Solite Boots Says:
Our Custom Pro Series has no equal in the world of aquatic footwear. Every material and design detail has been painstakingly researched, tested, refined and perfected to yield a boot so good you’ll forget you are wearing it.
The Custom Pro is anchored by our patented Full Wrap arch strap, which locks your foot into the boot to insure zero delay between foot movement and board response. Combined with the precision fit of our custom heat-molding process, the Custom Pro provides barefoot feel and response for every possible foot shape: high or low arch, narrow or wide width, high or low volume.
Recommended Water Temps: 50-60F.
The sports industry has been heat-molding for custom fit and comfort for years; ice skating boots, ski boots, snowboard boots, even insoles for running. So why not surf booties? A novel idea for the surf/kite industry, we couldn’t wait to get our feet in some custom-fit Solite Boots.
When it comes to booties we’re pretty picky. We want them warm, but not too thick that we can’t feel the connection with our board. We also want them built to last — far too many times we’ve pulled on a brand new pair of booties only to have the back tab rip off or the seems pop on first use. We also want a bit of structure and support. While we love the thin, sock-like booties, often they don’t last or they stretch out and fill with water relatively quick, leaving us with that feeling of floppy, soggy socks.
Last summer, I had a plantar fascia injury, you know, the long (often tight) band of muscle that runs down the base of your foot and connects your toes to your heal. I was instructed to wear insoles during the recovery process and they helped tremendously, but because I couldn’t wait to heal all the way until returning to the water, my regular booties weren’t giving me much support while I kited during the end of my recovery process. Seeking out a bootie with extra arch support, I was impressed and intrigued with Solite’s custom-fit technology. I ordered up a pair of 3mm Custom Pros and decided to give the heat-molding process a go.
The guys at Solite recommended we size down half or a full size as the boots will expand to fit your feet during the heat molding process however, they will not shrink. Our sized down boots were defiantly pretty tight and uncomfortable upon first try on, but once we got them heated up and molded, they fit like a glove.
The heat molding process was relatively simple. While you’re heating up the kettle, roll down the tops of your boots and put on the Solite Heat Booster socks (included with your boots). Make sure your boots are in a sink or outside before filling them to the base of the neoprene upper with boiling water. When we poured boiling water into the boots the rubber base got noticeable softer/more jelly like — it maintained its structure but you could tell this is where the heat molding takes place.
Let your boots sit for 5 minutes full of boiling water before pouring them out and quickly splashing the insides with cold water to avoid burns. Put your feet in the boots for 5 minutes and wait for them to cool. Once cool, the boots are officially heat molded, if you aren’t satisfied with the fit, you can repeat the heat-molding process. However, ours fit like a glove so we decided it was time to hit the beach and test them out.
These boots fit differently than any other bootie we’ve tried before. Whereas most booties have neoprene on the top of the foot, the entire lower of Solite’s boots are made of rubber and feels a bit like a very snug custom-molded rainboot. The rubber is thin, light and provides an all-encompassing feel and support. We really liked the structure that the Solite boot provided–it’s thin enough that you can feel contact with your board while the heal cup and integrated ankle strap keeps your foot in place.
For casual riding and surfing where your feet generally stay in the same place, these are ideal. However, we did notice that once we started to do strapless airs, our feet would slide around a bit inside the bootie, getting stuffed on one side of the boot and creating weird suction with the rubber sole–which sounds strange as they are a relatively tight and custom-molded. Perhaps there’s a bit more torque involved in strapless freestyle where you loosen or lighten the load of connecting with your board and then aggressively land on it creating additional forces between your bootie and board, but overall, for general freeriding or surfing, these have excellent, custom fit and a great connected feel to your board.
The boots have a thin, tacky base for ultimate no-slip grip and their integrated-strap system is co-molded to the sole which wraps around the top of your foot to lock in your heel and keep your feet in place. We also noticed that the boots have a relatively wide toe box and would be great for people with wider feet or who need larger toe box. Overall, we’ve been satisfied with the fit and feel of these boots as well as their durability, 6-months of heavy wear later, the pull-on tabs are still in on place, no rips or tears, and they still have the same custom fit and support as they provided on day one