It’s been a long time since I wrote about boots, but then what can you say about such mundane items
Quite a lot in fact, especially if you get a pair with the seam along the top. You’ll find they ruin your feet, because when finning the load is on the top of them, and they will develop nasty sores with repeated immersion in sea water, .
I’ve experienced this, together with boots that were very comfortable but had such robust soles that I had no hope of finding any fins with foot-pockets big enough to take them.
The most common fault that I have found with many examples of boots is that, during a long trip away, the zips often fail, leaving the tops to flap with a consequent drop in efficiency of swimming.
So you can see why, when I discovered a boot brand that met my stringent requirements, I tended to stick with it.
Undeterred by my lack of enthusiasm for testing boots, Mares sent me a pair of its Flexa DS boots in 5mm neoprene.
I checked that they fitted me and took them away on a Mediterranean holiday on which I expected to do a bit of snorkelling. I thought that at least I could opt not to snorkel if they didn’t work out, unlike a working diving trip.
I love the way Mares likes to label everything. The soles have got a good tread and are substantial enough to take away the pain of climbing a boat-ladder with cylindrical rungs, yet are flexible enough to be otherwise unobtrusive – they bear the legend “Draining System”.
I suppose the English looks suitably exotic to an Italian, just as Italian might look suitably exotic to us. (I note that I have a book listed on Amazon called Lezioni di Immersione. Sounds good, doesn’t it)
The tops of the boots are suitably reinforced to cope with my frantic finning over a long period, as is the heel area, and the inside is comfortably lined.
I am known to wear ordinary socks under my wetsuit boots when diving. These fulfil the same function as socks under your shoes, keeping the feet free from abrasion.
However, I didn’t wear socks when snorkelling with the Flexas, and suffered no ill-effects.
The other good thing about these boots is that the long side-zips have a gusset, and they were narrow enough that even without a wetsuit, they clung to my skinny ankles.
In fact they were so successful that I took them on my next diving trip.

Other boots to consider:
O’Neill Sector 5mm £35
Fourth Element Pelagic £45
Typhoon Surfmaster £35

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