Ten years ago, DUI introduced a new innovation called RockBoots. It was an entirely new concept giving divers superior durability, traction, support and comfort for their feet. Whether you are a shore diver doing beach entries or a boat diver climbing up a ladder, RockBoots became a staple in the drysuit divers’ diet!
Since then, many have tried to copy DUI's RockBoots. Some copies are so bold as to even use the name “RockBoots”. Yet a lot of thought and engineering went into our design which has been completely overlooked by others in their attempt to capitalize on DUI’s innovation.
While DUI RockBoots may not be the "hottest" footwear on the market, they outperform all others on form, fit and function. Here is why a DUI RockBoot is a DUI RockBoot:
Original RockBoot Design Objectives:
RockBoots Design Strategy
Sole Thickness: A deep lug sole (typically found on work boots) is desirable in most shoes for durability. However, DUI’s design approach for RockBoots was to achieve the objectives while keeping the thickness of the boot under the foot to a minimum. Deep lug patterns add stiffness and thickness. The diver’s foot needs to be able to move during swimming and the additional thickness compounds problems that arise in wearing the boot with a fin (the bigger the boot, the harder it is to find a fin that fits).
Sole Edging: This needs to be kept as narrow as possible – again, to allow the foot to slide into the fin pocket. Most shoes and boots (as well as RockBoot copies) have a thicker edge that surrounds the entire foot).
Boot Width: The RockBoot must be able to accommodate the sock on the drysuit as well as the diver’s choice of insulation. At a minimum, DUI required that it be able to accommodate Thinsulate Ultra 400. The boot needs to be wider than a typical boot so DUI’s RockBoot is in the E to EE width range.
Size Range: DUI has always prided itself on being able to fit the widest range of divers. Therefore DUI has RockBoots in sizes 4 – 15. For most divers, this is the actual size that they wear. DUI has already taken into consideration that the diver will be wearing insulation.
Note: Women’s sizes – most go down 1-2 sizes, depending on insulation. Men typically wear the same size RockBoot as they do their shoe size. For half sizes, go UP to the next size
Boot Height: When you look at the top of the RockBoot (the part that goes around the ankle), the back of the RockBoot is lower than the front to facilitate pointing of the toes which is crucial for proper fining. A high back can dig in and irritate the Achilles tendon. The combination of high front and low back provides ankle support seen in taller boots.
Boot Heel: Behind the ankle, there is an area of support that is called the “heel counter”. Heel counters are needed for ankle support and stability. In DUI’s RockBoots, these are lower than normal to facilitate pointing of the toes. In addition, RockBoots do not have raised heels because they are not compatible with many of the popular styles of fins. Your foot simply would not slide into the fin – the heel would get caught on the bottom of the fin.
Why Laces: While there are other forms of closures like Velcro, zippers, bungee laces, etc, DUI has found that though laces can be a nuisance, they are still the best form of closure for a number of reasons:
Lace Capture System: This is perhaps the most difficult thing to explain! In the back of the boot, a tab is placed that serves two purposes:
Replacement: In previous drysuits, if a boot wore out, the diver had to return the suit to the factory to have new boots installed. This can be an expensive repair. Yet with RockBoots, the diver can simply purchase a new pair which does not affect the water tight integrity of the suit or necessitate the return of the suit to the manufacturer.
In conclusion, The DUI RockBoots may not be the most fashionable footwear, but the design of the RockBoots is based on proven and durable materials and they are configured to work in harmony with the diver and their fins.
Thick hiking soles, buckles, tabs, zippers, etc. may look “cool”, but you need to ask yourself:
There are virtually thousands of fashionable hiking boots from which to choose. Yet, if you are looking for footwear that can meet the demands of the dive site, the dive and, most importantly, the diver, then you are looking for DUI’s RockBoots.