Best Wetsuit for Swimming in Cold Water

Wetsuits are a necessity when doing water sports such as swimming, kayaking, diving, or surfing. Wetsuits protect your skin from harsh conditions and keep you warm throughout. Swimming is different from all the other water sports since you will be submerged in the water. Water temperatures normally fluctuate very fast, and when it gets cold, it becomes too cold. Long exposure to extremely cold water may lead to the body losing heat faster than it can produce heat—a condition is known as hypothermia. A wetsuit is a must-have if you want to enjoy swimming and remain healthy.

Wetsuits are designed with layers that trap in air, the air that is trapped then offers insulation against the cold water. They are also made of neoprene, which is water-resistant and works by trapping your body heat in to keep you warm even in the coldest waters. Choosing the ideal wetsuit for cold water has never been easy, and it needs much research. You don't need to worry since we did all the work for you. In this guide, we highlight the best wetsuits for swimming in extremely frigid water, factors to consider when choosing a wetsuit, and the frequently asked questions on wetsuits.

When choosing a wetsuit for swimming in cold water, always ensure its thick enough and has a snug fit. You should also research before settling on a particular brand to know whether its worth spending money on. We have come up with a list of our favorite picks to make your work much easier. Read on and choose the one that suits your specific needs:

Are you looking for a high-quality wetsuit from a reputable brand? If yes, then this O'Neill men reactor wetsuit is for you. O'Neill is well regarded in terms of producing watersport gear. The wetsuit has a thickness of 3/2 mm and is best for water temperatures that are not less than 16 degrees Celsius. High-quality neoprene went into the making of this garment to make it snug and warm. The neck is super sealed to prevent water from getting in. The seams have a flatlock construction that is tight and does not let in water. Their design, which features Krypto knee pads, also makes them comfortable to wear and prevents abrasion and discomfort. If you want a durable wetsuit that will withstand rough waters, this is your best bet.

Key features:

  • Excellent durability and resistance to slashing
  • Features flatlock construction seams that are comfortable and do not let in water
  • Easy to put on and take off
  • Fits snuggly and provides warmth
  • Provides comfort and maximum mobility
  • Has a wind-resistant smooth skin that provides extra insulation against cold


  • Brand: O'Neill
  • Material: neoprene rubber

This hyperflex wetsuit will give you the ultimate value for your money. It keeps you warm when you are swimming in the river without restricting your movement. It is made of super tight celled neoprene for easy wearing and removing. The wetsuit has a robust torso area that not only feels smooth but also keeps you warm. This garment is anatomically cut to give you a comfortable and snug fit. Apart from swimming, you can also wear your wetsuit to other water sports such as surfing, scuba diving or even snorkeling. The flatlock seam design assures you maximum durability and comfort and also prevents irritation. The seams have also been double glued to retain more heat and keep the water from getting in.

key features:

  • Easy to wear and remove
  • Has a comfortable and snug fit
  • Excellent heat retention capability
  • Has superbly designed seams for durability and locking out water
  • Made of high stretch neoprene for a full range of motion
  • Adjustable collar for a perfect fit


  • Brand: hyperflex
  • Model: B01583E0AO

3. Lemorecn Men's Wetsuits

Designed for comfort and warmth, featuring high-quality premium neoprene material and flatlock seams. The wetsuit has an anatomically cut pattern that provides a snug fit and patterned to fit the widest shapes and sizes. This garment is packed with all of the necessary features like knee pads, extra-long leash; to offer outstanding value. It is ideal for swimming since it keeps you warm without restricting your movement and is perfect in all conditions, especially in cold water. This garment provides extra durability and reliability for those who spend hours in water.

Key features:

  • Features an extra-large zip for easy opening and closing on your own
  • Has flexible, anti-abrasion knee pads that minimize scraping
  • Has Flatlock stitching throughout to reduce seam irritation
  • Designed for extra warmth and protection
  • Ideal for both men and women


  • Brand: lemorecn
  • Model: B072X7XQD9

Are you looking for a high-end wetsuit with some of the best features available? If yes, then O'Neil has come to your rescue. With features such as ultra-flexible neoprene and double sealed neck closure, this wetsuit is all you need for an unending watersport adventure. The garment features a blackout zipper with a watertight seal for easy entry and exit without leaking in water. This garment has glued and blind stitched seams that account for its durability. It is warm enough for temperatures ranging between 63⁰f and above.

Key features:

  • Has a back-zip entry system, with blackout zipper that provides easy entry and exit with a watertight seal
  • Made with ultra-Flex, and ultra-stretch super soft neoprene for flexibility, durability and high performance
  • Has a fluid Flex Firewall which is warm and windproof exterior with water wicking interior thermal layer
  • Glued and Blindstitched seams are watertight for increased durability
  • Double Super Seal Neck for protection against irritation
  • Krypto Knee Pads to keep your knees safe from the harshness of kneeling
  • Has an external Key Pocket with Loop
  • Has plasma Wrist and Ankle Seals


  • Brand: O'Neill
  • Model: B0787GT5B9

When it comes to wetsuits for cold water, the thicker it is, the warmer it will be. This synergy wetsuit has a thickness of 5mm around the torso, making it a better choice for retaining warmth. The arms and legs have a thickness of 3mm, which helps to keep you mobile. This suit also gives maximum buoyancy to help you float higher, move faster, and save energy. The wetsuit is durable and flexible, thus maximizing value for money. The neck of this garment is elegantly designed to prevent irritation and neck chaffing. This synergy wetsuit has a comfortable and snug fit that looks like a second skin. It is a must-buy for every swimmer that loves a functional and stylish garment.

Key features:

  • Has a name tag for theft protection
  • The neck design is anti-chaffing and dual smooth skin
  • Designed for maximum flexibility and buoyancy
  • Joints are heat taped for durability
  • Has a super soft inner lining for warmth and comfort
  • The arms have a power max panel for excellent propulsion
  • Has the right thickness for a water temperature between 43⁰ f and 52⁰f
  • Easy to put on and remove


  • Brand: synergy
  • Model: B00I0EC37Q

When you need a wetsuit but do not have hundreds of dollars to spend on one, this Neosport wetsuit will come to your rescue. It has a thickness of 5mm to keep you warm even in the coldest waters. It is made from premium neoprene that makes it soft and fit comfortably. The seams are flatlock design for a smooth interior and to provide maximum comfort and reliability. The knee pads are thermal-bonded to provide resistance from abrasion. The arms, neck, and waist openings have been enforced with lycra for extra comfort.

Key features:

  • Anatomically cut pattern for a comfortable fit
  • Has flatlock seam design for durability
  • Has thermally-bonded knee pads to prevent knee strain and provide superior comfort
  • The collar is an adjustable hook and loop design
  • Has been spot tapped at stress points for a longer lifespan
  • Designed to keep you warm even in frigid waters
  • Affordable and high quality


  • Brand: Neosport
  • Model: B0889D1DGL

This hevto wetsuit strikes the right balance between being warm and lightweight. This garment has an environmentally friendly design that is soft and comfortable. The suit has a flatlock stitching that is neat and durable. It is suitable for temperatures ranging between 50⁰f and 67⁰f. The garment is made of neoprene and nylon elastic fabric, making it durable and easy to wear and remove. The wetsuit can be worn to a variety of water sports, including surfing, diving, kayaking, and swimming. The neckline is soft and comfortable to prevent rashes and irritation. The neck design locks out excess water and sand particles from entering into your wetsuit. The material of the wetsuit makes it buoyant for easy floating and mobility.

Key features:

  • Lightweight but warm enough for waters between 50⁰f and 67⁰f
  • Environmentally friendly design that is comfortable and soft
  • Has a neat and durable flatlock stitching
  • Ideal for a variety of watersports including surfing, kayaking, and diving
  • Has a comfortable and soft neckline design
  • Highly buoyant for easier floating and swimming
  • Anatomically cut for a snug fit
  • Has a high-quality zipper that's durable and easy to use


  • Brand: Hevto
  • Model: B07Y5YKC6R
  • Material: Neoprene and Nylon

Factors to Consider When Choosing A Wetsuit for Cold Water

Choosing a wetsuit for cold water can be confusing when you don't know the features you are looking for. You have to strike the right balance between specific features and price. You also need to know the features that make up a quality wetsuit. We take you through the key features that a wetsuit for swimming in cold water should have. This information will help you find the most functional wetsuit without spending too much time or money. Let's indulge:

1. The thickness of the wetsuit

The most important feature of a wetsuit is its thickness since the thicker it is, the warmer your wet suit will be. The thickest wetsuits will also be the most expensive, and you, therefore, have to strike a balance and find a wetsuit that meets your needs. The wetsuit’s thickness will always be indicated in two or three digits separated by a slash and is measured in millimeters. If the digits are three, then the first digit represents the thickness of the neoprene around the torso, the second digit is the thickness around the legs, and the last digit is the thickness around the arms. If only two digits are used, it means that the first digit is the thickness around the torso, and the last represents the thickness of both arms and legs. For example, if the thickness is indicated as 5/4/3 mm, then the torso is 5mm thick, while the legs are 4mm thick, and the arms will be 3 mm. This order is followed universally, and if the thickness is 4/3, it means the torso is 4mm thick while both the arms and legs are 3mm thick each. The thickness you end up choosing should be determined by the temperature range of the water you will be swimming in. If the water temperature is 43⁰ and below, go for a 6/5/4 mm thickness. If the water temperature is between 52⁰ and 43⁰, go for a 5/4/3 mm. Different brands of wetsuits have different temperature recommendations, which you should follow.

2. The fitting of the wetsuit

The wetsuit you choose should fit properly to keep you warm and allow mobility of your limbs when swimming. A wetsuit should fit snuggly without sagging or bulging; basically, it should look like a second layer of skin. The reason for wearing a tight wetsuit is to keep only a thin layer of water between the wetsuit and your body. This thin layer of water will eventually heat up and insulate you from cold. If the wetsuit is loose, much water will keep flushing through and make the wetsuit less effective at insulating you against cold. A tight wetsuit also makes you more mobile when swimming. If you want to know if a wetsuit is a proper size, try putting in on when it's dry. If it is the right size for you, it will be challenging to put on when dry and slightly restrictive when you lift your arms. Ig you feel greatly restricted, then the wetsuit is too small for you.

3. The seam-seal of the wetsuit

For cold water swimming, it is ideal to go for wetsuits whose seam seal is comfortable and does not let water in. The best type is the sealed and taped seams. This stitch is first glued then blind stitched and then reinforced with interior taping. This process makes the wetsuit more durable and prevents water from seeping into your wetsuit. The seam of your wetsuit should also be comfortable on your skin without leaving marks or irritating your skin. The seam-seal also contributes to the heat retention of your garments, so make sure it is quality.

Frequently Asked Questions on The Best Wetsuit for Swimming in Cold Water

You probably have a few questions regarding wetsuits that you need answers to. We have answered some of the most common questions that concern wetsuits for swimming in cold water. We hope they answer any questions you might be having.

How do wetsuits work?

Wetsuits work by trapping a thin layer of water between the suit and your body. This layer of water gets heated up by your body preventing you from losing heat while in the water. Wetsuits are also made of neoprene, which has cells filled with air to provide insulation against cold water. Neoprene provides insulation by trapping heat in. The thicker the neoprene is, the warmer the wetsuit will be, and the better heat-trapping insulation it will offer. It is important to know the temperature of the water you will be swimming in so that you choose the right thickness for your wetsuit. Wetsuits also protect your body from physical objects that might be in the water. They keep your skin safe from irritants and warm.

Q: How do I care for my wetsuit?

Proper caring of your wetsuit will make it last longer and also prevent it from having a foul smell. After every swim, make sure you rinse your wetsuit with running water, preferably in the shower. After rinsing, hang it to dry but away from the sun. You can hang it in the garage or shower cubicle. Hanging your wetsuit in the sun weakens the neoprene and causes water to leak in when you swim. It is advisable to wash your wetsuit once in a while using mild wetsuit detergent and leave it to dry. Experts advise against washing your wetsuit in the washing machine or tossing it in the dryer. Wash your wetsuit in a bathtub and dry outside for durability. When storing your wetsuit, do not fold it, instead, hang it on a hanger properly to avoid damaging it. The right way to hang it is by using a hanger designed specifically for wetsuits. This hanger does not stretch out your garment. You can also hang it by folding at the waist to avoid overstretching.

Q: How do I warm up my wet suit in colder days?

When going swimming in the coldest days, you can carry warm water in your flask to pour into your wetsuit when wearing it. Doing this traps heat in your wetsuit and saves the body from having to warm up the layer of water between the body and the wetsuit.

Q: How do I prevent irritation on my neck when wearing a wetsuit?

If your wetsuit doesn't fit snugly around your neck and may get to your neck and cause irritation or neck rush, if this happens, you should consider getting a rash guard to wear under your wetsuit. Rash guards are light shirts that are made of UV resistant materials such as lycra and are worn to offer protection against sand and sun.

Q: what is FAR infra-red technology?

FAR infra-red is a technology used in the making of wetsuits to keep you warm. The wetsuits have mineral-enriched fibers that convert your body's heat to FAR infrared rays to raise your body temperature and accelerate metabolism. Wetsuits that have this technology allow swimmers to wear thinner wetsuits in cold water, thus increasing flexibility. These wetsuits not only reduce heat loss but also generate heat to keep your body temperature up.

Final word 

Swimming in open and cold water, especially in winter, sounds risky, but it has a myriad of benefits when you have the right wetsuit. A wetsuit keeps you warm and protects your skin from physical irritants found in rough waters. You need to choose a wetsuit that fits properly and has the right thickness. Before buying a wetsuit, always make sure you know the temperature range of the water you will be swimming in.

The thickness you end up choosing should align with the recommended water temperature range. The thicker a wetsuit is, the better its heat retention capability. When swimming in extremely cold water, choose a wetsuit that is thick at the torso to keep your body from losing heat. The arms and legs of your wetsuit should not be too thick in a way that hinders your mobility. Your wetsuit should also have a snug fit to keep excess water from seeping into your body. A well-fitting wetsuit also gives better flexibility.

It is important to research and read reviews on brands before deciding on which brand to buy. Your wetsuit should be durable to withstand the harshness of rough and open waters. Its seams should also be excellently crafted to seep in very little or no water at all.

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