Do you hate it when your fins rub and chafe your skin? How about when you walk around barefoot and get poked and prodded by all sorts of sharp rocks, shells, or other debris? Whether in warm or cool water, or if you are even a casual snorkeler or diver, you should seriously consider investing in a pair of neoprene water socks for snorkeling to greatly improve your experience.
Dive socks aren’t very expensive, they don’t take up much space, and offer you protection against chafing, sharp objects, jellyfish stings, and the cold. They’re also very comfortable, insulate your feet, help you fit into fins that are slightly too large, and even provide some buoyancy for your feet. Whether you are a snorkeler or a diver, you have much to gain by investing in a pair of neoprene socks. In this guide, we’ll look over the top factors to consider when searching for neoprene dive socks, as well as provide our recommendations of the top ones on the market today.
- 1 Top Neoprene Water Sock Recommendations
- 1.1 H2Oddysey Mini Sock 2mm Unisex Fin Sock
- 1.2 AKONA Low Cut Neoprene Socks
- 1.3 Seavenger Zephyr 3mm Neoprene Dive Socks
- 1.4 NeoSport Wetsuits XSPAN 5mm Socks
- 1.5 TILOS 3mm Waterproof Neoprene Fin Socks
- 1.6 ScubaMax 3mm Low-Cut Neoprene Socks
- 1.7 HEVTO 3mm Neoprene Diving Socks
- 1.8 Cressi Short Premium 3mm Neoprene Socks
- 2 Water Socks for Snorkeling Buying Guide
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
- 4 The Bottom Line
Top Neoprene Water Sock Recommendations
H2Oddysey Mini Sock 2mm Unisex Fin Sock
Starting this off, we have the H2Oddysey 2mm Mini Sock Unisex neoprene sock that features a low-cut design that will conform comfortably around your feet. It also comes with a non-slip bottom for extra grip to prevent slips on boat decks or wet ground. Next, this sock is constructed from an incredibly soft neoprene material that makes it feel like you’re wearing a regular sock.
Remember that thin 2mm neoprene socks such as this one are intended to be worn with full-foot fins as opposed to open-backed fins with straps. This is because the strap tends to ride up above the top of the socks and start chafing your skin. Furthermore, even though this is a unisex pair of socks, the sizing is for men, so women need to do some extra work figuring out how it fits on them. For reference, a men’s medium is roughly equivalent to a ladies’ size 7.5.
- Ultra-soft 2mm neoprene that is so comfy, it feels like a normal sock.
- Perfect for warm water conditions.
- Good to pair with water shoes, water boots, and snorkeling fins.
- Unisex design, though the sizing is for men.
AKONA Low Cut Neoprene Socks
AKONA are a reputable brand known for their amazing neoprene socks and dive boots, and their low cut neoprene socks are no exception. They are perfect for using with other gear like water shoes, ankle high boots, and snorkeling fins.
Due to their 2mm thickness, they are ideal for warm water conditions. Some customers claim it is even thinner than that, so be wary if your fins have too much room. The heel of the AKONA low cut neoprene socks are slightly higher, which is designed to prevent chafing against all kinds of footwear.
Furthermore, the glued and blind-stitched seams prevent water from entering and increases the durability of these socks. In addition, the rubberized soles provide increased grip on slippery surfaces. Thanks to the airprene side panels, these socks drain water quickly while simultaneously providing protection and warmth. Overall, the AKONA 2mm Low Cut Neoprene socks are some of the best water socks you can get today.
- Very thin, perhaps less than 2mm thick, good for warm water.
- High heel, which protects against straps riding up and causing chafing.
- Highly durable, with glued and blind-stitched seams.
- Rubberized non-slip soles will keep you from falling.
Seavenger Zephyr 3mm Neoprene Dive Socks
Next, we have the Seavenger Zephyr 3mm Neoprene Dive Socks that are ideal for snorkeling and diving in both warm and cool waters. First, they’ve been glued and blind-stitched to keep water out and for increased durability. Next, on top of their sturdy stitching, the 4-way stretchable material allows it to be put on and taken off easily. It will accommodate the contours of your feet for maximum comfort and for the best seal.
In addition, the Seavenger Zephyr includes a dotted silk-screen sole that gives great traction on land, providing the versatility to be used for a wide range of water sports beyond just snorkeling. It also adds just a tad more insulation for your extremities. Lastly, they are sized from XS to XXXL, so you have lots to choose from in terms of sizing. For reference, the “small” size is suitable for men’s size 6-7 and women’s 7-8, while a large is roughly equal to men’s 9-10 and women’s 11-12.
- 3mm neoprene, a solid choice for use in warm and cool waters.
- Flexible 4-way stretch that will fit the contours of all feet, providing insulation and comfort.
- Never have a bad fall again with the traction provided by the dotted-silk screen sole.
- Wide range of sizes to choose from.
NeoSport Wetsuits XSPAN 5mm Socks
Perfect for snorkelers and divers that regularly brave the cold waters, these sturdy neoprene socks from NeoSport are 5mm thick and made with XSPAN fabric. That is NeoSport’s proprietary design that provides a greater degree of warmth and protection. Below, the dotted silk-screen sole provides additional grip to prevent slips and falls on wet surfaces like ladders, decks, and jetties.
The NeoSport Wetsuits XSPAN socks are hard to beat when it comes to thermal regulation and maintaining your body heat. The high-cut design allows it to be worn under your wetsuit, leaving no area exposed on your lower body. Furthermore, the NeoSport 5mm sock is glued and blind-stitched for water protection and will last for years if you clean and dry it properly.
Again, these neoprene socks are sized for men (XS to XXL), so women should order a size down from what they normally would for a better fit.
- Ideal for use in cold water conditions thanks to its 5mm thickness and XSPAN fabric.
- Dotted silk-screen sole gives much needed traction on wet surfaces.
- Glued and blind-stitched for a durable, waterproof protection.
- High-cut, great for more coverage against chafing and jellyfish stings.
TILOS 3mm Waterproof Neoprene Fin Socks
Snorkelers with sensitive skin should consider getting the Tilos 3mm Neoprene Socks. It is constructed from their proprietary X-Foam formula which is hypoallergenic and made from limestone instead of petroleum. The Tilos sock has a mid-cut design, resting just slightly above the ankles for extra protection against chafing against snorkel fins. It is a good compromise for those who want the protection that high-top socks provide, without the extra length.
Next, the Tilos 3mm sock also features a 4-way stretch neoprene that is sure to provide a snug and comfortable fit without leaving behind any gaps. In addition, the flat-stitched and glued seams should do a decent job at keeping water out, while the dotted silk-screen sole helps you maintain your footing on slippery terrain. Lastly, the Tilos 3mm neoprene socks are breathable and will reduce the likelihood of getting clammy feet when worn for a long time.
- Uses petroleum-free, hypoallergenic neoprene.
- Has a tear and abrasion-resistant non-slip dotted silk-screen sole.
- 4-way stretch neoprene provides a snug and comfortable fit.
- Breathable material that will help you avoid clammy feet.
ScubaMax 3mm Low-Cut Neoprene Socks
Many scuba divers and snorkelers have praised the ScubaMax 3mm Neoprene Sock for the comfort it provides, and it’s thanks to the soft material that contours nicely around the feet. The 3mm neoprene is ideal for both cool and warm waters, and fits snug but not so tight that you feel like you’re being constricted.
The ScubaMax sock works well as dive socks or snorkel booties, and thanks to their low-cut design they can be put on effortlessly and go well with fins. However, since it is low-cut, we don’t recommend wearing it with open-heeled fins since the straps may dig into your skin and become an issue.
In addition to wearing it under fins, the ScubaMax dive socks can also be used to walk in the sand or through water to protect your feet against any sharp objects. Unfortunately, this pair lacks an anti-slip rubber sole, so you should be careful when walking on slippery jetties or boat decks.
- 3mm low-cut neoprene design that is perfect for both warm and cool-water conditions.
- Easy to put on and take off.
- Soft neoprene that many snorkelers and divers praise for its comfort.
HEVTO 3mm Neoprene Diving Socks
This pair of neoprene socks is available in both low-cut and high-cut versions, and are durable enough to be worn on their own for protection against the seafloor or on hot rocks. But of course, you should be wearing it beneath your snorkel fins for excellent protection against chafing as well. If you use open-heeled fins, get the high-cut version to avoid having the strap ride up and reach your skin.
Furthermore, the HEVTO neoprene dive socks are made from highly durable 3mm neoprene fabric that is also flexible and soft for added comfort. The soles feature a hard anti-slip rubber sole that will keep you on your feet. Next, we always like to see glued and blind-stitched seams as they are one of the best at keeping water and debris out, and this pair has them as well. For those looking for a high-cut sock water sock, you can’t go wrong with the HEVTO 3mm diving socks.
- Available in both low-cut and high-cut versions.
- Glued and blind-stitched seams will keep water and debris out.
- Durable anti-slip sole; can even be used alone for protection against rugged terrain.
Cressi Short Premium 3mm Neoprene Socks
Yet another mid-cut option that many snorkelers and swimmers recommend are the Cressi Premium 3mm dive socks made by one of the most trusted dive brands in the world. These socks are a solid choice to wear underneath both open-heeled or full-foot fins because of the protection it provides. Since it is a 3mm sock, it can be used in both cool and warm-water conditions.
Next, the tough rubber sole provides not only extra grip, but also some protection against rugged surfaces. The Cressi Premium 3mm socks feature glued-and-sewn seams for greater durability and strength. Lastly, sizing is often a confusing ordeal when buying water socks, but thankfully Cressi have created a size conversion chart for both the US and EU sizes to assist buyers with their purchase. However, it is still sized for men.
- Mid-cut design that can be used with both open-heeled and full-foot fins.
- Anti-slip rubber sole provides excellent grip.
- Glued-and-sewn seams keeps water out and makes the sock durable.
- Both EU and US sizing available.
Water Socks for Snorkeling Buying Guide
What do Neoprene Socks Do?
Neoprene water socks can protect your feet whether you are snorkeling, scuba diving, free diving, or just walking across the sea floor. Just like how normal socks protect you from chafing against your shoes, water socks are what you wear under your fins to protect your skin from chafing and blistering when the fin rubs against the sides or heel of your feet.
Where this comparison differs is that regular socks also help absorb sweat and keep one’s feet dry. On the other hand, neoprene socks will trap the heat and most of the warm moisture inside, keeping your feet warm. When you are snorkeling in cool or cold water conditions where heat is quickly sapped out of your body by the water, neoprene socks will protect heat loss from your feet.
As heat loss often occurs through your extremities (hands, feet, and head), what seems like a minor issue can eventually lower your core temperature and eventually cause hypothermia in extreme conditions. When you are in cold water, even a simple product such as neoprene water socks can make a difference in preserving your body’s heat and ensuring you can snorkel longer and safely.
Differences Between Water Socks, Water Shoes, and Water Boots
There are many types of footwear that are used for water activities and sports. They are all designed for different purposes, and it is important that you select the right one for your needs.
As explained above, water socks are most commonly worn by snorkelers that want to prevent direct contact between the skin and snorkeling fin which would result in excessive chafing and blistering otherwise. Furthermore, high-top water socks may be worn alongside low-cut water shoes for increased protection against hazards in the water such as jellyfish stings.
Next, water shoes are worn for various water activities, such as walking along the beach, swimming, paddle boarding, hiking on rocky and wet areas, and so on. Since these shoes are equally effective on water as on land, they are highly versatile and very popular.
Lastly, wet boots are frequently worn by paddle boarders and surfers. The reason being, wet boots have unique soles that give them excellent grip on a board’s surface.
When it comes to snorkeling, the best footwear combination is to wear water socks with snorkeling fins for both warmth and protection.
Water shoes have hard rubber soles that protect the wearer’s feet when walking on the beach, seafloor, riverbeds, or any wet areas with sharp objects or rocks. The hard sole will also provide some level of grip, because what’s even worse than stepping on a sharp object is to slip and fall on one.
On the other hand, snorkeling socks don’t really have as much protection around the sole, as they tend to be more flexible. Furthermore, their intended purpose is to be worn inside of your snorkeling fins to prevent rubbing and protect against the cold water, not to be used like a shoe.
With that said, some neoprene aqua socks for snorkeling may be designed with a hardened neoprene sole with extra grip to help you walk across jetties and slipper boat decks safely. These soles don’t compare to the kind of soles you’d find on water shoes, as flexibility is still a priority, and they are still not intended for walking along hard surfaces. Wearing them on cement walkways or on jagged surfaces will degrade and damage them quickly.
Easy to Wear
Many dive booties and water shoes come with zippered sides so that they can be taken on and off quickly, a feature that’s typically not seen in neoprene socks. That’s because most dive socks are stretchy enough to be slipped on and off without requiring a zipper. For those who just want some additional protection beneath their fins, this makes them a convenient solution. Furthermore, the lack of zippered sides means they are less likely to allow debris or water to enter.
Dealing with Debris
Water shoes often include an aqua mesh that keeps sand and other debris from entering and causing discomfort. On the other hand, wet socks don’t have this feature since they are typically covered by neoprene material that has been blind-stitched and glued to keep any sediment or water from entering. In the event that any underwater debris manages to sneak its way in, you will have to completely remove the socks and rinse it out to get rid of it.
Heat Retention and Breathability
Since water socks are intended to keep your feet warm, it cannot have any openings where water can enter. A properly fitting neoprene sock should be skin tight for the best insulation possible. Unfortunately, the downside to this is that it’s not very breathable, and your feet might feel too warm after a while.
Some higher end model water socks are made with better materials that offer increased breathability, but you will have to pay a premium for it. If you snorkel often and have some disposable income, they may be worth investing in for the sake of eliminating stinky, clammy feet.
Looking After Your Neoprene Socks
You’ve spent your hard-earned cash on your snorkeling gear, so why not learn how to take the best care of them to ensure they last. To start, always rinse your snorkel gear, including your snorkel socks, with fresh water immediately after a session to get rid of sediments, sweat, and as much bacteria as you can that may result in bad odors.
Next, thoroughly wash them in a bucket of fresh water with soap. You can use a soap detergent specifically made for cleaning neoprene, but regular soap is fine as well. Squeeze and rub them to get rid of any contaminants. Then rinse and squeeze all of the soapy water out before hanging it out to dry.
When hang drying, avoid putting it in direct sunlight which can harm the neoprene, causing it to become brittle. Instead, air dry them the same way you would a wetsuit, in a well-ventilated, open space that is away from direct sunlight.
Neoprene socks come in various thicknesses, ranging between 1mm to 5mm. The thinner socks are ideal for diving and snorkeling in tropical, warm climates where you still want the chafing protection but want to stay relatively cool. Thicker socks are needed for cold-water conditions where heat-loss could lead to hypothermia.
When buying neoprene socks, you also have to factor in their thickness and whether or not they can fit in your fins without being too cramped. This is a bigger issue for full-foot fins, whereas open-heeled fins can be tightened or loosened with their strap to accommodate thicker socks.
If you’re not sure what thickness you need, here’s a brief guide. First, you need to know how warm or cold the water you will be snorkeling in is. For tropical and warm waters, then 1mm – 2mm socks will get the job done. For extra insulation in more temperate waters, then aim for 3mm – 4mm socks. For cold water conditions, get 5mm socks for the most insulation and protection from the cold as possible.
Besides how thick they are, neoprene socks also differ in their length. You can purchase ankle socks or longer neoprene socks that sit above the ankles. If you are fine with minimal protection and don’t want to have a tall sock tan, then ankle socks are the right choice for you. Furthermore, they are easier to put on and slip off.
If you want more protection against blisters, especially if you are wearing open-heeled fins, then longer socks will be the right choice for keeping the fins from rubbing against your ankles. Longer socks will also help you retain your heat since they cover more of your body, up to even the lower half of your calves.
Additionally, the more your body is covered up, the more protected you will be against jellyfish stings or any sea creatures that scratch, bite or sting. When worn with a full wetsuit, a pair of high-cut water socks can overlap with the leg opening of the wetsuit, creating a tighter water seal and ensuring no skin is left exposed.
In addition to high-cut or low-cut neoprene socks, you can also get mid-cut socks that are a good middle ground between the two. For instance, if you prefer wearing open-heeled fins but dislike wearing high-cut socks, then perhaps the mid-cut sock will be ideal. You will be adequately protected even if the fin strap starts to ride up, while still enjoying the benefits of being easier to put on and take off compared to high-cut socks.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Water Socks Constructed From?
Water socks are mostly made from neoprene, the same material that your wetsuit is made from. Neoprene is a type of synthetic rubber that is capable of maintaining its flexibility over many types of temperature ranges.
Thus, it is perfect for making clothing for various underwater and aquatic activities such as wetsuits, gloves, booties, hoods, and of course socks. Some aqua socks also have some spandex for even greater flexibility, in addition to proprietary materials that allow for more breathability.
How Stretchy is Neoprene?
What makes water socks so easy to put on is the stretchy neoprene that it is constructed from. You can expand it beyond its original size and shape and allow it to shrink back down around your feet. And unlike other materials that get stretched out over time, neoprene will retain its original integrity assuming you take proper care of it.
With that said, neoprene socks should have a snug fit, but not so tight that it restricts your blood circulation. A proper fitting sock should have some give once it is exposed to water, and will shrink slightly when completely dry.
What is a 4-way Stretch?
You may have seen some neoprene socks marketed as “4-way stretch” which basically means they can stretch to the left and right, front and back, to provide a snug fit on your feet. This multi-directional stretch ensures that no matter what shape your feet are – whether they are narrow, long, or blocky – they can perfectly contour around it for the best seal.
Furthermore, it’s not enough that water socks can fit over your feet. For the optimal protection, it needs to be skin tight so that there are no air pockets that could allow sediment or water to enter and fill out. It must accommodate the various foot sizes and shapes each diver or snorkeler has to prevent rashes, irritation, and blisters.
Where to Purchase Neoprene Socks?
You can find neoprene socks being sold at snorkeling and scuba shops, however they only offer a limited amount of models and brands. For the largest selection, we recommend buying water socks through online retailers for the biggest selection.
Furthermore, one of the top benefits of buying online is how easy it is to see customer reviews to get a feel for how the sock performs in real-life scenarios. If you get multiple complaints saying the same thing about a product, such as if it is not as flexible as it advertises, you can be sure that it is a common issue and can decide to buy another. Furthermore, it is easier to compare prices when buying online and saving money.
Are Neoprene Socks Waterproof?
A properly fitting neoprene sock should be water-resistant at least, in addition to being resistant to oil and heat. Pockets of gas bubbles can be found within the neoprene material, and they absorb some water when you’re diving or snorkeling. It is actually the water inside of the sock that keeps you warm, as it is warmed up by your own body heat.
Furthermore, water cannot enter and flush your feet because of the glued and blind-stitched seams that are effective at preventing water from seeping in. Should any water make its way in, it should be minimal and usually around the heel area, which occurs when there are openings caused by a loose fit.
The Bottom Line
To sum it all up, the best water socks for snorkeling depends on the water conditions you intend to use them in. Neoprene sock thickness ranges between 1mm to 5mm. You want to use the thinner socks (1mm to 3mm) for warm to cool water, however cold water conditions require 4mm or higher thickness to retain enough heat.
Neoprene ankle socks are great for warmer climates where you still want some protection but don’t want to have a huge sock tan after snorkeling all day.
Lastly, high-top water socks are better suited for snorkeling and diving when you want additional protection from cold water or jellyfish stings. The additional neoprene will protect you from the straps of open-heeled fins that often chafes against the upper ankle as it rides up.
If you’re looking for more snorkeling gear, we recommend you check out the following articles we’ve written about snorkeling equipment: