The majority of dry suits come with some type of attached boot. These boots usually are equipped with a hard sole and may be molded from a material that is different from the body of the suit. The most commonly used material for dry suit boots is some type of vulcanized rubber..
Soft Socks/ Boots
Many dry suits today are offered with an attached soft “sock” designed to be worn with a rugged Ugg Bailey button boots that helps protect the sock. This type of design is very popular.
The advantages of the sock/ boot combination include:
- Superior foot protection for walking on rock surfaces
- Arch support for walking on dry land and climbing ladders
- Ankle support when you are carrying a heavy tank and weights
- No possibility of the feet of the suit ballooning when the boots are on your feet
- Excellent protection for the dry suit boot from punctures
- Cheaper to replace when the boots wear out.
The disadvantages of this type of dry suit arrangement are that the boots require the largest possible fins and that you must remember to pack the boots along with the rest of your gear whenever you dive. If you forget your boots, your fins usually won’t work with the dry suit “socks” by themselves.
Slip-On Knee Pads
If the knee pads on your dry suit aren’t heavy enough to hold up to sustained wear; you may want to use slip-on knee pads for additional protection. Slip-on knee pads are usually made from the same material used on the soles of hard sole wetsuit boots. The material is very rugged. When this type of knee pad wears out it can be easily replaced.
Slip-on knee pads are especially appreciated by underwater photographers or any other diver who spends a lot of time kneeling on the bottom. Keep in mind that any material placed around the knee creates some resistance and can interfere with your swimming ability.
THE FUNDAMENTALS OF FIT
A ski vacation with poorly fitting boots is a ski vacation wasted. The problem is, which buttons should you push to find the correct fit?
START WITH A CLEAN SLATE
Forget what you knew last year about boots. Designs and materials in ski boots are constantly changing. For instance, suppose the Nordica Comp S you had eight years ago hurt your ankles, didn’t flex well, and gave you cold feet. Is that a good reason not to try another Nordica—like the new 981? No, it isn’t. The 981 has a different last (liner shape), uses a different plastic, has a redesigned flexing system, a new cuff adjustment, an entirely different liner construction, and a different buckling system.
Take the advice of other skiers with a grain of salt. Your ski club president says his new boots are the best ever—you should get the same brand. If your foot shape, your physical size and shape, your skiing ability and technique are the same as his, go ahead and buy them. Otherwise, find a boot model that meets your own requirements, and you will be far more comfortable in the long run.