Female Guide to Buying a Wetsuit | Poole Harbour Watersports

Female Guide to Buying a Wetsuit

A wetsuit is a core essential to staying out on the water all year round and maximizing your session. Wetsuits can come in many different shapes, sizes, thicknesses and styles; each one designed for a particular sport or individual’s preference. Distinguishing what is right for you can be hard, so take a read of our top pointers to guide you on the best wetsuit for you.


1. Season of Wetsuit –

    The temperature of the water changes drastically with the seasons, as a wetsuit is designed to keep you warm, as the waters get colder, your wetsuit should get longer and thicker. If going out from October-April, we would suggest going for a full length wetsuit and looking for something with 5mm or 4mm thicknesses of neoprene. If going out from May-September (the warmer water season in the UK) then a 3mm thickness is most popular, and you can choose between full length or short depending on your preference and expected use.

    • Steamer / Full Suit –

    Neoprene wetsuit that covers all of your body, from your neck down to your ankles and wrists. Popular first wetsuit style that will provide the most efficient warmth, with a small layer of water trapped between the neoprene and your skin to insulate your natural body temperature against the cold water. Can come in all thicknesses, but unless in a summer heatwave, the most popular option for both summer or winter activities.

    Womens C Skins Element 3.2 Wetsuit Mens Alder Stealth 5.4 Wetsuit


      • Spring/ Shortie Suit –

      This covers your torso and has short legs and long or short arm sleeves. Designed for warmer water, spring suits are usually made with thinner neoprene (1-3mm) for comfort, freedom of movement and sun protection. Easier to get on and size to as well.

      Womens Prolimit Fire Sleeveless Shortie Mens O'Neill Hammer LS Spring


        • Long John/ Jane –

        A sleeveless tank top style upper body with full length legs. A specifically good style for those wanting unrestricted movement on the arms and shoulders, a popular favourite among kayakers, paddlers and sailors. Normally in 1-2mm thickness this is another option for slightly warmer waters and those wanting warmth with a more submerged bottom half of the body.

        Womens Prolimit Long Jane Mens Prolimit Long John


          • Two pieces –

          For added comfort and versatility, neoprene tops and bottoms can be purchased separately. 1 or 2mm neoprene short or leggings with elasticated waists; paired with zip-up tops, jackets or even rash vests and bikinis for your personal preference. Super mobility and for those struggling to find a comfortable wetsuit, this is a great option in the summer. These items can also be known as SUP clothing’ for those that aren’t always submerged in the water (hopefully 😉 ).

          Take a look at Tops and Bottoms.


            2. Fit of Wetsuit –

            For a wetsuit to fulfil its purpose of keeping you warm, it needs to fit your body correctly. An ill-fitting wetsuit can create an uncomfortable experience, as it could allow too much water and cool your body temperature down in if it is too big, or be too tight and restrictive for your body if too small. Sizing up a wetsuit for women, can be harder than for men, due to the female cut of each wetsuit brand varying around the waist, bust and hips.

            Each brand provides their measurement size chart online and we have these in store, so before going for a wetsuit based on your normal dress size, we definitely recommend measuring yourself first to see what bracket you fit into on each size chart.

            To really see what is the best fit for you and your body, you do need to try a few on to see what feels best and most comfortable. We suggest coming into our store, or your local wetsuit shop to try them on and get the staff member’s experienced eye to help you decide on the right fit.

            A few things to look out for when you have the wetsuit on:

            • Bagging or excess neoprene around your waist, knees or shoulders will lead to cold pockets of water being trapped and your core temperature being cooled down with the flush through of water
            • Restrictiveness will impact on your performance and comfort in the wetsuit when on the water, especially around the shoulders or knees
            • Neoprene is an absorbent material and will soften once it has been used. It will stretch but won’t lose its shape, it will mold to your body so a fit like a ‘second skin’ is ideal

            Always buy your wetsuit based on the sit rather than any aesthetic preferences to the suit, it is designed to keep you warm 😊


            3. Price of Wetsuit –

            The same thickness wetsuit can vary a lot in price, this is down to the construction and quality of the materials. When buying your first wetsuit, I would evaluate what it is going to be used for and how frequently. A higher-priced 5mm wetsuit will likely have better stretch and more thermal properties to it than the starting price ones; as such, if you want to go out all winter, making an investment at the start will save you from any disappointment. However, the lower end priced 5mm wetsuits will still keep you warm in winter and are popular with a recreational use that doesn’t need ultimate stretch or performance. When purchasing a wetsuit, you need to consider more than the price, so find the right value suit for you.


            4. Accessorize your Wetsuit –

            During your watersport activity, a full length, thick wetsuit may not be most suitable for you, even in the middle of winter. However, accessorizing your wetsuit with neoprene accessories is an essential in the colder months for every sport!

            Your toes and fingers will normally feel the cold first, as such gloves, boots or socks are a necessity for most of us when the temperature drops! Swimmers may find they can continue in a spring wetsuit through the whole winter, as long as they have their socks and gloves on!

            O'Neill Psycho Tech 5mm Gloves Atan Mistral 3mm Boots


            You also lose heat from your head, and if you keep submerging it under cold waters, they can damage your ear drums too. Hoods and neoprene beanies are a super important addition to your wetsuit especially among surfers, windsurfers and swimmers.

            C Skins Legend Hood 2.5mm


            If you can, please pop into the shop to get a personal fitting of the right wetsuit for you, if not let us know any other assistance you need through 01202 700503, LiveChat or info@pooleharbour.co.uk

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