This blog was updated in October 2020 for accuracy and updated information..
There are so many different types of women’s wetsuits on the market, it’s practically impossible to know which one to buy. I’ve tried all sorts of wetsuits from all sorts of brands. Call me a wetsuit snob, but when it comes to a good wetsuit, I know my stuff. Whether this is your first time buying a wetsuit, you’re searching for a cold water upgrade, or you want to find the cutest spring suit, this guide will help you find the perfect wetsuit
A wetsuit isn’t just meant to keep you warm, for me, a wetsuit completely affects my performance in the water so flexibility and comfort are a huge factor for me when purchasing a wetsuit.
Not only that, but with the increasing choices in women’s wetsuits, you have the option to pick a cute wetsuit that collides with comfort. I mean come on, a stylish wetsuit matters and in todays’s day and age, you can guarantee a cute design whether it’s a 5/4 or spring suit.
Last of all, price is important when deciding which wetsuit to buy. No one brand has all the key features in one women’s wetsuit so you’re going to want a wetsuit that fits your budget.
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Things to consider when purchasing a wetsuit
- Have you tried on this brand of wetsuit before? All wetsuit brands fit differently even though their sizing all runs the same. I highly recommend trying on the wetsuit you’re interested in at your local surf shop before purchasing. Even though you need to try on a wetsuit in person, order online because you will get much better deals. On this blog, we share the best deals on each wetsuit. After you’ve tried on the wetsuit, head back over to this blog so you can find the best price.
- How warm is the air? If the water is 62 but the air is is the 70s, there’s a good chance you could get by with a 3/2mm wetsuit. Consider the average air temperature when purchasing your wetsuit.
- Is there windchill? Wind plays a big role in how cold the air seems. 60 with a breeze is MUCH colder than 60 without. As a surfer, you probably want to avoid wind altogether but if you surf around sunset or other breezy times, consider getting a warmer wetsuit than the standard water temperature guide.
- How tolerant to the cold are you? I can handle being a bit cold, but for my mom, the second she gets a little cold, it’s all over. Some people are just not as tolerant to the cold as others and this is something REALLY important to consider when picking a wetsuit.
Temperature: 66 – 72 F / 20 – 22 C
Standard Price: $105
Pros: Stretchy and lightweight for maximum comfort, stylish, and cheap
Cons: Like any wetsuit, the warmth will degrade with time. Billabong suits have about 365 days in them before they really start ripping and deteriorating.
As soon as the ocean gets into the high 60s I’m reaching for this wetsuit. I love that the material is super thin and stretchy so it doesn’t inhibit my paddling in any way. I like the stylish deigns the Salty Daze comes in. They’re as cute as bikinis but with twice the warmth. I personally prefer the long sleeved style of spring suit because my legs don’t usually get very cold in the temperature range. I love the low cut neckline that makes it feel less suffocating like full suits. This is overall my favorite spring suit because of the immense comfort and great price.
Standard Price: $170
Pros: Total freedom in the arms for maximum paddle power. Warmer than the typical long sleeved spring suit.
Cons: More expensive than a typical spring suit.
This wetsuit is perfect for places like Hawaii where the water and air are warm, but not warm enough to skin it. This is also perfect if there’s a breeze and you need an extra layer of warmth. The sun can still shine on your skin but you’ll be nice and warm when sitting in the lineup. My favorite part of this wetsuit is the unobstructed range of motion it allow sin your shoulders. I hate wetsuits that add weight to you paddle strokes and this wetsuit has none of that. With comfortable knee pads and a floral print on the bottom, this wetsuit matches form with function for warm climate surf sessions.
Standard Price: $170
Pros: Stretchy, warm, and stylish. This wetsuit will last a lifetime.
Cons: More expensive than a typical spring suit.
The big difference between this and a Ripcurl or Billabong suit is the durability and warmth. Patagonia wetsuits are built to last forever and this is no exception. Even though this suit is still a 2mm, it’s much warmer than the other suits in this section. If warmth or lifetime matter to you, it’s probably better to invest in this wetsuit.
Standard Price: $105
Pros: Stylish, cheap, and stretchy
Cons: Slightly bulky for a spring suit. Not quite as thin as the Billabong
Much like the Billabong, this is a great all around spring suit. It comes in a variety of prints and has a good price tag. Ripcurl wetsuits in general are built for longer torso’d women so it’s important to size yourself up for this one. The neck is low cut for a less constricting feel and the chest zip is good for easy on and off. The big difference between this and the Billabong is the torso length. Longer torso’d women will fit this wetsuit better than the Billabong.
Temperature: 62 – 66 F / 16 – 20 C
Standard Price: $150
Pros: Thin material, stylish seams, and warm
Cons: Won’t last much more than a year
While this wetsuit does come in a chest zip, you probably don’t need a the extra warmth since you’d use the 3/2mm wetsuits only in mild water temperature and don’t require the most extreme warmth. The back zip makes for quick and easy on-and-off for long surf days. Billabong wetsuits always provide maximum comfort through thin but warm materials. This wetsuit comes with thermal lining on the inside, a nice plus for dawn patrol, and has both glued and stitched seams. The negative with Billabong is that the materials only last for a year’s worth of surfing and both their glued and woven seams often come undone.
Standard Price: $500
Pros: Extremely warm, unique appearance, and eco friendly. Will last for years.
Cons: Extremely expensive for a basic 3/2mm
This is an expensive wetsuit, but not without a reason. This 3/2mm has top of line warmth that can arguably keep a surfer warm in as low as 55 degree temps. With glued seams and an internal chest zip, this wetsuit is practically a 4/3 but without the thickness. Matuse prides itself on their innovative design and this wetsuit is just that. The company uses Geoprene which is 30% more water resistant the traditional neoprene AKA warmer, lighter, dries faster, and lasts longer. The only downfall to this suit is the fact that it’s still a 3/2 and for a 3/2, the price is insane. It’s important to note however that this suit should be treated more as a 4/3 than a 3/2 because of the high tech design.
Standard Price: $430
Pros: Maximum combo of warmth and comfort. Will last a lifetime.
Cons: Very pricey for a simple 3/2 wetsuit
Perhaps the warmest and most comfortable wetsuit on the market is Patagonia R series. Not only is the series filled with maximum warmth and comfort, Patgonia Yulex material is 100% naturally derived and produced 80% less greenhouse gases than the productions of standard neoprene wetsuits. With Patagonia, you can guarantee a comfortable, warm, and eco friendly product. The Patagonia R1, like the Artemis, is a bit of an overkill for the low temps that go with a 3/2 wetsuit.
Temperature: 54 – 62 F / 13 – 16 C
Tip: All these wetsuits would keep you moderately warm in as low as 52 degrees, however you will
want need booties (see our top picks below) in that cold of water.
Standard Price: $250
Pros: Stretchy for maximum comfort, stylish, and cheap
Cons: Like any wetsuit, the warmth will degrade of
For how cheap this wetsuit is, you’re getting an amazing suit. Billabong always delivers immense comfort and warmth and it’s especially true with the Salty Daze line. The material is still 4/3mm, but there’s an obvious difference in the thin lightweight feel compared to many other wetsuits on the market. With their new 2020 update of Graphene thermal lining along with triple glued seams and a water draining chest zip, you can expect to be toasty warm even on the coldest mornings. In my past experiences with this wetsuit, I love it, however, because it’s so cheap, I usually only get one year out of this thing. It’s normal after a year to see rips, tears, and degraded warmth. That being said, I can’t say for sure what their new Graphene features do to the wetsuits durability since I haven’t tested it myself.
Standard Price: $380
Pros: SUPER warm
Cons: Thick and bulky feel, not the most comfortable
Ripcurl wetsuits are popular even among the most elite surfers and that’s because they are extremely warm wetsuits. With aquaban tape, E5 Flash tape, and glued seams, the wetsuit practically repels cold water, not to mention the water draining chest zip. The only negative of this suit is the bulk. Unlike Billabong whose 4/3 material seems much thinner than stated, with Ripcurl it’s the opposite. A 4/3 feels more like a 5/4 but at least you’ll be warm. Becasue of the thickness, Ripcurl wetsuit is not ideal for those with broader shoulders.
Standard Price: $460
Pros: The ultimate combination of warmth and comfort, will last a lifetime
Cons: It’s a pricey wetsuit
This absolute the best wetsuit for surfing in moderately cold water! The price is high but this suit will TRULY last a lifetime. The Patagonia R series runs from R1 to R3 and as the middle model, you will get maximum flexibility and warmth even among Patagonia’s already very comfortable wetsuits. Patagonia’s is increasingly popular due to their eco friendly materials and production that creates 80% less greenhouse gases. The Yulex® material creates high permeance, durability, warmth and sustainability. The R2®’s triple glued seams, internal lining, and external seaming. The front zipper has a corrosion proof zipper which provides a greater, warmer seal and a longer lifespan. With padding on the knees and ankles, you’ll never have to worry about ripping the material when you’re rushing put your wetsuit on. Last but not least, the R2 has an incredible dry speed. You can be taking your wetsuit off after the morning sesh and it’ll be dry by noon. Overall, this is our top pick for full wetsuits.
Standard Price: $295
Pros: A good combination of comfort and warmth, like an in between of the Billabong an Rip Curl 4/3s, but also slightly less expensive than the Patagonia
Cons: It’s pricey and is sold exclusively on Nike.com
This is personally my all time favorite wetsuit for the combination of comfort and warmth it provides. I can’t stand a wetsuit with tight material in the shoulders. The Advantage Plus has stretchy and soft material for maximum comfort. This wetsuit has a draining chest zip with a tightening strap, meaning no water’s going to get in this suit. This suit has soft and thin knee pads, great padding and comfortable. Not only does this wetsuit have glued seams, but it’s embroidered seams along the suit make for stylish lining. While the suit comes in a 3/2 version, the 3/2 is only a tad bit cheaper making it pretty darn expensive for a 3/2.
2020 Update: As of October 2020, Hurley is not currently designing women’s full suits which makes me really sad because this is one of my absolute favorite wetsuits. I’m sure they will come out with a new womens wetsuit eventually and when they do, we will try to update this blog with new information. You can still find a 3/2 version of this wetsuit on Amazon if you’re really interested in this womens wetsuit design.
Temperature: 43 – 54 F / 6 – 13 C
Booties, gloves, and a hood are highly recommended for cold water surfing in these temps (see our top picks below).
Standard Price: $440
Pros: Max warmth for true cold water surfing
Cons: Ripcurl tends to have uncomfortably thick material
Though Ripcurl is a bit on the bulky side, when the water’s this cold, bulky doesn’t matter so much. The Flash Bomb series never disspoints when it comes to insulation. With the built in hood, not only will you save money on not buying an additional hoodie, but a built in hoodie prevents water from gettin in at the neck. Overalll, this is our top pick as the warmest wetsuit for the most extreme of cold water surfing.
Standard Price: $490
Pros: Total warmth and super comfortable, will last forever
Cons: Nothing but the price tag
Last of all is Patagonia’s warmest women’s suit. Once again, Patagonia is changing the industry with their incredible, eco friendly Yulex material. The material is much warmer than standard neoprene and lasts a lifetime. Like the R1 and R2, this wetsuit has a draining chest zip with and elastic band to keep water out. The mesh outer material on the knees and ankles makes for more durability when your rushing to put your wetsuit on. The R3 is the queen of all full suits. It’s the warmest, most comfortable wetsuit out there, and while it doesn’t have a hood, the addition of one is a small price to pay for such an amazing suit.
Best Booties, Gloves, and Hoods
While there’s a huge market of booties, gloves, and hoods, our go-to has always been O’neill despite the fact that we’re not a fan of their wetsuits. Here are top picks for warmth and comfort.
O’neill Psycotech 5mm RT Boot (This also comes in a 7mm version for colder temps)
Standard Price: $80
Pros: Super warm and sealed to water with tightening straps
Cons: Like all booties, they’re a little hard to get on
Standard Price: $75
Pros: Tight fitting to prevent water from getting in, thick material keep the hands warm
Cons: A bit wide-fingered so a little uncomfortable
Standard Price: $60
Pros: Insertable hoodie allows little to no water to get in at the neck, highest quality Yulex® material for max warmth, tight but not suffocating feel
Cons: Simply the tight fit can be uncomfortable for some, but I don’t know a hoodie that gets much better
Hope this helped you find the right wetsuit! If you have any questions let me know in the comments section below!