Best wetsuits for men UK 2022: great wetsuits for surfing and open water swimming from RipCurl, Finland, Zone3
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A good wetsuit is essential for any activity in the water in our coldest European territories. With a wetsuit, your body is insulated against the worst of the cold and can withstand the high temperatures of the British sea while protecting you from the wind.
Most wetsuits, including the ones we’ve reviewed, work by trapping a small amount of water between the suit and the body, then using your body heat to warm that water up so it acts like a thermal jacket. It is a simple but proven, tested and very effective method.
What should I look for?
Wetsuit technology has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, particularly when it comes to durability and heat capacity, so in this article we’ll be looking to walk you through some buying tips and what to look out for. research, and additionally suggest a number of combinations that we have tested and recommend in 2021.
It can seem intimidating at first. The world of wetsuits is full of jargon, so if you’re a seasoned wettie buyer, scroll down, but the following information may be helpful to some.
What size to buy?
If you see “mm” after the name of your wetsuit, this refers to its thickness. As a general rule, look for thicker wetsuits for colder waters and thinner wetsuits for UK spring and summer. The most popular sizes are 3/2mm (for warmer summer temperatures), 4/3mm (probably the most popular size and a good all-around size for spring and summer conditions) and 5/4mm (suitable for icy waters of most winters).
Personal tastes vary though, so we recommend trying a few on to see what you think of each size. Keep in mind that thicker wetsuits are harder to move and more flexible, so consider what type of activity you want to use your wetsuit for.
There are a number of specifics and height options on that front too, but these are more nuanced, so it’s worth trying a few and asking someone for advice, as the brands may vary in size. Typically, most brands offer Small or XX-Large, with regular, large, and tall offerings of each variation demarcated by an “L” or “T” in the size guide.
Are there specialized combinations?
In a word – yes! You can buy wetsuits, swim suits (which are usually designed to be as streamlined as possible) and classic wetsuits, which we all know from the beach while surfing. If you really want a wetsuit to be multisport, you better buy a pair designed for certain disciplines, it will make your life much easier.
Consider the fact that if you want to use your thicker wetsuit in the winter (or, let’s face it, probably fall and spring too), you’ll need to think about wetsuit accessories like gloves, boots, and balaclavas. Some suits have built-in hoods, but they can get in the way when not in use. Keeping your extremities warm is key!
Now that you know what to look for, here are our recommendations for some of the best wetsuits in 2022
Rip Curl Dawn Patrol Performance 4/3mm Chest Zip Wetsuit
Main features: materials, neoprene; Thickness, 4mm; Type? Surfing
This everyday Rip Curl wetsuit uses a combination of neoprene and thermal lining for stretch and warmth, and we liked its lined front and back panels that quickly wick water away from the suit once it’s on. hung to facilitate drying.
It’s a good offering from Rip Curl that sits firmly in the mid-range, but it’s a good basic wetsuit from a well-known brand that most beginners won’t go wrong with.
Quicksilver Highline Pro Men’s No-Zip Wetsuit
Main features: materials, Japanese neoprene; Thickness, 1mm; Type? Surf Pro/Advanced
One of the most premium and probably one of the best wetsuits on the market right now. The innovation is what impressed us the most, with a very minimal thickness of 1mm but with the promise of 3mm warmth and comfort. They didn’t skimp on the material used either – it uses the most premium Japanese neoprene constructed with no seams or zippers. Very light and impressive.
Men’s 4/3mm Neoprene Wetsuit Olaian
Main features: materials, neoprene; Thickness, 4mm; Type? All around
From one extreme to the other, this Olaian option from Decathlon is one of the best budget options around, still with plenty of features and thermal comfort at sea to make it a very worthwhile purchase.
Suitable for up to two hours in seas of 12c to 17c, so sufficient for most surfers and beachgoers in good weather in the UK.
Aspire Men’s Zone3 Wetsuit
Main features: materials, durable Yamamoto material; Thickness, 1.5mm; Type? Swim
Zone3 are a brand that make a range of popular triathlon gear, and this latest swim suit is a great addition to their range.
Fully tested and approved by elite athletes, the suit uses innovative fabric technology and is well regarded in the triathlon and sports communities. It’s lightweight, comfortable, offers great buoyancy, and is probably, overall, the best wetsuit money can buy.
C-Skins Sessions Man 4:3
Main features: materials, neoprene; Thickness, 4/3mm; Type? Surfing/Allround
We’ve used this suit as our own personal suit for a range of hot and cold weather sea sessions over the past couple of years, and we’re really impressed with its versatility and ability to keep you insulated while still providing a good degree flexibility for the price.
We found the fit quite snug to start with for a 4:3, but the sturdy Dura Flex knee pads are a great addition for surfing and extra flexibility where you need it most.
Patagonia R3 Yulex Fullsuit
Main features: materials, Yulex herbal material; Thickness, 4.5mm; Type? Surfing
Another wetsuit with excellent green credentials is this contribution from Patagonia, who like Finisterre have also used Yulex rubber instead of neoprene. It’s 4.5mm thick around the chest and back, so it’s got enough substance to use in the slightly cooler spring and fall months, but you might need a 5/ 3 mm if you want to go out in winter.
That’s a little higher than some of the comparative wetsuits on this list, but it comes with a lifetime warranty, which is worth considering.
Finisterre Wetsuit Nieuwland 3e Yulex
Main features: materials, Yulex herbal material; Thickness, 3.5mm around chest, 2.5 on arms and legs; Type? Surfing
Finisterre has quickly made a name for itself since 2003 developing technical wetsuits, apparel and outerwear for the hardened British surfer.
With a functional design philosophy and a pioneering sustainability angle, they produce some of the most respected products in the industry and the Yulex 3mm Wetsuit is their premier summer wetsuit offering. The men’s version launched in 2019 and the natural rubber it is made of offer a compelling substitute for normal rubber.