I am very happy with the Neil Pryde low cut boots. http://www.npsurf.com/products/boots/ne ... split.html
They are high enough to tuck in the legs of the wetsuit, thin enough to fit in the straps and very grippy.
I wear boots to:
- protect my feet from cuts on some reef breaks I ride.
- keep my feet warm in winter
- provide good shock absorption
- provide much better grip than bare feet.
Vibram 5 Fingers are the worst surf shoe ever (which makes sense because they are not intended to be surf shoes) mainly because they don't seal at the top so sand and shell grit gets in and wedges against your toes. There are other problems with the edges of the sole and toe sections rubbing. That might get better if you wear them in. I hated them.
I have to disagree with Peter about the "learning" to walk barefoot without damaging your feet. I switched to barefoot riding for our warmer season, and promptly stood on a stick buried in the sand and put a hole in the bottom of my foot. There is no way I could have felt it and softened my tread. In my boots there would have been no damage (maybe a bruise at worst).