How Do Wetsuits Work?

How Do Wetsuits Work?

Guide


Whether you’re swimming, surfing or diving, wetsuits are a key piece of equipment that you need when heading into the water. Choosing a wetsuit when you’re going to be in the water for extended periods of time is much better over a standard swimsuit or swimming shorts, and they are available for men, women and kids.


How Do Wetsuits Work?

Whether you're swimming, surfing or diving, wetsuits are a key piece of equipment that you need when heading into the water. Choosing a wetsuit when you're going to be in the water for extended periods of time is much better over a standard swimsuit or swimming shorts, and they are available for men, women and kids. Kids wetsuits are a particularly good option as children can be reluctant to get out of the water to warm up!

Maybe you've been wearing wetsuits for years, or maybe you're new to needing one, but how do wetsuits work?

Wetsuits are made of neoprene and come in varying thicknesses to suit the water temperature. Neoprene is not waterproof, and instead has very tiny holes (also known as cells) in it that allow water in. As a result, a thin layer of water becomes trapped between the neoprene and your skin. Water is a great conductor of heat and is a good insulator too.

The heat from your body is able to warm this thin layer, which acts as an additional layer of insulation in the wetsuit, helping keep your temperature up. The thicker the neoprene, the warmer it will be, as it will have more of the tiny heat-trapping cells. Keep this in mind for your activity and the time of year and pick an appropriate thickness.

Ensuring your wetsuit is the correct fit and shape for you will help keep you warmer and more comfortable – men's wetsuits are bigger in the shoulders and usually taller, while women's wetsuits are often fitted to accommodate curves. Above all, you need to make sure the neoprene is thickest around your core to protect your vital organs but consider your extremities and limbs too, especially if you're going to be in cold temperatures for long periods of time.