Your First Wetsuit – Which Wetsuit Is Best For Me?

Most wetsuit brands offer many different models. Ranging from less expensive entry level wetsuits to high-performance race wetsuits.

 

Check out the different scenarios below and see which category you may fit into. For the sake of this article, we have used the wetsuit brand Blueseventy for examples as it is the brand we at Swim360 Coach wear and love. However, you can use these examples to compare with other wetsuit brands that will most likely have similar levels and price ranges for their wetsuits.

Blueseventy helix, reaction, fusion, alliance swimming and triathlon wetsuits

 

Scenario 1 –  Beginner swimmer, never swum in the open water before, doing your first open water swimming event, triathlon or Ironman race.

Depending on your budget and how likely you think you will continue with the sport (most people never just do one) you should go for an entry level wetsuit if your budget is low, or a medium level wetsuit if your budget is higher – there is no need to get the very best wetsuit at this stage.

Our suggestions:

Blueseventy Sprint – entry

Blueseventy Fusion – medium entry

Blueseventy Reaction – medium

 

Scenario 2 – Medium level swimmer, never swum in the open water before, doing your first open water swimming event, triathlon or Ironman race.

Depending on your budget and how likely you think you will continue with the sport (most people never just do one) you should go for a medium entry level wetsuit if your budget is low or a medium wetsuit if your budget is higher.

Our suggestions:

Blueseventy Fusion – medium entry

Blueseventy Reaction – medium

 

Scenario 3 – Really good swimmer, never swum in the open water before, doing your first open water swimming event, triathlon or Ironman race.

Depending on your budget and how likely you think you will continue with the sport (most people never just do one) you should go for a medium level wetsuit if your budget is low or a high-end wetsuit if your budget is higher. Most people with a background in competitive swimming find wetsuits quite restricting in the shoulders, getting a high-end wetsuit will ensure you get the best shoulder flexibility which in turn will increase your enjoyment. Using an entry level wetsuit can be enough to put a good swimmer off open water swimming as they are not used to the restriction.

Our suggestions:

Blueseventy Reaction – medium

Blueseventy Helix – high end

 

Scenario 4 – Borrowed a high-end wetsuit from a friend for my first open water swimming event, triathlon or Ironman race.

Having used a high-end wetsuit you will unlikely want to downgrade to a lower level wetsuit as it will not feel as flexible and will likely not be as fast as a high-end one. However, if the wetsuit you used was quite an old model then chances are the latest medium level wetsuit would likely be similar in performance if not even better.

Our suggestions:

Blueseventy Reaction – medium

Blueseventy Helix – high end

 

Scenario 5 – Borrowed a medium level wetsuit from a friend for my first open water swimming event, triathlon or Ironman race.

Having used a medium level wetsuit you will unlikely want to downgrade to a lower level wetsuit as it will not feel as flexible as a medium level wetsuit. You can either stick with a medium level wetsuit or upgrade to a high-end wetsuit depending on your budget. The latest model medium wetsuit will most likely feel better than an older model medium wetsuit so sticking with a medium level wetsuit can be a good option.

Our suggestions:

Blueseventy Reaction – medium

Blueseventy Helix – high end

 

Scenario 6 – Borrowed an old entry level wetsuit from a friend for my first open water swimming event, triathlon or Ironman race.

Having used an entry level wetsuit you have many options. Depending on your budget you may want to either stick with an entry level wetsuit or chances are you will want to upgrade. It is always a good idea to upgrade as a higher level wetsuit will increase performance and enjoyment, and since you in the market for a wetsuit, you likely enjoyed your first event, now planning for your next one.

Our suggestions:

Blueseventy Sprint – entry

Blueseventy Fusion – medium entry

Blueseventy Reaction – medium

 

Scenario 7 – Doing my first swimrun race.

Swimrun races where you run in your wetsuit and swim in your shoes require a special wetsuit designed for this purpose. You can either purchase a swimrun wetsuit or you can customize a swimming wetsuit by cutting the legs off just above the knees.

Our suggestion:

Blueseventy Alliance

 

If your budget is on the higher end, and you really want to get into the sport of open water swimming, triathlon or Ironman events and think you will use your wetsuit multiple times a week it is a good idea to buy 2 wetsuits, one for racing and one for training in. You can buy a medium level wetsuit for training in and a high-end wetsuit for racing in. Saving your race wetsuit for racing only, helps it last longer so will maintain its shape and firmness for longer. It also gives you a mental advantage, knowing you are wearing a faster wetsuit than your training one – this can give you a mental boost on race day. A medium level wetsuit will generally last longer than a high-end wetsuit, high-end wetsuits are built for performance using thin neoprene which sacrifices durability. This makes a medium level wetsuit perfect for training in.

 

I’ve got my wetsuit! What’s next?

Investing in a new wetsuit is only the start of your journey! Getting good training advice, and putting in the time to prepare for your event will ensure you get maximum enjoyment out of it!

 

Carl is head coach at Swim360 Coach, a former Olympian and national champion freestyler. Carl now uses his skills and passion for coaching and competing in the open water.