Thickness of wetsuit: which thickness is right for you? Find out here

wetsuit thickness

The thickness of wetsuits can differ per type, model and brand. It is important that you choose the right thickness for the weather conditions. A wetsuit has as a function of protecting your body from the cold water

It is important to maintain your body temperature during water sports to prevent hypothermia and/or cramps. But which thickness should I choose for which temperature? You can read more about this on the page. We also tell you more about what to look out for when choosing a suitable wetsuit.

Different thicknesses of wetsuits

Suitable wetsuits can be found for all weather conditions. It is important to pay close attention to the thickness of a wetsuit. The thickness determines how warm the suit isThis makes it essential to choose the right thickness for certain weather conditions and temperatures. We would like to briefly explain the differences between wetsuit thicknesses and what they can be used for.

It is good to know that there are also various intermediate dimensions are in thicknesses that can be used for the water temperatures in between. So for every weather condition there is a suitable wetsuit with the right thickness.

Wetsuit 3mm

A 3mm wetsuit is mainly used for warmer temperatures for water sports, such as paddling. Thanks to its small thickness, you will not be too hot, but you will still be protected from the colder water.

In addition, you have a lot of freedom of movement in a wetsuit of only 3mm thick, as the sleeves and legs are usually only 2mm thick. This type of wetsuit is often used in water temperatures between 15°C and 20°C.

Wetsuit 5mm

With a wetsuit 5mm thick you will be better protected against cold water. This is why the thicker wetsuits are often used in colder water temperatures at the beginning or end of the summer. The water is then usually a tad colder than in the middle of the summer, so you need to be better protected.

A 5mm wetsuit is therefore often used for water temperatures between 6°C and 10°C. It is good to know that the sleeves and legs are usually 3 or 4mm. This gives you just a bit more freedom of movement when practising a water sport.

Wetsuit 7mm

A 7mm wetsuit is not very common and is usually only used at water temperatures around the 0°C or by deep-sea divers. With such a wetsuit, it is therefore necessary to go on the water during a harsh winter, provided of course that there is no ice. If there is ice or if there is ice formation? Then absolutely do not go into the water.

The sleeves and legs of the suit are usually a bit thinner than the torso, namely 4 or 5mm. This allows you to move around somewhat better, as your limbs have more freedom of movement.

Temperature and thickness of wetsuit

As you may have heard, the thickness of a wetsuit depends on the water temperature and weather conditions. It is therefore important to know which thickness you need at which temperatures. We have therefore made an overview which can be used as a rule of thumb for what thickness of wetsuit you need. However, the actual thickness will of course also depend on personal findings and preferences.

Water temperature
Thickness of the wetsuit:
Proposed model:
> 2ºC (freezing cold temperature)
6/4, 5/5 or 5/4
Drysuit, steamer
> 8ºC (cold temperature)5/4 or 5/3Steamer, full body suit
> 14ºC (mild temperature)
5/3 or 4/3Full bodysuit
> 18ºC (warm temperature)
3/2Full bodysuit, overknee or short arm
> 22ºC (Tropical warm temperature)3/2, 2/2 or 2/1Shorty

What do you have to consider apart from the water temperature?

Apart from the water temperature, the thickness of a wetsuit also depends on your personal findings and preferences. For example, you may be practising a water sport that requires more freedom of movement or hardly ever goes into the water. The right choice therefore depends on various factors, including:

  • How susceptible you are to catching a cold;
  • The air temperature;
  • The effort level of the water sport you are going to practice;
  • The amount of freedom of movement you need;
  • The wind speed.

Please note atDo you know that you catch a cold easily and are the wind speeds higher than normal, for example? Then it may be wise to choose a thicker wetsuit. It is good to know that all brands give their own temperature indications, which can differ from the above mentioned indications.

Different wetsuit types

In addition to the wetsuit thicknesses, there are also different types of suits which differ in terms of model and user purpose. The various models also differ in thickness, as some wetsuits are specifically designed for hot or cold days, for example. We would like to briefly explain what types there are and what exactly they can be used for.


A shorty is a wetsuit with short sleeves and legs. However, there is also a model available with long sleeves and short legs. This type is mostly used during hot summer days when temperatures are above 20°C. In general, shorties are 2/2 mm or 3/2 mm thick and are ideal for surfing or paddling.


With a fullsuit, your entire bodyIn addition to protecting your feet, hands and head from cold water. This model is also available in many different thicknesses, ranging from 3/2 mm to 6/5 mm. Therefore, they can be used for many different activities and purposes related to water sports.

However, there is a big difference between different types of fullsuits, as there are special wetsuits for swimming and, for example, supping. The different models differ mainly in material and thickness which determine the warmth of the suit and the freedom of movement.


Don't feel comfortable wearing a one-piece wetsuit? Then you can also choose a top or vest. This is as it were only the upper part of a wetsuit to protect the upper body.

This offers the advantage of more freedom of movement, among other things. In addition, a top is much easier to put on, allowing you to get into the water more quickly. Putting on a wetsuit can sometimes take a little longer and is not necessarily easy.

Wetsuit in summer and winter

The outdoor and water temperatures can differ greatly in summer and winter. Do you want to be in the water in both seasons? Then it is important that the thickness of your wetsuit matches the temperature of the season. Therefore we would like to tell you a little bit about a wetsuit in the summer and in the winter.

Wetsuit in summer

It is not always necessary to wear a wetsuit on a hot summer day. However, wearing a wetsuit can have several advantages. That is why special wetsuits have been developed for warm summer days, when the water is at a good temperature. An example of this is a shorty or a fullsuit with little thickness.

Most summer wetsuits have a thickness of 2/2 mm or 3/2 mm. This is more than enough to protect you from the colder water, while you have more than enough freedom of movement. In addition a wetsuit with a thickness of 4/3 mm can also be used in summer, but this is not always comfortable.

Wetsuit in winter

Would you like to be able to use your SUP board in the winter? Or go swimming in the open air? Then a warm wetsuit is essential. Unlike in summer, a wetsuit in winter is the most important part of your equipment. Temperatures are very low then, so you need to protect yourself well.

Wetsuits used in the winter generally have a minimum thickness of 5/4 mm and a maximum thickness of 7/5 mm. It is also important to protect your hands, feet and head from the cold. Therefore you should also look at possible accessories for the winter to complete your water adventures.

Different wetsuit thicknesses at Watersports4fun

Are you looking for a 5mm wetsuit for autumn, spring or early winter? Or a shorty with a thickness of 3mm? Then you have come to the right place. In our webshop you will find a wide range of wetsuits in different thicknesses.

 This way you can get the right wetsuit for every weather and temperature. Want to go on the water in the winter? Then also protect your feet, hands and head with various accessories for your wetsuit. Take a look in our webshop and get everything you need for your adventures.

Do you have questions about the thickness of wetsuits or do you need personal advice? Then don't hesitate to contact our helpful customer service. You can reach us by phone, mail or through the live chat on our website. Whatever your wishes, at Watersports4fun you are always in the right place for all your new water sports articles.

Last updated on 07/02/2022

N. de Louw
N. de Louw

Thank you for reading the article I wrote, I hope all your questions have been answered. Do you still have questions? Or did I miss something? Don't hesitate to contact customer service. We will be happy to help you on your way!

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N. de Louw
N. de Louw

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