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How to Choose Best Dive Boots

Warm-water divers or snorklers, who use full-foot fins, most often don't even think of dive boots and simply wear a pair of thin neoprene or lycra socks. However, if you dive in cold water, dive boots are a vital part of your gear. They help keep your feet warm and safe in many conditions and as well as protect you from hypothermia and other possible dangers, such as cuts, blisters, raw spots, etc. When choosing diving boots, there are a few major factors you should consider, in particular:

1) Warmth. With the exception of dry-suit boots, most dive boots allow some water to flow in. The water gets trapped inside the boot and becomes warmed with your body heat, which in turn keeps you warmer. Besides this feature, the warmth of your boots is determined by a few more aspects. For example, most dive boots are made from a material known as neoprene, which comes in different thickness, usually measured in millimeters. As one might suspect, the higher the number, the thicker the material and therefore the warmer the boot. For most colder water dives, you will need boots at least 7mm thick. Another point you might want to pay attention to is the number and quality of seams. Fewer seams means fewer leaks, and, therefore a warmer boot. It is also important to make sure that all the seams are glued and stitched.  

2) Closure. Dive boots can include a zipper, can be slip-on, or can use a Velcro strap or tab. Zippers make putting your boots on quite simple, but can also let more water leak inside the boot maling them less effective in terms of thermal protection. Straps and tabs allow you to adjust the fit of your boot, as well as make it warmer. Slip-on boots are more popular among women, as they fit comfortably and snugly on the feet. 

3) Comfort and fit. Poorly fitted boots are a distraction on a dive and can hamper your movement under the water. Boots that are too loose can either slip off your feet, creating a hazard, or rub against them, leaving you with blisters. Large boots can also prevent water from becoming trapped near your skin, which means your feet will be very cold during your entire dive. Boots that are too small will pinch and hurt your feet. They are also very likely to cause leaks as the seams will strain.

4) Durability and protection. If you are diving in warm waters, you might want booties, which are more like socks than boots. Thin booties do not add warmth, but they do protect your feet from raw spots, blisters, and other problems, which can arise even if you wear full-foot fins. In warm waters, any irritation on your foot can mean infection, so boots are vital. If you are diving in cold waters, look for boots with a reinforced sole. Since most dive boots are made with neoprene, which is not very durable, dive boot manufacturers reinforce the sole with a different material. This makes the boots not only more durable, but also slip-resistant. It also pays to look for thick soles on your dive boots, as these will protect you from sharp rocks, broken glass, barnacles, and other dangers your feet may face both in and out of the water.

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