How to Choose a Wetsuit
Your Handy Guide to Choosing a Wetsuit
Wetsuits keep you warm in the water. You normally wear one when you’re surfing, swimming, or scuba diving to insulate your body, especially when you’re spending a lot of time in the water.
Brands normally make wetsuits with multiple layers of different materials. One common component you can find in many wetsuits is neoprene, a type of synthetic rubber. These layers, along with a thick layer of neoprene, provide warmth to the wearer by trapping a thin layer of water between the suit and the wearer’s skin.
Wetsuits leverage the wearer’s body warmth and use it to warm the thin layer of trapped water. This, in turn, helps keep you warm even when you’re surfing, scuba diving, paddling, or swimming in colder water temperatures.
But what makes a particular wetsuit the right wetsuit for you? What components should wetsuits have to make them functional? What about their fit: should you opt for a loose wetsuit or a tight one?
What makes a good wetsuit?
Aside from style, a good wetsuit should have the following characteristics:
When choosing a wetsuit, you should always consider the amount of warmth it can give you. If you’re planning on diving or doing water activities even during the cold season, you should go with a thicker wetsuit.
Wetsuits can get expensive, so you may want something that’ll last you for a long time. Going with a more flexible wetsuit may be more comfortable, but it may not be as durable as its more rigid counterparts.
A good wetsuit should help you move and not impede your actions. Aside from being flexible, it should also be comfortable.
Types of wetsuits
There are several styles of women’s wetsuits, and they come in all shapes and sizes. A wetsuit isn’t just confined to a full-body suit—it can also come in the form of neoprene shorts, surf leggings, and spring suits.
When shopping for a wetsuit, here are some of the common styles you’re likely to come across:
- Full suit, which is the classic wetsuit that covers the whole figure
- Spring suit or “shorty”, which typically has short legs and short sleeves
- Long Janes or Long John wetsuit, which features a sleeveless upper half with full-length legs
- One-piece surf suits for women that provide extra coverage as well as UV protection
How do I choose the right wetsuit?
The first two things you should consider when looking for wetsuits are fit and thickness. Having the right wetsuit, particularly one with a tight fit will prevent water from coming in and out of the suit. This stops cold water from seeping into your suit and prevents the warmed layer of water from escaping.
Wetsuit thickness is also crucial, especially if you’re planning on diving or doing water sports in colder places. The thickness of your wetsuit should suit the temperature of the water you’re going to be in. The rule of thumb is the colder the water temperature, the thicker your wetsuit needs to be to keep you properly insulated.
However, keep in mind that each physique is different, and a suit’s performance will largely vary from person to person. Some can dive in tropical or warmer waters with a thinner wetsuit while others may require a thicker wetsuit.
To choose the right wetsuit more effectively, you also need to factor in air and water temperatures, wind speed, sensitivity to cold temperatures, and your activity level.
You should also consider the zip placement as this can affect your wetsuit entry. A back zip wetsuit will typically have a long cord attached to the zipper, so you can easily zip the suit close or open. Front zip suits usually have zippers on the chest and can be tricky to get in and out of.
Do you wear anything under the wetsuit?
There are plenty of options for people when it comes to what to wear under their wetsuits. For some, sports underwear, particularly ones made from lycra or nylon will do. For women, you can also opt to wear a one-piece swimsuit for extra support or a bikini.
You can also opt for a full skinsuit or rash guard paired with diving or cycling shorts underneath your wetsuit. Keep in mind that what you’re wearing underneath your wetsuit should be thin and should fit you tightly.
How should a wetsuit fit?
In general, a wetsuit should have a snug fit. However, make sure that even if you stretch it to its maximum, you’re still able to freely move around. When fitting a wetsuit, try to lift your arms and stretch out your shoulders.
Fullsuits should have long cuffs that reach your wrist bone and legs that go just above your ankles. When worn, a good wetsuit should be free of gaps or loose folds.
Note that with constant use and exposure to water, you can stretch out a wetsuit.
How to choose a wetsuit size?
Finding the perfect suit size can be challenging, especially if it’s your first time. To get the best fit, you need to take measurements, starting with your height and chest for fullsuits and wetsuit tops. For wetsuit shorts, you only need to measure your waist.
If you’re still unsure, it helps to shop around and look for a particular size and style that fits your budget. And often, you’ll find that a high price tag doesn’t necessarily equate to the best comfort, design, or style that suits your needs.
What is a good wetsuit for cold water?
Good wetsuits for cold temperatures are the thicker ones, which are around 4mm to 7mm thick. If you surf, suits that are 2mm to 4mm thick can provide you with sufficient warmth in warmer waters.
Are surfing wetsuits different from regular wetsuits?
Surfing wetsuits differ slightly from their regular counterparts. Brands design surfing wetsuits to give wearers extra coverage and warmth. Regular wetsuits aim to provide not only coverage and warmth but also flexibility, ease of removal, and aid with movement underwater.
Our range of wetsuits is designed for maximum performance, to stay active in chilly water temperatures, to go scuba diving, and to do water sports. Surf year-round with our collection of stylish and functional wetsuits.
We have hooded fullsuits, split toe surf booties, surf gloves, and other wetsuit types with front zip or chest zip, as well as, back zip styles. We carry wetsuits that have exceptional durability, comfort, and performance at a price that doesn’t have to break the bank.
Not sure which wetsuit style to go for? Feel free to get in touch with our sales representatives for assistance.
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