What Are the Different Styles of Wetsuits?

What Are the Different Styles of Wetsuits?
There are a few different styles of wetsuits that you can choose from. Each has its own advantages in not only protecting but streamlining a surfer or swimmer. Wetsuits can also be used for many other purposes such as deep-sea diving and snorkeling.

Spring Suits

Spring suits have short sleeves for your arms and legs and are suited for warmer water.

Long John Wetsuits

Long John wetsuits cover your chest and legs. They, however, do not cover your arms, so they look like overalls. This leads to the nicknames Farmer John and Jane for this type of suit.

Full Suit Wetsuit

The full suit covers your body, arms and legs. This gives the user a greater level of insulation and keeps him or her warmer in colder water.

Wetsuit Vests

Vests are best used over another wetsuit to increase the insulation of your body.

Wetsuit Jacket

Wetsuit jackets help insulate the upper body. They can be worn over another wetsuit as well to further warm and protect the body.


Wetsuit styles have to keep a balance between thickness and flexibility. Your wetsuit cannot be too thick because it will reduce your flexibility and leave you less able to swim or surf. At the same time, you want a wetsuit that is thick enough to keep you warm in cold water. Common thickness ratings are 4/3 and 5/3. The first number refers to the thickness of the suit around the torso. The second number indicates the thickness of the legs of the wetsuit.


There are many different styles of seams for your wetsuit:

Over-locking stitching -- This style of stitching is found usually in warm-water suits because more water can get through them and they won't keep the swimmer as warm as other styles. Suits with this stitching are, however, more durable.

Flat-locked stitching -- This style of stitching is more comfortable than over-locking stitching. However, flat-locked stitching is still not recommended for cold water because water will still enter the wetsuit.

Blind-stitched seam -- With this style of stitching, the material is not actually punctured. Instead, the wetsuit material is attached by a glue to form a water-tight seam. The disadvantage to this seam is that it requires more maintenance to keep it fully usable. Users can put a neoprene tape on the seams for extra protection.

Article Written By Heather Broeker

Originally from North Carolina, Heather Broeker studied journalism and advertising at the University of North Carolina. After graduation she moved to Los Angeles, where she worked for Fox Searchlight, Fox Reality and later as a writer and marketing director. Broeker now lives in Los Angeles and runs Head Over Heels, a writing and public relations company.

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