If you’ve ever met me in person, at a tradeshow, at a presentation or in a class, you know one thing for sure: I hate when women buy wetsuits that are designed for men. An no that’s not hyperbole. I hate it with a fire of a thousand suns. Maybe it’s irrational, but it just seems like such an obvious thing to me. Women should be in wetsuits designed for…GASP…women!
And just like jeans or bikinis, wetsuits can not be “unisex.” Masks can be unisex. Snorkels are unisex. Not wetsuits.
Here’s the thing…women are shaped different than men. They have hips, booties, boobs…don’t act like you haven’t noticed. But many dive shops all over the country tell women that they can wear a men’s wetsuit.* All you ladies out there- this is me telling you, no, you shouldn’t.
Why do some people still try to sell men’s suits to women? Well, primarily because their money is green and the shop probably only has men’s freediving suits. But there are women’s wetsuits out there and you don’t have to buy a custom suit to get something that fits now. This is a somewhat recent revelation, but a most welcome one.
My first wetsuit was a men’s suit (because I didn’t know any better) and the thing was a disaster. It was far too big in the shoulders, super tight in the hips and about 6 inches too short. Because of the poor fit it flushed constantly. It kept me warmer than no wetsuit at all, but when I finally switched to a suit that fit me properly, I was amazed at the difference. I was warmer, more comfortable, could move freely and didn’t have to sport the capri pants look. I will absolutely go so far as to say that having a properly fitted wetsuit will improve your diving.
While there aren’t a million options for women’s suits, there are a few to pick from.
1. Sporasub’s Yemaya
This is the suit I’m personally using right now. It’s flexible, durable, warm and has the best stock sizing (for my body type) of any suit I’d tried before. They’re around $500, depending on the thickness you’re looking for.
You can also buy the tops and bottoms separately which allows you to customize even more.
Best for: spearfishing, abalone diving, recreational diving
I use this suit often for teaching and warm water diving. They’re a bit more expensive than the Yemaya, but, in my opinion, they’re for a different kind of diving. They’re extremely flexible, which makes it one of the most comfortable suits you’ll ever wear and also makes them great for competitive-style diving. However, they are more delicate than other suits, so aren’t ideal for climbing around on rocks or spearfishing.
These are also available in custom sizing which makes for an even better fit, but that comes with a higher price tag.
Best for: competitive diving, recreational diving
Quite honestly I’m not 100% sure if these are easy to get in the US any more, but Dessault has long made a women’s stock-sized suit. Actually they’ve made several varieties to choose from.
All of their suits are high-quality and durable. I’ve never owned one myself, but many friends have highly recommended them.
Best for: spearfishing, recreational diving
So there you have it- women’s suits in a nutshell. But if anyone else out there knows of more women’s suits I’ve missed, please feel free to comment below! Also, feel free to ask questions about the suits if you’re looking into purchasing something.
*Some dive shops (especially freedive-specific ones) recommend women’s suits for women. And they have my undying gratitude!
**Another women’s suit was pointed out to me: Benthos Black Wetsuit, Womens, 3mm, Yamamoto 39, Open Cell, Freediving Suit