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Dinghy Hiking & Trapeze Boots

How To Choose Dinghy Sailing Boots | Expert Advice

  Dinghy boots are designed to protect your feet from bumps and bruises, provide support when hiking or trapping, and give you the best grip or attachment to the boat.  They are designed to meet the unique needs of different types of dinghy sailing to accomplish this.  Be sure to know what type of sailing you will be doing to best choose your boots.  The needs of a skipper who does not trapeze and only uses a hiking strap are […]

 

Dinghy boots are designed to protect your feet from bumps and bruises, provide support when hiking or trapping, and give you the best grip or attachment to the boat.  They are designed to meet the unique needs of different types of dinghy sailing to accomplish this.  Be sure to know what type of sailing you will be doing to best choose your boots.  The needs of a skipper who does not trapeze and only uses a hiking strap are different from the crew who is on the trapeze the majority of the time.  Lastly, depending on the materials and construction, some dinghy boots can in keep your feet dry, and in the winter months other provide insulation to keep feet warm.

 

Types of Dinghy Boots

Hiking Boots are built for those using a hiking strap and not generally trapezing.  These boots are designed to keep you attached to the hiking strap, and have a reinforced upper foot area to pad and distribute the load of your body weight against the strap.

Trapeze-Hiking Boots are designed for the needs of trapezing first and hiking straps second.  They have thinner and more flexible soles than hiking boots to allow your foot to ‘mold’ around the gunwale when trapezing.  This provides more surface area connection between you and the boat, so better grip.  These boots will also have a padded hiking strap area on the upper foot for hiking comfort when the wind does not allow you to trapeze.

Skiff ‘Booties’ are for skiff style boat sailing where the wearer will trapeze, but seldom or never use a hiking strap.  These tend to be lighter weight and more minimalistic in materials and construction than other dinghy boots.  They generally have little or no hiking strap reinforcement on the top of the foot area.  They have thinner and more flexible soles than hiking boots (and some trapeze boots) to allow your foot to ‘mold’ around the gunwale when trapezing.  This provides more surface area connection between you and the boat, so better grip.

Water Shoes – Skiff ‘booties’ are excellent active water shoes for protecting your feet while participating in any water activity – SUP, kayaking, walking the beach, etc.

 

Boot Uppers

Neoprene boots are flexible throughout which makes them comfortable to wear for long periods of time.  The thickness of the neoprene determines how much insulation they provide your feet.  Thicknesses run between 2mm to 5mm.  Because neoprene stretches, they allow you to wear different thicknesses of socks – add a neoprene sock, Gore-Tex sock or the sock (‘bootie’) of your dry suit – when cool weather sailing.
Rubber (or PVC) boots are waterproof to their top but can be difficult to keep water from running in at their tops due to their short height.  They are uninsulated, so cooler on hot days, and poor at keeping feet warm on cold days.  Soles tend to be firmer and more protective of toes and the bottom of feet, lending themselves to use on small keel boats too.  They are non-stretch, and do not accommodate large variations in layers of socks.
NOTE: Laces on rubber boots should be replaced with 1/8” shock cord to allow more flexibility and help reduce the stresses on the lacing eyes and prevent blowing them out over time

 

Boot Fit

It is important to know what socks you will be wearing with your boots.  These can consist of sock liners (to move moisture away from the surface of your foot), light to heavy (thin to thick) knit socks, neoprene socks of varying thicknesses (for additional warmth), rubber or Gore-Tex dry suit booties (attached to the drysuit) and Lycra drysuit socks (worn over rubber drysuit socks to protect them and allow your foot to more easily slide into a boot).

Be sure to measure your foot (shoe size) with you spring/summer socks on.  If you are sailing in the fall and winter, measure your foot with all of your cold weather socks on too.  Visit our Fitting Tips for Sailing Shoes & Boots article in insure you size your boots correctly.

Hiking boots should fit snug all around and have room to wiggle your toes.  They should not be tight in any area, which is uncomfortable after hours of use and will reduce blood circulation which leads to cold feet when sailing in cold weather.

In general you will find that rubber boots do not stretch and their size remains constant.  Neoprene boots do stretch and can accommodate some variation in sock thickness.

Winter Sailing Fit:  Due to the large variation in foot size between light socks (or no socks) worn in the summer, and potentially four layers of socks in the winter when sailing in a dry suit, one size of boots may not adequately meet your needs.  It can be best to have a summer sized boot and another pair a size larger for winter sailing.  Remember, tight boots in the winter equals cold feet.  Loose boots in the summer make for sloppy

 

Boot Comparison Chart

Use the following chart to help find the boots best suited to your sailing.  Note: The more stars a boot has in a use category the better suited it is for that application.

Boot Material Neoprene Thickness Closure Hiking Trapeze Skiff Water Shoe Sole Firmness Waterproof gusset behind zipper
Gill Competition Rubber n/a Lace *** Firm Yes
Sperry Waterproof SeaHiker Rubber/ Neoprene Thin Lace *** * Medium Yes
Gill One Design Neoprene Thick Zipper *** Firm Yes
Ronstan Zip Up Neoprene Medium Zipper *** Firm No
ZhikGrip Race Hiking Neoprene Thin Lace ***  * Medium Yes
Sperry SeaHiker Boot GripX3 Neoprene Thick Zipper *** * Medium No
ZhikGrip Barefoot Hiking Sock Neoprene/Rubber Thin Slip ON *** n/a n/a
Gill Trapeze Neoprene Thick Zipper ** *** * Medium Yes
ZhikGrip Soft Sole Hiking Neoprene Medium Lace ** *** * Soft Yes
Zhik Lightweight Race Neoprene Thin Lace * *** *** Soft Yes
Gill Aqua Tech Shoe Neoprene Thin Slip On ** *** *** Soft n/a
Zhik Ankle Cut Boot Neoprene Thin Slip On ** *** *** Soft n/a

Fitting Tips for Sailing Shoes & Boots | Expert Advice

  Whether you’re walking around town in your sailing shoes, dinghy sailing with hiking or trapeze boots or sailing in tall offshore boots, footwear that fit correctly are essential for the overall comfort of your feet.  The following tips and techniques are designed to help you get a good fit. Find Your Shoe or Boot Size Don’t forget.  Feet do change size and shape over time, so if you haven’t had your’s measured in awhile, it’s a good idea, especially […]

 

Whether you’re walking around town in your sailing shoes, dinghy sailing with hiking or trapeze boots or sailing in tall offshore boots, footwear that fit correctly are essential for the overall comfort of your feet.  The following tips and techniques are designed to help you get a good fit.

Find Your Shoe or Boot Size

Don’t forget.  Feet do change size and shape over time, so if you haven’t had your’s measured in awhile, it’s a good idea, especially before you order boots or shoes online.

Brannock Device Sailing Footwear Fit Tips

Having both of your feet measured using a Brannock device is the most common way.  If one foot is large than the other (which is quite common), purchase foot wear for the larger.  Be sure to follow step two below when measuring.

Measuring Your Foot Size at Home

If you would like to measure your feet at home, it is easy.  Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Gather two pieces of blank paper, either a pen or pencil, and a ruler.

Measuring Shoes Size for Sailing Step 1

  1. Put on the sock(s) you will be wearing. Depending on the type of sailing, this could be a light to medium weight pair of knit socks.  It could be knit socks with Gore-Tex over socks to keep your feed dry when wearing deck shoes.  If you are sailing in a drysuit you could have on knit sock liners, medium to heavy weight knit insulation socks, the drysuit bootie (rubber or Gore-Tex), and even a Lycra drysuit over sock.  All of these combinations will affect your sailing shoe size.  Keep in mind that your feet will swell through the course of the day, so it’s best to measure your feet at the end of the day.

Measuring Shoes Size for Sailing Step 2

  1. While seated, place your foot flat on a piece of pager. Lean forward, putting more weight onto the foot you are going to trace.  Trace the outline of your foots exactly.  Be sure the line you are drawing is accurate by looking straight down at the edge of your foot as the pen goes round – don’t over or under state the size.  Repeat this for your other foot if you are not sure hat your feet are the same size.

Measuring Shoes Size for Sailing Step 3

  1. Using the ruler, measure the length of your traced foot from the heel to the longest toe point.
  2. Using our sizing chart for Adults and Kids, find your shoe size. If you are between measurements, size up to the next larger size.  It’s easy to add a pair of socks to take up a bit of room, but very difficult to make shoes and boots that are too small comfortable.

NOTE: Not all brands’ sizing is exact.  Just because you are size 9 in one brand of shoe or boot does not necessarily mean you’re going to be a 9 in another.  Footwear shapes and sizes vary from brand to brand; please keep this in mind with using the sizing chart.

Next, check the fit once you get your footwear.

When you receive your shoes or boots, try them on with the socks you intend to wear them with.

  • Remember that your feet will swell through the course of the day, so it’s best to try new footwear on at the end of the day.
  • Check the initial fit. Seat your heels firmly into the heel cups of the shoe/boots, lace/zip them up and stand up. They should feel snug around the ball and instep of your foot, but loose enough that flexing your foot forward is not uncomfortable.
  • Next, move up onto the balls of your feet. Now back on your heels. Do the shoes/boots flex adequately with your feet? Are they comfortable? Don’t be fooled that a shoe/boot can be “broken in.” Sure, a shoe/boot will become “softer” with wear, but a good-fitting shoe/boot doesn’t need to be broken in.  Dinghy boots, either rubber or neoprene, tend not to ‘break in’ and remain similar in fit and flex over their entire lives.
  • You should be able to wiggle your toes inside the toe box (the front of the shoe/boot). To see if you have enough room, slide your foot forward so your toes are just touching the end of the unlaced/unzipped shoe/boot. In this position, you should have a finger’s width (about ½”) between the base of your heel and the shoe/boot. This will allow toes to spread to keep your feet stable and provide room for natural foot swelling; it will also prevent cutting off the circulation which leads to cold feet.
  • Your heel should stay in place. After lacing/zipping there should be no more than ¼” of movement in your heel. This will reduce friction that can lead to blisters and will prevent your foot from sliding forward as you walk on an incline (think slanted deck of a healing boat). If your foot feels like it’s “floating” inside the boot, try a half or whole size down.

NOTE FOR OFFSHORE BOOTS:  This type of boot is slip on, and the fit is not adjustable with laces nor zippers.  There ease of entry and removal is desirable.  If you were to go overboard, offshore boots can be a liability as they fill with water, and easy in-the-water-removal is required.  For this reason, overall fit will be looser than shoes or dinghy boots.  Be sure you simulate trying to remove your boots while in the water.  Sizing offshore boot one size larger than your measured foot size is common if you will be doing blue water sailing.

 

Adult Footwear Sizing Chart

Inches cm Men’s Women’s UK Europe Mexico
8 20.3 2 3.5 1.5
8 1/6 20.7 2.5 4 2
8 1/3 21.2 3 4.5 2.5
8 1/2 21.6 3.5 5 3 35
8 2/3 22 4 5.5 3.5 35.5
8 5/6 22.4 4.5 6 4 36
9 22.9 5 6.5 4.5 37 4
9 1/6 23.3 5.5 7 5 37.5 4.5
9 1/3 23.7 6 7.5 5.5 38 5
9 1/2 24.1 6.5 8 6 39 5.5
9 2/3 24.6 7 8 6.5 40 6
9 5/6 25 7.5 8.5 7 40.5 6.5
10 25.4 8 9 7.5 41 7
10 1/6 25.8 8.5 9.5 8 42 7.5
10 1/3 26.2 9 10 8.5 43 8
10 1/2 26.7 9.5 10.5 9 43.5 8.5
10 2/3 27.1 10 11 9.5 44 9
10 5/6 27.5 10.5 11.5 10 44.5 9.5
11 27.9 11 12 10.5 45 10
11 1/6 28.4 11.5 12.5 11 45.5 10.5
11 1/3 28.8 12 11.5 46 11
11 1/2 29.2 12.5 12 46.5 11.5
11 2/3 29.6 13 12.5 47.5 12
11 5/6 30.1 13.5 13 48 12.5
12 30.5 14 13 48 13
12 1/6 30.9 14.5 14 49 13.5
12 1/3 31.3 15 14.5 50 14
12 1/2 31.7 15.5 15 51 14.5
12 2/3 32.2 16 15.5 52 15

 

Kids’ & Junior’s Footwear Sizing Chart

Inches cm U.S. Kids’ Europe
3 5/6 9.7 2T 17
4 10.2 2.5T 18
4 1/6 10.6 3T 18
4 1/3 11 3.5T 19
4 1/2 11.4 4T 19
4 2/3 11.9 4.5T 20
4 5/6 12.3 5T 20
5 12.7 5.5T 21
5 1/6 13.1 6T 22
5 1/3 13.6 6.5T 22
5 1/2 14 7T 23
5 2/3 14.4 7.5T 23
5 5/6 14.8 8T 24
6 15.2 8.5K 25
6 1/6 15.7 9K 25
6 1/3 16.1 9.5K 26
6 1/2 16.5 10K 27
6 2/3 16.9 10.5K 27
6 5/6 17.4 11K 28
7 17.8 11.5K 29
7 1/6 18.2 12K 30
7 1/3 18.6 12.5K 30
7 1/2 19.1 13K 31
7 2/3 19.5 13.5K 31
7 5/6 19.9 1K 32
8 20.3 1.5K 33
8 1/6 20.7 2K 33
8 1/3 21.2 2.5K 34
8 1/2 21.6 3K 34
8 2/3 22 3.5K 35
8 5/6 22.4 4K 36
9 22.9 4.5K 36
9 1/6 23.3 5K 37
9 1/3 23.7 5.5K 37
9 1/2 24.1 6K 38
9 5/6 25 7K 40

How to Size Dinghy Sailing Boots for Women | Expert Advice

We know shopping for women’s sailing gear can be a pain, but we today we have some tips and tricks to make shopping for dinghy boots a bit easier for you. For women, one especially difficult piece of gear to size is a good pair of Dinghy Boots. The material and styling of dinghy boots plus the difference between men’s and women’s sizing  can make for quite the headache! We can help you with each of these factors. Though in […]

We know shopping for women’s sailing gear can be a pain, but we today we have some tips and tricks to make shopping for dinghy boots a bit easier for you.

For women, one especially difficult piece of gear to size is a good pair of Dinghy Boots. The material and styling of dinghy boots plus the difference between men’s and women’s sizing  can make for quite the headache! We can help you with each of these factors.

APS Dinghy Boots

Though in most other types of shoes you would subtract two sizes from your women’s size to get your men’s size, we typically only recommend going down one size for dinghy boots and a half size if you’re in between whole sizes. Dinghy boots fit a pretty snug naturally, so you’ll probably find yourself in a bigger size than what you were expecting. That’s totally normal!

Keep in mind how you will be using your dinghy boots to choose your size: will you need to fit them over a dry suit and wool socks or, like me, do you only sail when it’s warm and don’t need to wear socks? This is an important factor in deciding which size boots to choose.

Lastly, you’ll want to factor in style to the equation. Do you need waterproof boots or will neoprene work? Do you like a lot of support and sturdiness, or do you prefer flexibility and adjustable straps?

Once you know what kind of boot you are looking for and what, if anything, you’ll be wearing under them, use this chart to help you determine your size!:

Women’s
Size

 US (Euro)
Brands
Ronstan Sperry Gill Zhik
10 (40-41)
9
9
9
9
9 (40)
7
8
9
8
8.5 (39)
8
8
9
8
8 (39)
7
8
7.5/8
8
7.5 (38)
7
7
7.5/8
7

Comparing Dinghy Boots: Rubber or Neoprene | Expert Advice

Not sure what type of dinghy boot is right for you?  Don’t worry APS can help! The two most popular types are Neoprene or waterproof. Neoprene boots have a zippered closure, velcro zipper keeper, and tend to be more flexible which allows a thicker than normal sock to be worn without cramping the foot. The waterproof boots typically have a lace-up closure, are more rigid, and hold moisture just as well as it keeps the water out. Type Materials Construction Closure Primary Use Waterproof […]

Gill Gray Competition Sailing BootRonstan Zip Up Sailing Boot

Not sure what type of dinghy boot is right for you?  Don’t worry APS can help! The two most popular types are Neoprene or waterproof.

Neoprene boots have a zippered closure, velcro zipper keeper, and tend to be more flexible which allows a thicker than normal sock to be worn without cramping the foot.

The waterproof boots typically have a lace-up closure, are more rigid, and hold moisture just as well as it keeps the water out.

Type Materials Construction Closure Primary Use
Waterproof Boots Rubber Rigid Tie up Spring/Summer
Neoprene Boots Neoprene Flexible Zipper Year Round, Good for Winter