Blog Home

How to Buy a Wetsuit

   January 27th, 2016   Posted In: How-to Guides   Tags: ,

 

 

 

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:

 

Wetsuit temperature guide
 

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!

Lauren Belt

Merchandiser at Wetsuit Wearhouse
When Lauren's (LoLo) not picking out the latest and greatest wetsuits or being the social media queen for Wetsuit Wearhouse, you can find her outdoors either running, hiking, walking, or sitting and reading a good book. She also spends her time practicing yoga and scouring the Internet for travel deals.

Latest posts by Lauren Belt (see all)

6 Comments

  • Lucy says:

    I want to keep my butt dry kayaking in Oregon lakes in my leaky snap together kayak. Would shorts in a 3/2 thickness, good neoprene keep me dry and warmer?

    • Lauren Belt says:

      Hey Lucy,

      Thanks for asking! Unfortunately, you will still get wet in a wetsuit. Wetsuits do a good job at maintaining warmth so if you’re looking to stay warm, maybe look into thick shorts or a long jane/jacket combo. Again, you will not stay dry with this toption.

      A drysuit or dry tops/bottoms will be the only option to keep you completely dry while kayaking. And we currently offer two drysuit options but they are full body suits, not shorts. Feel free to contact our customer service and they can answer any more questions – email is service@wetsuitwearhouse.com or call 866-906-7848. Thanks and have a great one!

  • JAG says:

    Looking for a wetsuit that fits my needs without breaking the bank. I have an indoor 30 k gallon lap pool that is difficult to use doing laps in early spring when the pool has just opened after a seasonal winterization. The water temp is around 65° – 70° and am considering using a wetsuit to take the “chill” off before I begin swimming laps. Looking for a comfortable wetsuit that would provide both flexibility and comfort from the cold and no skin rash after a few morning daily workouts. Thank you for any suggestions. Sincerely, TBESC. (Trying to Break the Early Spring Chill).

  • Caio Garcia says:

    Hey,
    Is there a suit I can use for swim in in the cold ocean and also use it for kayak?

    Kind regards

    • Lauren Belt says:

      Hey Caio,

      Unfortunately, that is going to be tough for two main reasons: 1) The thickness you need for swimming will need to be heavier than a wetsuit for kayaking for the same water temp. That’s because while swimming you are constantly exposed and in the water. With kayaking, it’s mostly splash.

      2) Suits for swimming have a smooth rubber coating, which can be delicate for anything other than swimming.

      There are some more reasons why it isn’t ideal to use one suit for both, but those are the main two. Buy the suit for what you’re doing most.

      Hope that helps and thanks for asking!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *