Photo by: DiverTown

What are Booties?

Booties are an essential piece of scuba diving equipment, providing protection and insulation for divers’ feet in various underwater environments. This encyclopedia entry aims to provide comprehensive information on the construction, uses, and benefits of booties, as well as tips for selecting the right type for specific diving situations.

Definition and Purpose

Booties, also known as dive boots or wetsuit boots, are specially designed footwear worn by scuba divers in conjunction with open-heel fins. They serve a dual purpose: to insulate the feet from cold water and to protect them from potential hazards such as sharp rocks, coral, and other debris commonly encountered during shore diving or wreck diving.

Materials and Construction

Booties are typically made from neoprene, a synthetic rubber that offers excellent insulation and flexibility. The thickness of the neoprene can range from less than 1 millimeter (mm) for warm-water diving to up to 7 mm for cold-water diving. Thicker booties provide better insulation but can be less flexible, so divers must balance their need for warmth with the desired level of comfort and mobility.

Booties can feature either a soft or hard sole, depending on the intended use. Soft-soled booties offer greater flexibility and are ideal for boat diving or situations where the diver will not be walking on rough surfaces. Hard-soled booties provide better protection against sharp objects and are recommended for shore diving, where the diver may need to traverse rocky or uneven terrain.

Sizing and Fit

Proper fit is crucial when selecting a pair of booties, as an ill-fitting bootie can cause discomfort and reduce overall diving enjoyment. Booties should fit snugly without constricting the foot or causing pressure points. It is important to remember that the bootie will be worn with a wetsuit, so it is essential to try on booties while wearing a wetsuit or a similar layer to ensure the correct fit.

Some booties are available in half sizes, while others follow a unisex sizing system. It is advisable to consult manufacturer sizing charts and read reviews to determine the most appropriate size. When in doubt, it is better to choose a slightly larger size, as booties can be adjusted for a better fit with the use of neoprene socks or insole inserts.

Types of Booties

Low-cut Booties

Low-cut booties are designed for warm water diving and offer minimal insulation. They typically have a thinner neoprene construction and may feature a soft sole for flexibility. Low-cut booties are often preferred by divers who prioritize freedom of movement and do not require significant foot protection.

High-cut Booties

High-cut booties extend further up the ankle, providing increased insulation and support. They are more suitable for cold-water diving or situations where added protection is needed, such as shore diving or wreck diving. High-cut booties may feature either a soft or hard sole, depending on the intended use.

Drysuit Booties

Drysuit booties are specifically designed for use with drysuits and feature a watertight seal at the ankle. These booties are generally thicker and offer greater insulation than standard booties, making them ideal for cold-water diving or ice diving.

Booties and Fins

Booties are designed to be worn with open-heel fins, which feature an adjustable strap to secure the fin around the heel of the bootie. It is important to ensure that the bootie and fin are compatible, as some fins may not accommodate thicker booties. Divers should consider the type of fin and bootie combination that best suits their diving needs, taking into account factors such as water temperature, intended diving environment, and personal comfort preferences.

Bootie Maintenance and Care

Proper care and maintenance of booties can extend their lifespan and ensure optimal performance. Some tips for maintaining booties include:


After each dive, booties should be thoroughly rinsed with fresh water to remove salt, sand, and other debris. This helps prevent the neoprene material from deteriorating and maintains the bootie’s insulating properties.


Booties should be allowed to air dry completely before storage. Avoid direct sunlight, as excessive exposure to UV rays can damage the neoprene material. It is advisable to turn the booties inside out to facilitate faster drying and reduce the risk of mold or mildew growth.


Store booties in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Do not compress or fold the booties, as this can cause the neoprene material to lose its shape and insulating properties.


Regularly inspect booties for signs of wear and tear, such as holes, tears, or seam separation. If any damage is detected, it may be necessary to repair or replace the booties to ensure adequate protection and insulation during dives.

Bootie Selection Tips

When selecting a pair of booties for scuba diving, consider the following factors:

Water Temperature

Choose a bootie thickness that is appropriate for the water temperature in which you will be diving. Thicker booties offer better insulation for cold-water diving, while thinner booties are more suitable for warm-water diving.

Diving Environment

Consider the type of diving environment and the level of foot protection needed. Hard-soled booties are recommended for shore diving or situations where there is a higher risk of encountering sharp objects.


Ensure a proper fit by trying on booties with a wetsuit or a similar layer. Consult manufacturer sizing charts and read reviews to determine the most appropriate size.


Ensure that the selected booties are compatible with your open-heel fins. Some fins may not accommodate thicker booties, so it is essential to verify compatibility before purchasing.

Key Takeaways

Booties are a vital piece of scuba diving gear, offering protection and insulation for divers’ feet in various underwater environments. By understanding the different types of booties, their construction, and their intended uses, divers can make an informed decision when selecting the most appropriate pair for their specific diving needs. Proper care and maintenance can ensure the longevity and optimal performance of booties, providing divers with a comfortable and enjoyable diving experience.