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Different Types of Wetsuits Explained

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Different Types of Wetsuits Explained

Wetsuits are primarily used for surfing and diving in non-tropical nations. The majority of the divers use wetsuits to keep them warm. It accommodates a thin water layer between the neoprene and skin. A better-fit suit gives better warmth. There are several kinds of wetsuits that vary in style, thickness, sport, and material. Let's take a look at different types of wetsuits to get an idea of which one is suitable for me.



Wetsuits Categorized by Style

1. Shorty Wetsuits (Short Sleeve Short Leg)

The shorty wetsuit covers the upper parts of the legs, arms, and body. This is a short suit for divers. It has short sleeves, legs, and arms. Since it is short-sleeved, you compromise on exposure protection on your legs and forearms. It is best not to bump into stinging hydroids or corals underwater. The majority of shorties are 2mm in thickness. It is easy to take off and simple to put it on. You get extra warmth in the core region without which you can catch chills.


2. Springsuits (Long Sleeve Short Leg, or Long Sleeve Bikini Style)

Spring suits cover your upper body with long sleeve arms and short legs. It is amongst the primary of the two wetty suit styles. The other is designed for girls with long sleeve and bikini bottoms to maintain your torso warm. However, it offers flexibility at the lower part of your body like your knees.


3. Fullsuits (Long Sleeve Long Leg, One Piece)

Full wetsuit covers legs, arms, and body to ankles, wrists, and head with integrated hood. There are two types in this category of the wetsuit, hooded and non-hooded. They provide an optimum shield to the body which is essential when surfing and diving in cold  ranges. Full suit wetsuit provides full coverage to your body-arms, torso, and legs. This is amongst the well-known wetsuit models. It is usually donned in cool and cold water environments. They are available in 1.5-5mm thickness ranges.


4. Two Pieces (Long Sleeve Long Leg, Two Pieces, Usually Hooded)

A 2-piece comprises of two neoprene pieces- long sleeved top and long johns pants. These suits have an external and internal lining for good warmth and performance. The neoprene thickness is double in the torso region. It adds to warmth and legs and arms remain flexible in motion. The hooded type provides optimum neoprene shielding from cold water during water surfing. Since 40 percent-45 percent of the body heat gets released from the head, this full suit will keep your ears and brain warm. They shield your body from extreme and most extreme water and air temperatures.  



5. Wetsuit Tops

Wetsuit Vests (Sleeveless Wetsuit Tops)

This suit acts like a vest with neoprene coverage. This coverage offers protection from the chilling wind. This vest is perfect to keep you comfortable surfing during summertime. This vest is generally 3 mm or 2 mm thick. It shows off your muscles and tattoos. This suit doesn't impede paddling.


Wetsuit Jackets (Long Sleeve Wetsuit Tops with Front Zipper)

This jacket has full arm length and provides extra warmth for the upper body half. It shields you against the chilly and other water elements. It comes with a front zipper for easy wear. These jackets are made from 1mm to 5mm thick material. The front is closed with a front zip of full length. This jacket keeps the arms warm.


Wetsuit Shirts (Long Sleeve Wetsuit Tops without Zipper)

These neoprene shirts are worn like a full shirt. They come in full arm length. They give comfort, protection, and warmth. They do not have a zipper and so they are pulled over shirts. They are protected and keeps the torso warm. They come in varied thicknesses.


6. Wetsuit Bottoms

Wetsuit Shorts (Short Leg Wetsuit Bottoms)


These neoprene shorts are of a length of a regular short. They protect your above knee portion from waist length. They are good for summertime.


Wetsuit Pants (Long Leg Wetsuit Bottoms)

These neoprene pants are full-length pants. They are great for scuba diving thereby keeping you warm in relatively cold waters. They come in varied thicknesses.


7. Farmer John/Jane Wetsuits

There are two models of wetsuits - the Long John and the Short John. These are wetsuit models that do not provide arms and legs coverages based on long or short suits selected. They provide better paddling. The upper portion of the body is well shielded.


Long John/Jane (Short Leg Sleeveless) - This is a rare model. It is a neoprene make sleeveless model. It exposes your arms as they are not covered and you enjoy the feel of water over your body. It permits better paddling.


Short John/Jane (Long Leg Sleeveless) - This type of Farmer John suit is the most primary wetsuit model. It primarily shields your upper portion of the body. It is usually available in 2mm thickness models.


8. Short Arm Steamer Wetsuits (Short Sleeve, Long Leg)

This suit is a well-known suit with no arm and leg coverage. It is ideal in warmer waters. This steamer is for only those surfers who cannot dive/surf without any protection from neoprene. This is ideal for warm-water surfing. It is for individuals who want to feel the water against their arms and legs. The suit comes with neoprene protection.



  1. 1mm to 2mm suit-This is a spring suit that is of 1 or 2 mm in neoprene thickness. It is a thin wetsuit ideal for summertime. It comes as a thin layer with flatlock stitching. It is ideally suitable for waters above 24 degrees Celsius.


  1. The 3 mm suit-The majority of the divers consider this wetsuit to be a warm water suit. When you are taking a vacation and diving multiple times in a day, the core temperature of the body drops. You feel colder on consecutive water dives than the first time. This wetsuit is best for warm water diving above 20 degrees Celsius. A 3mm suit is a perfect fit for diving in tropical or Caribbean waters. It is termed a "warm water" wetsuit.


  1. The 5mm suit-The neoprene wetsuit is 5mm in thickness which is often used by divers for winter diving. In the transitory time, divers feel 7mm is too warm while 3mm is too cold. This is when a 5mm wetsuit comes in as an ideal wetsuit for divers. It is best for transitory and in between water temperature diving. The wetsuit is ideal for the 15˚ C  to 20˚ C temperature range. It makes the best wetsuit for diving in cool and cold waters.


  1. The 7mm wetsuit-This is the possible normal thickest wetsuit. It serves best in water diving from around 10˚ C to 15˚ C. It is a 7mm wetsuit made of neoprene material. You could add gloves, hood, and booties to keep you warm and nice. Some are lined with closed cell neoprene material which makes it a little extra stretchy. Its stretchiness makes it easier to put on.



  1. Back Zip Wetsuits- These wetsuits have zips on the front side. They provide a larger zip as compared to a chest/front zip. Here you will need only help to zip up unlike with the front zip where you will need assistance getting into it. They provide more space around the shoulder giving you more freedom and enjoyment in your water activity.


  1. Front Zipper Wetsuits (including Chest Zip Wetsuits)- With front zippers, flushing is not often as there are lesser gaps within the wetsuit. A front zip is a single neoprene section while a back zip splits into 2 sections. This adds to maneuverability when in water.


  1. No Zip Wetsuits (Usually two pieces including a hooded beavertail jacket and a pair of pants)- These have no zippers and offer the optimum stretch in the wetsuit. There is no restriction due to an inflexible zip. They provide no-flush advantages and no restricting stretch during general motion and paddling. It makes it ideal for freediving, spearfishing and scuba diving.


  1. Black- Black colored wetsuits offer numerous advantages like lasting longer, cheaper to make, UV resistant, putting you out of cold, and the most common color to be picked. Black suit lasts a long time as neoprene is added with carbon black. It keeps you warmer since carbon black retains sunlight adding warmth to the body when in cold water.


  1. Blue- Blue and other shades of blue like light blue or navy blue come in other color combinations. It looks stylish and fresh in the water. It gives a natural blend to the environment when diving.


  1. Camo- They come in hooded and non-hooded suits. They are available in various patterns. They are ideal for scuba, spearfishing, free diving and surfing.


  1. Others- Other colors include green, pink, yellow, orange, etc. Some of suits are even designed with multiple colors to give you a fresh look.



There are different types of wetsuits with a specific purpose. While most of them are made of neoprene, there are others as well like Lycra dive skin suits. Neoprene made wetsuits keep your body warm by forming a water layer that heats up with your body heat. This layer keeps you warm during your dive. Wetsuits aid in surviving and spending time in cold and warm water temperatures. They are comfortable and flexible for diving or surfing.

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