How do I choose the most suitable wetsuit thickness?

How do I choose the most suitable wetsuit thickness?

Temperature Based Wetsuit Thickness Selection Guide

Are you starting your triathlon journey and feeling overwhelmed by the variety of wetsuits available? do not be afraid! In this blog post, we provide a guide to choosing the best wetsuit thickness so you can learn how to choose the right wetsuit for your triathlon temperature and yourself. Let's find out!

Effect of wetsuit thickness

The thickness of a wetsuit affects its thermal performance and flexibility. In addition to our physical condition, both are factors that determine the fatigue factor.

NOTE: The thicker the neoprene, the warmer the wetsuit will be, and the less flexible it will be.

Both cooling and overheating can result in significant power loss. So you can save a lot of energy with good thermal performance and suitable thickness. So when you're shopping for a wetsuit, make sure you strike the right balance between thickness and flexibility. However, when in doubt, you should opt for a warmer, thicker wetsuit version. You lose a bit of flexibility and it takes more effort to move, however, it's usually easier to cool down than to warm up again. There's nothing more frustrating than stepping out of the water during a perfect workout because your whole body shakes like it's in a refrigerator.

A slightly warmer wetsuit also reduces the risk of injury. Muscles, ligaments and tendons are heated and therefore more flexible. Your mom will be happy too because you won't catch a cold so quickly 😉

Significance of wetsuit thickness marks

Wetsuit thickness is always given in millimeters (mm). Specifications consist of two numbers. 3/2mm means, for example, that the neoprene is 3mm thick on the torso and 2mm thick on the legs and arms. Most wetsuits have a 1-2mm difference because warmth is more important for the body and flexibility is more important for the arms and legs.

Triathlon/Open Water Swimming Wetsuit Thickness Guideline

When swimming, the majority of your body is underwater. Only the arms and legs move out of the water periodically. However, you always move below or slightly above the water's surface. Therefore the water temperature is decisive. The influence of outside temperature, wind and sunlight is relatively small. In the end it depends on the speed, so it is advisable to buy the thinnest possible wetsuit that is just right for the given water temperature.

NOTE: You can also use a normal surf wetsuit for swimming/triathlon, but it's not ideal. What kind of wetsuit you should buy in the end depends on your level and ambition. Triathlon wetsuits are relatively thin and have very good buoyancy.

Triathlon competition rules

Let's start by clarifying that the following is not legal advice, for all information please check your triathlon association's website!

General provisions:

– The maximum thickness allowed for triathlon competitions is 5 mm.

– A wetsuit can cover any part of the body except the face, hands and feet

– Gloves are not allowed

– No propulsion allowed

– If the hat is not provided by the tournament management, you can wear your own hat

Thickness Recommend

Water Temperature ℃/℉ 13-18℃
Wetsuits Thickness