Wetsuits are not one-size-fits-all, and if you look at product reviews, one of the biggest complaints is that they don't fit as well as hoped or expected.
Before you add a brand-new wetsuit to your shopping cart, make sure it's the right size for your height, weight, and frame, as shown in this wetsuit size chart.
Understanding Wetsuit Sizes
The problem with wetsuit sizing is that the measurements differ depending on the manufacturer.
They all tend to use the same sizes, but the actual height, weight, and chest measurements can vary.
Generally, you will find the following sizes for men’s wetsuits:
- XXS = Extra Extra Small
- XS = Extra Small
- S = Small
- M = Medium
- L = Large
- T = Tall
These can be combined depending on your body measurements.
For instance, LT would be large and tall, making it ideal for users carrying a few extra pounds and standing a few extra inches taller.
If we use O'Neil Wetsuits as an example, the range looks something like this:
- XXS = 5'6" to 5'8" Height + 115 to 130 lbs. Weight + 32.5" to 34.5" Chest + 27" to 29" Waist.
- M = 5'9" to 5'11" Height + 150 to 170 lbs. Weight + 38.5" to 40.5" Chest + 30.5" to 32.5" Waist.
- LT = 6'2" to 6'4" Height + 180 to 200 lbs. Weight + 40.5" to 42.5" Chest + 32.5" to 34.5" Waist.
- XXL = 6'0" to 6'2" Height + 210 to 230 lbs. Weight + 44.5" to 46.5" Chest + 36.5" to 38.5" Waist.
There are many sizes in-between, but this should give you a general idea of what to expect.
Women's sizes are a little different as they go from 2 (the smallest) to 16 (the biggest), and there are tall options as well.
These numbers are also used for children's O'Neil wetsuits.
Check the Reviews
The first thing you should do is check the manufacturer's wetsuit sizing guide.
You will need to know your approximate weight, waist size, chest measurements, and height, and this will give you an accurate and properly fitting wetsuit.
It might be tempting to go for one that is a few sizes too big, just to make sure it fits and you have plenty of room, but wetsuits are not baggy jeans or sweaters.
They are designed to keep you warm and insulated and need to fit perfectly.
If you're buying from lesser-known wetsuit manufacturers and don't have a guide to consult, just use the O'Neill wetsuit size guide outlined above, find your corresponding size, and check the reviews to see what customers are saying.
If there are any issues, including incorrectly labeled sizes or wetsuits that are a little looser or tighter than they should be, you'll learn about them here.