If you're doing water sports during winter or in the northern UK all year round, you will need a winter wetsuit, sometimes known as a steamer. It would help if you had winter wetsuits when the temperature drops below 13°C. Please take a look at our temperature guide for winter wetsuits.
The best men's winter wetsuits brands
We carry the best brands from around the world, with an extensive range from Rip Curl, C-Skins, O'Neill, Billabong, Mystic and Xcel.
Frequently Asked Questions
What thickness wetsuit do I need for winter?
When the water temperature is at 6°C, you will need a 6mm thick hooded wetsuit as well as boots on your feet and gloves on your hands. When the water temperature is warm and is 9°C to 13°C, you will need a 5/4mm or 5/3mm thick suit , along with boots and gloves. We have a wide range of men's chest zip and back zip winter wetsuits perfect for these conditions. We have a range of both budget and high-spec winter wetsuits and everything in between.
What type of cold water wetsuit should I get?
The minimum requirement for a mens winter wetsuit for water sports is at least 5mm in thickness.
What features should I look for in a winter wetsuit?
Back zip suits are easy to get into but will let more water in compared to a chest zip suit. The chest zip suit allows the surfer to slip the neck of the suit over his head. It seals snugly around the neck, helping to stop water ingress. The longer you can protect the thin film of water between you and the suit and stop cold water from getting in, the warmer you will be. Features such as GBS (glued and blind stitched seams) stop water from flushing through the seams and will keep you warm for longer. Blind stitching will stop most seam leaks.
You can also choose thermal lined panels to warm and trap water against your body and taped or liquid-taped seams to keep the warmth and the cold water out.
Can I wear a surfing wetsuit for swimming?
Yes, a surfing wetsuit is designed to be very flexible and hard-wearing and is great summer surfing and for swimming. The drawback compared to a wetsuit used in triathlons and for competitions is that the surfing wetsuit will be slower as it is not entirely smooth and doesn't have shark skin. A surfing wetsuit has a nylon outer coating which would cause drag when pushed through the water, while a full wetsuit thickness competition suit for triathlons is glossy smooth. However, triathlon wetsuits are fragile and easily damaged when pulled on or off or caught in the shore break.
How much do winter wetsuits cost?
The cost of a mens winter wetsuit usually starts at about £140. This will be for the basic 5mm suits. If you add features like better seams and a chest zip you may pay around £200. Add features like thermal lining around the chest and torso and this will cost around £250. If you go for the top-of-the-range men's winter wetsuit with all the features, then you will get closer to £500. To save money and get the best deals look for a last year's model men's winter wetsuit in the middle of the summer.
How do I choose the right size for a winter wetsuit?
Wetsuits come in many standard sizes such as S, M, L, XL, and XXL but you might be between these sizes. Brands such as C-Skins, O'Neill and Xcel make wetsuits in sizes ST (Small Tall) and MS (Medium Small). There are many more sizes, like LS (Large Short), so it is important to come in and try a suit or measure yourself very accurately and look at the manufacturer's size chart. The winter wetsuit should be like a second skin on you, very snug and not baggy.
We advise you to give yourself plenty of time to try suits on to get the best fit. Our staff are here to help you choose the best wetsuit for you and your needs.
How do I care for a winter wetsuit?
To care for your wetsuit, wash it through in cold freshwater, and leave it to dry, out of the sun. Never put your wet wetsuit on a hanger, as you will stretch the shoulders. Do not fold your wetsuit when it's dry. Instead, roll it up and store it out of the sun. If your wetsuit starts to smell, you can wash it with special shampoo. Good watersport shops like Boardworx sell Piss-Off Wetsuit Shampoo from Rip Curl. Never put your wetsuit in the washing machine.
What does 5/4 mm or 5/3mm mean on a wetsuit?
A 6/5/3, 5/4, 5/3 or 4/3 etc., refers to the main body of the neoprene or wetty being thicker neoprene and the arms and sometimes the bottom of the neoprene or the legs being the lower number, referring to the thickness of the neoprene in millimetres.