Everyone knows that triathlon and open-water swimming wetsuits are tough to put on. That battle, while annoying, is absolutely necessary to ensure you have the right fitting wetsuit to provide the maximum benefit to your swim. If you have a wetsuit that goes on nice and easy and fits like a comfy pair of pajamas, odds are this wetsuit is too big on you. Why is the struggle a necessity you ask? Because these wetsuits are meant to fit like a second skin to work as intended. If you’re wondering how to find the right size wetsuit for your body, you’ve come to the right place! The pros at Just Wetsuits are here to share how to order the perfect fit for your triathlon wetsuit. Learn more, and if you have any questions, contact us — we’re more than happy to help.
Weight is usually the most important factor in buying the right wetsuit size. Let’s say you are a 5’9” guy who weighs 168 lbs. You want to find your weight on whatever brand of wetsuit you are looking at. Every wetsuit brand has its own size charts, and while some seem to follow similar profiles, each brand’s size chart is required to verify it’s the right size for your stats in that brand. There is usually a range given. For example, in the Orca size chart weight range is 165-180lbs for size 7. The wetsuit height range is 5’8-6’1. This one is easy, he’s a straightforward size 7.
Let’s say a guy with the same weight as our previous example is big into CrossFit, and he has a huge upper body, with a chest measuring 43”. The size chart for size 7 chest measurement only goes up to 41”. If he remained in the size 7 due to his weight, as is usually the most important factor for proper sizing, he’d have so much restriction in the chest that he’d be miserable and struggling to breathe. Keeping him in a one-piece wetsuit means he’d need to size up to an 8 to account for his chest but would have a ton of extra room for water to collect in his lower body. In this instance, this guy would be better suited in a two-piece wetsuit. This way you can order a top to fit his larger chest (size 8 fits 41-43” chest), and a smaller size 7 for his leaner lower body.
What if the man is 168 lbs but he’s 6’3” tall? That’s another issue because while his weight suggests he should be that same size 7, he is too tall for the size 7. The height range in any brand is not about the inseam fit. It is related to the torso length of the suit from the crotch to the neck. So, when the range for height in Orca’s size 7 reads 5’8-6’1, it means it will fit a person with an average torso length for a height of 5’8-6’1.
So, in our example, this guy is 2 inches over the height range. Even with the wetsuit pulled ALL THE WAY up in the crotch, it will be pulling down on his shoulders creating resistance and exhausting him quickly because there isn’t enough material in the torso to account for his torso length. Sizing up to account for his height means he must go up to a size 9. (Size 8 only goes up to 6’2 and recall he is 6’3). Size 9 will give him torso length, but it’s meant for a much thicker guy (the weight range is 196-213 lbs). Why is this a bad idea? Because at 168 lbs, this wetsuit is meant to fit a guy 43 lbs heavier than he is. While it fits him in the torso, he will take on SO MUCH water that it will actually make swimming harder rather than easier, since he will be dragging all that extra water with him. In this instance, I would say he is just not a good fit for Orca wetsuits. He’d need to look at other brands that give the taller height range and keep the weight.
Are you unsure of your size in any particular brand? Most people aren’t a perfect match for the size chart ranges as they are shown. Unsure of what size you need? Call the team at Just Wetsuits! We specialize in sizing, have experience with 12 brands of wetsuit manufacturers, and can guide you to the right size in any given wetsuit you may be interested in.