Man wearing a wetsuit in the water. It should show how a wetsuit works.

Wetsuit buying guide – how to buy a wetsuit effortless

Buying any wetsuit is easy, however buying the best wetsuit possible can be quite a challenge. We would like to show you that it can be actually easy buying your ideal wetsuit. Just read our wetsuit buying guide and find out how to choose the best wetsuit for you. You will get all information you need about quality, features, seams, zippers and more. Further check out our Wetsuit Size Finder. You will get your perfect wetsuit size in no time for all brands and water sports!

For newcomers: rent or buy a wetsuit?

This first question cannot, of course, be answered in general terms. However, the decisive factor is how often you want to use your wetsuit. Is it just the one week vacation? Can you use it more than once or even at your homespot?

Rental wetsuits easily cost 15 Dollar per day. Therefore, your own wetsuit can quickly pay for itself. Good models, however, are available for around 200 Dollar. Apart from that, rental wetsuits are often already damaged or no longer available in the necessary size. Thus the warming effect is gone and you get unnecessarily annoyed in your well-deserved vacation. Then you reach deep into your pocket and quickly buy the next best model. Later, you get angry about the money that’s been thrown out. Unfortunately you hear these stories far too often and that is not good for your wallet, holiday and the environment.

Furthermore, the hygienic aspect of rental wetsuits should not be underestimated. But we don’t want to go into that in detail now 😉

A wetsuit of your own is therefore recommended in most cases. However, this does not apply if it is a one-off matter of 1-2 weeks. For a few holidays, however, there is always the option of choosing an inexpensive model that at least fits well and is hygienic.

What to look for when buying a wetsuit

The most important of all is the size and thickness of a wetsuit. For this reason we wrote separate guides to these topics tailored to your water sport.

However there are other important characteristics, particularly in terms of quality and type of a wetsuit. Depending on water sport, preferences and water temperature, it is therefore worth keeping an eye first on the seams and the zipper.

The most important information about wetsuit seams and seals

There are different types of seam and sealing, which in turn have different advantages and disadvantages.

Note: The higher the quality of a wetsuit, the fewer seams are processed for maximum flexibility.

Here is an overview of the common seams for you:

Flatlock

With this technique the parts are sewn overlapping. This offers a good flexibility, but also a higher permeability for air and water. A good body climate is achieved in warmer climates, but this form is not optimal for colder waters.

Glued and blind stitched (GBS)

Here the parts of the wetsuit are first glued and then sewn from the inside without penetrating the outside. Therefore, this seam has a low water permeability and is therefore advantageous in colder waters.

Taped

Here elastic tapes are bonded to the inner seam to increase the air and water impermeability and resistance of the seam. At the same time the comfort and freedom of movement is improved.

Sealed

The sealing of the seam leads to maximum water and air resistance and is therefore very suitable for winter wetsuits. To achieve this, sealing agents in liquid form are used.

The most important information about wetsuit zippers

Also the zipper is an important quality feature and therefore of great importance for your individual wetsuit purchase decision.

Note: The shorter the zipper, the greater the flexibility and difficulty of putting on the wetsuit.

There are 3 different Zip variants for wetsuits and No zip/Zip free models.

Front zip

The zipper is in front and with this variant it is therefore easiest to put on the wetsuit. This system is often used for Shorties or Springsuits and is therefore more the choice for summer or warm waters.

Back Zip

The zipper is on the back of the wetsuit. An independent dressing is made possible by a leash at the zipper. The rather long zipper leads to a higher air and water permeability and is therefore more recommended for warmer climates. This also reduces the flexibility somewhat. The advantage, however, is that the wetsuit can be put on more easily. In addition, this system is particularly suitable for surfers, as they do not have to lie on the zipper unlike the front zip. For longer surf sessions the Back Zip is recommended, because otherwise it can become quite uncomfortable.

Chest Zip

The zipper runs along the chest and is therefore smaller than the front and back zipper. Therefore this system offers more flexibility and freedom of movement. This means that less water and air gets into the wetsuit. This keeps it warmer and makes more sense for thicker wetsuits for colder temperatures. The dressing is therefore more complex than with the other Zip variants.

No Zip/Zip free

This is the most comfortable and warmest variant and therefore highly recommended for frequent, extended sessions in the water. But getting dressed can take some nerve away from you. But here too, of course, practice creates masters!

Buying a high quality wetsuit is worth it

The quality differences of wetsuits are big. From the inexpensive beginner model for 100 Dollar up to the upper class in the range of 600 Dollar everything is represented. But you can already buy a premium wetsuit for 200 – 250 Dollar. The decisive arguments for a high-quality model are fun and durability. In a high-quality wetsuit you simply have more fun in the water and that’s what matters in the end. In addition, the durability is often much higher. This puts the price difference into perspective over time. After a few sessions in the water, you can often see clear signs of wear on an inexpensive beginners model. The seams loosen or tear and the neoprene quickly becomes brittle.

Therefore, when buying a wetsuit, pay attention to the following quality features:

Flexibility of the material and processing

There is neoprene, which is still very flexible despite a certain thickness. This speaks for high-quality material and good workmanship. High flexibility of neoprene is therefore often accompanied by light material and few seams. The lighter and more elastic the neoprene, the slower you get tired and you can indulge in your passion much longer.

Fast-drying neoprene

Thank god! some have been saying since fast-drying neoprene came out. It’s like torture sometimes when you have to get into your wet and cold wetsuit. Some manufacturers such as XCEL have therefore developed “quick-dry” systems. If you are more sensitive to cold or simply don’t feel like cold shocks, you can take a look around in this segment. For the additional feature you have to dig a little deeper into your pocket.

Inner lining

There are different types of inner linings. Wetsuits with inner lining can be worn in even colder waters and are also recommended for people with a higher sensitivity to cold.

Sustainability

Fortunately, this topic is also becoming more and more important in the field of water sports. Meanwhile, there are wetsuits that are largely made of neoprene-free material (Yulex). The flexibility suffers just a little. Neoprene is then replaced with sustainably cultivated natural rubber. The polyester used for the inner lining is mainly made of recycled material.

One company has made this a particular priority: Patagonia. The outdoor hardware manufacturer pays attention to the highest environmental compatibility. The lifelong guarantee and the good repair concept are also special. If the environment and high quality are important to you, you are in good hands there.

CHECKLIST buy a wetsuit

  • Which body dimensions and which physique do you have?
  • What is the water temperature and weather like at your destination?
  • How long would you like or can you stay in or on the water?
  • What kind of water sports do you practice?
  • What’s your sensitivity to cold?
  • How deep do you want to reach into your pocket, i.e. which quality level should it be?
  • What colours and designs do you like?
  • Is sustainable production important to you?