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How to Choose a Wetsuit Size

   January 28th, 2016   Posted In: How-To  

Selecting the correct wetsuit size can be tough, especially for first time wetsuit buyers. Wetsuits fit tighter than clothing, and the wetsuit size will usually be one or two sizes bigger than clothing. Even a perfect fitting wetsuit will be a bit tough to get on and off; it has to be that way, since wetsuits work by trapping water between the suit and skin, creating an insulating layer of water warmed by body heat.


How to find your wesuit size

Use these following tips to make sure you buy the right wetsuit size:


Selecting a wetsuit size based on weight alone is unreliable. We highly recommend using body measurements whenever possible.

Sizing for Full Wetsuits and Springsuits:

  • Height and chest are the most important measurements.
  • Measure your chest at the widest point, with the tape gently snug.
  • Regarding length, it’s generally OK if the suit is a little on the long side. It’s generally NOT OK if the suit is too short. It will likely be uncomfortable in the crotch and neck.
  • If in between two sizes, take the larger size.

Sizing for Wetsuit Tops:

  • The chest measurement is most important.
  • Height is less important for tops, so as long as it’s close the fit should work.

Sizing for Wetsuit Shorts:

  • Waist measurement is most important.
  • Height is irrelevant for short sizing.

Sizing for Boots:

  • Order your regular shoe size. If you are a half size, round DOWN to the nearest whole size.
  • Wetsuit boots are not made in half sizes. Neoprene (wetsuit material) is stretchy and will stretch a half size.
  • Wetsuit boots should fit slightly tighter than regular shoes.

Sizing for Gloves:

  • Measure around your palm.
  • If in between sizes, round down to the smaller size.

Need help figuring out your size? Call (866-906-7848), E-mail (, or chat with one of our wetsuit experts for sizing advice. We’re happy to help!


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.

Latest posts by Lauren Belt (see all)


  • Avatar Chris Allen says:

    Hello! New to the wet suit game so need some advice. I’m a male, 5’11”-225lb with a 49.5″ chest. O’neal XL wouldn’t go up and over my shoulders. What size do you recommend? I was leaning 2XL or XLT

    • Avatar Lauren Belt says:

      Hey Chris,

      Thanks for reaching out about this. When deciding on a wetsuit size, the most important measurement to go off of is your chest followed by height. Based off of your chest, you would actually fit in either an O’Neill 2XL or 3XL. If you felt like the XL fit decent everywhere except your shoulders, then I would recommend going with the 2XL. Hope that helps!

  • Avatar Maria Dodds says:

    Hi Lauren,

    Thanks for the feedback. Sorry for the confusion. Indeed, I am looking for a 2 mm O’Neil reactor 2 shorty springsuit or any other brand equivalent . My figure puts me in between O’Neil sizes. Size 6 might fit me better in the chest; where size 8 might fit me better in the waist. I did not find any hip description in the O’Neil size chart though. That being the widest part of my body, I worry if too snug of a fit might limit my movement in water. Weight wise, I am way lighter than those of size 6 & 8.

    Based on height and weight, I should be a size 4 but its chest and waist measurements are too small for me, esp the waist. I also heard the O’Neil reactor 2 kind of runs small.

    Any suggestion is welcome. Thank you again!

  • Avatar Maria Dodds says:

    Hi Lauren,

    I live in California and I am looking at purchasing a 3/2mm shorty for swimming. I am 5′-0″ tall, 105 lbs, 33″ chest, 29.5″ waist and 35″ hip. I thought the O’Neil Reaction either size 6 or 8 might work. Both sizes are a few inches longer in torso but the waist measurements offer a better fit. I would really appreciate if you could give me any suggestion. I have not tried swimming in a wetsuit before. Thanks so much!

    • Avatar Lauren Belt says:

      Hey Maria,

      Thanks for reaching out. Were you talking about a 3/2mm full wetsuit or the 2mm O’Neill reactor 2 shorty springsuit? Once I know that I can help you a little bit more. Also, just for extra help, when deciding on a wetsuit size, we always recommend that you start with your chest and your height measurements first. Let me know how else I can help, I’m happy to do so!

  • Avatar Fred says:

    I am looking at purchasing a 5/4 wetsuit for surfing on the BC coast. I am 6’1″, 220lbs, 44″ chest and 36″ waist and I am not too sure which to pick between the XL, XLT or 2XL. I would appreciate your suggestion!

  • Avatar Tom Murphy says:

    Hi. I’m a new scuba diver looking for a size recommendation for a 5mm wetsuit. I’m a short and stocky guy – 5’6″ 180 lbs 42-43″ chest and 36″ waist (28″ inseam). Thanks for any recommendations.

  • Avatar Richard Morrison says:

    Hi Lauren,

    Live in Florida & plan on a cross country northern road trip in September beginning N. Mich to the Olympic Peninsula via Glacier Natl Park. Will pack my inflatable SUP and need a wet suit. Am 6’3″, 170lbs, 40″ chest, 34″ waist, 39″ hip, 34″ leg length.
    Your help here appreciated.

    Thx, Richard

  • Avatar Steve says:

    New Scuba Diver here.
    Been using a Scubapro 7mm rental with hooded vest XL. Kept me warm at 52F but the fit left something to be desired..
    I have a broad square shoulders and a long torso and relatively short legs for my height. Any advice what brand and size i should try?

    Height 5″ 11.5′
    Weight 187 lbs
    Chest 41″
    Waist 36″
    Hip 39.5″
    Torso shoulder vertical to crotch 30.5c
    Inseam crotch to floor 30.5″

    • Avatar Lauren Belt says:

      Hey Steve,

      I would highly recommend looking at our 7mm Men’s Henderson Thermoprene Pro Full Wetsuit found here: It’s super stretchy, durable, and very comfortable and warm. Based off of your measurements, I would recommend the size Large. Let us know if you have any more questions or need additional help, but I think you’ll be very pleased with this wetsuit. Thanks, Steve!

  • Avatar Ron McClure says:

    Looking at purchasing the 7mm Men’s Henderson THERMOPRENE PRO Jumpsuit PRODUCT CODE: AP870MB I am 6’5″, 220lbs, 44″ chest. 42″ waist. Not sure if I should go with the XLT or the 2XLT. What do you suggest?

    • Avatar Lauren Belt says:

      Hey Ron,

      First off, great choice – the Thermoprene Pro series is awesome! Second, as far as what size to get, I would suggest the XLT. Your measurements definitely teeter between the two sizes, however, the Thermoprene Pro series is very, very stretchy so you should have no problem feeling comfortable in the XLT. Hope that helps and thank you for reaching out and asking! Let us know if you need any additional help.

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