If you’re new to wearing a wetsuit, you’ll be pleasantly surprised—the thick layer of neoprene acts as a full-body buoy in the water. There is no shortage of wetsuit options, with manufacturers now designing and marketing to different levels of swimmers as well as varying body types and comfort preferences.
Fit is by far the most important aspect of choosing a wetsuit. Don’t be shy about trying on multiple suits, taking advantage of demo swims, and studying the size charts and customer reviews. The right suit is not the most expensive one you can afford—even a $1,000 wetsuit will not help you swim faster if it makes you feel uncomfortable and restricted. Although it’s one of the pricier triathlon gear purchases you’ll make, with proper care, the right suit can last multiple race seasons.
Put on your wetsuit in 3 steps
Start by sliding on the legs and pulling the crotch of the suit as high as possible. Many people use a plastic bag on their feet and hands to make the “sliding” part smoother.
Put on the sleeves and draw the excess material up to your shoulders so you have full range of movement.
Finally, do not over-tighten when cinching the rear neck strap. What feels comfortable on dry land is very different from what feels comfortable while you are breathing hard in the middle of a long swim.
How should it fit?
The perfect suit will be snug but not constricting. A suit that is too small will pull down on your shoulders, while one that is too big will hang loose between your legs.
A small amount of water should get inside your suit while you swim; it is necessary for the suit to do its job. The wetsuit is designed to hold a small layer of water against your skin. Your body warms up this water and the suit keeps it from escaping. A suit that is too big will let water flow in and out, preventing you from staying warm in cold swims.