|The purchase of dive boots (or "booties" for us old-timers) is all too often something that is not given enough consideration -- that is until one of three things happen: you slip and fall unexpectedly on a slick boat deck or rocks in the surf, feet cramp up on a dive or long walk to and from the dive site, or the boots wear out prematurely or simply fall apart unexpectedly. The IST S55 dive boots' design thwarts these all too frequent problems.
Heart of these boots is the sole. The top-notch tough sole comes with a non-slip grill form on the bottom in a distinctive yellow/blue/black pattern. The sole is non-marking so you won't leave any unexpected streaks on the boat deck. The heels have an extra cushion and there is arch support (albeit limited). An unusual feature is the toe. The blue reinforced tip has nibs for added traction -- a great idea for those that have to climb rocks to get out of the water on rocky beach dives. What especially impressed me was the flexibility of the sole at the same time providing a remarkable amount of cushion and traction.
For durability, ribbed rubber sheet capping reinforces the toes. This also comforts in the event of a stubbed toe! The protection follows up the inside nook of the foot for protection against the inevitable rubbing from fin pockets. The molded rubber capping on the heel protects from rubbing by fin straps, and a built in strap keeper on the heel keeps the fin strap from slipping down.
The boots are extra easy to put on and take off, thanks to a full-length gusseted zipper. The zipper is heavy-duty YKK with large teeth that resist the clogging effects of sand on a beach dive. The gusseting limits unwanted coldwater intrusion from the zipper.
Warmth is another strength of these boots. The 5 mm neoprene used in the construction is the latest Titanium powder impregnated fabric that gives the material an added edge in warmth.
Finishing off this impressive boot is the stitching and edge tape. There are only two visible seams and each of these are double-glued and blind-stitched. Stitching is very tight with the number of stitches per inch being very high; again, this increases the durability of the boot making unraveling and separation of the seams unlikely. Along the top of the boot edge tape provides an extra comfort against the skin and/or rubbing with your wetsuit bottoms.
Finally, this boot is an excellent value providing wonderful features of durability and comfort for its price range.
The IST S55 Ti dive boot comes in a wide range of sizes, 4 -- 13. For more information on this boot, or any of the rest of IST's full line of dive gear, visit www.istsports.com online