windsurfing with shoes

Windsurfing Shoes: The Ultimate Buying Guide

windsurf shoesWindsurfing shoes safe your feet from cuts, give you more grip on a slippery board and on top of that extend your windsurfing season. Time to find out all about them and get adviced to make your choice easier.

There are several reasons to come up with why you should consider buying them. Or if you have them already why you should wear them.

Are you new in the market for some new shoes and have no clue what to buy?

Then this buying guide is for you!

What Are Windsurfing Shoes

As the name suggests, a windsurfing shoe is a shoe made for windsurfing. There’s nothing wrong with barefoot windsurfing but there also are different reasons to come up with why you should cover your feet in neoprene.

If you want to buy yourself a (first) pair of shoes, you need to decide first on what model to choose.

What Windsurfing Shoes Model To Choose

Windsurfing shoes are roughly available in 2 different models.¬†Your options mainly excist of shoes and booties. Let’s see what the main differences are and what model is best for you.

Windsurfing Shoes

windsurfing shoesThe main difference between shoes and boots is that shoes are a low model (most of times barely covering your ankle or ending up just below your ankle.

When you want some extra grip on a slippery board and the water is not that cold, a pair of shoes will be just fine.

Shoes for windsurfing are available in much thinner neoprene as booties are, though you can get them in winter thicknesses as well. Most people like the feel of the shoe model more than the bootie model.

When wearing the shoe model all year round it’s not such a big adjustment to switch to booties in wintertime, as it would be when switching from barefoot to booties.

And people that decide not to wear them at all see a big reducement in the length of their windsurfing season, and we all know that the more constant stronger winds are around in wintertime, with autumn being the most enjoyable season.

You could of course decide not to wear them because they don’t look so cool when wearing a shorty of surfshorts under your harness.

But do you think the best windsurfers care about that? You do? Most pro’s choose functionality over fashion when windsurfing.

That’s why you see slalom, wave and freestyle windsurfing stars ripping in wetsuits or shorts with windsurfing shoes when they feel like it.

Some wind surfers however have contact issues when wearing them and go for cold feet over loss of contact with their board.

Windsurfing Boots

The windsurfing boot model looks like a low boot. Boots cover your ankle completely.

When bought in thick enough neoprene, booties are a great way to stay warm in spring and autumn time. In those times you windsurf with a wetsuit of 4 and maybe 5 mil. In cold waters.

But without proper windsurfing booties you get cold anyway. A thick wetsuit is a great solution to stop you from freezing, but without the right shoes underneath them the effect will be less.

For comparison, in colder water (where barefoot windsurfing isn’t really an option) try windsurfing summer shoes first then switch over to winter booties, when you do so, you know immediately what I’m talking about.

Okay they are warm but what about losing feel with your board while gybing and jumping? Yes we know the feel is less than it is when surfing barefoot, but did you ever try the split toe model? They are a huge improvement when it comes to feel while wearing booties.

Than you have some models that have a strap at the heel which makes it easier to get out of them, yes even with cold fingers.

Most booties have a strap around instep to prevent them from twisting, which you can imagine is a great benefit as well.

What Size Shoes/Boots To Buy

When you want to order a pair of shoes or boots for windsurfing, don’t choose the size like you would chose a normal pair of sneakers or boots.

The main difference between normal shoes and watersport shoes are that for watersports your shoes need to fit as tight to your feet as possible.

When you feel your toes and heel touching the edges and you want to try a bigger size…Don’t!

When you think they are too small, you have the right size. You simply don’t want to have moving space in your shoes, so simply buy them as tight as possible.

Some Last Tips

Think Of Kevlar Windsurfing Shoes

When you wind surf in a place with lots of sharp shells or sharp reef under the water surface, think about the more expensive windsurfing shoes with kevlar in the sole.

Not even a knife gets through kevlar, or you need to push really, really hard.

Adjust Your Footstraps Bigger When Using Shoes

Are you advanced enough that you use windsurfing straps on your board? Set them bigger as you would barefoot.

Otherwise your foot won’t fit under the footstrap.

It can be a little hard at first to get in and out of the straps with shoes on, so set your straps bigger as you normally would, when adjusted to windsurfing with shoes on, you can still set them as small as you like, but still bigger as you would set them when windsurfing barefoot.

How Do You Feel About Windsurfing Shoes

Now it’s your turn!

Do you like to windsurf with shoes or boots on or do you like barefoot windsurfing better? Share your experiences and tips in the comments below.

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