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How to Buy a Recreational Swimming Wetsuit

   January 27th, 2016   Posted In: How-To  

How to Buy a Recreational Swimming Wetsuit

A basic recreational swimming wetsuit will help keep the chill off in the ocean or for when you’re playing around in the pool.

 

For general purpose water play, consider an entry-level wetsuit made of Standard Neoprene -or- 30% Stretch Neoprene. If you are swimming laps occasionally, a stretchier suit will be less restricting. Look for a 30-60-or 100% stretch suit depending on your budget. Basically, the stretchier the better!

 

If you are serious about lap swimming, you should instead consider a triathlon wetsuit. Check out our selection of triathlon wetsuits.

 

Depending on water temperature, you might need a full body wetsuit (fullsuit), a springsuit, or a top or bottom.

 

Use the Water Temperature Guide below to determine the type of recreational swim wetsuit you may need:

 

Switch to Celsius

40°+ 48°+ 52°+ 58°+ 60°+ 65°+ 72°+ 80°+
General Watersports
(Surf, Wake, Kite, Etc.)
6/5/4mm
Sealed
5/4/3mm
Sealed
4/3mm
Sealed
& Taped
4/3mm
Sealed
3/2mm
Sealed
3/2mm
Flatlock
Springsuit
Neoprene Top
Poly Top
Rash Guard
SCUBA
8/7mm Full
7mm John
& Jacket
7mm Full
7mm John
& Jacket
7mm Full
5mm John
& Jacket
5mm Full
3mm John
& Jacket
3mm Full
3mm John &
Jacket
3mm Full
Springsuit
Springsuit
Lycra
Bodysuit
Triathlon &
Lap Swimming
5/3mm Full 5/3mm John Neoprene Vest
Kayak &
Paddle
5/4/3mm
Sealed
4/3mm
Sealed
3/2mm
Sealed
3/2mm
Flatlock
Neoprene
Top
Neoprene
Vest
Rash
Guard
General
Watersports
(Surf, Wake, Kite, Etc.)
SCUBA Triathlon &
Lap Swimming
Kayak &
Paddle
40°+ 6/5/4mm
Sealed
8/7mm Full
7mm John
& Jacket
5/3mm
Full
5/4/3mm
Sealed
48°+ 5/4/3mm
Sealed
4/3mm
Sealed
52°+ 4/3mm
Sealed
& Taped
7mm Full
7mm John
& Jacket
3/2mm
Sealed
58°+ 4/3mm
Sealed
7mm Full
5mm John
& Jacket
5/3mm
John
3/2mm
Flatlock
60°+ 3/2mm
Sealed
5mm Full
3mm John
& Jacket
Neoprene
Top
65°+ 3/2mm
Flatlock
3mm Full
3mm John &
Jacket
72°+
Springsuit
Neoprene Top
3mm Full
Springsuit
Neoprene
Vest
80°+
Poly Top
Rash Guard
Springsuit
Lycra
Bodysuit
Neoprene
Vest
Rash
Guard

Learn about wetsuit thickness below!

 

 

Check out this video for more on neoprene types:

 

 

And, here’s some information on seam types!

 

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Lauren Belt

Merchandiser at Wetsuit Wearhouse
Lauren (LoLo) has been picking out the latest and greatest wetsuits and being the social media queen for Wetsuit Wearhouse since 2014. She learned to surf for the first time ever in Costa Rica but she gravitates more towards SUP. When she's not scouring the web for travel deals, you can find her either hiking, running, practicing yoga, studying holistic nutrition or reading a good book outside on a beautiful day.
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35 Comments

  • Avatar Philip says:

    I own a sailboat that I keep in Maine. I need something for short-term swims underwater in emergency situations to clear those darn lobster traps that about once a season get caught on the keel or prop and to clear obstructions from through-hull openings and the like. These roundtrips are generally no longer than 5-10 minutes but the water temperature there is in the mid 50s to low 60s Fahrenheit in the summer. What would you recommend? Would a shorty work? I am 68 and a little less cold hardy than I once was.

    • Avatar Lauren Belt says:

      Hey Philip,

      Based on those water temps, I’d recommend a full wetsuit, not a shorty wetsuit. In fact, I’d recommend a 4/3mm full wetsuit. I know you’re not in the water for very long, but, those are some chilly temps and we want to keep you warm for sure! Depending on your tolerance to cold, you could get away with a 3/2mm sealed fullsuit instead. If you need additional help, please feel free to contact our customer service team either via phone 866-906-7848 or email service@wetsuitwearhouse.com. Thanks!

  • Avatar Leelee says:

    I am a cold person in general and recently started swimming again. The outdoor pool in Northern California where I swim is said to be kept at 79 F but it feels colder than that! After 20 minutes of my feet and hands were numb but I stuck it out for the rest of my swim. It took 10 minutes in the shower to warm up. What type of suit would you recommend? Would a full suit be too hot? I am worried about my extremities missing out on the john or vest options. When I get up to speed, I will be swimming maybe 1600-2000M per session 2-3x week, no competing.

  • Avatar Marc says:

    Hello
    I need to buy a wetsuit for my wife , her size , we are first time buyer
    High 5.1
    Hip 43
    Waist 35
    Top/breast 37
    Also which brand/model you would recommend , this is for L.A very cold water 🙂
    Thank you so much

  • Avatar Lori Carena says:

    I am looking for a wetsuit for for late fall winter swimming in Atlantic Ocean near NYC. I usually swim skins down to 55 but because of feared lack of access to pools this winter, I would like to extend my time for swimming the colder ocean after early November. Can you recommend a suit time thickness, sleeve length etc. Also I am concerned about my ability to get into and out of a wetsuit. Do you think there is a place for two piece wetsuits as an easier way to put on and remove this gear. Thanks for your help.

  • Avatar Anthony Jones says:

    Hi, my 18yr old son is looking for a wetsuit to use in cold water. (bay or ocean). He was training to be a Navy Seal but due to corona all gyms and pools are closed. So he needs it for swimming and possibly for some surfing. I thought a 3/2 would be good. Bay water temperature is around 52-54 now but should be rising now in New Jersey.
    Thank you, Anthony

  • Avatar Etah says:

    Its my first time trying open water swimming and I need a full wetsuit. Water temp is usually around 52-57 degrees c. I’m 5″8/200 lbs. I need help in choosing a wetsuit. Please help.

  • Avatar Boyd Becker-Nunley says:

    Hello,

    My name is Boyd and I live in the Cascade Mountain Range of South West Washington. I am a long distance trail runner and due to COVID 19 limiting my access to trails and some “runners knee” I am inspired to start endurance swimming on our lake and possibly get into Biathlons. I believe our lake is around 55 degree range this time of year and I plan to use our community pool in winter. I am about 145lbs, 5’8″, and not much body fat. I tend to drag my legs when swimming free style crawl and I don’t mind being cold just not to the point I can’t feel my digits. What are your recommendations for a beginner?

  • Avatar Victor says:

    hello I’m a nonswimmer who once did a sprint triathlon with a short johnny. i felt the suit helped my bouyancy i’m not sure what I used. Do you have any recommendations for someone just trying to get backin the pool for a few laps

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