Best Men’s Wetsuits For The UK – Buyers’ Guide

February 17, 2017

Best Men’s Full Wetsuits

For Windsurfing, Swimming, Scuba Diving & more…

 

In the UK a wetsuit is essential for those who want to spend long periods of time in or on the water.

Wetsuits allow us to surf and swim without getting cold and numb in our chilly waters.

With such a small window of nice weather but so many beautiful marine environments to explore, and waves to ride, choosing the right wetsuit is key to having a safe and enjoyable time.

When choosing comfort and warmth while in the water is your highest priority.

The best wetsuit for you depends on the kind of water activity – or activities – you are interested in, with each activity requiring specific wetsuit characteristics and features.

SCUBA divers and snorkellers often use a full type wetsuit. Free divers and surfers, on the other hand, prefer farmer john style wetsuits and short suits. There really is an option for all environments.

Fortunately, yet at the same time unfortunately,  we are overwhelmed by such a variety of wetsuit types, construction materials and features. There is a lot to understand for someone new to the world of watersports, and we are here to help.

Before presenting our list of the best wetsuits for men, a few words about the various types of wetsuit, their materials, and general features.

Types of Wetsuits

Our list of wetsuits is focussed on full-body and full-length wetsuits. Make sure that you buy the right suit for your needs.

Full suits

A full suit covers most of your body, except your hands, ankles, and feet. Some have shorter sleeves. These suits are designed to offer the highest levels of warmth and comfort to the wearer.

Full suit wetsuit

Full suit wetsuit

Spring Suit / Shorty

This type of wetsuit leaves uncovered the legs below the knee and usually features short sleeves. They are designed for warmer waters and are usually thinner than full wetsuits.

Spring suit wetsuit

Spring suit wetsuit

Farmer Johns & Short Johns

A farmer johns wetsuit has no sleeves and long legs. This type of wetsuit is a surfer favorite and used in climates where the ambient air is relatively warm. The short john is a shorter version of the farmer john, with cut – off legs.

Short John Wetsuit

Short John Wetsuit

 

Of course, you can also buy separate suit pieces and try to match them, but we would strongly recommend preferring one of the above options – especially if you are a beginner.

Wetsuits Materials

Neoprene

Neoprene wetsuits permit a restricted water absorption in the beginning, which, as soon as your body warms up, serves as a nice and comfort insulation. Foam neoprene, strengthened with water – repellant chemicals, is designed to prevent cold water from washing in and altering the suit’s inner temperature.

Neoprene suits come in several thicknesses, from 1 to 6 millimeters. In general, suits feature different thicknesses – thicker on the chest and back, thinner on the limbs and shoulders – denoted by classifications such as 3/2 mm (3mm on the core and 2mm on the limbs).

While neoprene is excellent for insulation, it is rigid and tough, making it quite difficult to fit in.

Nylon

Nylon facing is often used as an inner (and sometimes outer, known as Nylon 2) lining to the wetsuit, facilitating getting in and out of the suit, and providing added warmth.

The only problem with nylon linings is that it makes the suit bulkier and less durable.

Lycra, Spandex & Wool

These materials are also used as nylon substitutes, adding flexibility and stretch capability.

Stitching

Stitching always poses a challenge for wetsuit manufacturers, as it is the weakest part of the suit. Manufacturers use several types of stitching to minimize the ensuing problems. The most popular solutions include:

Tape

Taped seams cover needle holes between panels and add durability, creating a powerful and waterproof connection.

Glue

Glued seams, along with taping, fully eliminate the holes. Still, its hold is not very durable.

Blindstitch

Blindstitch sewing penetrates the material just deep enough to secure a good stitch, without breaking though the facing on the other side.

Overlock

Overlock stitching involves placing together neoprene pieces, with the outside surfaces facing each other, and stitching them together down the edge. When the pieces are bent the other direction they have a solid grip and an invisible seam, providing a strong hold and a snag-free outer surface, but being less watertight.

Flatlock

Instead of back to back, the neoprene pieces are placed edge to edge and sewn in a flat, circular pattern, providing more comfort, but being weaker.

 

Now that we have covered some basics, take a closer look at some of the best wetsuits for UK outdoor adventures:

 

Billabong Furnace Carbon 3/2mm Zip Free Wetsuit

Key Features

  • Made of Neoprene
  • Rated for water 42ºF – 62ºF degrees Fahrenheit and up
  • 100% stretch neoprene for extra flexibility
  • Carbon jersey lining
  • Stitchless seam construction
  • 1 Year Warranty
  • Long Sleeve Type
  • Designed mainly for Water Sports
  • Thickness: 3/2mm (also available in 4/3mm)

Review

This Zip – Free Full wetsuit will keep its promise to keep you warm under any circumstances, as it is made from 100% stretch neoprene. Featuring a Japanese Tatara Carbon Lining covering the entire suit, it boasts a much stronger, lighter and warmer feel, and it usually dries surprisingly faster than most of its competitors. The carbon woven into the bottom layer is the key to its unmatched warmth and flexibility, as it is the strongest and warmest thermal material used in the wetsuit industry.

The internal jersey heats up faster and maintains its temperature for longer periods of time, allowing you to stay in the water longer than you used to. Air pockets designed to trap and retain body heat also help. The stitchless welded seam construction ensures durability and excellent water-tight construction.

But this wetsuit’s most distinguishing feature is the zipperless entry, equipped with a BOA closure system – an innovation introduced for the first time in wetsuits. The stitchless seams are much sturdier and better sealed, while the wetsuit’s minimal seam design affords additional flexibility and convenient fit.

The Dry Max Furnace Lining is engineered with an internal thermal design for rapid dry time.

 

Pros
  • Extremely flexible
  • Stronger, lighter & warmer boot
  • Faster drying
  • Stitch-free furnace carbon
Cons
  • At this price, we can’t say there is any significant flaw

 

Our Opinion

Undoubtedly Billabong’s top cold – water wetsuit, Furnace was designed explicitly for extra warmth and comfort – and we can safely say that is has succeeded. Advanced materials, innovative construction, the patented ‘Drymax’ entry system make it an excellent choice for both beginners and demanding water sports enthusiasts.

 

 

Body Glove Red Cell Vapor X 3/2 Fullsuit

 

Key Features

  • Externally, Evoflex stretch neoprene
  • Insulation: Red Cell infrared & Thermoplush fiber
  • Thickness: 3/2 mm
  • Slant Zip
  • Gaskets: bib cinch & cordlock
  • Dimensions: 58.4 x 45.7 x 17.8 cm

Review

The ergonomically shaped Vapor X Slant 3/2mm Red Cell Zip Fullsuit was designed particularly for surfers. Featuring a Red Cell and Thermoplush fiber insulation it will keep you warm in open sea even in winter.

Special attention was given to the back panel, which facilitates paddling and allows surfers to remain in the water for longer than usual. The Nano Tritec kneepads add comfort, while drain holes and a bib cinch make sure the fit ensure is as precise and comfortable as possible.

Still, its most famed feature lies again in the interior neoprene lining that claims to redirect heat back to the body – and it actually does, by redirecting the infrared rays back to the body. The Red Cell lining yarns are made from a unique thermally receptive polymer, designed to trap infrared rays and reflecting them back to the body. Thus, the ameliorated ratio between emitted and absorbed infrared rays helps the body maintain a stable body temperature.

In addition, the Vapor X Red Cell lining utilize multiple elevated Hexagons along the interior, while the surrounding channels enhance breathability and make drying a lot faster.
All in all, the Red Cell proves comfortable, flexible and extra warm. Equally comfy are the seams – and sufficiently water – tight too, mainly because of their Liquid Weld taping, made of an extremely elasticised liquid polymer.

 

Pros
  • Excellent Red Cell material
  • Top inner & outer seam construction
  • Comfortable, without any flushing issues
Cons
  • The upper back ‘X’ shaped panel feels a bit stiff across the back of the shoulders, but it doesn’t impede manoeuvrability.

 

Our Opinion

In a nutshell, the suit performs like a top-end suit, utilizing the best seams, constructions and materials available on the market. The almost effortless slanted zip entry is a favorite and the absence of flushing adds even more value to its excellent design.

 

 

Hurley Phantom 3mm 2017 Chest Zip Wetsuit

 

Key Features

  • Thickness: 3/3mm
  • Thermolight Technology, reflecting your body heat #
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Superstretch Flexlight Neoprene
  • Contoured Chest Zip Entry
  • Seamless Shoulder Panels
  • Seam Free Paddle Zones
  • Power Seams
  • Blind – Stitched & Taped seams
  • Clean Finish Cuffs
  • Liquid Tape Cuffs minimizing water flushing
  • Exterior access stealth key pocket with cord

 

Review

Hurley strives to catch up with its competitors and, even though it has a long way ahead, its Phantom 202 Hooded Full wetsuit has forced other brands to pay much more respect to it than before.

Namely, this wetsuit features a Thermo Light technology that reflects body heat and promises to maintain you warm for hours. In fact, the initial idea was to find a way to combine the snugness of a 4mm wetsuit with the flexibility of a 3mm – and we can say that I worked out sufficiently well.
The Ergonomic seams ensure effortless motion, and the contoured chest zip entry and attached hood help will not fail to keep water out of the suit’s interior.

The contoured water – tight zipperless entry and seamless shoulders add up to the least possible bulk and a comfy fit. The elastic cinch around the left shoulder ensures a better fit. The Supratex kneepads are also a nice addition. Seams are very durable, with liquid tape across the exterior surface and often in the interior too.

 

Pros
  • It is warm
  • It is extremely light
Cons
  • Maybe the price is a bit high – but reasonable
  • The fit might give a bit trouble
  • Expect some flushing occasionally – but nothing that could make you feel uncomfortable.

 

Our Opinion

Undoubtedly, Hurley’s progress is enormous, and this wetsuit proves it. If you love light – weighted wetsuits, it is a great option for you – but expecting perfection would be unrealistic. Still, it is a nice, durable wetsuit in a relatively reasonable price.

 

 

Rip Curl Wetsuits Flashbomb Back Zip GBS Fullsuit 3/2mm

 

Key Features

  • Back Zipped Fullsuit
  • Thickness: 3/2mm
  • Glued & blind stitched with internal E4 Super Stretch taping
  • Neoprene
  • New E4 Super Stretch with E4 Flash lining
  • 4 – way stretch in the key areas
  • Seamless underarms & shoulders
  • Mesh chest and back panels for protection against the wind
  • Hydro – Lock collar
  • S – Flex knees
  • Key stash pocket on the left leg

 

Review

According to the manufacturer, this particular model is the world’s fastest drying wetsuit – but that is not all that make it great. If the essence of a great wetsuit is a delicate balance of warmth, weight and flexibility, the Rip Curl Flashbomb Back Zip GBS Fullsuit 3/2mm is a prime example – or, according to some, the best.

First of all, it is extremely light, made from neoprene and featuring a handy back – zip entry. A pull string on the shoulder tightens up nicely for an even better fit. Flexible, with an ingenious E4 Flash Lining, featuring 2 engineered layers that funnel water out of the suit once you hung it up. The Flash lining is also incredibly soft and fleecy making it one of the warmest and most comfortable linings available.

The internal seams are sealed with E4 Super Stretch tape, providing maximum seam stretch and, at the same time, ultimate seam sealing and comfort.

The 4 – way stretch in the key areas, the seamless underarms and shoulders, the mesh chest and back panels designed to protect you from the wind chill, a rather clever drainage system, the Hydro – Lock collar that allows you to enjoy flush free sessions, the durable S – Flex knees and the key stash pocket on the left leg add up and create a truly unique blend of durability, flexibility and efficiency.

 

Pros
  • Indeed, the world’s fastest drying wetsuit
  • Extremely light
  • A rather soft and warm flash lining
Cons
  • A bit pricey – but in no way over priced
  • Expect some water entering from time to time through the seems – but the amount is insignificant

 

Our Opinion

A wonderful combination of light – weighted materials, exceptional design and numerous clever innovations make Flashbomb one of the best wetsuits available. If, however, flushing gets on your nerves, maybe you should opt for another wetsuit.

 

 

Ion Onyx Amp Semidry 3/2 Wetsuit

 

Key Features

  • Fullsuit
  • Thickness: 3/2 mm
  • Suitable for temperatures around 15° – 20° Celsius
  • GBS seams with Maki – Tape
  • Sanitized antibacterial fabric
  • Ninja – Spine & Knees for extra flexibility
  • L – Tex Protection on knees
  • Seam Reinforcements
  • Seal – Tite on collar, wrists & ankles for optimized water sealing
  • Contour cut for better motion
  • Drain Holes
  • Key – loop pocket

 

Review

Instantly appealing with its contrasting colours, Ion Onyx Amp Semidry 3/2 wetsuit is the elegant combination of the brand’s famed Hot Stuff lining and its Ninja Spine, affording high construction quality, comfort and protection. Designed for surfers who simply don’t want to get out of the water the Ion Onyx Amp Semidry invests both on style and performance.

Made of 100% Neoprene tape on the inside, the wetsuit features a remarkable stretch and a rather snug and comfy feel to your skin. Exterior stitching on the legs and torso provide extra strength and durability to these critical areas, while the GBS seam across the shoulders and arms is cleverly concealed.

The so called “Ninja Knees” feature ensures unobstructed motion. Moreover, a small striped insert between the back and the buttock panels renders extra flexibility. Featuring the same highly elastic materials as used in the arm panels, you will enjoy freedom of movement, especially when bending the knees.

Last but not least, the wetsuit uses a certified antibacterial fabric (Sanitized), enhanced with active biocidal substance that eliminates bad odor from bacteria or mildew in moist or sweaty environments.

 

Pros
  • Style and elegance
  • Quality materials
  • Particularly flexible – ideal for surfers
  • Antibacterial fabric
Cons
  • You should expect some occasional flushing

 

Our Opinion

A no – brainer if you are surfer – a very nice option for the rest. Great value for money, and if it had not been for the occasional flushing from time to time, we would not hesitate to put it first in our list of the best wetsuits available for 2018.

 

 

C – Skins Hot Wired 6×5 Hooded Steamer Wetsuit

Key Features

  • Super Seal collar
  • Iris closure
  • Enigma2 chest zip
  • Internal key pocket with loop
  • Power Seam stitchless construction
  • Xtend Isolation Tape internal seams
  • Dryknit thermal lining
  • Mesh Skin chest and back
  • H2X DryFlex outer lining
  • FutureFit arm and knee flex embossing
  • HyPE Lockdown cuffs
  • Air Foam
  • FutureFit
  • True Thickness
  • DuraFlex knee pads
  • FutureFit 3D knees

Review

With the last one in our list of the best men’s wetsuits for 2017, we will just cut to the chaste.

C – Skins makes the most of its unique neoprene lining, known for its warmth, famed for its lightness, notorious for its fast drying and admired for its performance. In addition, the razor thin 0.5mm C – Flex ultra stretch neoprene tape enhances waterproofing and strength of the all internal seams.

Another interesting feature is the Lock – Down cuff, designed for extra comfort and protection against flushing, as the cuff edge is completely seamless and the panel stretches out to create a 100% water – tight seal.

The Enigma2 Chest Zip is in fact a fully sealed, watertight seam construction: panels are glued, pressed together and then stitched with a “blindstich” (check the introduction) – it is the well known GBS technology.

Another unique feature is C – Skins’ “Iris” closure that simplifies entry and exit, while preserving the required close seal around the neck. The Super Seal Glideskin Collar is smooth and comfortable, matching the contours of the neck and providing an excellent feel. Moreover, C – Skins’ PE ‘sticky’ ink around the ankle forms an impervious watertight barrier, which almost eliminates flaring and flushing. The legs are also equipped with the DuroFlx Knee Pads, contoured panels made from a durable and abrasion resistant material that stretches when you move.

Finally, a few words about the AirFoam feature: being 20% lighter than traditional neoprene, without sacrificing stretch, warmth or durability, it offers efficiency and great maneuverability The additional Nitrogen gas mix increases foam aeration adding extra warmth and flexibility.

 

Pros
  • Extremely light
  • Extremely durable
  • Extremely waterproof
  • Extremely… extreme!
Cons
  • We have tried to find something… but in vain. For this price, we could not find any serious drawbacks.

 

Our Opinion

C – Skins innovative neoprene lining, its increased warmth, lightness and performance, its array of excellent new technologies make it a simply unrivalled option for ardent water sports lovers.

 

CURRENTLY OUT OF STOCK

 

O’Neill Psychofreak FZ 5.4 SSW Wetsuit

 

Key Features

  • 5/4mm Thick
  • Seams – Stitchless Double Superseam Weld
  • F. U. Z. E. ZIP system with Drainhole
  • Neoprene – Technobutter 2
  • Double Super Seal Neck
  • External Key Pocket with Loop
  • Plasma Wrist & Ankle Seals
  • Super Seal Cuffs
  • Minimal Seam Design
  • 1 Warranty year workmanship and materials
  • Colour: black & red

 

Review

O’Neill wetsuits are famed for their overall performance, warmth and flexibility, mainly for the material and stitching they use: O’Neill Technobutter 2 Neoprene and Super Seam Weld Seams combine for extremely well balanced wetsuits.

The PsychoFreak full wetsuit features an extremely light firewall made of TechnoButter 2 Air – Insulation and rapid drying TechnoButter Neoprene, making it, according to some, the best performing wetsuit available.

Equipped with a FUZE Zen Zip in the chest, this wetsuit poses no trouble to get in and out of, being rather comfortable around the torso without extra rubber and without sacrificing durability.

A bit less flexible than you would anticipate for a wetsuit of this quality – but in no way problematic – but at least there is no chance for water to penetrate it, ensured by an excellent and robust double sided liquid tape that, along with the Firewall interior, will keep you sufficiently warm even in the open ocean. The smooth rubber on the chest and back plates also help.

Its price can be described as reasonable or at least competitive compared to wetsuits of similar quality. It come with 1 year warranty from the manufacturer – which you probably you will not need.

 

Pros
  • Extremely waterproof
  • It will keep you warm
  • Durable with great seams
  • Nice entry
Cons
  • A bit stiff
  • Pricey

 

Our Opinion

Though not the best wetsuit available, as claimed by some of its ardent supporters, the PsychoFreak full wetsuit will not fail your expectation, even in the open sea and during the winter.

 

 

A few last tips…

Make sure that your wetsuits fits. It is not only important for comfort, but also for protecting your body temperature through effective water insulation – a factor that could literally ruin your day in the sea.

If your wetsuit is too baggy and loose, the water won’t heat sufficiently to keep you warm. Likewise, if it is too tight, there won’t be enough amount of water to heat. So, make sure the fit is as precise as possible.

Another important area is the closures around the wrists and ankles. If they allow water to wash in and out of the wetsuit then you won’t be keen to remain in the cold water for long.

 

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