How to Buy a Wetsuit
How to Buy a Wetsuit for Your Sport of Choice
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.
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 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:
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.