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The Best Wetsuits for Open Water Swimming
Open water swimming has become increasingly popular, not only due to the fantastic health benefits cold water activities have, but also because it is such an accessible and sociable pastime, with no limit to age or experience!
The ease of it also derives from the variety of swimming apparel options, you can go swimming in just a costume or be covered in neoprene from head to toe – up to you!
What is the difference between a swimming and surfing wetsuit?
If you really want to maximize your time in the water all-year round, then getting the best wetsuit with swimming in mind is key. Wetsuits can be suited to paddleboarders, windsurfers, surfers and swimmers; all with different qualities to improve your performance in each sport.
Wetsuits designed for swimmers and triathletes will have a ‘smooth skin’ (or Super Composite Skin) over the whole suit, compared to surf suits which have standard neoprene over most of the body. This ‘smooth skin’ allows the swimmer to become streamlined through the water and to not overheat as they are more breathable. Swimming suits are also designed to be more flexible in the areas where you want stretch and mobility; under the arms, elbows and knees. They also provide buoyancy in the right sections for when you are swimming on your front, compared to a surfing wetsuit which is buoyant all over from the thickness.
How should a swimming wetsuit fit?
Nonetheless, the fit of a swimming suit is the same as any other, it needs to be tight and like a ‘second skin’. Wearing something that is not the right fit will result in water entering the suit cooling your core body temperature down. This is because the neoprene in all wetsuits holds a thin layer of water between the material and your skin, and your body temperature will heat that layer and provide a sensation of feeling warm in the water.
What are the top 3 swimming wetsuits? (Male and Female)
1. C Skins Swim Research –
A swim specific range from C skins, designed for professional and recreational swimmers alike who want comfort and no restriction in the water and in all conditions.
- Optimal panel thickness for warmth and comfort – 4mm neoprene on the front leg panels, 3mm on the chest and back body panels, and 2mm on the sleeve, underarm and lower leg panels. A combination of 4 and 3mm on the main body of the wetsuit will keep you warm in the colder sessions, yet not restrict your movement.
- Glidesking Xtend neoprene – The world’s fastest and lightest neoprene designed specifically for swimmers
- Smoothskin Free Flex neoprene – Excellent friction free movement through water
- 4mm Buoyancy profile – Panels located on torso, hips and legs to put your body in the best and easiest swim position possible from the extra float provided with thicker neoprene
- High vis cuffs – For improved safety, orange cuffs on the arms and legs
2. Zone 3 Agile –
A swimming and triathlon specific brand that provides several features not offered by other entry-level wetsuits on the market; be warm and comfortable when swimming.
- 2mm Flex-Fit shoulder panels improve range of motion allowing you to conserve energy and reduce fatigue
- 2mm, 3mm and 4mm panels provide a well-balanced profile to get the most out of your swim
- Core support buoyancy panels on the upper legs (quads) help to keep the legs towards the surface of the water and therefore significantly reducing drag and saving energy
- High visibility panels to help stand-out when in the water
- Raglan sleeve panel layout offers increased flexibility to allow for greater stroke efficiency
- Eco friendly neoprene
3. Prolimit Fire Swimsuit – (Female)
For those ladies that may not want a full length suit and can cope fine with just neoprene accessories to keep your extremities (fingers and toes) warm in the cold season, this neoprene swimsuit may be the perfect swimming wetsuit for you all year round. The perfect suit for those wanting some protection with lots of mobility. 2mm thick and no zip, with elegant straps instead.
3. Prolimit Long John – (Male)
For men who want a similar option, something that will protect them but isn’t a full wetsuit, a 2mm sleeveless long john is perfect. Pair with your boots and gloves for great swimming attire. For extra warmth in the colder season, the long john features Zodiac2 Plush thermal lining inside.
As stated at the start of this blog, open water swimming is a great activity as it is super accessible and there is plenty of choice on where to go, what to wear and how long to stay in for!
We also want to point out that as with any watersport, there are risks and safety precautions you should bear in mind:
Don't go too far out of your comfort zone or swimming capacity by yourself
Take a swimming float out with you to help visibility and your own safety
Be aware of the risks of getting too cold and the signs of pneumonia
Look out for tidal movements and shore break
Message us for any more safety concerns you may have.
If you want any more guidance on being safe when you go out or what may be the best swimming attire for you, please get in contact with us on 01202 700503, email@example.com, LiveChat or pop in store to try them on for yourself!