It was the 1950s when Dottie Frazier pioneered the first ladies wetsuit pattern. Yes, things have come a long way since then, but it is still tricky finding the right balance between practicality and aesthetics. See below for some of our top tips when choosing a women’s wetsuit (written by one of the female members of the Mike’s Dive Store team).
- Cut and shape.
We have curves and sticky-out bits. Most wetsuit manufacturers take this into consideration in their designs allowing for hips and more tapered waists as an example.
The Aqua Lung Dive 7mm Women’s Wetsuit has ergonomic panels under the arms, inside the elbows and inside the knees for ease of movement. It also has pre-bent anatomic leg and arms for comfort. If you feel the cold, their Dive 4mm shorty fits perfectly over the top and is reversible to give some longevity. Aqua Lung have a whole range of Just For Women items also available at Mike’s Dive Store.
Sharkskin Thermal Protection products have some flattering cuts in their women’s range, delivering superior fit and comfort up to UK size 18. Clever front entry zips also make the shape of some women’s wetsuits more comfortable. The Waterproof W1 5mm Women’s Wetsuit has this feature and a Spine Pad which provides fantastic protection to the spine and kidney areas, with no rubbing of the tank against a zip.
In 2020 Fourth Element pioneered “Size Matters”. For those of us who had no idea where to start with a tape measure, they allowed us to compare our figures with their staff members body types. They have recently changed their dress size formula to a more Universal sizing system, even adding in a XXL T-shirt. This accounts for the more realistic 22% of plus sizes in the UK clothing market.
- Stitching and seals
The less stitching it has, the more flexible a suit will be. Taped internal seams also mean no friction against the skin like those on the Fourth Element Proteus2 5mm. The single blind stitched inner seams on the Scubapro Everflex 5/4mm Steamer are also comfortable against bare skin.
There are numerous other wetsuit features that may have been designed to appeal to women. These are (but not limited to) computer grips at the wrist; abrasion resistant pads to avoid friction from BCD straps; seals around zips to reduce water ingress; thermal plush linings and even attractive colour ways. While these are all nice things to have, a wetsuit will only be an effective tool if it fits correctly. Contact the team at Mike’s Dive Store to arrange a fitting and to answer any other questions you might have.