Let’s face it: No surfer would prefer to wear booties over the oh-so wonderful feeling of surfing barefoot. The natural feeling of skin-to-wax just cannot be beat. However, for those who live in cold water locales—or when the water temp dips in the winter (for us spoiled Southern Californians)—booties can often be a necessary accessory for all of your early morning sessions.
And up until we tested out Solite’s heat-moldable 3mm Custom booties on a recent frigid dawn-patrol surf, we hadn’t ever come across a pair of surf booties that were actually rather pleasant to wear. All other booties felt clunky, they wouldn’t fit quite right, and they eventually filled up with water and weighed down our feet. However, when it came to surf footwear that quite literally felt like a second skin, we couldn’t be more stoked to have the Solite Customs in our quiver when the temps dip below barefoot comfort level. (The Customs are designed for 50- to 60-degree water.)
Here’s how Solite’s revolutionary booties work: You boil some water and pour it right into the boots. Let them simmer for about five minutes and pour out the water. Rinse out with cool water and stuff your footsies inside (using the included Heat Booster socks), and simply walk around for another five minutes. The booties mold to your foot and create the most fantastic fit you’ve ever had with a pair of booties.
With no room for excess water to occupy, as well as a super simple design with an internal split toe, these feel much more lightweight than any other booties we’ve tried. And with a patented seamless Thermo-Form sole, high-quality glued/blind-stitched seams, and 1mm vulcanized rubber sole pods (optimizing what the brand calls “barefoot board feel”), there are certainly no compromises on product quality. These boots are made for performance, and built with longevity in mind. Wins across the board (pun intended).
Solite also makes two other models in its 2020 3mm bootie line. There’s the Custom Pro, which features a full-wrap arch strap which further locks your foot into the heel of the boot, as well as the Custom Omni which adds much thicker sole pods to the bottom of the booties for added protection against rugged sea floors (without compromising boot flexibility, of course) that kayakers and paddlers should consider.
Sizing tip: Try ordering your booties roughly half size down from what you normally wear. The boots will expand during the heat-molding process and fit wonderfully.
At the end of the day, we’re not trying to convert you to all-the-time bootie wear—we understand that booties are a necessity, not a novelty. But when it’s an absolute must, it doesn’t get much better than Solite.
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