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How to Buy a Wetsuit

   January 27th, 2016   Posted In: How-To   Tags: , , , ,

How to Buy a Wetsuit for Your Sport of Choice

how to buy a surfing wetsuit
how to buy a scuba diving wetsuit
how to buy a triathlon wetsuit
how to buy a sup and kayaking wetsuit
how to buy a recreational swimming wetsuit
how to buy a windsports wetsuit
how to buy a wakeboarding and waterskiing wetsuit
how to buy a water aerobics wetsuit
how to buy a snorkeling wetsuit

 

 

 

How to Buy a Wetsuit

Want to know how to buy a wetsuit? We’ve put together a wetsuit guide in order to make wetsuit buying a little less overwhelming!

 

First off, you’ll see a thickness at the beginning of a product (i.e. 3/2mm or 5/4/3mm). Wetsuit thickness is described in millimeters (mm) and the number is the thickness of the wetsuit material called neoprene.

 

The thicker the wetsuit, the more insulation it provides. However as the thickness increases, the heavier and more restrictive the wetsuit becomes. Hence, a 3/2mm wetsuit will give you much more range and flexibility compared to a 5/4/3mm wetsuit.

 

Every wetsuit also features a seam construction. This includes: Flatlock, Sealed, Sealed & Taped, and even Stitchless.

 

How to buy a wetsuit seams

Flatlock:

Flatlock seams are great for warm water temps (65°F & up) as they do allow a thin layer of water to enter the wetsuit. The interior and exterior seams look like railroad tracks, but the interior is flat and comfortable against the skin.

Sealed (Glued & Blindstitched):

Sealed seams are great for cold water temps (55°F & up)! The exterior seam looks similar to flatlock but is narrower in width and the interior seam often has a glue line along the seam. Very little water will seep through these seams.

Sealed & Liquid Taped (Glued Blindstitched & Taped):

Sealed & Taped seams are great for very cold water temps (55°F & below). These seams have the same construction as sealed seams but there’s taping along either the interior seam or exterior seam (or sometimes on both sides.) This taping reinforces seams and prevents water from seeping through.

Stitchless:

Stitchless seams are featured in some super high-end wetsuits. The panels of neoprene are fused and glued together instead of the neoprene panels being pierced. This creates a lighter, flexible, and more durable seam.

 

With all of this in mind, here’s handy wetsuit guide to ease the guessing of what wetsuit you 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

Neoprene Types:

The grade (or type) of neoprene used for a wetsuit also affects the feel and performance. Most suits today are made of super stretch neoprene for a better fit and flexibility. Neoprene types can be broken down into Standard, Good, Great, and Superior.

 

Standard is your least stretchy type of neoprene but is still durable and affordable. These suits are great for general water and rental use as well as industrial applications.

 

Good has more flexibility than standard and the super stretch neoprene is in flex areas like the shoulders and underarms. These suits are great for entry-level performance water sports and for wetsuit users who don’t want to break the bank!

 

Great has super stretch neoprene throughout the entire suit thus creating a better fit and performance. You can wear these suits a couple of times a week or more!

 

Superior suits are made of the highest grade of super-stretch neoprene throughout the entire suit and have a higher price range. Great for serious water sport enthusiasts and pros!

 

Then there’s the inner lining of a wetsuit. This can increase the insulation as well as the cost of a wetsuit. Most wetsuits now use poly fleece as the lining. The poly fleece is a microfiber that helps wick water away from your skin and effectively keeps you drier faster.

 

Still unsure or feel overwhelmed on how to buy a wetsuit? We get it and that’s why we’re here for you! Call us at 866-906-7848, email us at service@wetsuitwearhouse.com, or hit us up on live chat!

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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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89 Comments

  • Avatar John says:

    I snorkel in water as low as 60 degrees but not below. A Henderson shorty (medium) I have fits well except for hips and thighs where it is loose. I’m 5’11+ and 137 lbs. No butt and toothpick legs. Any suggestions for 60 degrees?

  • Avatar janet mcmillan says:

    My daughter is looking for an ocean wetsuit, cold water. She bought one at the local surf shop. Unfortunately, her behind and thighs are larger than the top part. So she has floppy suit parts on the top but the legs are snug. Any ideas?

    • Avatar Lauren Belt says:

      Hey Janet,

      The two most important measurements to first go off of when finding the right wetsuit size are the chest and height. Have your daughter measure her chest (not go off of her bra size) first, then her height. Also, she should look into getting a 100% stretch neoprene wetsuit, as it will help with her lower body. Let us know if we can do anything else to help because we are happy to. Thank you!

  • Avatar Matt says:

    Hi Luaren,

    I’m looking for a wetsuit for surfing off the Cali coast north of San Fran. Water temps about ~52°f water temp. Any suggestions to which wetsuit I should buy?

  • Avatar Andrew says:

    Hi Lauren,

    I sail a small inflatable catamaran (Minicat 410) on the Potomac River in Washington DC. Though the boat is open and low down, I hardly get wet, but there is always the risk of capsizing, and so I usually wait until the water temp is at least 65F. I’m thinking of getting a wetsuit so that I can start sailing earlier in the season, when the water is still around 50F. I’d like something that won’t be constricting as I sail, and will protect me from cold shock if I capsize (in which case I’ll be in the water for a few minutes until I right the boat), but which also doesn’t take long to put on and take off (because the boat itself takes quite a bit of time to assemble). What would you suggest?
    Thanks!

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