Wetsuits are made of a stretchy, synthetic material called neoprene. They work by trapping a thin layer of water between your skin and the wetsuit fabric. This layer of water then uses your body heat to increase the temperature, which in turn keeps you warmer for longer. It is very important to keep warm in cold water as your body temperature can drop quickly, without you even realising!
The thickness of a wetsuit is measured in millimetres (mm). The body of the wetsuit will be slightly thicker than the arms and legs, this is to account for movement and because you need the most insulation around your core. In the winter look for wetsuits with 2 or 3mm on their sleeves and in the summer you’ll be comfortable with 2mm of sleeve thickness.
|Thickness||Perfect for…||Examples of product|
|Between 2-3 mm||Use through spring – early autumn. Great for bodyboarding or surfboarding as it offers good flexibility. Perfect for people new to water sports.|
|Between 4-5mm||Use through winter. Great for long periods of time in the water.||
Our wetsuits are not designed for triathlons, they are too thick and will cause severe discomfort and potential chaffing injuries if used.
A short wetsuit doesn’t cover your lower legs or arms, giving you unrestricted movement. They are usually used in the summer, depending on the weather and temperature of the water. Short wetsuits are great because they keep your core warm while still giving you the chance to move freely.
Full wetsuits cover everything apart from your feet, hands, and head. They are designed for colder weather and will keep you warmer than a short wetsuit. They still offer flexibility, but you may find more restriction in your arms and legs than if you were wearing a short style.
Wetsuits are designed for use in the sea and not as a beach cover up. Therefore if you wear your wetsuit for prolonged periods of time on a beach without sea use they can cause heat rashes.
Wetsuits should be close fitting to your body without any bagginess, while still being able to move your arms and legs comfortably. However, it shouldn’t be too easy to get on and off, if it is easily done without much effort, it may be too big. Your wetsuit should have a good seal at the neck, sleeve and ankle hem so that water cannot ingress easily. If your wetsuit doesn’t fit to your body properly, cold water won’t get trapped in the neoprene and will cause you to feel the chill a lot quicker. If in doubt, you can take a look at our Mountain Warehouse size guide.
If your wetsuit is too big it can lead to chaffing and friction burns at joints.
You’ll find some of our wetsuits contain features for added comfort and practicality.
A discreet pocket to keep small keys safe while out in the ocean.
Added rubber on the chest area for improved grip.
Adjustable fit around the neck.
An extended zip pull, making it easier to pull up the zip.
Double layer scuff guard panels at the knees, ensure longer lasting wear.
Once you pick a wetsuit, you may decide you also need extra accessories, depending on what activity you’re planning, the time of year and where you’re doing it.
Neoprene boots keep your feet warm in cold waters, we’d recommend them for winter sessions, to keep you comfortable in the water for longer. For summer sessions, you may want to try Aqua shoes, they’re great for protecting the bottom of your feet from sharp objects on the coastline.
Extreme explorers may benefit from gloves in cold waters. You can find neoprene gloves in different thickness depending on how cold you expect your session to get.
If you find cold ears, head and neck being a factor in making you get out of the ocean earlier than you’d like, it may be time to invest in a neoprene hood. A hood covers your entire head and neck, giving you ultimate protection for freezing adventures.
Now you know which wetsuit is the perfect fit for you, it’s time to start shopping!