How Tight Should a Shorty Wetsuit Fit?

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Most people know that wetsuits are supposed to fit you tight. However, shorty wetsuits are intended to keep you cooler than regular wetsuits, so many people wonder if shorty wetsuits should fit you differently?

Shorty wetsuits should fit you tight just like a regular wetsuit. There should be no bagginess, wrinkles, or anything that indicates it’s loose. Like full wetsuits, shorties should fit you like a second skin in order to be effective. They are the perfect option if you will be in warmer waters where a full wetsuit might be overkill.

The design of a shorty wetsuit inherently will keep you cooler, since it has short arm and leg sleeves. Shorty wetsuits are also made with thinner neoprene, so you do not need to wear a loose one to feel cooler.

In this article, we will discuss how tight a shorty wetsuit should fit you, as well as some other considerations to keep in mind when picking a wetsuit.

Should a shorty wetsuit feel tight?

All wetsuits should feel tight, and shorty wetsuits are no exception. In order for it to keep you warm, there should be no bagginess or gaps in the wetsuit.

It’s true that shorty wetsuits are designed such that you will feel cooler than a wetsuit, but a loose wetsuit is a useless wetsuit; you might as well not even wear one in the first place.

Wetsuits are designed to trap a layer of water around your body which is then warmed up by your body heat, creating an insulating layer of warm water around you. A loose wetsuit would allow cold water to enter and flush out all of the warmth, and that defeats the purpose.

If your shorty wetsuit is not tight, unfortunately you will have to look into getting another. You need to consider your body shape and get a wetsuit that is the appropriate size.

A wetsuit can feel tight in certain areas and feel loose or snug in other areas. Again, this depends on your body shape; it should be somewhat tight around the neck so that water does not enter so easily, but not so tight that it feels like you’re getting choked.

Some specific areas that you should be wary of are the crotch area, neck, and back. Men, now is not the time to be self-conscious; there should not be much room in the crotch area. Pull your wetsuit up between the legs; yes, your bulge will probably be showing.

As for the back, an ill-fitting wetsuit can often leave folds and air bubbles in the lower back area. Find a mirror and pay attention to any sagging area in your back; ideally, it should be clinging tightly onto your skin.

Conversely, you need to be aware of when a wetsuit is too tight. If you feel like your blood flow is being restricted or you find it hard to breathe, then it’s too tight.

Unfortunately, due to the sheer amount of different body types and wetsuits, we cannot give specifics on how you can find a wetsuit that fits your body. It requires some trial and error, and going to a local dive shop to shop in person will probably give you the best odds.

Is it better to size up or down?

If you haven’t realized it by now, selecting the correct wetsuit size is difficult. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as looking at the manufacturer’s wetsuit sizing chart. The closer your body shape is on the extreme ends of the spectrum, the less accurate these size recommendations will be.

First off, choosing a size based on weight alone is not going to be very accurate. Whenever possible, look at body measurements instead. The most important measurements are your height and chest size.

Second, wetsuit arm and leg length can be highly variable. In general, it’s better if the wetsuit is longer than needed. You can always trim off any excess material. If a shorty wetsuit is too short, then it can be uncomfortable in the crotch and neck area.

Third, if you are smack dab in the middle of two sizes, pick the smaller size. Wetsuits will stretch when they are wet, so it’s more likely that sizing down will end up being the right choice.

Will a wetsuit stretch over time?

Yes, neoprene will stretch when its wet, but it will also stretch out (loosen up) over time.

A high quality wetsuit will be much stretchier so that it will not restrict your movement. It should also be much faster to break in, and may even feel very comfortable when brand new.

Lesser quality wetsuits may not feel as comfortable or flexibility until you break it in. To speed up this process, you should wear your wetsuit as much as possible and move around in it.

Wetsuits, depending on how well you take care of them and how often you wear them, should have a lifespan of at least two or more years. At some point, the neoprene material can get stretched out (and worn down) such that it does not keep you as warm anymore.

Should I wear anything under my shorty wetsuit?

Wetsuits are designed so that you do not need to wear anything underneath except your swimwear. In fact, you can even go commando if you want.

With that said, you could wear more under your wetsuit if you want some extra protection. For instance, you could wear a tight rash guard underneath as a base layer for extra protection.

They are not necessary, but if you do plan on wearing something underneath your wetsuit, then you’ll need to get a larger wetsuit otherwise it won’t fit.

Is it normal for a shorty wetsuit to restrict my movement?

Wetsuits can restrict your movement, however the degree to which it restricts you depends on how thick the wetsuit is and how well it fits your body.

In general, shorty wetsuits should not restrict your movement. They are made with thinner, more flexible material that should allow you to move freely.

If you feel that your shorty wetsuit is restricting your movement, it might be too thick (in which case that’s the trade-off for more insulation), too tight, or maybe you just haven’t broken it in yet.

My wetsuit fills up with water, does that mean it’s too loose?

Wetsuits are designed to fill up with water. A common mistake people make is thinking that a wetsuit keeps the water out, but that’s what a drysuit does.

Instead, wetsuits should still allow some water inside – enough to create a thin layer of water around your body. However, it should be snug enough that the water is mostly trapped and allowed to be warmed up by your body heat.

If a wetsuit is too loose, cold water will constantly flush out the warm water. The layer of water inside would not be trapped long enough to be warmed up as it is constantly replaced by cold water, and therefore you wouldn’t ever feel warm.

So if your wetsuit fills up with water and you’re always cold, then yes, it’s too loose. If you have a tight shorty wetsuit and actually feel warmer with it on, then don’t be alarmed that there’s water inside; it’s still doing its job.