How to Select a Wetsuit Size

How to Select a Wetsuit Size 1
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How to Select a Wetsuit Size

When you are first getting into a water sport, there is a lot of information thrown at you, and it can get overwhelming. One of the biggest problems for beginners is how to select the right wetsuit size. Finding the right size can be quite challenging for beginners, and in many instances, they end up getting wetsuits that are too large.

Obviously, a suit that is a bit on the large side is going to feel comfortable, but it isn’t going to do its intended job of keeping you warm. In this article, we are going to take a look at the things you need to think about in order to choose the proper wetsuit size. Let’s get started.

Your Wetsuit should be Tight-Fitting

You may be wondering why you should get a tight-fitting wetsuit, since it seems like that may be too constricting. If you get a suit that is too large, there is going to be more cold water getting between your body and the suit, and you are not going to be able to stay warm enough to enjoy your water activities. When a wetsuit is snug, it allows a certain amount of water to get between it and your skin, to act as a barrier against the cold. That’s all you need.

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Getting the Right Fit

In order to know that your wetsuit fits properly, you need to be wearing it properly. This means that everything on the suit should be sitting where it is supposed to be sitting. There should be no extra neoprene under your knees, below the crotch, etc. There should also be no excess neoprene under the arms, on the back, and on the stomach.

Your suit should fit snugly all over. Keep in mind that a new or dry wetsuit is going to feel snugger than one that is already wet. Also, over time, once you are using it, the wetsuit is going to expand and it will feel looser. So, it is always best to get one that feels like it may be a bit too tight.

On the other hand, you don’t want to get a wetsuit that is always going to be so tight that it is not comfortable. If it is too tight, it could force your body to bend forward and you will have difficulties expanding your chest to breathe.

It could also cause you to experience pains in various parts of your body. So, now you will have two options. Either get a wetsuit that is a bit larger, or if the fit is fine, look for the same size in a taller version.

You also need to make sure that the suit is long enough in the arms and legs. The legs should be long enough that your wetsuit booties will fit under them, so no water is going to get inside. The arms should be long enough to extend to your wrists.

Wetsuit Sizes

It is important to understand how sizing works with wetsuits. It isn’t like going out and buying a jacket or a pair of pants. There are different size markings for different types of wetsuit models. For instance, wetsuits that are made from super-stretchy materials don’t come in as many sizes as less stretchy wetsuits.

When it comes to wetsuit sizes, you have XXS, XS, S, MS (Medium Small), M, MT (Medium Tall), ML (Medium Large), LS (Large Small), L, LT (Large Tall), XL, and XXL. The most common of these sizes are medium and large, and most people can comfortably wear a suit in one of these sizes. If these sizes don’t work for you, here are some things to think about with some of the other sizes:

  • MS – This is a size for those who tend to need shorter sleeves
  • MT and ML – These are often the same thing. MT, or medium tall, is for someone who fits into a medium, but needs longer arms and legs. ML, or medium large, is for someone who needs a bit more room inside the wetsuit, but doesn’t need longer arms or legs.
  • LS – This is usually for those who have shorter arms and require shorter sleeves.
  • LT – This is for someone who fits into a large, but needs the wetsuit to have longer arms and legs.

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Putting it To the Test

There are a couple of things you can do before you buy a wetsuit to make sure that it is going to fit properly when you are in the water. First, try the wetsuit on, and then start moving around. Crouch down, bend over, move your arms in circles, etc. to see if the suit is going to restrict your movements in any way, and if the sleeves and legs are long enough.

There is another way that you can test the wetsuit to make sure that it is the correct size. Put the suit on, and zip it up. Next, pull at the back of the suit, just above your backside, at the small of your back.

If you can’t reach, have someone do this for you. When the suit is pulled, there shouldn’t be too much of a gap between the wetsuit and your body. If there is a large gap, the wetsuit is too large and you need to try on a smaller size.


Buying a wetsuit for the first time shouldn’t be an overwhelming task. It is a good idea to bring an experienced person along with you, who can help you to choose a suit that is going to be right for your needs and fit properly all over.

Once you have found the perfect wetsuit, remember to take proper care of it. Wash it with fresh water after every use, and make sure that it is thoroughly dried before putting it into storage until your next dive. The better you take care of your wetsuit, the longer it is going to last, and you won’t have to go through all of the trouble of buying another one.

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