Welcome to T3's Vans Surf Boot 2 Hi V review – the second generation of this skate brand's surf boots.
Unless you've been living deep in the wilderness for the past 60 years or so, you're likely to be aware of Vans shoes with their iconic sidestripe. Originally a small company producing deck shoes in the sixties, Vans moved into making dedicated skateboard shoes in the seventies and from there grew to become one of the most recognisable sports shoe brands on the planet.
While Vans shoes have been hugely popular with board riders of all kinds for decades and they've sponsored many a pro surfer and surf competition, it wasn't until 2020 that the brand decided to produce footwear that could be worn by surfers while they were actually surfing – and so Vans surf boots were born.
These neoprene booties are designed to be worn while surfing, to keep your feet as warm as one of the best wetsuits will keep the rest of you. You could also pop them on for an inflatable paddle board excursion. We put them to the test to see how they perform in practice – read on for our full Vans Surf Boot 2 Hi V review.
Vans Surf Boot 2 Hi V review: design and performance
Vans Surf Boot 2 Hi V review: specs
Thickness: 3mm or 5mm
Construction: glued, blindstitched and dipped neoprene
Colour: black/black or black/gum
While a surf boot may not be something you'd ever want to wear out of the water, Vans have pulled out all the stops to make you vaguely ponder it for a moment. From the big Vans logo at the hi-top position, the checker pattern on the reinforced heel pull strap, and, of course, the sidestripe that runs across each side of the boot, Vans signature stylings adorn the boots from ankle cuff through to gum coloured sole.
The sections of neoprene which make up the body of the boots are glued and blindstitched together, the lower three quarters are then dipped in liquid rubber for extra warmth and to prevent water penetration. Reinforced toe and heel sections give additional form, strength and grip to the boots, while a foot strap allows you to cinch them up around your foot arch to prevent any bulging – should any water penetrate down your ankle.
If you've ever ridden bikes or skateboards in Vans waffle-soled shoes, you'll know that they offer some of the best levels of traction and feel around. In testing, we were impressed to find that Vans surf boots possess very similar properties. While the gum-coloured sole is thin enough to provide excellent board feel, it still remains tough enough to avoid premature wear and can handle regular clambering over sharp rocks when getting in and out of the ocean.
The 3mm boots tested were plenty warm enough for cold, early sessions in spring. We've not tested the 5mm versions, but 5mm boots are generally thick enough to keep your feet warm through the winter and we've no reason to think the Vans boots would be any different.
Vans Surf Boot 2 Hi V review: verdict
The Vans Surf Boot 2 Hi Vs are some of the best neoprene booties we've ever worn. The super-tight-fitting ankle section does a great job of keeping water from entering down your leg, while the rubber-dipped body stops it from penetrating elsewhere. Grip and board feel are excellent too and they are some of the lightest feeling boots we've surfed in. Our only gripe is that the tight ankle seal means that they are far from easy to get on or off, and it can be a real battle to remove them – particularly with frozen fingers after a chilly surf.