Wetsuit leggings/pants are the yoga pants of the sea. They are designed for surfing and other water sports and are comfortable, warm, and protective.
Wetsuit pants are part of a category known as wetsuit separates, as they can form part of a full wetsuit without actually being connected. In this guide, we’ll tell you all about them, including why you should wear wetsuit pants and where to find the best ones.
Why Should You Wear Wetsuit Pants/Leggings?
Here are some of the reasons you should consider wearing wetsuit pants:
They Are Versatile
Thinner wetsuit pants will provide some protection in warm waters and are also comfortable and stylish enough to be worn on the beach.
You don’t have to worry about removing a full wetsuit just because you want to chill on the beach.
You can also wear them for a workout or a jog in the park, making them a more complete piece of clothing than a full wetsuit.
They Provide Sun Protection
Surfers are considerably more likely to get skin cancer. They are out on the surf all day and even if they cover themselves in sunblock, it’ll just get washed away.
Wetsuit pants will provide some sun protection and reduce the risk of burns, heatstroke, and skin damage. You still need to think about your upper body, of course, but the lower body is often overlooked and is also exposed.
They Protect Against Board Rashes
Board rashes occur when your skin constantly rubs against waxed boards, loose wetsuits, or loose board shorts. All the water, salt, wax, and sand creates an abrasive surface and once you add friction to the mix, you’re asking for trouble.
Wetsuit pants offer a form fit, reducing friction and eliminating the risk of rashes.
They are Comfortable and Warm
The best wetsuit pants are comfortable, breathable, and warm. They are also very flexible.
The extra warmth provided by a good pair of wetsuit pants can make all the difference on a cold beach or during a spot of spring surfing.
What Should You Look for When Buying Wetsuit Leggings?
Not sure what constitutes a good pair of wetsuit pants? Keep an eye out for the following features:
Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF)
The UPF rating indicates how effective clothing is at preventing UVA and UVB rays from reaching your skin.
It’s not only exposed skin that’s at risk. Clothing also lets in harmful sun rays, but a good pair of wetsuit pants will protect you against these rays.
The stitching should be good enough to prevent instant breakdown and ensure that your wetsuit pants last for many years. They should also be stitched in a way that maximizes comfort and doesn’t leave you with irritating threads and stitches next to your skin.
Thicker wetsuit pants are better suited to colder temperatures, but they sacrifice some of the comfort and flexibility. Thinner wetsuit pants are best for summer temperatures and general warm water conditions, but they lack extra insulation.
Wetsuit pants are rarely made from 100% neoprene and may only feature a small percentage of this common wetsuit material.
They will typically use a blend of materials designed to provide maximum comfort, UV protection, durability, and warmth.
Many standard leggings are made from cotton. It’s comfortable, but it also holds onto water and smells and is not the sort of material you want to be wearing anywhere near the sea. Wetsuit leggings, on the other hand, are made from quick-drying materials like neoprene, polyester, nylon, and spandex.
Are Neoprene Pants Waterproof?
Neoprene is waterproof but that doesn’t mean that neoprene pants are waterproof. The water can get in through seams and openings, but this is okay as the water will warm against your skin.
The same is true for a full-body wetsuit, which has multiple openings. If you are wearing wetsuit pants with a wetsuit vest, there will also be a number of openings.
Do Wetsuit Separates Work?
Wetsuit separates are a good choice for warm weather surfing and diving, but they don’t provide the protection you get from a full-body wetsuit and so they’re not ideal for cold water temperatures.