Wetsuits 101: A Simple Wetsuit Buying Guide

Wetsuit 101: A simple wetsuit buying guideNot all wetsuits are created equally.  To make sure you get the one that works for you and your sport you need to understand the differences between suits, how they are made and so on.

Welcome to Wetsuits 101!

Here’s what you need to look for in a suit:

Thickness:  Wetsuit thickness is measured in millimeters.  This number is usually listed like this: 4/3mm.  The first number is the thickness of the wetsuit’s torso and the second the thickness of the extremities.

The thicker a wetsuit is the warmer it will be.  On the flip side though the thicker it is the less flexible it will be.

Neoprene Type:  Wetsuits are primarily made with neoprene and there is three different kinds:

  • Standard neoprene
  • Super stretch neoprene
  • Supper stretch water repellant neoprene

The more moving and flexiblity you need to do your thing the more super stretch neoprene you’re going to need.  It’s described in percentage in regards to the suit.

30% super stretch neoprene covers the arms, back and shoulders.  60% covers everything to right below the knees.  100% is, you guessed it, the whole body

Seams:  The seams on your wetsuit help in keeping you warm and more comfortable.  The different kinds of seams are:

  • Flatlock:  Allows some water to seep through the seems and is recommended for water temps above 62 degrees.
  • Sealed:  If you’re in water 55 degrees or less then you need this because the seams are glued and stitched.
  • Sealed and Taped:  Best (and most expensive) for super cold water.

Extras:  Sometimes it’s the little things that make the most difference.  You will pay extra for these features but they are worth it in the long run.

  • Flush Resistance:  Wetsuits with this have tappered cuffs that bond to your skin and keep the water out.
  • Zipper Barrier: A layer of neoprene that keeps your skin and the zipper apart plus helps keep water out.
  • Poly Fleece Lining:  This fleece lining inside of the suit wicks water away from the skin and retains heat.