The Ultimate Guide: What to Wear Under Wetsuit for Optimal Comfort and Performance

crucial to choose swimwearProper Layers Under a Wetsuit, What to Wear Under Wetsuit

When it comes to water activities like surfing, scuba diving, or participating in a triathlon, wearing the right layers under your wetsuit is essential. The layers you choose can significantly impact your comfort, flexibility, and overall performance in the water.

To ensure you have a successful and comfortable experience, it’s crucial to know what to wear under a wetsuit. Here are a few options to consider:

  1. Rash Guard: A rash guard is a lightweight, quick-drying shirt that provides a layer of protection against chafing and adds an extra barrier between your skin and the wetsuit. It helps to prevent rashes and provides added insulation.
  2. Swimwear: Depending on your preference, you can wear your regular swimwear underneath your wetsuit. Opt for a swimsuit that fits well and allows for freedom of movement.
  3. Wetsuit Liner: A wetsuit liner is a thin layer designed to be worn underneath your wetsuit. It provides additional insulation, helps to wick away moisture, and adds an extra layer of comfort.
  4. Neoprene Socks and Gloves: In colder water temperatures, wearing neoprene socks and gloves can help keep your extremities warm. They provide insulation and protection against colder water temperatures.

When choosing the right layers for your wetsuit, consider factors such as water temperature, fit and comfort, and the material’s thickness. These factors can vary depending on the specific water activity you’re participating in.

By understanding the importance of wearing proper layers under your wetsuit and selecting the right combination of layers for your needs, you can enhance your comfort, flexibility, and performance in the water. Ensuring a comfortable and properly fitted wetsuit will further enhance your overall experience.

  • Wearing proper layers under a wetsuit is essential for comfort and protection.
  • Options for what to wear under a wetsuit include rash guards, swimwear, wetsuit liners, and neoprene socks and gloves.
  • When choosing layers, consider factors like water temperature, fit and comfort, and material thickness.
  • Layering up appropriately for different water activities like surfing, scuba diving, and triathlons is crucial.
  • Additional tips for ensuring wetsuit comfort and performance are also important.

The Importance of Wearing Proper Layers Under a Wetsuit

The importance of wearing proper layers under a wetsuit cannot be understated. These layers provide comfort, protection, and enhance performance, making them crucial for any water activity. Let’s explore the key reasons why wearing the right layers is essential.

1. Thermal Protection: Wearing proper layers under a wetsuit helps insulate your upper body, keeping you warm in cold waters and preventing the risk of hypothermia.

2. Protection from UV Rays: Rash guards and other layers act as a shield, protecting your skin from the harmful rays of the sun while you enjoy water activities.

3. Prevention of Irritated Skin: By wearing layers under your wetsuit, you reduce direct contact between your skin and the neoprene material, minimizing the chances of chafing or irritation.

4. Comfort and Ease of Movement: Layers create a barrier between your skin and the wetsuit, allowing for smoother arm movements and overall enhanced comfort.

It is essential to choose the right layers based on the water temperature and activity. In warmer waters, lightweight polyester rash guards and swimwear briefs provide adequate protection. In colder waters, additional insulation is needed. Consider using wetsuit liners, neoprene socks, and gloves for maximum warmth. Professional divers may also prefer full-body jumpsuits or farmer john wetsuits for optimal protection.

Remember, proper layers under a wetsuit are not just about comfort; they also ensure safety and performance during water activities. By wearing the right layers, you can enjoy your time in the water with peace of mind.

Did you know that wetsuits were first invented in the early 1950s by physicist Hugh Bradner? He developed neoprene, which revolutionized water sports. Initially used by military divers, wetsuits quickly gained popularity among surfers and water enthusiasts due to their thermal insulation and protection. Over the years, wetsuit technology has evolved, improving comfort, flexibility, and overall performance. Today, wearing proper layers under a wetsuit is widely recognized as vital for ensuring safety and enjoyment during water activities.

What Should You Wear Under a Wetsuit?

When it comes to wearing a wetsuit, it’s important to carefully consider what you wear underneath for both comfort and protection. One key element is a rash guard, which not only provides thermal protection but also helps prevent any irritation caused by the wetsuit rubbing against your skin. For added ease of movement and comfort, you may also choose to wear swimwear briefs under the wetsuit. To enhance thermal insulation and overall comfort, a lightweight polyester wetsuit liner can be incorporated into your attire. And for those venturing into cooler waters, it’s essential to keep extremities warm by wearing neoprene socks and gloves.

When deciding on the right combination of layers to wear under your wetsuit, consider the water temperature. In warmer waters, a rash guard paired with swimwear briefs will likely offer sufficient protection and freedom of movement. In colder waters, it’s crucial to layer up. To ensure maximum insulation, wear a wetsuit liner along with neoprene socks and gloves, providing that extra barrier against the cold.

For professional divers or those seeking additional thermal protection, a full suit with long sleeves and a full-body jumpsuit is the optimal choice. This comprehensive outfit offers the highest level of insulation, allowing you to comfortably explore even the coldest waters.

Rash Guard

Rash guards are an essential component to wear underneath a wetsuit for both comfort and protection during water activities. These guards offer crucial UV protection, shielding your skin from the potential harm of prolonged sun exposure. They serve as a barrier that prevents irritation and chafing caused by the wetsuit itself. Rash guards provide valuable thermal insulation, ensuring that you stay warm in colder water temperatures.

One significant advantage of rash guards is their ability to safeguard sensitive areas of the body from potential injuries during sports or intense water activities. The flexible fabric of these guards allows for effortless movement, enabling you to perform at your best. When selecting the right rash guard for your needs, it is important to take into account both the water temperature and the level of UV protection required. Opting for sport-specific apparel will maximize your performance and enhance your overall experience.

Durability and comfort are essential qualities to look for in a rash guard, and this can be achieved by choosing one made of high-quality lightweight materials. Selecting a style that aligns with your personal preferences will enhance your enjoyment of your water activities. By wearing a rash guard underneath your wetsuit, you not only benefit from an improved water experience but also ensure the protection of your skin.



Swimwear options to consider for wearing under a wetsuit include:

  1. Rash Guard: A lightweight, quick-drying shirt that protects against irritated skin and UV rays. It can be worn alone or under a wetsuit for thermal protection.
  2. Swimwear Briefs: Comfortable and allows freedom of movement, especially for activities with a lot of arm movement.
  3. Board Shorts: Versatile option for both men and women. Provides coverage and can be worn alone or with a rash guard.
  4. Swim Leggings: Offers more coverage, thermal insulation, and UV protection.
  5. Swim Dresses: Stylish choice for women. Provides coverage and ease of movement for various water activities.
  6. Swim Tops: Tankinis or bikini tops that can be paired with swim bottoms for a customizable swimwear set.

When choosing swimwear for under a wetsuit, consider comfort, ease of movement, and specific water conditions. Opt for lightweight and durable materials like polyester or neoprene, which offer comfort and flexibility. Choose swimwear that suits your preferences and provides necessary protection for sensitive areas.

Wetsuit Liner

A wetsuit liner is an essential component for enhancing comfort and thermal insulation during water activities. When selecting a wetsuit liner, it is important to consider the following key factors:

1. Material: It is highly recommended to opt for a high-quality neoprene wetsuit liner. Neoprene is known for its exceptional insulation properties, as it efficiently traps body heat and keeps you warm even in cooler water temperatures.

2. Thickness: The appropriate thickness of the wetsuit liner should be chosen based on the water temperature. Thicker liners provide enhanced insulation for colder waters, while thinner liners are more suitable for warmer waters.

3. Full Suit or Top Only: Depending on your specific needs, you must decide whether you require a full-body liner or just a top. A full suit liner offers greater coverage and insulation, whereas a top-only liner provides more freedom of movement.

4. Sensitive Skin: If you have sensitive skin, it is advisable to look for a wetsuit liner that is crafted from soft and hypoallergenic materials. This will help prevent irritation and discomfort during your water activities.

5. Fit: It is crucial to ensure that the wetsuit liner fits snugly without restricting your movement. A proper fit will effectively prevent water from entering the wetsuit and maximize the liner’s thermal protection.

Considering these important factors will enable you to choose a wetsuit liner that offers optimal comfort, excellent thermal insulation, and reliable protection for all your water adventures. In addition, remember to layer up appropriately and wear suitable sport-specific apparel to further enhance your overall wetsuit experience.

Neoprene Socks and Gloves

Neoprene socks and gloves are essential accessories to wear under a wetsuit. They provide thermal protection and keep the feet and hands warm when submerged in cooler waters. The flexible nature of neoprene allows for unrestricted movement and promotes comfort by allowing the toes and fingers to move freely. These socks and gloves serve as a barrier, shielding sensitive areas on the feet and hands from irritation and discomfort. They offer an improved grip for securely holding equipment and navigating through rough or sharp surfaces.

When engaging in water activities while wearing a wetsuit, it is crucial to consider incorporating neoprene socks and gloves for their numerous benefits. These accessories optimize comfort, enhance performance, and ensure the overall enjoyment of water-related pursuits.

Tips for Choosing the Right Layers

Tips for Choosing the Right Layers - what to wear under wetsuit

Photo Credits: Watersportsarena.Com by George Rodriguez

When gearing up for your wetsuit adventure, it’s crucial to choose the right layers to ensure maximum comfort and performance. In this section, we’ll dive into some handy tips for selecting the perfect layers. From considering the water temperature to finding the ideal fit and comfort, we’ve got you covered. Let’s also explore the importance of materials and thickness, so you can make informed decisions for a hassle-free and enjoyable wetsuit experience. So, let’s suit up and get ready to make a splash!

Consider Water Temperature

When wearing a wetsuit, it is essential to consider the water temperature. Your choice of clothing can significantly impact your comfort and safety in the water. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

– In warmer waters, it is important to consider lightweight layers such as a polyester rash guard. These layers serve to protect you from UV rays and minimize irritation caused by the wetsuit.

– In colder water, thicker layers are needed to provide thermal insulation. A neoprene wetsuit liner is an excellent choice as it helps retain body heat. Neoprene socks and gloves can effectively keep your extremities warm.

– Optimal freedom of movement can be achieved by selecting clothing that allows for ease of movement. Consider sport-specific apparel such as a compression shirt, which enhances arm movement, or swimwear briefs for unrestricted leg movement.

– Those with sensitive skin should opt for layers made from neoprene material. Neoprene layers act as a protective barrier between your skin and the wetsuit. It is advisable to choose options with long sleeves to safeguard sensitive areas.

By carefully considering the water temperature and choosing appropriate layers, you can ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience while wearing a wetsuit.

Fit and Comfort

When wearing a wetsuit, achieving the right fit and comfort is crucial. Here are some important factors to consider:

1. Proper sizing: Choose a wetsuit that fits well – snug but not too tight. It should allow for ease of movement without restricting your range of motion. A loose wetsuit may cause discomfort and affect thermal insulation.

2. Neoprene material: Opt for a high-quality neoprene wetsuit. This material is flexible, durable, and provides excellent thermal protection. It should have good stretch, conforming comfortably to your body shape.

3. Seam construction: Consider the seam construction of the wetsuit. Flatlock seams are ideal for warmer waters, offering flexibility and comfort. For colder waters, choose a wetsuit with glued and blind-stitched seams for better insulation and water prevention.

4. Additional features: Look for comfort-enhancing features like smooth-skin collars or adjustable neck closures to prevent chafing and irritation. Some wetsuits have reinforced knee pads or shin guards for added protection.

By considering these factors, you can ensure a wetsuit that provides optimal fit and comfort, allowing for enjoyable water activities.

Remember to try on the wetsuit and test ease of movement by moving your arms and legs before making a final decision. Stay comfortable and have a great time in the water!

Material and Thickness

Material and Thickness are important factors to consider when choosing what to wear under a wetsuit. The table below provides information on the different materials and thickness options for comfort and performance.

Material Thickness
Neoprene 3mm, 5mm, or 7mm
Lightweight Polyester N/A
Farmer John Wetsuits 3mm or 5mm
Compression Shirt N/A
Shorty Wetsuits 2mm or 3mm
Full-Body Jumpsuit 3mm, 5mm, or 7mm
Swimwear Briefs N/A
Lavacore Women’s Vest 2mm

The choice of material depends on the water temperature and the activity. Neoprene is commonly used for thermal insulation, with different thickness options for warmer or cooler waters. Lightweight polyester is suitable for activities in warmer waters where thermal protection is not a primary concern. Farmer John wetsuits provide additional coverage for the upper body with different thickness options. Compression shirts and swimwear briefs offer ease of movement in sport-specific apparel. Shorty wetsuits are ideal for activities in moderate temperatures.

Fact: Thicker wetsuits provide better warmth and thermal insulation, while thinner options offer greater freedom of movement. It’s important to match the material and thickness to your specific needs and the conditions.

How to Layer Up for Different Water Activities

Looking to master your water adventures? Dive into the art of layering up for different water activities like surfing, scuba diving, and triathlon. Discover how to stay comfortable and protected with the right attire for your chosen sport. From the waves to the depths and everything in between, we’ve got you covered. So, gear up, soak in the thrill, and make a splash as we explore the secrets of proper layering for your aquatic pursuits!


When engaging in the activity of surfing, it is important to wear the appropriate layers underneath your wetsuit to ensure both comfort and protection. There are several key items to consider when selecting these layers.

A rash guard is an essential piece of clothing as it acts as a barrier between your skin and the wetsuit, preventing any potential irritation caused by the neoprene material. It offers valuable UV protection for those long hours spent in the sun.

It is crucial to choose swimwear that allows for ease of movement while surfing. Whether it be comfortable swimwear briefs or board shorts, selecting the right option will greatly enhance your overall experience.

In colder waters, it is highly recommended to wear neoprene socks and gloves. These items provide thermal insulation and serve as a protective layer for your extremities, keeping them warm and shielded.

Incorporating a wetsuit liner into your ensemble will provide an added level of thermal protection and overall comfort.

When deciding on which layers to wear, it is important to take into account the water temperature and conditions. In warmer waters, lighter layers may be sufficient, while in cooler waters, additional insulation may be necessary. It is also beneficial to consider the material and thickness of the layers to ensure maximum comfort and maneuverability.

It is always advised to choose apparel that is specifically designed for surfing, as it is constructed to withstand the demands of the sport. By properly layering up, you can enjoy the activity of surfing with optimal comfort and avoid any potential discomfort or skin irritation while in the water.

Scuba Diving

When scuba diving, wear the right layers under your wetsuit. These layers provide comfort, protection, and enhance your diving experience.

1. Rash Guards: A rash guard can protect your upper body from neoprene irritation and shield your skin from UV rays.

2. Swimwear: Choose swimwear that allows freedom of movement and fits comfortably under your wetsuit. Opt for lightweight polyester swimwear briefs that don’t restrict arm movement.

3. Wetsuit Liner: Use a wetsuit liner to enhance thermal insulation in cooler waters. It adds warmth and prevents the wetsuit from sticking to your skin.

4. Neoprene Socks and Gloves: Wear neoprene socks and gloves for comfort and protection. They protect sensitive areas and provide an extra layer of thermal insulation in colder waters.

By following these guidelines and wearing the appropriate layers, you can ensure a comfortable and enjoyable scuba diving experience. Remember, choosing the right layers is crucial for ease of movement, protecting sensitive skin, and optimizing thermal insulation during your dives.


When participating in a triathlon, it is important to wear the right layers under your wetsuit for comfort and optimal performance. Start by wearing a rash guard, which will not only protect your skin from irritation but also provide extra thermal insulation.

Choose swimwear that allows for ease of movement and offers UV protection against harmful rays. Wearing a wetsuit liner will enhance thermal protection and prevent chafing in sensitive areas.

To keep your extremities warm in cooler waters, consider wearing neoprene socks and gloves, as they provide additional warmth. By layering up with these options, you can optimize your triathlon experience and have the freedom of movement during the swim.

The rash guard will protect your upper body, swimwear will allow ease of arm movement, the wetsuit liner will enhance thermal insulation and prevent chafing, and the neoprene socks and gloves will keep your extremities warm in cooler waters.

Additional Tips for Wetsuit Comfort and Performance

– Choose the right size: A properly fitting wetsuit is crucial for comfort and performance. Ensure it is snug but allows for freedom of movement.

– Consider the thickness: The wetsuit’s thickness should match the water temperature. Thicker suits provide more insulation in colder waters, while thinner suits are suitable for warmer conditions.

– Check the seams: High-quality wetsuits have glued and blind-stitched seams, which offer better insulation and durability. Avoid suits with rough or uncomfortable seams.

– Don’t forget accessories: Accessories like gloves, booties, and hoods can enhance comfort and protection from the elements. Choose appropriate accessories based on the conditions you’ll face.

– Take care of your wetsuit: Proper maintenance extends the lifespan and ensures optimal performance. Rinse it thoroughly with fresh water after each use and hang it to dry in a shaded area. Avoid excessive exposure to sunlight or heat.

– Consider layering: Adding layers underneath your wetsuit provides extra warmth and comfort. Opt for moisture-wicking base layers and neoprene rash guards to prevent chafing.

– Keep your wetsuit clean: Regularly clean your wetsuit with freshwater and mild detergent to remove salt, sand, and odor. Avoid using harsh chemicals or machine washing, as they can damage the suit.

– Properly put on and take off your wetsuit: Take your time when putting on or taking off your wetsuit to avoid stretching or tearing the material. Use a lubricant or a plastic bag on your feet and hands to make it easier to slide into the suit.

– Store your wetsuit correctly: When not in use, hang your wetsuit on a wide hanger in a cool, dry place. Avoid folding or crumpling the suit, as it can damage the neoprene material.

– Additional Tips for Wetsuit Comfort and Performance.

Some Facts About What to Wear Under a Wetsuit:

  • ✅ Wearing something underneath a wetsuit is common practice for many reasons.
  • ✅ Undergarments provide extra warmth in colder temperatures and protect against bites, stings, cuts, or scrapes.
  • ✅ Diving shorts help with getting the wetsuit on and off and provide an additional layer of comfort.
  • ✅ Long-sleeve rash guards offer UV protection and help keep the upper body warm.
  • ✅ The goal is to prevent chafing, protect sensitive areas, and ensure privacy and hygiene while changing in public places.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What should I wear under a wetsuit for water activities?

When participating in water activities, it is recommended to wear something underneath a wetsuit for added comfort, protection, and hygiene. The options include wearing swimwear like bikini or one-piece swimsuit, rashguard with swimsuit or diving shorts, a full-body dive skin, or a neoprene rash vest with swim trunks.

2. Can I go commando under a wetsuit?

While technically possible, going commando under a wetsuit is not recommended. It can cause discomfort due to skin chafing and is less hygienic. It is advisable to wear an appropriate undergarment such as swimwear or sport-specific apparel for better comfort and protection.

3. Can I wear bicycle shorts under a wetsuit?

Yes, wearing bicycle shorts under a wetsuit is a common practice for added comfort and protection. Bicycle shorts provide an extra layer of padding and can help prevent chafing during water activities.

4. Do I need to wear undergarments if I am renting a wetsuit?

Yes, it is advisable to wear undergarments, even if you are renting a wetsuit. Undergarments provide a layer of hygiene between your body and the wetsuit, ensuring a clean and comfortable fit.

5. What undergarments are recommended for scuba diving?

For scuba diving, recommended undergarments for male divers include diving shorts, rash guards, or swim trunks. Female divers can opt for diving shorts, sleeveless vests, or one-piece swimsuits. The choice depends on personal preference, sensitivity to cold, and the type of activity.

6. How should I store my wetsuit after activities?

After activities, it is important to properly store your wetsuit to prolong its lifespan. Clean it thoroughly, ensure it is completely dry, and store it flat in a dry and cool place. This helps prevent wrinkled garments and maintains the integrity of the wetsuit material.

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