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August 28, 2020 3 min read

If you have ever gone deep sea diving, snorkeling, surfing, or any other activity requiring you to spend a prolonged amount of time in the water, then you have probably worn a wetsuit, an insulated suit made of the rubber neoprene that serves to trap body heat and keep those spending long periods of time in water from catching hypothermia. Even if you have never participated in any of these activities, you have probably seen a wetsuit on television, ads, or the internet. However, did you know though that the color of your wetsuit actually impacts its performance as well?

 

Why Is Wetsuit Color Important?

Wetsuit color may at first glance seem to not factor in beyond personal preference and taste. Brand, material, and design seem a lot more important when making a choice between wetsuits. However, wetsuit color is important, and here's why: the color of your wetsuit serves multiple functions, from actually helping you keep warmer to keeping you from becoming food for hungry ocean predators. Cost and effectiveness are both taken into account by wetsuit producers when they choose color. Wetsuit definitely matters, for a lot of reasons.

 

What Color Wetsuit Is the Best?

So exactly which color wetsuit is the best? Well, you have probably noticed something the wetsuits you have seen have in common: most of them are black. Black is the most prevalent wetsuit color. Why exactly is black the most common wetsuit color though? Wetsuits are normally black for various reasons. One reason has to do with the function of the wetsuit, keeping you warm. Black is known to draw in and absorb radiation from the sun better than any other color. Since the point of the wetsuit is to keep your body at a nice, regulated temperature and keep it from losing too much heat, it actually helps the wetsuit to be black. The increased heat absorption and retention helps keep your body warm.

 

Black Wetsuits

 

Another reason black is highly favored by wetsuit producers is economics. Black wetsuits are, quite simply, more cost-effective. Rubber begins as a white substance that turns black when stabilized by carbon black (soot). In other words, through the stabilization process, the rubber the wetsuits are made of becomes black as a side effect, so there is no need to dye the neoprene to obtain a black wetsuit. A colored wetsuit, say in red or blue, would have to be dyed, which would raise production costs. It is therefore cheaper to keep the wetsuits black.

A carbon black filler is also commonly used in neoprene wetsuits in order to increase toughness. Black wetsuits are also sturdier and more durable as they possess natural protection from UV radiation damage. Finally, black wetsuits are more common than wetsuits in other colors because the color black does not attract sea life as much as other, brighter colors. In the water, black blends in better than, say, bright neon yellow. Bright colors might or might not bring you to the usually unwanted attention of sharp-toothed sea critters like sharks who might decide to take a bite out of you.

 

How Do You Choose Wetsuit Color in Different Situations?

So is there ever a situation in which a color besides black is desired, and how should you choose this color? While black is the color to go for in most situations, one exception is in the professional sports arena. Studies have actually shown that the color of your wetsuit can psychologically influence you and even affect your performance. This is due to how color affects your emotional state, confidence level, and perception of self. The theory is that the better your self-perception is, the better you perform. The same studies have found that while black enhances aggressiveness in athletes, red is actually the best color for professional athletes. Red can actually give athletes a mood and performance boost, though of course the effectiveness of this is very person dependent.

 

So, in conclusion, the color of your wetsuit does matter. Black is the color for most situations, but colors like red trump black in areas like professional sports. So keep this in mind the next time you are buying a wetsuit.

 

Liz H.
Liz H.


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