You are here: Home » Blog » Wetsuits » Differences Between Swimsuits and Wetsuits

Differences Between Swimsuits and Wetsuits

Views: 0     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2021-11-16      Origin: Site

Differences Between Swimsuits and Wetsuits

Diving is undeniably among the most exciting sport and, in recent times, a popularly cool hobby. This has significantly transformed the swimwear industry, with a wide range of products hitting the market, all designed to ease your experience. Swimsuits and wetsuits, in particular, are among the trendiest swimwear, with many celebrities even launching cloth line brands for the same. But even with their popularity, a large majority doesn't know the difference between this swimwear.

While there are several factors that differentiate these two products, the main difference is that unlike swimsuits, wetsuits offer an extra layer of protection and warmth for extreme cold waters, and slightly help your swimming experience smoother.

If you're just getting into swimming and diving or simply want to learn more about suitable swimsuits, this post is for you. Here, you will learn about the differences between swimsuits and wet suits and how they work. But first, let's take a look at each swimsuit.

What are ‘Swimsuits’?

‘Swim suits’ are simply the regular swimwear we wear when going out for simple swimming activities. Ideally, numerous water purists claim that the focus must be on hard work and technique instead of swimwear when engaging in swimming.

Ideally, wetsuits afford swimmers an artificial edge; therefore, not wearing one offers you a more level field. Also, they restrict movement. Conversely, swimsuit lovers enjoy the freedom of moving unconstrained through the waters.

What about the chilly waters and weather? Well, while wetsuits afford an extra layer of protection against cold, the use of swimsuits mandates that you acclimatize correctly and adapt to the cold. A look at various distance swim shows such as the Channel Swim, and you note that they forbid wearing wetsuits. What's more, many winter swimming activities and competitions ban the use of neoprene, proof that our bodies can cope even with shallow temperatures.

What are Wetsuits?

Dive & Sail 3mm Mens Womens Full Body Shark Skin Wetsuit

Dive & Sail 3mm Mens Womens Full Body Shark Skin Wetsuit

Wetsuits are swimwear designed to afford a sleeker profile in the waters, allowing you to swim more smoothly. It is made of neoprene material and features different thickness classifications on the legs and torso, making you more streamlined. Also, wetsuits offer a distinct coating that increases swimming speed and minimizes friction.

But are wetsuits better than swimsuits? Well, if you take the bantering talk at most open water venues, you may think so. But, in truth, it all depends on the type of activity you want to engage in.  However, wetsuits offer some unique benefits and disadvantages too.

First, depending on the distance and time you swim, swimmers generally lose form due to fatigue. Wetsuits, though, are an ideal option to negate this. Furthermore, wetsuits enable smooth swimming without kicking, an excellent benefit, especially if you're in a triathlon competition and want to reserve your energy for cycling and running.

Even so, many swimmers note that wetsuits make them more buoyant, meaning that sometimes it's difficult to swim breaststroke while wearing wetsuits. This is because while swimming, your legs often leave the waters, and this added buoyancy subsequently beds the spine, particularly so if you have your insulation and buoyancy from body fat- a cushion many outdoor swimmers warmly identify; as‘bioprene.’

What Are the Differences Between Wetsuits and Swimsuits?

Swimsuits are the ideal wear for indoor swimming since they offer chlorine resistance. Wetsuits, on the other hand, offer maximum UPF 50+ sun protection and complete body coverage.

Type of Activity (Open water events):

Different forms of open water activities require different types of swimwear-although it is all dependent on preference.

Wetsuits are expensive and are a worthwhile investment since they provide warmth and buoyancy. Ultimately though, personal preference dictates your choice.

Weather conditions in your locality constitute a significant factor when determining the ideal swimwear for you. For instance, FINA proceedings mandate for a compulsory wearing of wetsuits in waters temperatures below 18°C. Similarly, other swimming events will have different requirements solely dependent on the area's climatic conditions. Such measures are taken to not expose outdoor swimmers to extreme cold, which may be detrimental to their health.

The ideal wetsuit for swimming is modeled to trap a considerable amount of water between the skin and your neoprene wetsuit. Nevertheless, this mechanism provides an insulation layer that renders warmth to your body.

Lack of such an insulation design hinders the warming of blood throughout your body since it blocks blood vessels found in the skin-blockage of blood vessels and may lead to fatigue and contraction of muscles. Exposing yourself to frigid water may also lead to mental disorientation and impaired synchronization.

Regardless, professional swimmers are opposed to wetsuits since they view open-water swimming as an activity that requires exposed bodies.


Utilizing a wetsuit will enhance your body's heat retention capacity due to the insulation mechanism they hold. When the neoprene wetsuit integrates water, your body, in turn, warms it up, leaving you with a constant warm feel. As such, you will not be exposed to somewhat unfriendly temperatures in open water.

You'll find that wetsuits are designed in different levels of thickness, with each size meant for a particular purpose. Thicker wetsuits are recommended for swimmers residing in areas that experience cold climatic conditions. On the other hand, swimmers living in warm areas may go for thin wetsuits.

For water temperatures ranging between 65-78 degrees, wetsuits perform their warming capacities efficiently. Water temperatures below this range are ideal for utilizing wetsuits through your hands, feet, and head will not be layered. Other areas experiencing water temperatures above 78 degrees will not require a wetsuit to avoid excessive heating.

Buoyancy – Body Position

Wetsuits provide a more streamlined shape and positioning to your body hence rendering your swimming activities effortless. In addition, since open waters tend to cause panic to inexperienced swimmers, wetsuits tend to create a sense of safety.

  • Wetsuit – Even the best of the best swimming gurus tend to face difficulties when it comes to open waters. A significant cause of this is the ‘wetsuits’ tendency to extend over-buoyancy to the swimmer leaving their chest overly above water, tilting their backs, which ultimately causes strain while swimming. Over-buoyancy resulted in the wetsuit forces the swimmers to assert their chests in the water to minimize the tension and regulate the buoyancy of the wetsuit.

  • Swimsuit – Be sure to maintain a body posture behind your head that is streamlined. If you also experience strain on your hips or when kicking, relax your muscles and position your hips higher in the water. Similarly, make sure your kicks are small and lower your body into the water while swimming.

Final Word

In the end, whether you wear a wetsuit or swimsuit, your choice is all down to preference. If there's an event coming up, you should train in whatever swimwear you want to wear during the event.

If you decide to wear swimsuits, ensure you acclimatize properly. Gradually add up on time you spend swimming (you can start with around a minute per degree of temperature), stay close to the water shores, wear silicone swim hats, and don't go swimming alone. Conversely, if you go for the wetsuit option, ensure it is a proper fit and that your wetsuit fits the purpose properly.

But above all, avoid the bantering talk. Wetsuits or swimsuits, there's no precisely wrong or right way to enjoy open water swimming-it's all done to personal preference!

An international online store selling outdoor products, such as wetsuits, life jackets, swimwear, etc.



Sign up to our email offers and get a 5% off coupon as a NEW subscriber!
2016-2024 © Buy4Outdoors. All Rights Reserved.