How to choose cold water booties, gloves and hoods?

Surfing is an exciting and refreshing activity, but when water temperatures drop, it's essential to stay warm to get the most out of your session. To do this, you need the right equipment, including booties, gloves and a surf hood suitable for cold water. In this buying guide, we'll explore the factors you need to consider to make the right choice.

Cold Water Surf Slippers

Material and thickness

Cold water booties are designed to keep your feet warm and protected from the elements. Neoprene material is the standard for these booties, but you'll also need to consider their thickness. Booties generally vary in thickness from 3 mm to 7 mm.

  • 3 mm: Suitable for relatively soft waters. Ideal for spring and autumn.
  • 5 mm: Suitable for colder waters. Perfect for winter and freezing waters.
  • 7 mm: For extremely cold conditions, such as Arctic winters.

Cut and close

The cut of the booties is crucial for comfort and waterproofing. You can choose from a variety of cuts, including :

  • Low-Top: Offers great mobility and is ideal for surfing in summer or in cooler waters.
  • High-Top: Rise higher up the leg, offering better thermal protection.

Also make sure the booties have a reliable closure, such as a Velcro strap or zipper, to keep cold water out.

Soles and Grip

Surf booties need sturdy soles to protect you from rocks and shells. Look for vulcanized rubber soles for maximum durability. In addition, a good grip on the board is essential to avoid slipping, so make sure booties have a non-slip texture on the sole.

Cold Water Surf Gloves

Material and thickness

Like booties, cold-water surf gloves are made of neoprene, but the thickness varies according to surf conditions.

  • 3 mm: Suitable for warmer waters in autumn and spring.
  • 5 mm: Ideal for winter when the water is colder.
  • 7 mm: For extremely cold conditions.

Cut and close

Surf gloves are available in a variety of cuts, including full-finger and three-finger gloves. Full-finger gloves offer better insulation, while three-finger gloves offer better grip on the board.

Closure is also important to keep cold water out. Look for gloves with a Velcro or zipper closure.

Flexibility and mobility

Glove flexibility is essential for good board grip and feel. Make sure your gloves allow you to bend and move your fingers easily. Mobility is essential for surfing.

Cold Water Surfing Hoods

Material and thickness

Surfing hoods are also made of neoprene, but their thickness varies according to surfing conditions.

  • 3 mm: Suitable for warmer waters in autumn and spring.
  • 5 mm: Ideal for winter when the water is colder.
  • 7 mm: For extremely cold conditions.

Cut and fit

The balaclava should be cut to completely cover the head, neck and part of the face. Make sure it is fitted with drawstrings for a secure, watertight fit.

Comfort and Visibility

The hood should be comfortable to wear and not restrict your vision. Look for a hood with eye openings and a visor to keep water out of your eyes.

Additional Tips for Choosing Your Cold-Water Surfing Equipment

  1. Try them on before you buy: If possible, try on booties, gloves and balaclava to make sure they're comfortable and fit properly.
  2. Consider the brand: Reputable brands of surfing equipment, such as Rip Curl, O'Neill, Quiksilver, and Billabong, are known for their quality and durability.
  3. Maintain your equipment: Rinse your booties, gloves and balaclava in fresh water after each session to remove salt and sand that can damage them.
  4. Invest in quality: When it comes to staying warm in cold water, it's important not to compromise on quality to save money. Quality equipment will guarantee a better surfing experience.
  5. Read user reviews: Before you buy, read online reviews to get an idea of what other surfers think of the products you're considering.