If you’re a diver, you probably know the experience of being a rookie diver, tugging and pulling constantly at your new wetsuit, only to find out that it was the right size all along. At the same time, what might feel like a great-fitting suit at first can soon become irritating as you’ll need to resign your gear closet. In the end, a great wetsuit is one that you can depend on.
How Should a Wetsuit Fit?
A good wetsuit should be snug, but not extremely tight around the neck. As important as that part of the fit is, the toso length being correct is most important. People immediately assume that they need to go up a size because a wetsuit feels tight initially. A key metric is if a wetsuit is wrinkling around your body, armpits and joints specifically, it’s too big. This is because a good-fitting suit should feel snug with as little wrinkling around the body’s contours as possible.
The looser a wetsuit is, the more flushing you will get. At the same time, undercutting the wetsuit’s ability to insulate your body. If there is water flushing in and out of the wetsuit, it’s flushing the warm water that your body has already heated and exchanging it for cold water from outside.
So, in order to keep the body insulated and warm, it’s important to maintain a sealed suit that will hold water between your skin and neoprene. That’s what will keep you warm. If there are gaps around your ankles, neck, or wrists, your suit is definitely too big.
The Best Fit
An ideal wetsuit should act as a second skin while allowing a wide range of motion for movement. Newer wetsuits provide more flexibility to move, unlike the suits of past generations where it acted more constricting. Some designs even felt like wearing multiple puffy coats at the same time. Luckily, there are both women’s and men’s wetsuits that allows for optimized motion and warmth retention.
Since no two bodies are the same, regardless of gender, finding a wetsuit that fits right can be a challenge. All bodies come in different shapes and sizes and it’s important to find a brand that has that in mind when they design and produce suits. Size charts can be a great reference to get a rough idea for where you might be at, however, they should be used as a guide, not solid rules for what will fit.
Wetsuit Fit vs Drysuit Fit
Although you may think that a wetsuit and a drysuit will have the same fitting guideline, however, shopping for a women’s or men’s drysuit is very different. Drysuits fit more loosely to allow clothes to be worn underneath. Because wetsuits are skin-tight, they allow for quicker movements, whereas drysuits are baggier and can result in drag when moving underwater.
What Does it Come Down to?
If you are in the market, it’s important to remember that the wetsuit should be tight and flush with the body so it does not permit any drainage. In the end, the best way to find the right suit for your future diving trips is to go to a local diving gear store and try on various options. As with any article of clothing, your personal preference comes down to what works best for you.