As more and more people are starting to dip their toes back in the (cold!) water, I’ve recently been asked what types of wetsuits people should buy.
A few friends of mine who started open water swimming two years ago asked this question as well, they weren’t sure if they were going to enjoy open water swimming so decided to go to a supermarket that had wetsuits on for sale at a relatively low cost of around £30 or so. In my opinion, this as a starter was a great idea as if they were to go out and spend £100+ on a wetsuit and then not to enjoy the sport would have been a waste of money.
The main difference between the wetsuits from the supermarket and a specialist swim shop or website is the type of neoprene used and how thick it is. The wetsuits in the supermarket weren’t specifically aimed at open water swimming, but other water sports instead – body-boarding, surfing etc. There seemed to be a distinct difference in the freedom of movement around the armpit/chest area, as my friend had mentioned that it felt tight and restricted his movements a little bit.
When discussing whether they were going to continue with open water swimming, we discussed the option of getting a specific swim wetsuit, one of my friends asked “Well is it going to make that much of a difference” so the following week, we discussed him trying one of my old swim wetsuits on to see if he could feel any difference.
“This is so different, I cant believe it!” was the instant response to trying on a swim wetsuit, he stated that he felt more buoyant, free to move his shoulders and more natural in the water.
When trying wetsuits on, I would advise that if possible, try before you buy! There are specific triathlon shops that have wetsuits available for sale and to try on, so depending on the brand you may find the right size for you! There are marginal differences between sizes with different brands that are on the market so be careful if you decide to get a different brand that it fits just as well as your old one!
When fitting a wetsuit, once it’s on correctly on it should fit almost like a second skin. The wetsuit should be a snug fit around the groin, armpits and not leave any of the wetsuit loose – this is to avoid any chaffing or flooding of the wetsuit which will upset the buoyancy of the wetsuit.
Hope this gives you a brief insight into wetsuit choices! I might do a video or post images on how to best fit a wetsuit in the future!
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