Well, after being enthused at the fact that my size 14 foot, fit into size 13 Rip Curl, Round Toe, 7 mil, $70 booties...I figured I'd pass along my experience w/ it today as a Public Service Announcement.
This is by far, the most comfortable (out of water and dry), flexible, expensive, and COLDEST bootie I have ever sunk my foot and wallet into.
And the water here isn't even that cold, maybe around 50...I thought I had torn holes into both of them on the walk from the car to the water...the water rushed in that fast, in an instant...there is NO way these are going to cut it when the water gets in the low 30's.
By comparison, my crappy, worn out, 7 mil Rip Curl Classic booties, w/ old holes plugged, bulging seams, and Aquaseal all over it, is actually comparably warmer.
The F-Bomb bootie (at least the pair I took into the water), is a huge disappointment. You could feel the water constantly flushing in like there was a cold hose aimed at it.
Upon further inspection of them in the shower, you could see that the leaks are where the plastic buckle for the strap, affixes to the instep/arch...it was almost imperceptible to the naked eye, but you could see bubbling, and if held at the right angle, pretty free flowing water release when squeezed...and when you step into cold water...wow, it was like the shock of sticking your naked bare foot into ice water! ...or should I say bear...I have about the same footprint as they do. To add to that, when flipping them inside out, the black fabric glued over one of those seams, is already pulling loose...less than 3 hours use.
In any case...for that money, it shouldn't be that way...maybe they'd work ok in 60 degree water...but who needs booties then anyway?
So, for anyone that already has them...I hope yours fair better. For those that don't...stay well clear.
I think, in the end, I've decided that I'd rather have a slightly cramped, mostly dry, warm foot...then a relaxed cold one.
My Xcel Infiniti 7 mil mits are several years old, and you can't even perceive water intrusion (in fact, for the first 15 minutes, even submerged, my hands are dry).
Hopefully the Xcel Drylock booties will be just as comfy...and the 5/4/3 Drylock suit's seams will hold up.
I like the idea of fussing around trying to make my own as well.
I had these boots last winter... they were great for about 3 months, and then the same problems developed... they leaked badly from the straps across the top of the boot.
Also.... something strange happened to the neoprene over time, it gradually got thinner and thinner until the 7mm boots were only about 2mm thick. I couldn't believe how thin they were, i actually cut them into several cross sections and measured them with a micrometer... about 2-3mm thick after 3 months of use. I guess i just stretched them out like crazy.... i did use them nearly every day during their life-span, but i still thought it was a weird phenomenon.
When I was in the ocean, as soon as my foot hit the water, it was an immediate cold flooding (even the "entry level" H20 boots I started w/ years ago, staved off the cold better...things seeped in, not flooded).
In the shower, I filled them, and checked for leaks...nothing too obvious, nothing pouring out, but definitely some bubbles, and some tiny water flow...but that was w/ the right side in.
Now that I've got them turned inside out and drying, it is pretty obvious that each has a fairly substantial hole (only visible from the inside) that is the source of the leak...it's where 3 panels come together, and those 3 edges basically have no adhesive on them and you could poke a fingertip into the void.
Who'd've thunk to flip new $70 booties inside out to check for craftsmanship (but you can bet I will from now on).
Where the holes are, would seem like a better place to have glued on one of those tiny black patches to relieve stress (but then again, in this case, maybe not...since the ones that were put in, are already peeling off, and I have only had these on once).
I suppose it's like anything else...if it fits YOU well and holds up, there's a tendency to stay loyal to the line.
So far, my Xcel stuff hasn't given me anything to complain about (save for the size limitation and fit of the bootie)...but, given the alternatives, and choosing which sort of discomfort I can tolerate in the long haul for 4 hr winter sessions, I'm opting for big toe squishness, over overall cold foot numbness.
I was originally leaning towards the Psycho II over the Infiniti Drylock...but again, it's a case of slightly freakishly larger than average hands and feet, that make entry/exit more of a chore, and no doubt stress those cuffs that much more (the Xcel just seemed strechier, and once on, as snug as necessary to facilitate easy escape at session's end).
If it had kept water entry to a minimum, it'd have been great, as they were SO comfy walking around (and you could feel a pea sized pebble under your foot). The Rip Curl red fireskin, is basically just as soft/plush as the orange thermobarrier in Xcel stuff.
What's got me bummed (after I carefully use wax and grease remover to polish these up to showroom new), is the store's "exchange only" policy.
Any suggestions on a constructive, peaceful work-around/
I have my own policy I'd like to enforce, where I don't make a habit of driving 200 miles to bring back inferior quality, high priced products, that were the highest recommendation of the salesperson.
I will make an exception, not charging them for miles driven, time wasted, and emotional anguish...and maybe they can do the same and cough back my cash (as understandably not to keen on throwing additional business their way).
Plus, it was the only size 13 they had (and they didn't have my size in any wetsuits)...doesn't seem like they were restocking anytime soon...and I don't really want $70 worth of wax all right now (but that's about the only other thing I'd step into a "surf shop" a.k.a. swimsuit paradise, for).
f-bomb 7 mil boots are garbage.
they were great at first, but within about 20 hours of use they stretched out and wore out.
the inner lining rolls up under the toes,they got too big and caused the boot curl under toes nightmare,and they wore holes through the bottom.