How Are Wetsuits Supposed to Fit?

How are wetsuits supposed to fit? At BARE, we get this question all the time, and depending on who you ask, the answers can vary. 

If you’re anything like the rest of us, you’ve probably had the experience of yanking endlessly on your new suit, only to find that it was the right size all along. 

Conversely, what might seem like a great-fitting suit at first can quickly become an ill-fitting piece of gear that you’ll need to resign to your gear closet. But at BARE, our goal is to provide the best-fitting suit that’ll last the longest amount of time. 

Ultimately, a great suit is one you can depend on. Period. 

How Are Wetsuits Supposed to Fit?

But again, just how are wetsuits supposed to fit? To get an expert opinion , we turned to Duck Diver founder and Huish Outdoors Marketing Manager Megan Ehrenberg for her take on this common question. 

At the top of her list, Ehrenber emphasizes that a good suit should be snug—but not so tight around the neck that you’re uncomfortable. 

More commonly overlooked, getting the correct torso length is of paramount importance. “As a tall woman,” she says, “if I don’t buy a tall size, I’ll get shoulder and neck fatigue because the suit’s constantly pulling down.”

Piggybacking that point, folks instinctively tend to go up a size because it feels really tight. A key metric: if a wetsuit is wrinkling around your armpits and joint areas, it’s likely too big. That’s because a well-fitting suit should fit snugly with minimal wrinkling around the body’s contours. 

Why? The looser it is, the more flushing you’ll get—in the process undercutting the suit’s ability to insulate your body. “If water’s flushing in and out of the wetsuit, it’s flushing the warm water that your body has already heated and exchanging it for cold water from the exterior,” Ehrenberg explains.  

Translation: to keep your body insulated and toasty, maintain a sealed suit that holds onto the water between your skin and neoprene. That’s what actually keeps you warm. “If you can see a gap around your ankles, neck or wrists, your suit is too big.”

The Best Wetsuit Fit

The ideal wetsuit operates as a second skin while also allowing a wide range of motion to support dynamic movement. BARE’s new Reactive and Evoke wetsuits, enhanced by thermal Graphene Technology, were specifically designed to move with your body kinesthetically while retaining that second-skin feel and design. 

They still provide the flexibility to move, contrary to suits of generations past that were constrictive, akin to wearing multiple puffy coats at the same time. However—optimized for motion and warmth retention—you could practically do yoga in the new Reactive and Evoke. 

And in terms of body shape, no two humans are the same. Regardless of gender, body’s come in all shapes and sizes, and BARE keeps that in mind when designing and concepting its future gear. Size size charts are great for getting a rough idea of where you’re at, but they should be approached as more of a jump-off point than anything else. 

So if you’re in the market, just remember, a wetsuit should be tight and flush with the body so as to not permit drainage. But ultimately the best way to find a suit for your future diving is to go to your local dealer and try on various options that might not be your typical size, but could actually yield the best fit. As in all things, your preference comes down to what works well for you, so be sure to sample a broad range to find what works in conjunction with the above recommendations.

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