Deep Dive: Blue Seventy Helix Wetsuit
A well-done update to a fan favorite is heavy on features (and price). We dig in on what works and what doesn’t.
Small changes and modifications to update one of the fastest suits in the water. Always a favorite for athletes who want to speed through the swim.
Super stretchy material for full range of motion
Reverse zipper creates a smooth fit around the neck and speeds up removal
Ribbed material behind the knees allows for natural leg movement
9 size options for a wide range of bodies
Reverse zipper requires assistance to zip up
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Wetsuit companies and brands will come and go over time. But BlueSeventy—formerly Ironman Wetsuits—has been creating wetsuits for 30-plus years. They have spent the past 15 years focusing on improving the Helix, the flagship product of the company. The suit has been an industry leader and innovator with many key features that have shown up in other brands, including the reverse zipper, thin and flexible materials, and air-injected neoprene. The sixth version of the Helix was launched in 2019 with one goal: “Don’t screw it up!”
SEE ALSO – Spring 2021 Triathlete Buyer’s Guide: Women’s Wetsuits
Blue Seventy Helix Wetsuit Extended Review: The Basics
The main attraction of the Helix has always been to put the wearer in a “natural swimmer’s position” in the water. The newest additions continue to accentuate how we all want to swim with or without a wetsuit: downhill with a natural hip and torso rotation. They added more flotation (conveniently known as LIFT panels) in the hips and legs to support the lower end. The amount of TST blue stretchy material was also increased to allow even more freedom of movement through the whole upper back, shoulders, and arms.
Blue Seventy Helix Wetsuit Extended Review: The Good
The Helix swims with all the benefits of a typical wetsuit, but without the typical feeling of trying to hug you to death. So much of the design is geared towards allowing you the freedom to swim like you don’t have a wetsuit on. We felt that the highlights of this suit were all in the upper body, where most of the swimming action takes place.
The first thing you lose when wearing a full wetsuit is contact with the water. The Helix combats this with a super thin “Aqua Feel” panel along the forearm that allows direct pressure feedback from the water during each stroke. If you ever feel like you’re just spinning your wheels in the water, this contact with the water allows for instant positional adjustments based on the conditions and currents.
The low cut neck and the unique reverse zipper system do wonders for preventing chafing and increasing overall comfort for long events. The typical bulkiness of having a zipper system at the back of the neck is greatly reduced by flipping it upside down. This also allows for a smaller Velcro closure strap. If you’ve ever experienced a Velcro neck rub from sighting the course buoys, the Helix design is notable for solving this common issue. (Ed. – We also cover this extensively in our Gear Guru column on the topic of swim chafing!)
Finally, let’s talk about the Helix’s flexibility and freedom to take unrestricted strokes. The suit’s designers considered that your need for mobility doesn’t end at your shoulder joint. One simple arm rotation involves engaging muscles through the shoulder blades, lats, and pecs. The blue panels of TST expand through this entire area and the result is that the wetsuit feels like it is moving with your muscles while providing a comfortable compression.
Blue Seventy Helix Wetsuit Extended Review: The Alright
It is hard to find something we don’t like with this wetsuit. If your goal is to swim fast, this is the suit for you. The speed does come with a hefty price tag, so if you are looking for an affordable or entry level suit, you might need to keep shopping.
The only negative review this suit gets is about the difficulty of engaging the reverse zipper system if you are suiting up alone. It takes an extreme level of flexibility and determination to zip yourself into the suit before a swim if you don’t have a helpful partner. However, since we don’t promote open-water swimming by yourself, this should rarely be an issue!
SEE ALSO – Spring 2021 Triathlete Buyer’s Guide: Men’s Wetsuits
Blue Seventy Helix Wetsuit Extended Review: Conclusion
If the Helix is in your price range, the delivery truck should be arriving soon. We love swimming in this suit because we can tell that there were swimmers and triathletes involved in the creation (and the previous five versions). Anyone on a tight budget might need to pass on the Helix or look for a hand-me-down, but we can confidently say that BlueSeventy did NOT screw up the update!