These ostensibly simple-looking, mid-height wetsuit booties from Lomo pack more of a punch than they initially let on, and supply far more functionality and protection than you might expect for the very modest price tag. They might be no-frills neoprene boots, but they do a great job of combating cold and protecting your feet from sharp objects when you’re out enjoying enjoying your favorite paddle-based watersport. They are also ideal for walking along the coast, riverbanks and lake shores outside of summer, when swimmers, beach explorers and paddlers are looking for more coverage and thermal protection for their feet.
Tough and long lasting
Easy (and quick) to put on and take off
Bargain price – less than half that of the Helly Hansen Crest Watermoc
No straps or laces to tighten
Can get stinky
No recycled content used
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Lomo 3mm Wetsuit Booties: first impressions
At first glance, these ankle-high, seemingly cheap-and-cheerful Lomo 3mm Wetsuit Booties don’t appear to offer a whole lot more than the average beach shoe. But try them out and you will soon discover a whole extra level of performance that should firmly secure them a spot in our guide to the best water shoes on the market.
• List price: £17 (UK) / Not currently officially available in the US
• Gender specificity: Unisex
• Weight (per shoe, men’s size 11): 350g
• Materials: 3mm Neoprene upper; molded rubber sole
• Colors: Black
• Compatibility: Exploring coasts, wild swimming, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking and canoeing almost all year round
Although extremely attractively priced (less than half the cost, for example, of the far more minimalist Helly Hansen Crest Watermoc), these mid-height booties supply really comprehensive coverage, with a very sturdy outsole that protects against puncture wounds from sharp shells, sticks and stones submerged in the shallows.
Bristling with a series of pronounced ridges, this outsole also has absolutely fantastic grip, capable of keeping you upright on the slimiest of slipways and slickest of weed-covered rocks during put-ins and take-outs. The outsole also extends up the back of the heel and over the front of the toes, to guard against stubs and other knocks.
And, although it’s not as tall as the chunkier Gill Marine Edge Boots, this bootie does just about cover the ankle, offering some padding to that delicate area too.
Lomo 3mm Wetsuit Booties: in the watery wild
I’ve been testing these no-nonsense water shoes from Lomo for most of summer and early fall while wild swimming, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and generally messing around on the rocks and pebbly beaches near where I live.
As the summer heat wanes, their thermal properties are really starting to come in handy, and I expect to appreciate the warmth bestowed by the 3mm-thick neoprene more and more as the air temperature falls, followed eventually by the water temperature.
Acting like a mini wetsuit boot, this 3mm neoprene shoe takes in a small amount of water, which then warms up next to your foot and helps to stave off the creeping cold.
But it’s not just the thermal protection offered by these booties that makes them brilliant; the grip on the outsole is among the best I have ever encountered on any kind of water shoe. And they also keep you safe from all kinds of nasties that you might mistakenly tread on in the murky shallows, which fills you with confidence during put-ins and portages, and allows you to properly enjoy your paddling experiences.
The booties are also very robustly built, and we expect them to last for many seasons. If you don’t lose them, that is, because the biggest downside of these Lomo wetsuit shoes is that they don’t have any Velcro straps, waterproof zips or laces to secure them to your feet. They’re easy to get on and off, which can be a blessing, but if conditions get burly in the surf or amongst fast-flowing water, they can easily come off when you don’t want them to. This is a major omission in my opinion – one velcro strap would work wonders.
They also don’t let your feet breathe, of course, and they won’t drain (by design), so you do end up with a bootful of juice until such time as you empty it. Also, they can accumulate pungent odors over time if you don’t thoroughly dry them after use. Nor will you want to wear them at the beach bar after getting off the water. But these are limitations shared by all wetsuit booties, and as functional and protective three-season water shoes, these offerings from Lomo are a really good choice.
Author of Caving, Canyoning, Coasteering…, a recently released book about all kinds of outdoor adventures around Britain, Pat has spent 20 years pursuing stories involving boots, bikes, boats, beers and bruises. En route he’s canoed Canada’s Yukon River, climbed Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro, skied and mountain biked through the Norwegian Alps, run an ultra across the roof of Mauritius, and set short-lived records for trail-running Australia’s highest peaks and New Zealand’s Great Walks. He’s authored walking guides to Devon and Dorset, and once wrote a whole book about Toilets for Lonely Planet. Follow Pat’s escapades on Strava here and instagram here.