The Runners Forum
  Follow us on Instagram!
900 spacer
table top

Wetsuits 101

Wetsuits at The Runners ForumAre you looking to stay warm during your open water swim, or swim faster but don't know the first thing about wetsuits? Look no further! We have put together a quick guide that will help learn more about wetsuits and which one is right for you. Receive our newsletter for updates on gear, tips and advice, events, sales and more!

Advantages of a Wetsuit

  • Warmth
    • The neoprene rubber of a wetsuit allows a little bit of water to come in contact with the skin and creates a very warm insulated layer.
  • Increases speed
    • Increase your 1500m time by 2 to 3 minutes!
    • The material, a very buoyant neoprene rubber infused with air bubbles, adds buoyancy, decreases hydrodynamic resistance with a very slippery material, and helps displace more water.
    • One side is raw rubber and coated with a low friction coating called "composite skin". It's like a non-stock coating for pans. Makes it slippery, stretchy & fast.


One goal of a wetsuit is to increase warmth, buoyancy and full stroke motion.

  • Fits like a “second skin” by contouring the body.
    • There should be little or no air pockets
    • As a test, pull your wetsuit where your belly is, there should be some suction.
    • Good seal at the neck.
  • Too small?
    • Vertically (crotch to torso) will feel very uncomfortable.
    • Pulling down of the shoulders.
    • Pulling up of the crotch.
  • Too big?
    • Folds or wrinkles of rubber in midsection, rear or crotch.
    • Lots of air pockets.
    • Get the smallest size that fits.

Full vs. Sleeveless Wetsuits

Wearing a wetsuit is optional for most races. But you would be crazy not to take advantage of the warmth and speed! Once the water reaches a certain temperature, usually 75F, wearing a wetsuit becomes dangerous because you may become too warm and overheat.

There are two main types of wetsuits; full sleeved or sleeveless. Below are their advantages and disadvantages

  • Full
    • Cold to moderate temperatures (50-78F)
    • Faster
    • More buoyancy and more hydrodynamic.
    • Less water entry. 2-3 minutes faster over 1,500 meters
  • Sleeveless
    • Warmer temperatures (66 to mid-80F).
    • Not as buoyant & arguably more flexible.


  • Trislide
    • A spray on application that helps making a wetsuit easier to get on and off for a better transition.
  • Bodyglide
    • Some chafing can occur even in a properly fit wetsuit, especially in the back of the neck. Using Bodyglide will reduce or eliminate chafing.

Wetsuit Care Instructions

  • Fingernail tears can be a common occurrence from normal wear & tear. It can be easily repaired with wetsuit glue.
  • Rinse with cool fresh water every use.
  • Dry inside out away from the sun.
  • Do not dry on hanger but rather folded over towel rack or shower door.
  • When dry, store lightly folded and flat or on a thick coat hanger. Don't put heavy things on top of it.
  • No petroleum based lubricants. Use Bodyglide to protect from chafing and to ease your suit on & off.
  • Not recommended for use in chlorinated pools.
  • Use only for non-contact water sports.
table rounded bottom
table rounded bottom