How to clean and dry your surf booties…

9 09 2010

Booties a necessary evil...

It’s the time of year that most of us water sports enthusiasts have to dig out our surf booties to keep our feet warm. To be perfectly honest I’ve been wearing mine on cold days this summer because I get chilly easily!  The problem is that neoprene booties don’t dry very easily and they get stinky very fast.  I like my music funky, but I prefer my footwear to be funk-free…=-)

So what do you need to do to keep your booties in good shape?

  • rinse out your booties with clean fresh water
  • dry them out completely as often as possible
  • dump out the water and let them hang upside down with the toes higher than the heels [it’s always faster to let water drip out than evaporate
  • I leave them in the sun when I can to dry out [this will shorten their lifespan due to UV damage, but I’m prioritizing quality over quantity here!]
  • use a boot dryer if you have one as long as it doesn’t get too hot [you can buy 12V DC models for use in your car]
  • if you can’t dry your booties very easily or often then rise them out with a mild vinegar/water solution or use Mirazyme to keep bacteria growth in check between uses
  • if you can buy two identical pairs of booties and alternate them so that each pair can dry out more between uses

What fatal mistakes can you make?

  • leave wet booties in the hot trunk of your car for a few days
  • put the booties somewhere uber hot to dry [next to a fire or really hot radiator]
  • lend them to a friend who lets them stay wet and get their funk on

The good news is that surf booties are relatively cheap so you can always buy new ones, but with a bit of care they should last a long time and remain stink free.

When you are shopping for neoprene footwear some brands/models are touting anti-bacterial treatments or materials.  This has been a growing trend in the footwear industry as a whole and I just haven’t noticed stark contrasts in stinkiness between my footwear that has these treatments and the ones that don’t.  I certainly don’t think it’s a bad idea, but if you are choosing between two options I’d go with the best fitting and best quality over a feature like an anti-microbial treatment.

BTW – almost all of this advice applies to any athletic footwear that gets wet a lot – such as sandals, water shoes, trail runners, hiking boots, etc…


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