Are Wetsuits Waterproof?

Are Wetsuits Waterproof?

Guide


Although they do protect the body from the effects of water, wetsuits are not, in fact, waterproof.
‍Instead they are designed to keep the wearer warm if they are going to be exposed to cold water for long periods of time. For example, if they are participating in water-based activities such as swimming, surfing or scuba diving.


Are Wetsuits Waterproof?

Although they do protect the body from the effects of water, wetsuits are not, in fact, waterproof. 

Instead they are designed to keep the wearer warm if they are going to be exposed to cold water for long periods of time. For example, if they are participating in water-based activities such as swimming, surfing or scuba diving.

Wetsuits are made up of several layers of fabric, which all work in harmony to help the wearer maintain their core body temperature. Rather than repelling water, the wetsuit traps a thin layer of water between the person's skin and the inside layer of the suit, which is usually made of a material like nylon. The outer layers of the wetsuit, which are made from a variety of different materials such as metal oxide and neoprene, then provide the insulation to keep the trapped layer of water warm.

The number of layers in a wetsuit, and the thickness of those layers, will vary greatly, depending on how much protection you need. If you're surfing or swimming in warmer temperatures (between 18° and 20°C), a thin, shorty wetsuit would be adequate. But if you are diving in places where the water can reach very low temperatures, you will probably need a suit that's at least 5mm thick in order to stay warm. Furthermore, wetsuits are designed with many different seams, for example a glue blind stitch suit is as close to waterproof as you can get.

However, it's important to remember that a wetsuit will only protect your body from the effects of cold water if it is properly fitted. If there is excess material in places, or if the cuffs or neck are too loose, it's going to let too much water in and adversely affect the wetsuit's insulating properties. When purchasing a wetsuit, always measure carefully and bear in mind that there are different size guides available for men's wetsuits, women's wetsuits and kids' wetsuits.