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How to Choose a Wetsuit for Women

How to Choose a Wetsuit for Women

Buying your first wetsuit is a huge milestone in your scuba diving adventure, but choosing that wetsuit isn’t always the easiest task! In partnership with our friends at, we’ve got the ultimate guide for how to choose a wetsuit for women.

1. Why should I choose a women’s wetsuit?

First up, you might be wondering why you need a specific women’s wetsuit. If you’ve suffered through a course in a poorly fitting rental suit, you’ll know why! A lot of wetsuits are cut straight up and down, but a lot of bodies aren’t.

Women’s wetsuits are created with our body proportions in mind. Seams and panels are often constructed in a way to allow more space for hips, boobs, and bums. This makes for a more flattering suit, but more importantly, a better functioning suit.

Henderson wetsuits are regularly spotted on our Girls that Scuba Trips!

Your wetsuit works by trapping a thin layer of water between your skin and the neoprene. This is then warmed up with your body heat, and it’s actually the layer of water which keeps you warm. In a badly fitting suit, water will just flush through and make you cold throughout your dives, so a well-fitting suit is important for safety reasons, too!

Having said that, not all women’s bodies are proportioned in the same way, so it’s important to try a few brands on to figure out which wetsuits will work for you! Some of our curvier community members favour brands such as Henderson and Bare, whilst we often hear that Fourth Element designs work well for slimmer bodies. 

Fourth Element wetsuits were a popular choice on our Komodo trip

2. What conditions will you be diving in?

This is a pretty obvious one, but the temperature you’ll be diving in will be the biggest factor in choosing a wetsuit. Will you mostly be diving in colder water? Or are you a tropical traveller heading to warmer temperatures? 

The colder the water temperature, the thicker the wetsuit you’ll want – more on that in a moment. However, it’s not just the thickness which will be affected by water temperature. There are lots of styles and lengths of wetsuit to choose from, too. 

Scuba diving in England
GTS Founder, Sarah, layering up a Bare wetsuit for a UK dive

If you dive in varied destinations, you can almost think of your wetsuit as part of an outfit. You can layer together different wetsuits or pieces to achieve more customisable exposure protection. Accessories like hoods, gloves, and boots can make a huge difference to your tolerance to cold

So will one wetsuit work for you, or are you better off investing in layers? Rather than just going for one suit and hoping for it to cover a variety of conditions, consider a couple of layers. You could choose a 2mm shorty and a 5mm full suit, for example, to give you options for multiple temperatures. 

3. What thickness should you choose for the temperature?

So what wetsuit thickness should you choose for scuba diving in different temperatures? Here’s a rough guide to use as a starting point. 

Temperature ºCTemperature ºFExposure
30ºC or above86ºF or aboveDivewear, rash guard, or swimwear
27-29ºC80-85ºF2-3mm, either shorty or full 
24-26ºC75-79ºF3-5mm full suit
20-23ºC68-74ºF5-7mm full suit and accessories (hood)
17-19ºC63-66ºF7mm full suit and thicker accessories (hood, gloves)
14-16ºC57-61ºF7mm semi-dry
13ºC or below55ºF or belowDrysuit

However, bear in mind that personal tolerances to cold can vary hugely. If you know you run hot, choose something thinner. Feel the chill quickly? Go for the next thickness up, or be prepared to add a layer underneath or on top. 

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4. What other features do you need?

Once you’ve dialled in your wetsuit thickness decision, you can think about some of the other features to look out for when choosing your wetsuit. These can make a huge difference to your wetsuit’s fit, comfort, and its suitability for your diving style. 


As a whole, wetsuits have become a lot more flexible over the years as neoprene technology has advanced. However, some wetsuits are still more flexible than others. Choosing a suit which boasts a flexible material will be much more comfortable above and below the water. 

aqua lung coral guardian wetsuit
Aqualung’s Hydroflex 3mm is a perfect example of a flexible wetsuit

It’s also a great choice if you have any mobility issues, as it makes getting in and out of your suit a lot easier. 


Yes, every wetsuit will have zips. But where they are can make a huge difference in how well you get on with your wetsuit. Try on a variety of back zips and front zips to see which you find easier. On thicker suits, you might even consider styles with diagonal zips. 

Ankle and wrist zips can be another great feature to look out for. Again, these can make donning and doffing much easier, and they can also help prevent water flushing through your suit. 

Custom Sizing

If the size charts aren’t looking promising, consider choosing a custom wetsuit. Although it’s not the cheapest option, having a perfect fit is a benefit worth paying for. With some custom wetsuits, you can also choose to add features like specific zip placements, or built in hoods. 

5. Full length or shorty? 

When it comes to warmer climes, you can either go for a full length wetsuit or a “shorty”. This is a wetsuit with short arms and legs. There are variations of these, some with even shorter legs, some with vest-style sleeves, and so on.

A shorty can be great for allowing flexibility as you can easily bend at the elbows and knees. If you’re someone who runs hot, having more skin exposed to the water can help you regulate your body temperature in warm conditions. 

In the warm waters of the Philippines, you could opt for a shorty or go full length!

However, neoprene doesn’t just keep you protected from the water temperature. Even divers with the best buoyancy could be caught in a sneaky current and swept into a rogue fire coral. Choosing a full length wetsuit even for warm water could help to protect you from bumps, scrapes, and those pesky invisible stingers floating in the water!  

6. What’s the deal with semi-dry wetsuits?

If the words “7mm semi-dry” left you scratching your head, we’ve got you! A semi-dry wetsuit is thicker, and has more advanced zips and seals to prevent water entering the suit. With a well-fitting semi-dry suit, your core should remain dry during the dive. 

Even staying a little more dry will make a huge difference to how cold you feel. Semi-dry suits are a fantastic option for getting into slightly colder waters if you’re not ready to take the plunge into diving in a drysuit

What wetsuit will you be choosing? Share your wetsuit journey with our community

Disclaimer: This article is sponsored by, however all views are our own. Sponsorships help us develop the Girls that Scuba community and continually offer helpful and inspiring content.

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