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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 Mary McHenry says:

    Hi. I’m looking for a women’s wetsuit for ocean swimming (spring & summer temps average 50-57 degrees where I am).
    I’m 5′ 5 1/2″ tall, weigh around 155, chest 38″, waist 36″, hips 42 1/2″.
    I swim 6 days a week.
    Thanks for any recommendations on size, thickness and brands!

    • Elizabeth Werdnik Elizabeth Werdnik says:

      Hi Mary! Thank you for your comment. For how active of a swimmer you are, I would recommend checking out our selection of women’s triathlon wetsuits here. Designed for swimming with a maximum range of movement, and a streamlining smoothy skin exterior for minimum drag; these suits will keep you warm and protected during your sessions without compromising your performance. Each wetsuit has a unique size chart for you to compare your measurements to. If you find one that you are interested in and need assistance with sizing, you can write back to me here or you can also reach out to our awesome customer service team either via email ( or call 866-906-7848. Cheers!

  • Avatar Anne Bull says:

    Hello, Looking for a ‘swimming’ wetsuit for my elderly, overweight hubs. Water temp in pool is around 60f at the moment. He hates cold water so will not get in even at 68f or 69f. It’s such good exercise I wonder what he could use.
    He is 6,1 and approximate measurements are – his chest is 43, around his stomache his girth is bigger so 48/49 , and his hips and legs slimmer. He weighs 240 pounds. What type of suit can he use….I am sure he will warm up once swimming it is to get him in, and of course keep him a bit warmer… If possible nothing too dififcult to get in and out of. Any possibility of something? Thank you

    • Elizabeth Werdnik Elizabeth Werdnik says:

      Hello Anne! Thanks for reaching out. We actually have a great category for wetsuits that come in big-and-tall sizing that I recommend you browse here. The NRS brand ‘john’ cuts in that category (full torso and legs, with sleeveless arms) have very inclusive sizing, are easy to get in and out of, and will keep his core and legs warm without overheating. These could be paired with gloves that he can take off as he warms up to keep his hands warm at the beginning of the session. Hope this helps!

  • Avatar john hynes says:

    Hi Lauren: I want to swim here in Delaware in May, when I see that temp is up toward 60. Already have upper wet shirt, want to get the pants. I am 5’9 male, 34″ waist, weigh 165 lbs. Can yourecommend? Thankls.

    • Elizabeth Werdnik Elizabeth Werdnik says:

      Hey John! Check out our men’s wetsuit pants here, and see if something looks good. A 1.5mm or 2mm pant should ward off chill in the water, especially paired with the top you already have! Based on your measurements, I would recommend getting a size large. Cheers!

  • Avatar Robert E Poller says:

    I’m going to order an 8mil semidry polar suit.
    Chest 42″
    Waist 34″
    Hips 40″
    Inseam 33″
    I have xl 7mil suit not happy with fit.
    Do you think going XXL would be better OR XXX.

    • Elizabeth Werdnik Elizabeth Werdnik says:

      Hi Robert, thanks for reaching out. What’s your height so I can better assist in helping you pick the right size? Cheers!

  • Avatar Dan Armstrong says:

    Hey Lolo, thanks for answering all these sizing questions!

    I have a shorty, want a full-length (or top + bottom if necessary). For open-water swimming in the cold.

    6’3″, 39″ chest, 39″ waist.

    Weird body. Any advice?

    • Elizabeth Werdnik Elizabeth Werdnik says:

      Hi Dan! What is the average water temperature where you’re looking to swim so I can direct you better? You can also reach out to our customer service team directly either via email ( or call 866-906-7848 so they can help you find a great suit for your needs. Cheers!

  • Avatar stella says:

    Hi I am 5’8, 145lbs, 38″ chest, 31″ waist, should I get size 12 or 14?

    • Elizabeth Werdnik Elizabeth Werdnik says:

      Hi Stella, what wetsuit are you looking at specifically so I can help you further in finding the right size for you?

  • Avatar Louise Green says:

    I’m looking for a 5 mm wetsuit for diving in Canada. I’m 5’1″ and 170 to 175 lbs, with more weight on my hips than on top (pear shaped). Would a 2XL be too long?

    • Elizabeth Werdnik Elizabeth Werdnik says:

      Hi Louise, what is your chest measurement, and which wetsuit were you looking at specifically so I can better help you find a size that works? You can also reach out to our customer service team either via email ( or call 866-906-7848 directly to have them assist you in finding something that works best for you. Cheers!

  • Avatar Maria says:

    Hi there! I’m a very short woman (5’0 or 1.51m, since I’m European and 43kg weight). It’s very difficult for me to find wetsuits that fit me. I need a 4/3 from rip curl, would you recommend me going for a size 4 women or size 12 junior girl? Thanks!!

  • Avatar Diana Cunningham says:

    I would like a full length made to measure3/4 wet suit I can’t find anywhere on your site that allows places to measure or cost of it

  • Avatar Wallace says:

    Ok so looking for a cheap wetsuit for paddle boarding and paddling I can’t find one that fits I’m a guy 6ft tall 42 inch chest and a 30 inch waist. I tried a large and it was way too short and the sleeves like barely went past my elbows so I sent it back and ordered an xlarge (different company: farmer John style) and it’s way too tall and loose can you help?

    • Elizabeth Werdnik Elizabeth Werdnik says:

      Hi Wallace! This is a common issue for taller guys. I’d recommend checking out wetsuits with an additional height option. With your chest measurement, you’ll probably want to look at ‘large tall’ or ‘xlarge short’ suits to try and find something that fits right all over. Check our paddle wetsuit category here, and select ‘LT’ and ‘XLS’ sizes on the left-hand filter category to browse that selection! If you need more assistance with sizing, reach out to our awesome customer service team either via email ( or phone at 866-906-7848. Cheers!

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