

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

Cons

  • Only four sizes available

Conclusion

These durable water socks come equipped with a tire pattern sole that protects the feet, while also improving traction, thanks to the thick silicone material that does an excellent job of gripping the surface. These multipurpose socks can be worn for paddle boarding, snorkeling, kayaking, and any other type of watersport.

Fun Toes Water Socks


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

These two and a half millimeter thick neoprene water socks will help to cut down on chafing that’s caused by water skis and fins, come equipped with grip soles that will improve your traction on your board, or when walking on challenging terrain. The socks have extra-thick soles that will provide a higher level of protection compared to other models in this price range. This pair also features a breathable design that makes them suitable for both cold and warm water temperatures.

Pros

  • Prevents chafing caused by fins
  • Equipped with extra-thick soles
  • Two and a half-millimeter thick neoprene
  • Breathable design

Cons

  • Runs one size small
  • Four size options available

Conclusion

According to the manufacturer, these socks tend to run a size small, so this is definitely something you’ll want to take into consideration when you’re shopping. Additionally, the socks are only available in four size options. These socks are not designed to protect the feet from sharp objects, but they do provide a higher level of protection compared to competing models in this price bracket. Durable, and featuring a design that conforms to the shape of the wearer’s foot, these socks are suitable for a wide range of water applications and provide the type of comfort and snug fit that all buyers are looking for.

FitsT4 Neoprene Water Socks


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

These socks are perfect for snorkeling, diving, paddle boarding, kayaking, and surfing. They do a great job of providing insulation and will work well in colder water temperatures. Unfortunately, the soles lack any type of traction, which can make them a poor choice if you’re looking for neoprene socks that can help to improve your grip on your board. In terms of durability, the socks feature a double blind-stitched design that prevents them from falling apart with heavy-duty use. The super stretchy design will allow the socks to conform to the contours of your feet, for a comfortable, snug fit that will prevent them from falling off, even in challenging water conditions.

Pros

  • Low price
  • Snug fit
  • Perfect for cold water conditions
  • Double blind-stitched

Cons

  • The bottoms of the socks have no traction

Conclusion

These socks will work for a variety of watersports, including paddle boarding, kayaking, diving, water skiing, and more. Since they lack traction and don’t have soles that are heavily padded they don’t provide the type of protection from rough terrain that some buyers are looking for. additionally, they will not improve your grip. The solid build and stretchy design still make them a great choice for many buyers who are looking for a pair of durable water socks that are able to withstand heavy-duty use.

NeopSkin Neoprene Socks


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

These water socks are three millimeters thick and feature a comfortable ergonomic design that allows you to wear them all day long without irritation. The socks provide excellent insulation when you’re in cooler waters. The bottoms of the socks feature a thick sole that protects the feet from injuries and rough terrain. The stretchy neoprene material allows the socks to conform to the contours of your feet, so you won’t have to worry about the socks coming off if you’re paddling around in a fast-moving river. The waterproof design consists of blind-stitched seams that have been glued. The socks also have a smooth skin opening, which will help to minimize the amount of water that can come in.

Pros

  • Thick soles
  • Waterproof design
  • Three-millimeters thick
  • Conforms to the shape of your feet

Cons

  • Offers no traction in sand

Conclusion

These water socks have been blind-stitched for improved durability, feature a comfortable, durable design, and material that will conform to the shape of your foot. They earned a high rating for comfort, durability, and breathability, thanks to the ergonomic design that not only improves comfort but minimizes irritation while working to keep the feet nice and dry. The bottoms of the socks have undergone a special coating process that makes them abrasion-resistant, so they’re a great choice for rocky shores and other types of challenging terrain. These socks can handle both warmer and colder water temperatures and will be a great choice for paddle boarding, diving, swimming, waterskiing, and other types of watersports.

ZCCO1 Neoprene Diving Socks


Our Rating: (4/5)

These affordable, three-millimeter thick neoprene water socks feature a high-elastic design and an outer sole that is made out of tough, wear-resistant material. The socks can be worn alone or with diving boots for increased warmth in freezing temperatures. The seams of the socks have been glued and double stitched to improve durability. The bottom of the socks does not come equipped with any padding or traction, which can make these socks a poor choice for surfing or paddle boarding, both of which require socks with some traction on the soles in order to improve the grip on their board. These socks will work well with most watersports, however, they’re only available in a couple of size options, which can be very limiting.

Pros

  • Made out of thick neoprene material
  • Can withstand colder water temperatures
  • Glue-stitched seams
  • Wear-resistant design

Cons

  • Bottoms of the socks do not have traction

Conclusion

These super stretchy socks are a great choice for many water applications, such as snorkeling, kayaking, skiing, and diving. Because the soles lack the type of traction needed to improve the user’s grip on their surfboard or paddle board I don’t recommend them for either sport. These socks are durable, stretchy, and comfortable, but, you’ll have to make do without traction on the bottom of the soles, which can be a deal-breaker for some buyers.

Neoprene Socks Buyer’s Guide

Neoprene socks are much different from water shoes, in several ways. These socks are typically designed with neoprene and latex material that will mold to your foot, locking water out. The socks do not have a rigid upper or a thick sole like a water shoe does. Because the socks don’t have a sole like water shoes do, they can be best used in situations of low impact. These socks will be a great addition to your paddling, snorkeling, diving, and swimming gear.

Since they can provide the feet with a high level of protection, they’re also a great choice for a day at the beach, although they cannot protect your feet from injuries caused by sharp objects. However, they do an excellent job of keeping your feet warm and comfortable.

There are many things to consider before you buy, especially if you spend a lot of time in the water year-round. Many paddle boarders insist that breathability is the most important factor since the wrong type of socks can leave you with shriveled pruned feet. So, ventilation will be a big deal here, especially during the summer. Comfort and fit are next in line, since spending a day on the water with cramped, uncomfortable feet can prevent you from ever wearing water socks again. The socks you choose should have easy-glide, smooth necks that allow you to slip them on effortlessly.

Neoprene is a quick-drying material, which is a huge plus since keeping your feet dry is the best way to prevent fungal infections and discomfort.

Consider the type of activity you’ll be doing when wearing these socks. Will you hang out on dry land in addition to spending time in the water, or will you spend most of your day in the water? If you’re going to spend time on land as well or have your feet exposed to rocky pond, lake, and river bottoms, then a padded sole will also be important.

Traction

If you’re going to wear these socks on your paddle board then choose socks that have traction, which will help you to grip the board better, providing the type of leverage you need to paddle faster and more efficiently. The surface of a paddle board and surfboard can become slippery quickly. If the socks don’t have any traction on the sole, you may be taking a dip more often than you’d like.

Now, I’ll go more in-depth concerning the features you should look for, how these socks will keep your feet nice and comfortable all day long, and what you’ll want to avoid when you’re shopping around for a new pair of water socks.

Below, you’ll find many of the key factors that will help you determine which type of water socks will work for the intended application, whether you’re snorkeling, paddle boarding, or kayaking.

Durable Design

Durability is the first characteristic that will define whether or not the socks are worth the purchase. There’s no reason to buy thee socks if they can’t keep your feet dry or easily tear on sharp rocks. If possible, choose socks that are made out of a thicker neoprene material if you’re kayaking, angling, or paddle boarding, or for any type of water application in which your feet may be exposed to a rocky river bottom or shore.

Fit

The right type of water socks should fit your feet like a glove. This will provide both comfort and stability, meaning you won’t have to worry about the socks coming off when you’re in the water.

Material

These socks are typically made out of neoprene material, which is the same type of material that’s used for wet suits and dry suits. This type of material is considered heavy-duty and it dries quickly, however, the material is available in a variety of thickness levels. Many people may think, the thicker the better, however, with thicker socks, your feet may sweat, which is definitely not something you want to expose your feet to all day, since this can lead to a fungal infection. Because of this, you’ll want to look for a pair with a breathable design if you’ll be paddling in warm weather and water conditions. For colder temperatures,  thicker neoprene material is a must.

Ventilation

Ventilation will be important since it will promote proper airflow and keep your feet nice and dry. A breathable design will allow your feet to breathe when you’re wearing these socks to hike out to your destination, or you’re on your paddle board or in your kayak for several hours. To promote proper airflow, many of the leading socks will come equipped with breathable panels made out of mesh material. The sole of the socks may even have a drain hole, which will prevent the water from pooling at the bottom and in the toe of the socks.

Drainage

Built-in drainage holes in the sole will prevent the feet from staying wet all day due to water that enters to shoes. Some socks will come with a valve located on the bottom, which allows water to exit, while preventing debris and sand from entering the sock.

Size

Water socks are designed to mold to the shape of your feet. If the socks are too small then your feet will feel pinched and cramped. If the socks you wear are too big, then they can easily come off if you’re paddling around on a fast-moving river. The perfect size will mold closely to the sole and contours of your foot. Most manufacturers will offer a variety of sizes. Try to avoid purchasing a pair that’s labeled as one size fits all since these socks often stretch out very easily.

When you’re looking at the sock’s size, it’s important to check out the padding on the sole. Padding can cause the sock to fit differently, yet it improves wearer comfort. This type of cushioning can also be tailored to a specific activity, such as yoga paddle boarding, diving, or kayaking.

Other Considerations

Other factors to take into consideration include:

  • How much do you want to spend?
  • How many pairs do you need?
  • Do you want your water socks to match your wet or dry suit?
  • How much insulation do you need?

What time of year are you planning on being in the water? In colder temperatures, you’ll need to wear thicker socks, while hotter temperatures will require thinner neoprene material.

Learn how to equalize the pressure in your ears when diving by clicking here!

Cleaning Neoprene Socks

You don’t have to clean neoprene socks since they’ve been exposed to water all day. This is false, although many people mistakenly believe that these socks don’t require a good wash after use. However, if you’re on the river, there’s bacteria and microbes that can cling to the socks. If not washed properly, this can lead to bacteria growth or mold. Once you’re done for the day, wash the socks by hand using warm water and a mild soap. Allow the socks to air dry and ensure they’re completely dry before you store them, otherwise, mildew or mold can begin to grow. If you’ve washed them, yet they were not completely dry when you put them away, they begin to smell. This indicates mold or mildew growth, in which case you’ll need to rinse them with a fifty-fifty solution of water and vinegar. Then, allow them to fully air dry. If there’s still an odor, then you may need to repeat the process.

Final Thoughts

The best neoprene socks are designed to provide protection from rough water conditions when you’re kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkeling, or participating in any type of water application. These socks are made out of a tough material that’s designed to handle the elements and challenging terrain, but not all water socks are created equal. Choosing a durable pair, one with excellent ventilation and a good thickness level that ensures the socks will not easily tear if they come into contact with a sharp object, is essential. The pairs of socks that I’ve chosen in my top six must-have list are all designed to keep your feet protected from freezing water conditions, offer the type of breathable design you need in warmer weather, and rated high for durability and comfort. I’m confident that you’ll find the perfect pair in my list, one that will keep your feet comfortable and warm on your next outdoor adventure.