What Thickness Wetsuit do I Need?

Did you know the right wetsuit thickness can make your dive fun or too cold? When picking the ideal wetsuit thickness, many factors matter. They help you stay warm and safe in the water.

This article will help you find the perfect wetsuit thickness for your needs. This is for divers, surfers, or anyone who loves water sports. We’ll show you how wetsuits keep you warm and balanced by being snug and stretchy. Are you ready to dive in?

Key Takeaways:

  • Choosing the right wetsuit thickness is crucial to stay warm and comfortable in the water.
  • Water temperature, activity level, and preference influence the optimal wetsuit thickness.
  • Wetsuits trap a thin layer of water next to your body, utilizing neoprene’s heat-trapping properties.
  • Wetsuit thickness is measured in millimeters and varies in the torso and extremities to balance insulation and flexibility.
  • A properly fitting wetsuit should feel like a second skin, ensuring a snug fit without excess room.

How Wetsuits Work

Wetsuits keep you warm and comfy in the water. They have a unique design and materials. Knowing how they work helps you pick the right one.

Wetsuits use neoprene, a type of synthetic rubber. Neoprene has small air-filled cells. This traps heat and keeps you warm in cold water.

When you enter the water, some of it gets inside your wetsuit. Your body warms this water, forming a warm layer that protects you from the cold.

Neoprene is also stretchy and helps you float. It fits your body closely. This means less water gets inside. It keeps you warm and lets you move freely.

Wetsuits find a balance between keeping you warm and letting you move. Thick neoprene is for cold water. Thin neoprene is more flexible and suitable for warm water.

The mix of neoprene’s warmth, the warm water layer, and the design make a great wetsuit. It keeps you warm and free to move in the water.

Wetsuit Thickness

Wetsuit thickness is key for warmth and movement. It’s measured in millimeters and often has two or three numbers. These numbers tell us about the suit’s design.

Torso and Extremities Thickness

The first number shows how thick the neoprene is on your chest and back. Thick neoprene keeps your middle warm, which is essential for staying cozy.

The second number is about the thickness of your arms and legs. Thinner neoprene here helps you move better. It’s all about balancing warmth and being able to move.

Getting this balance right makes your time in the water better. Too thick, and you can’t move well. Too thin, and you might get cold. The perfect mix means more fun.

Flexibility Is Key

Choosing the thickest wetsuit isn’t always the best. Thick neoprene can make it hard to move. So, picking the right thickness matters a lot.

A bit thicker neoprene is good for warmth in cold water. But in warm water or for lots of movement, go thinner. This helps you stay agile.

What suits you best is a personal pick. It depends on what you do, the water’s warmth, and what you like.

Expert Tip: Consider Your Activity

Think about what you’ll be doing in the water. Surfers waiting for waves might want thicker suits for warmth. Divers, moving a lot, might pick thinner suits to avoid getting too hot.

Knowing how thickness affects your suit is vital. Think about what you need to stay warm and move freely. That way, you can pick the best wetsuit for your water adventures.

How Should Your Wetsuit Fit?

A wetsuit should fit like a second skin and not sag or bunch. It should be snug, like a good outfit. This keeps water out and keeps you warm.

Try the wetsuit on and feel how it fits. It should hug you but let you move freely. The suit traps a layer of water that warms you up in cold water.

Don’t choose a loose wetsuit. It lets too much water in, and you’ll get cold. A snug fit keeps you warm and comfy in the water.

Check the neck fit, too. It should be tight but not too tight to keep water out. Wearing a rashguard underneath is a good idea if the neck is high.

Brand-Specific Size Charts

Each brand has its own size chart. Use it to find the best fit for you. These charts consider your body’s measurements. This way, you get a wetsuit that’s just right for you.

Types of Wetsuit Seam Seals

Wetsuits need good seam seals to keep water out. Different seals work better in different conditions. They match how cold the water is and what you like.

Flatlock Stitching

Flatlock stitching is used for wetsuits meant for warm water. It lays flat on your skin, making it comfy and less annoying. However, it does let a little water in through the seams.

Sealed and Taped Seams

Wetsuits usually have sealed and taped seams for cold water. They glue and stitch the seams in a unique way, keeping water out well. Sealed and taped seams also keep you warm and dry.

The glue and unique stitching also make these seams strong. But they’re still flexible. So, they’re perfect for cold water, where you must stay warm and dry.

Choosing the Right Seam Seal

Which seam seal to choose depends on the water where you’ll swim. Flatlock is suitable for warm water. It’s comfy but lets some water in. Sealed and taped seams are best for cold water. They block water well.

Think about the water’s temperature before you pick a wetsuit. You want one with the proper seal for comfort and performance. Whether it’s flatlock or sealed and taped seams, picking right makes your wetsuit better.

Wetsuit Zippers – Front/Chest Zip vs Back Zip

Wetsuits come with different openings: back zip, front or chest zip, and no zip. Each type has good points to know. Let’s look at what makes each special to help you choose.

Back Zip Wetsuits

Back-zip wetsuits have a zipper on the back. They are easy to use if bending is hard for you. The big opening makes it simple to put on, which is great for those needing more room. However, they might let some water in through the seams.

Front/Chest Zip Wetsuits

Chest zips have a zipper around the neck. They’re a bit tougher to wear, but keep out more water. Fewer seams mean less chance of leakage. Surfers and divers who want the best protection like this style.

Zipperless Wetsuits

Want to move without feeling held back? Go for a wetsuit without a zipper. They open at the chest or neck and have no zippers. This design is perfect for swimming or snorkeling. But, they might not keep you as warm.

Your choice depends on what you want from your wetsuit. Think about ease of use, water entry, warmth, and how it lets you move. Try different styles in stores or ask others what they like. This way, you’ll find the best fit for your water activities.

Wetsuit Zipper TypeAdvantagesConsiderations
Back ZipEasy entry and exit, convenient for less flexible individualsPossible water leakage through seams
Front/Chest ZipIt can be trickier to put on and take offCan be trickier to put on and take off
ZipperlessMaximum mobility and flexibilityPotentially less warmth

Types & Lengths of Wetsuits

There are many kinds of wetsuits available. Each one fits different needs and water activities.

  1. Full Wetsuits: These cover your whole body, including arms and legs. They’re suitable for cold water and come in different thicknesses for various temperatures.
  2. Shorties and Springsuits: Great for warmer waters, these have short legs and arms. They let you move quickly and stay protected.
  3. Long John/Jane Wetsuits: These are also for warmer waters. They are made of thin neoprene and do not have sleeves, which makes moving more manageable and keeps you cool.
  4. Wetsuit Tops, Bottoms, and Rashguards provide extra cover and protection in specific sports. Tops can be worn alone or with bottoms for more warmth. Rashguards protect from the sun and scratches and dry fast.

Picking the right wetsuit for your water conditions and sport can keep you comfy. You will be well-protected and flexible in the water.

Wetsuit TypeDescription
Full WetsuitsThey cover your whole body, good for different cold waters. They come in various thicknesses.
Shorties and SpringsuitsPerfect for warm waters, they have short legs and arms.
Long John/Jane WetsuitsMade with thin neoprene and no sleeves for warm waters.
Wetsuit Tops, Bottoms, and RashguardsThey give extra cover and protection for water sports. Can be used together for warmth.


Picking the right wetsuit thickness is key to staying warm and comfy in the water. When choosing, consider the water’s temperature, how active you’ll be, and what you like. This way, you’ll get the best wetsuit for you.

A good fit is crucial because it keeps you warm and stops water from getting in. Features like sealed seams and zippers are also important. They make your wetsuit work better and keep you warm.

With the perfect wetsuit thickness, you’ll be ready for your underwater adventures. You’ll stay warm and safe the whole time. Find your ideal wetsuit and enjoy being in the water comfortably.


What thickness wetsuit do I need?

The thickness you need depends on the water’s warmth, your activity, and your preferences. Thicker suits are warmer but stiffer, while thinner suits give you more freedom but less warmth. A thickness chart can help you choose the right one.

How do wetsuits work?

Wetsuits keep a small layer of water close to you. Your body warms this water, keeping you warm. The suit’s neoprene material has air-filled cells. This helps insulate you from cold water.

How is wetsuit thickness measured?

We measure wetsuit thickness in millimeters, as numbers are split by a slash. The first number is for the torso’s neoprene thickness. The second is for the legs and arms. Sometimes, there’s a third for the arm thickness.

How should my wetsuit fit?

Your wetsuit should fit tightly like a second skin. It shouldn’t sag or bunch up. It must be snug to keep a thin water layer inside for warmth. Size charts from brands can help you find a good fit.

What types of seam seals are used in wetsuits?

There are different seam seals for wetsuits. Flatlock stitching works for warm water and feels smooth against the skin. Yet, it lets a little water in. For cold water, sealed and taped seams keep the wetsuit watertight.

What are the types of wetsuit zippers?

Wetsuits can have zippers in the back or front or no zipper. Back zips make getting in and out easy, while front zips seal better against water. No-zip suits focus on freedom of movement but might be less warm.

What are the different types and lengths of wetsuits?

Wetsuits vary in type and length. Full wetsuits cover everything and vary in thickness for different temperatures. Shorties are for warm water. Long Johns/Janes are thin with no arms, also for warm waters. Wetsuit pieces like tops and bottoms offer extra coverage.

What is the importance of finding the right wetsuit thickness?

The correct thickness keeps you warm and comfy in water. Consider the water temperature, your activity, and your likes. A well-fitting suit with the right seals and zippers will give the best warmth and function.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *