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The Best Women’s Wetsuits for Aquatic Sports

young woman in a wetsuit carrying her surfboard on the beach
Wonderful Nature/Shutterstock.com

As their name implies, wetsuits are full-body or mostly full-body garments meant to be worn while immersed in water for long stretches of time. They can be worn for any sport or activity that takes place in or on the water. Whether it’s for swimming, a triathlon, scuba diving, surfing, windsurfing, canoeing, kayaking, snorkeling, or another aquatic activity, wetsuits are the ideal way to retain body heat while in or around the water, which prevents the wearer’s body temperature from dropping too low. The colder the water, the more crucial it is that you wear a wetsuit before taking part in any of these activities in order to stave off hypothermia. Wetsuits are made from a type of rubber called neoprene that, coupled with the tightness of the wetsuit, is purposefully designed for this task. Some wetsuits may also provide additional protection from UV rays or common ocean irritants like jellyfish, coral, or rough rocks. If you’re in the market for a women’s wetsuit, here are a few we recommend.

What to Consider in a Woman’s Wetsuit

Here are are few things to think about before buying a wetsuit:

  • Size: It is very important that a wetsuit have as tight a fit as possible, or it won’t work properly. The neoprene rubber keeps a thin layer of water in place between the wetsuit and the wearer’s skin. Their body heat will warm this layer of trapped water, which helps keep them warm in turn; basically, it turns this thin coating of water into an insulator. If the wetsuit isn’t tight enough, too much water will seep in between their skin and the wetsuit, which will ruin its insulating properties. Therefore, when you’re buying a wetsuit, be sure to check the size and accompanying sizing chart (if there is one) extremely carefully to ensure you’re purchasing the correct size.
  • Type: Most wetsuits are full-body suits that will cover you from wrist to ankle. However, there is a type of wetsuit known as a “shorty” or “spring suit” that only provides partial coverage. They may have shorter sleeves, shorter legs, or both, or even be completely armless or legless. This means that the insulation provided by a short suit is focused on the core and torso. They are easier to put on or take off than normal wetsuits. Keep in mind that shorties are only meant to be worn in warm water, around 68 degrees Fahrenheit for surface sports like surfing and 75 degrees Fahrenheit or higher for immersive activities like scuba diving. If the water is any colder, a full wetsuit should be worn. Also, keep in mind that a spring suit will be thinner and won’t provide as much coverage and protection as a full wetsuit. There are also wetsuits that are just tops or just pants.
  • Thickness: Not all wetsuits are created equal. Some will have thicker or thinner neoprene rubber than others. This thickness is measured in millimeters. The standard range is usually between half a millimeter as the thinnest possible wetsuit, while 6 millimeters is the thickest. The colder the water is, the thicker you’ll want your wetsuit to be. Thicker wetsuits will also generally be sealed and may even be sealed and taped; these types of wetsuits are highly recommended if you’re going into water that is below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Best Overall: Seaskin Store Women’s Full Body Wetsuit

front and back view of a black wetsuit with bright turquoise accents

Here’s a layered full-body wetsuit that offers plenty of protection as well as insulation. Besides the classic waterproof, heat-trapping neoprene, this wetsuit also has an outer layer of imported nylon that is durable and highly elastic. In addition, this wet suit offers UV protection and shields against common ocean irritants like jellyfish and sea lice. Its zipper closes up the front with a heavy-duty YKK zipper, with flatlock stitched seams to increase the suit’s durability and comfort. This particular model is three millimeters thick and offers excellent sizing options, ranging from XS to 4XL. For proper care and maintenance, handwash this wetsuit in cold water with a mild detergent.

Best Overall

Most Sizing Options: Hevto Neoprene Women’s Wetsuit for Water Sports

front and back view of a black and turquoise blue wetsuit

Choosing the correct sized wetsuit is arguably the most important part of selecting the right one. With 29 different sizes available, this wetsuit goes beyond offering the standard small, medium, etc. sizing, so you’re all but guaranteed to find one that fits you perfectly. The provided sizing chart offers an in-depth guide, matching the provided sizes with the corresponding height and weight as well as chest and waist measurements to help you figure out which one will fit you best. There are also several tall options available. Regardless of size, this wetsuit is made of 3-millimeter thick neoprene and elastic nylon that soft and gentle against even sensitive skin types. It’s also environmentally friendly, with neat flatlock stitching that is as small and delicate for a more streamlined look and feel. This wetsuit is ideal for water temperatures between 50 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.

Best Sizing Options

Hevto Wetsuits Women Plus Size 3mm Neoprene Full Scuba Diving Suits Surfing Swimming Long Sleeve Keep Warm Back Zip for Water Sports (P10-Blue, XS2)

With 29 hyper-specific sizes to choose from, this environmentally-friendly wetsuit offers enough sizes to fit all body types.

Best for Warmer Water: REALON Women’s Wetsuit

women modeling a shortie wetsuit with black bottoms and a gray and turquoise top

If you know you’re going to be swimming, surfing, snorkeling, etc. in warm, tropical waters and thus want to buy a “shorty” instead of a full wetsuit, this model is an ideal choice. Short in the sleeves and legs, the premium neoprene material was made to be stretchy and comfortable enough to wear all day. The flatlock stitching is strong and durable, enhancing the wetsuit’s comfort and athletic feel. It zips up the back with a long leash for easier access and pull and has anti-abrasive kneepads, which are ideal for activities like surfing and paddleboarding. Sizing starts at XS and runs up to XXL. This suit is available in several different colors, though it’s worth noting that the suit’s thickness does vary depending on which color you select, so be sure to double-check to make sure you’ve picked the thickness you want before you buy.

Best Color Options: GoldFin Women’s Long Sleeve Wetsuit

woman modeling a wetsuit with black bottoms and a blue and turquoise and gray top

Wetsuits don’t have to come only in plain black or navy, as this model proves. You have the choice between six different colors, either black with bright pink or aqua lines or multicolored options in various shades of blue and pink. Made of neoprene blended with a touch of nylon, this wetsuit is buoyant and light for better mobility and so that you won’t feel weighed down in the water. The front zipper closure jacket is designed to dry as quickly as possible and remain flexible even in a wide range of temperatures, while the collar, cuffs, and hem have a rubber seal interior to prevent water from seeping inside. The sturdy flatlock stitching keeps the wetsuit from chafing against your skin even with the tight fit. In addition to keeping you warm and insulated, this wetsuit offers protection against harsh chlorine and pool chemicals, UV rays, jellyfish stings, and other common irritants in various types of water. Sizes run between XS and 5XL.

Best Color Options

GoldFin Womens Wetsuit Top, 2mm Neoprene Wetsuit Jacket Ladies Long Sleeve for Water Aerobics Diving Surfing Kayaking (Update Black/Stripes, S)

A colorful full-body wetsuit that offers great protection as well as lightweight buoyancy for better mobility.

Meghan Herlihy Meghan Herlihy
Meghan Herlihy is a full-time writer for LifeSavvy and How-To Geek and has written across a wide variety of topics, genres, and formats, including radio talk shows, local sports journalism, and creative original fiction. She received her bachelor's degree in communications from Ithaca College and a master's in writing from Johns Hopkins University. When she's not writing, you're most likely to find her reading a book, petting every dog within eyesight, and indulging in her love of travel. Read Full Bio »
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