Finding the right wetsuit

The start of the season is approaching and you're probably trying to figure out which wetsuit might be best for you this season. With so many options it can be hard to decide. will help you find the answer.

| January 18, 2017 | GEAR


Photo >Kevin Mackinnon

If you are looking for a new wetsuit this year, you should ask yourself the basic question of what exactly you need. If this is your first triathlon season, you probably don't need to look at a premium manufacturer's top model. However, if you have ambitions of a new best season or world-championship qualifying, it might be worthwhile to invest more money in a suit.

Increased efficiency

Weaker swimmers, or those who have trouble attaining a good position in the water will do best with a suit that has a reinforced trunk area. The improved buoyancy will help you attain an optimal body position. The added propulsion you'll generate from this position will help you glide further in the water, increasing your efficiency.

Stronger swimmers, on the other hand, need to look for a suit that doesn't force them into the wrong movement pattern. Have your coach or training partners help you figure out your technical strengths and weaknesses to help you figure out what the new suit needs to do.

Now you're ready to start your search. If you can, find an opportunity to test a suit in the water. Manufacturers will often do demo days at events. The advantage here is you can often get deals on the spot and, at least, get some advice from qualified staff. 

If that's not an option, you can also go to a reputable store and try on a few suits based on the advice of the staff.

Material questions

Inexpensive, entry-level wetsuits are often made with thicker and less flexible neoprene material, which restricts your freedom of movement, especially in the shoulder area.

Expensive, high-quality, suits are usually characterized by thin and extremely flexible material, which helps ensure an optimal fit and lots of range of motion. The majority of all manufacturers incorporate panels into the suits. These panels will use different thicknesses of neoprene to provide more flexibility or buoyancy where it's most needed. (Thinner rubber around the shoulders, thicker, more buoyant rubber around the torso, for example.)

Check out what our readers thought: 2016 wetsuit brand of the year.