What to Wear Under a Wetsuit
What to Wear Under a Wetsuit for Comfort, Sun Protection and Warmth
People who are wearing a wetsuit for the first time often wonder what to wear under a wetsuit. The answer really depends on what type of wetsuit you're wearing, the temperature of the water, and the sports activities you're involved in. This page provides several options to help you figure out what to put under your wetsuit for comfort, sun protection, and warmth in colder water.
Whether you're a man or a woman, and whether you're snorkeling, surfing, scuba diving, water skiing or participating in some other activity, here are tips on what to wear under a wetsuit.
(Photo credit: Johntex on Wikimedia Commons)
What to Wear Under a Wetsuit: The Basics
Selecting swimwear, dive skins and skin lubricant
There are several things to consider when deciding what to wear under a wetsuit. The first is what type of swimsuit to wear. For women, almost any suit will do, as women's suits typically fit tightly. For men, board shorts and swim trunks are often uncomfortable, as they can bunch up, but there are tight-fitting swim shorts that can fit comfortably under a wetsuit. (See below for examples.)
The second consideration is whether you want something that will help you get into your suit easier. Wetsuits, particularly if they're full suits or thicker suits, can be a real pain to put on. Dive skins or body lubricant can make this process easier, and can provide sun protection. Below is a closer look at each option.
(Image from Wikimedia Commons)
What to Wear Under a Wetsuit for Men or Boys - A tight-fitting swimsuit won't bunch up like board shorts or swimming trunks
Many men are accustomed to wearing loose-fitting board shorts or swimming trunks at the beach, but these aren't the best options under a wetsuit, as they can bunch up and be uncomfortable. Instead, men may prefer to wear a dive skin (discussed below) or a tight-fitting swimsuit. Many men don't like the high-cut Speedo suits you often see competitive swimmers wearing, but there are also other snug-fitting men's swimshorts that will work well under a wetsuit. You can get these in either a short cut or a longer biking-shorts-style cut, like the ones shown below.
Speedo Jammers for Men and Boys - Tight-fitting longer swim shorts
These Speedo Jammers are perfect to wear under a wetsuit because they won't bunch up.
Boys Jammers are available with some colorful designs.
Dive Skins Work Great Under a Wetsuit - Dive skins or rash guards provide sun protection and help you don your wetsuit
Swimsuits are one option for clothing under your wetsuit, but they leave your skin exposed to the sun when your wetsuit is off and don't do anything to help you get into your suit. If you want an undergarment that addresses both of these issues, you might want to consider a dive skin or a rash guard.
Dive skins are generally made out of Lycra or another smooth material that will make it easier for you to slide into your wetsuit, and they offer sun protection when your suit is off. They're basically one-piece rash guards. If you're going to be participating in a water sport all day and will be taking periodic breaks when you need to take your wetsuit off completely or part of the way, your dive skin will protect you from the sun even if you're not wearing sunscreen and make it easier to get your suit back on.
I absolutely LOVE my dive skin! For me, it's the best answer to what to wear under a wetsuit.
What to Wear Under a Wetsuit for Help Donning Your Suit - Bodyglide Original Anti-Chafe Balm
If you decide to wear a swimsuit rather than a dive skin under your wetsuit, you might want to get a skin lubricant to make it easier to get into your wetsuit. Bodyglide is one brand name that is recommended by wetsuit manufacturers to help you get your suit on and off easily and prevent chafing. It's a glide-on stick that goes on dry, is invisible and fragrance-free and washes off with a little soap and water. They also offer options that include sunscreen protection.
BodyGlide is a skin lubricant that's great for daily use, sports and fitness, and at work. You can use this anti-friction product from head to toe. The official skin lubricant of USA Triathlon, Bodyglide is made with plant-derived ingredients. No petroleum, lanolin or other oils. It creates an invisible, non-greasy barrier that protects against rubbing that can cause irritation, blisters and chafing. It’s safe on skin and neoprene (it's recommended by wetsuit makers), and it helps make it easier and more comfortable to use compression garments.
What to Wear Under a Wetsuit in Cold Water - Lavacore dive skins are multifunctional
If you're diving in cold water, you'll be wearing a thicker wetsuit, but you might still want some extra insulation. Lavacore makes a line of dive skins just for this purpose. They're thin so they can be worn under a wetsuit, and their smooth surface will help you slide into your wetsuit. But unlike a regular dive skin that acts mostly as an undergarment that helps you get into your wetsuit and provides some sun protection when your wetsuit is off, Lavacore products offer thermal benefits and can add an extra layer of warmth when you're in cold waters. They also make thermal socks and hoods to wear under wetsuit boots and regular hood.
You can wear dive skins, swimsuits and skin lubricants under a wetsuit
How to Put On a Wetsuit - A triathlete demonstrates his techniques
Ironman World Champion Chris McCormack demonstrates how he puts on his wetsuit and shows a little trick to make it easier to get the suit over your legs.
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