How do I choose the right size wetsuit?


Introduction: Selecting the right wetsuit size is crucial for any triathlete aiming for peak performance in the water. A well-fitted wetsuit not only enhances buoyancy and speed but also ensures comfort throughout your swim leg. Whether you're a seasoned athlete or new to the sport, finding the perfect fit can be a game-changer. Let's dive into the essential steps to ensure you choose the ideal size wetsuit for your next triathlon adventure.

Understanding Wetsuit Sizing: Before delving into the selection process, it's vital to understand how wetsuit sizing works. Wetsuits are typically sized based on height, weight, and chest circumference. Each brand may have its own size chart, so it's essential to refer to specific guidelines provided by the manufacturer.

Key Considerations:

  1. Fit and Comfort: A wetsuit should feel snug but not constricting. It should allow for a full range of motion in the arms and shoulders without causing discomfort or chafing. Pay close attention to areas such as the neckline, wrists, and ankles to ensure a proper seal against water entry.

  2. Buoyancy: The right wetsuit size enhances buoyancy, keeping you afloat and streamlined in the water. Opt for a fit that provides adequate buoyancy without feeling overly buoyant or restrictive.

  3. Flexibility: Look for wetsuits constructed from flexible materials such as neoprene, which allow for natural movement during swimming strokes. A well-fitted wetsuit should not impede your ability to perform efficient swim techniques.

  4. Seam Placement: Check the placement of seams to ensure they align with your body's natural movement patterns. Flatlock seams reduce chafing and improve comfort, especially during longer swims.

  5. Trial and Testing: Whenever possible, try on multiple sizes and brands to determine the best fit for your body type. Many retailers offer fitting sessions or allow customers to test wetsuits in the water before making a purchase.

Steps to Find Your Ideal Size:

  1. Measurements: Take accurate measurements of your height, weight, chest circumference, waist, and hips. Use these measurements as a reference when consulting the manufacturer's size chart.

  2. Size Chart Comparison: Compare your measurements with the size chart provided by the wetsuit manufacturer. Take note of any discrepancies or overlap between sizes, and consider factors such as body shape and proportions.

  3. Flexibility Test: When trying on a wetsuit, perform a range of movements simulating swimming strokes to assess flexibility and comfort. Pay attention to areas where the wetsuit may feel tight or restrictive.

  4. Range of Motion: Ensure the wetsuit allows for full range of motion in the shoulders, arms, and legs. Test different swim strokes and movements to confirm flexibility and comfort.

  5. Seal Check: Test the seal around the neckline, wrists, and ankles by simulating swimming movements in water or mimicking the motion on dry land. A proper seal prevents water entry and enhances warmth retention.

  6. Seek Expert Advice: Don't hesitate to seek advice from experienced triathletes, coaches, or retail professionals who can provide valuable insights and recommendations based on their expertise.

Conclusion: Choosing the right size wetsuit is essential for optimizing your performance and comfort during triathlon swims. By understanding key considerations and following these steps, you can confidently select a wetsuit that fits like a second skin, propelling you towards your goals in the water. Dive in, find your perfect fit, and conquer your next triathlon with confidence!

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Need help with sizing? Email me at and I would be happy to help you out.


Julia Aimers
CSEP Clinical Exercise Physiologist
CSEP High-Performance Specialist

Certified Triathlon, Cycling, Yoga and Swimming Coach
USA Cycling Level 2 Coach
Training Peaks Accredited Coach

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