Swimming in open water is a great way to stay fit and healthy while enjoying nature. But to do that, most swimmers do require one crucial item: a wetsuit!
What do you need to know about wetsuits before you can purchase one and take a dive? And how do you maintain such a wetsuit? These are questions that are often asked. But don't worry, we will help you! In this blog, our experts answer the most frequently asked questions about wetsuits for swimming, so you know what to look out for.
1: What is the purpose of a wetsuit?
A wetsuit is a special suit made to protect you from hypothermia while swimming. They are made of neoprene, a waterproof material that provides insulating layers of air. This, in turn, allows you to retain heat and maintain your body temperature. This way, you won't get hypothermia while swimming.
But not only that, wetsuits also protect you from rocks, coral and other external elements you may encounter during open water swimming.
2: What kind of wetsuit do I need for swimming?
There are different types of wetsuits, of different materials and different thicknesses. For water temperatures between 10 and 17 degrees, we recommend choosing a full neoprene wetsuit of 4/2 millimeters thickness. The designation 4/2 means that the torso and legs of the swimsuit are 4 millimeters, while the arms and shoulders are 2 millimeters. This way you can enjoy both the warmth that a wetsuit offers and enough freedom of movement for swimming itself.
In addition, we recommend choosing a 2 millimeter wetsuit for water temperatures between 20 and 24 degrees, and a 5 millimeter thickness wetsuit for temperatures below 10 degrees.
3: How do you put on a wetsuit?
Putting on a wetsuit can be challenging, especially if you haven't done it before. Below we explain step by step how to put on a wetsuit:
- Open the zipper.
- Hold the suit open and gently slide your feet into it.
- Pass your feet through the openings one by one.
- Once your feet are through the holes, incrementally pull the wetsuit up to your waist. This will prevent you from damaging or tearing the neoprene.
- Pull the wetsuit further up until it is in the right place and pull the zipper completely closed.
4: How do you know if a wetsuit fits properly?
Finding a wetsuit that fits is often easier said than done. But in general, the wetsuit is a good fit if it fits tightly around your body without water entering. The wetsuit should be tight when dry, but you should still be able to move freely. And there is only one way to check that: By testing!
So are you looking for a wetsuit with a perfect fit for your body? Then come to one of our Wetsuit Test Days and find your wetsuit match!
For more explicit tips on how to find a perfectly fitting wetsuit, please click here.
5: Is a wetsuit mandatory?
It depends on the water temperature. At a water temperature below 16 degrees, a wetsuit is mandatory at all distances. At a water temperature between 16 and 18 degrees you may swim without a wetsuit on short distances, but on long distances you are required to swim with. Above 18 degrees you may swim without a wetsuit on all distances.
6: How do you maintain a wetsuit?
If your wetsuit is dirty, wash your wetsuit manually with a mild soap and cold water. Do not put the wetsuit in the dryer or washing machine, as the heat and spin can cause the materials to be damaged.
After washing, hang the wetsuit inside out on a thick clothes hanger with all zippers open and in a place where it can drain properly. So don't leave the wetsuit stuffed in a bag or corner. Finally, make sure your wetsuit does not have any large creases or wrinkles anywhere when it is hanging.
7: Can a wetsuit withstand chlorine?
No. Chlorine is not good for your wetsuit if it stays in your wetsuit for hours or even days at a time. Rinse out the chlorine immediately after swimming with clean water. By the way, this is wise anyway after an open-water swimming session, as it will remove bacteria and dirt.
8: How do I store my wetsuit?
It is important to store your wetsuit properly. This way you ensure that it is well preserved and its lifespan is extended. Our advice is to hang your wetsuit properly after use and store it in a fixed place when dry. Preferably on inside out on a thick clothes hanger. Also keep all zippers open so that all the water and moisture can still drip out.
9: How expensive is a wetsuit?
Wetsuits generally fall into three price categories:
- Entry level: this is ideal for a first wetsuit or for recreational open water swimmers. Prices range from 180 to 350 euros. For example, the 2XU P:1 Propel.
- Mid range: This is a step up, with more flexibility and better neoprene, useful for longer swim sessions. Especially recommended for triathlons. Prices range between 350 and 650, and most of our wetsuits fall into this category, such as the Huub Aegis.
- Top range: for top athletes and very good swimmers, wetsuits come in above 650 euros, such as the Zone3 Vanquish.
If you would like to buy a wetsuit, the best time to do so is in spring (March, April, May). During this time we have a lot of models and sizes in stock.
So come to our store soon or to one of the Wetsuit Test Days and get professional advice so you can find your perfect wetsuit!
Rather be an indoor swimmer? Then check outthis blog!
AthleteSportsWorld is the triathlon store in Amsterdam for the true endurance athlete. We offer a wide range of triathlon clothing, sports nutrition, trisuits, cycling clothing and wetsuits for triathlon, open water swimming, cycling, running and trailrunning.
Our team of experts is always ready to answer all your questions and help you find the right products for your specific training needs. Visit our store in Amsterdam or contact us for customized advice.