8+ Reasons Why Wearing a Wetsuit is the Best Way to Stay Warm in the Water

Wearing a wetsuit keeps you warm in water by providing thermal insulation, regulating core temperature, reducing water resistance, protecting the skin, aiding muscle compression, offering buoyancy, ensuring flexibility and comfort, and allowing for personal style expression.

why wear a wetsuit

Winter’s chilly affair can be exhilarating for swimmers. Whether you are a seasoned swimmer or new to open-water swimming, choosing a wetsuit is crucial. Unlike other swimwear, wetsuits are designed to keep you warm in the water.

While wetsuits protect your body from the cold, they allow buoyancy and mobility while swimming. Wetsuits have an insulating material, mostly neoprene, that helps your body retain heat even for prolonged swimming.

Why wear a wetsuit? You probably do not enjoy swimming in cold water unless you’re a Chionophile. This article explains why swimsuits are the best way to keep warm in the water.

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8 Reasons Why Wearing a Wetsuit Is the Best Way To Stay Warm in Water

The same way you’d wrap yourself in a cozy scarf to better handle the chilly air outside is the same way a wetsuit helps you stay warm in the water.

1. Wetsuits Offer Thermal Insulation

O'Neill Men's Epic 4/3mm Back Zip Full Wetsuit, Black/Black/Black,Large

The primary purpose of the best wetsuits is to keep swimmers warm even for prolonged swimming periods. A wetsuit features neoprene insulation that is responsible for providing warmth.

A wetsuit’s mechanism traps a thin layer of water between your body and the suit. Your body warms this layer of water, preventing you from losing heat while swimming. Made of tiny closed cells, neoprene provides insulation against cold water by trapping heat.

Wetsuits that are thicker tend to produce more warmth. The thicker the neoprene, the more heat-trapping insulation. A common question that most people ask is, “How thick should my wetsuit be?”

With so many options available, choosing the ideal thickness of your wetsuit can be intimidating.

However, the thickness of your wetsuit should depend on your cold tolerance and the temperatures of the water you will be smurfing in.

The wetsuit temperature guide below will help you pick your ideal wetsuit:

  • 6mm/ 6.5mm (Under 60C): A wetsuit thickness of at least 6mm is recommendable
  • 5mm (90C): Recommendable wetsuit thickness is 5mm.
  • 4mm (120C): Suitable wetsuit thickness is 4-3mm.
  • 3mm (150C): A 2-3mm wetsuit is ideal since the water temperature is average.
  • 2mm (190C): A 2mm thick wetsuit is recommended.

Be sure to research the water temperature to determine your ideal wetsuit.

2. Core Temperature Regulation

Wetsuits regulate your core temperature by trapping a thin layer of water between your skin and the neoprene material. Some wetsuits have gone to the height of using FAR infrared technology for ideal temperature regulation.

The FAR-powered wetsuits feature a spectrum of sunlight with a wavelength of between 4-1000 microns.

These rays penetrate the human body and raise the body temperature, stimulating cell growth and enhancing circulation.

Temperature regulation in cold water enhances your body’s capacity to generate heat. Therefore, you can swim longer without incurring the risks of hypothermia.

3. Wetsuits Reduce Water Resistance

Another fundamental characteristic of neoprene is that it minimizes the friction of the water. Neoprene repels water away. For this reason, you can glide effortlessly through the water.

Scientists say that a wetsuit’s Super Composite Skin (SCS) lessens the water resistance by around 15%.

Neoprene’s synthetic rubber contains nitrogen bubbles which help in reducing water resistance. Less resistance leads to a more leisurely swim.

4. Protects the Skin From Damage

The amount of damage that minor cuts and cuts can do to your skin can be exhilarating. You’d rather have cuts on your wetsuit than your body. The snug fit of a wetsuit keeps you safe from any potential hazards.

There are lots of tiny sea creatures that can scrape your skin. Wetsuits have a thick layer that spares your skin from all those dangers.

5. Wetsuits Offer a Better Performance through Muscle Compression

Wetsuits provide automatic compression to muscles and joints, allowing you to perform better for prolonged periods. When you wear a wetsuit, your entire body tightens to allow for performance.

While you may feel squeezed wearing a wetsuit, it helps you perform better. It is, however, essential to find the right size and fit of a wetsuit to allow the correct automatic compression. Note that a very tight wetsuit leads to discomfort.

6. Buoyancy

A significant advantage of wearing a wetsuit is that it makes you float effortlessly. Neoprene’s natural buoyancy enables you to float higher up in the water. The thickness of the wetsuit enhances buoyancy.

It is crucial to note that wetsuits with a high neoprene thickness hinder movement. Therefore, you should find the right balance for efficient swimming.

7. Flexibility and Comfort

XUKER Womens Wetsuit 2mm 3mm, Neoprene Wet Suits for Women in Cold Water Full Body Dive Suit for Diving Snorkeling Surfing Swimming Canoeing (Black+Grey, Large)

Unlike thick layers of clothing, wetsuits are sufficiently elastic. They allow all the movements of the shoulders and the legs without struggle.

Additionally, the warmth that comes with wetsuits gives swimmers a feeling of comfort.

High-quality neoprene rubber is both flexible and comfortable. The proper body comfort and temperature enable better performance.

8. Versatile and Fashionable

Wetsuits come in an array of colors, patterns, and styles. You do not have a reason for not expressing your individuality, even while keeping warm.

Wetsuits come in different designs, from accessorized ones, zipped ones, shorty ones, and full ones.

With so many options, you will ultimately find a wetsuit that suits you best.

Why Should You Stay Warm In the Water?

Seasoned swimmers will swear that investing in a good wetsuit is the ideal way to stay warm in the water. Keeping your body warm while swimming keeps you safe from illnesses.

A wetsuit keeps your body protected against a drop in temperature. By keeping warm, you can fight off viruses and infections.

Why wear a wetsuit? Wearing a wetsuit is the best way to prevent an after-drop while swimming.

Frequently Asked Questions about Wetsuits

The following questions may ring in your mind before you decide to challenge the arctic waters during a cold day. 

How do you choose the right wetsuit?

While the options may seem overwhelming, these are the few things to consider while choosing a wetsuit:

  • Get a wetsuit that is ideal for the water temperatures you are in
  •  Find a wetsuit that fits you well. The tighter the wetsuit, the warmer you will be
  • Choose a wetsuit that fits the activity you are doing
  • Since wetsuits have different designs, pick one that suits you best. You can accessorize your wetsuit to have full gear.

Do wetsuits keep divers warm for prolonged periods?

Wetsuits work by slowing heat loss while in water. However, diving for a very long time leads to heat loss. While a wetsuit keeps a diver warm, the body will gradually lose heat over a prolonged period.

More FAQs

What is the point of a wetsuit?

The purpose of a wetsuit is to provide insulation and help retain body heat for swimmers, divers, or surfers who engage in activities in cold water. By preventing hypothermia, a potentially life-threatening condition caused by extremely low body temperature, wetsuits play a crucial role. These suits are typically constructed from neoprene, a type of rubber.

Are you wet under a wetsuit?

Statement: You are not wet under a wetsuit.Rephrased answer: If your wetsuit is of good quality and fits well, there is no need to wear anything underneath it. Wetsuits are specifically designed to create a thin layer of water between your body and the suit, which is then warmed by your body heat to keep you insulated and comfortable.

Should a wetsuit be tight?

A wetsuit should fit snugly, resembling a second skin, but it should not be excessively tight to the point where it restricts your range of motion.

What difference does a wetsuit make?

A wetsuit makes a difference by offering additional buoyancy in the water, facilitating a more effortless swimming experience. By keeping your legs or hips elevated, the suit assists in maintaining a favorable swimming position.

Do you really need a wetsuit?

The rewritten answer: If the water temperature at your surfing location is around 65°F (18°C) or above, a wetsuit may not be necessary. However, many surfers choose to wear a wetsuit or black suit, even in warm water, as the body can still feel chilly after a while, particularly during technical or deep scuba diving.

Do you still feel cold in a wetsuit?

The rephrased answer is: When wearing a wetsuit, you don’t feel cold because the layer of water inside the wetsuit reaches the same temperature as your skin, which is about 91F (32.7C). Contrary to popular belief, this layer of water does not warm you up or conduct heat away from your body, but its temperature similarity prevents the sensation of coldness.

Is it harder to swim without a wetsuit?

It is more challenging to swim without a wetsuit because if you have poor balance or buoyancy, using a slow stroke rate can cause you to sink between strokes. However, with a wetsuit, there is more flexibility to maintain forward momentum even with a slower stroke rate.

Is it better to swim with or without a wetsuit?

It is better to swim with a wetsuit as it helps to maintain form and reduce fatigue over time and distance. Additionally, wearing a wetsuit allows swimmers to conserve energy in their legs, which is advantageous for triathlon competitors who need to save their legs for running and cycling.

How long can you stay in the water with a wetsuit?

The rephrased answer is: With a wetsuit, you can stay in the water for different durations depending on the water temperature. In water temperatures below 15 minutes, expect exhaustion or unconsciousness in less than 15 minutes. For water temperatures between 15 and 30 minutes, expect exhaustion or unconsciousness within 15 to 30 minutes. In water temperatures between 30 and 60 minutes, expect exhaustion or unconsciousness within 30 to 60 minutes. For water temperatures between 1 and 2 hours, expect exhaustion or unconsciousness within 1 to 2 hours.

Do you sweat in a wetsuit?

Statement: Yes, you do sweat in a wetsuit.Rephrased answer: Wetsuits are worn to ensure optimal warmth during water activities, as hypothermia is a serious concern. However, the insulation provided by wetsuits can cause sweating, leading to an eventual need for thorough cleaning to eliminate any unpleasant odors.

Is 68 degree water too cold to swim?

The rephrased answer would be: Water temperatures below 70 degrees should be approached with caution for individuals not wearing a wetsuit or drysuit, according to the National Center for Cold Water Safety. Controlling your breathing becomes increasingly challenging when the water temperature ranges between 60 and 70 degrees.

How long can I stay in the water with a wetsuit?

The rephrased answer is: If the water temperature is between 32.5° and 40°, you can expect to stay in the water with a wetsuit for about 15 to 30 minutes before exhaustion or unconsciousness. For water temperatures ranging from 40° to 50°, the expected time is approximately 30 to 60 minutes. If the water temperature is between 50° and 60°, you can stay in the water with a wetsuit for about 1 to 2 hours before exhaustion or unconsciousness.

What is warmer a wetsuit or drysuit?

A drysuit is warmer than a wetsuit in extremely cold conditions when the temperature restricts normal wetsuit movements. For extreme winter standup paddleboarding conditions, a drysuit is a great choice because it allows you to add extra layers of warmth underneath.

What is the difference between a wetsuit and a semi dry suit?

A wetsuit and a semi dry suit differ in terms of their design features. A semi dry suit is equipped with seals at the wrists and ankles, which are specifically designed to minimize the entry of water. On the other hand, a wetsuit allows water to flow through from one opening to another, resulting in the loss of body heat.

Is it safer to swim with a wetsuit?

Swimming with a wetsuit can be safer, particularly if you desire extra buoyancy or warmth, especially when using an outdoor pool in a cooler climate where the wetsuit can provide added warmth.

Is it normal to sweat in a wetsuit?

It is normal to sweat in a wetsuit due to the design of wetsuits, which aim to retain body heat. However, the combination of increased body heat from swimming and the insulation provided by the wetsuit can make it difficult for the body to release this heat, potentially leading to an increase in sweating, especially in warmer water.

Are you supposed to wear anything under a wetsuit?

The answer to the question “Are you supposed to wear anything under a wetsuit?” is that it is recommended to layer for comfort and safety in colder conditions. If you have a wetsuit that is thinner (2mm-4mm), you can enhance insulation by wearing a rash guard, full-body suit, or any other type of undergarment.

Is it easier to put on a wetsuit wet or dry?

It is recommended to ensure that you are completely dry before putting on a wetsuit. Putting on a wetsuit while wet can be time-consuming. Therefore, it is advisable to give yourself enough time to air dry or thoroughly towel off before getting dressed in your wetsuit. To make the process easier, you can use a plastic grocery bag to assist in getting the suit over your feet and hands.

Is it OK to wear a wetsuit in the pool?

It is acceptable to wear a wetsuit in the pool occasionally, as most wetsuit brands are designed for swimming. However, it is important to thoroughly rinse the wetsuit with clear water both inside and out after using it in a chlorinated pool.

Do wetsuits stretch when wet?

Wetsuits do stretch when wet. It is important to note that neoprene, the material used in wetsuits, has the ability to stretch when it becomes wet and also stretches over time with use. Therefore, if you are unsure about the correct size or find yourself in between sizes, it is recommended to opt for a wetsuit that fits snugly.

Do you wear wetsuit shoes over or under wetsuit?

The wetsuit booties should be worn under the wetsuit. To put them on, first roll up the ankles of your wetsuit. Then, put on your booties and roll the wetsuit over the tops of the booties. This way, wearing the booties underneath the wetsuit allows water to flush out of the wetsuit instead of into the booties.

Should you wear thermals under a wetsuit?

You should wear thermals under a wetsuit. A thermal rash guard is a great choice as it not only prevents chafing but also provides additional insulation, keeping your core warmer. During autumn, having a good thermal under a kayak jacket can significantly enhance your comfort.

What is the difference between a wet suit and a dry suit?

The difference between a wet suit and a dry suit is that wet suits use a thin layer of water and the material of the suit to insulate the body’s natural heat, while dry suits utilize air and multiple under-layers to retain heat.

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