Dive socks (also called water socks or fin socks) are exactly what they sound like: Slip-on coverings for your feet made with lycra or neoprene. The main purpose of dive socks is to provide comfort and a snugger fit while wearing full-foot fins.
Even with a well-fit fin, you can get excessive chafing and rubbing around your toes and ankles that can cause blisters. This is especially true if you wear fins for long periods of time. For hiking boots, that’s why a good pair of hiking socks (and maybe some Moleskin!) is essential. The same is true for fins!
Advantages of wearing socks with fins
There are four main benefits that dive socks can give you if you’re a snorkeler or diver:
- Protect your toes and ankles from chafing
- Insulate your feet in cool or cold water
- Help a slightly too large fin to fit perfectly
- Add extra buoyancy to your feet
A properly fitting full-foot fin should feel pretty snug, but toes and ankles are sensitive areas. Even a little bit of rubbing over a prolonged period can cause you some soreness. Plus, your skin will soften up in the water, making it more vulnerable to chafing.
If your feet are prone to getting cold, then a pair of dive socks will give you a bit of extra insulation as well as cushioning. Even on tropical reefs, the water can be chilly, especially if you’re swimming in it for a couple of hours or more!
Finally, dive socks can make the difference between a fin that fits well and a fin that fits perfectly. I’ve used fins that were comfortable enough without socks, but would still sometimes slide off my feet in the water. Fin socks add that extra bit of snugness and traction to keep me from ever having to worry about that! Additionally, full-foot fins don’t always come in half-size increments. That means if you’re between sizes, dive socks can help you make up the difference with fins that are slightly too large for you.