Enjoy the water in 2024 with the best wetsuits for every aquatic endeavour

Make a splash in style, featuring advice from a wetsuit designer.

A selection of the best wetsuits. Including Mountain Warehouse, O'Neill and Olaian.

by Gemma Lavers |
Updated on

The best wetsuits can make the difference between a day of aquatic ecstasy or feeling like a soggy mess. If you're getting into open water swimming or a seasoned wave rider, the seas sometimes require a little more than just a swimming costume.

In this article, we put our expert knowledge to use and find you the best wetsuits available in 2024. We've got a wide selection, including short, summer and agile wetsuits. There's a choice here for swimmers and surfers or those who like to spend their weekends on paddleboards and in inflatable kayaks.

Want to dive straight in? The best wetsuits, at a glance

• Best overall wetsuit: O'Neill Women Reactor-2 3/2mm Back Zip Full Wetsuit - View now on O'Neill
• Best short wetsuit: Olaian Men's Surfing 1.5mm Stretch Neoprene 500 Shorty Wetsuit - View now on Decathlon
• Best wetsuit for summer months: Mountain Warehouse Men's Full Length Neoprene 2.5mm Wetsuit - View now on Amazon

What does a wetsuit do?

A wetsuit is not just a fancy, rubbery outfit. Think of it as your aquatic armour and second skin against the elements. Samuel Westlake is a Product Designer for ZONE3, a brand that's been producing wetsuits since 2007. He explains how wetsuits do more than just protect you from scrapes and the occasional run-in with marine life.

portrait of cheerful swimmer
©Getty Images/Sergey Mironov

"Wetsuits work by trapping a thin layer of water between your skin and the wetsuit material known as neoprene, which contains lots of little air bubbles. Your body warms this water up, and the thermally insulative properties of the neoprene foam keep the water and wearer warmer for longer!"

"It is worth noting wetsuits are used for an array of water sports such as surfing, scuba diving or swimming, plus many more," he says. "For each activity, the wetsuit properties differ to enhance the wearer’s performance; Scuba wetsuits are ultra-durable and thick and use dense foam to combat the pressure underwater. In surfing, wetsuits must provide warmth, durability, and flexibility. This also applies to swimming/triathlon wetsuits; however, these also feature smoother material for minimal drag and thicker, more buoyant neoprene is used in the hips to enhance a swimmer’s position in the water."

So, adjust your goggles and grab your swimwear; we're plunging into some of the best wetsuits on the market.

SHOP: The best wetsuits for every aquatic endeavour

Please note: All prices are correct at the time of writing. Prices, stock and deals are subject to change without notice.

Best overall wetsuit

O'Neill Women Reactor-2 3/2mm Back Zip Full WetsuitO'Neill

Dive into the waves with confidence and style with the O'Neill Reactor wetsuit. This wetsuit is made with FluidFlex neoprene and offers unparalleled comfort and performance for your aquatic adventures. Whether catching the waves or exploring the shore, this wetsuit provides optimal flexibility and warmth, thanks to its flatlocked stitched breathable seams and Seamless Paddle Zones (aka minimal seam placement). Plus, the back zip design ensures easy on and off, while the form-fitting silhouette hugs you in all the right places.


  • Back zip entry system for easy on and off
  • Flatlocked stitched breathable seams to provide breathability and strength
  • Made of high-performance and super stretch neoprene to resist pulls and snags


  • This wetsuit does run slightly large

Best short wetsuit

Olaian Men's Surfing 1.5mm Stretch Neoprene 500 Shorty WetsuitDecathlon

The Olaian Shorty wetsuit is a great choice for summer surfers or swimmers. This wetsuit is designed for maximum comfort and performance and is made from a flexible neoprene to ensure stretch. It even has underarm and crotch inserts for even more comfort and stretches more at the shoulder. That's so you never feel restricted while wearing this wetsuit. Other great features include a back zip with a long zip pull cord, quick-drying synthetic lining and a neck finish that won't irritate your skin.


  • Features underarm and crotch inserts for greater comfort
  • Quick-drying synthetic lining
  • Stretch seams with a flexible neoprene for freedom of movement


  • The shorter wetsuit style isn't for everyone

Best wetsuit for summer months

Mountain Warehouse Men's Full Length Neoprene 2.5mm WetsuitMountain Warehouse
Price: $89.99

This Mountain Warehouse wetsuit is perfect for open-water swimming and any other water-based sports, like surfing or kayaking. This one is a good choice if you want a wetsuit that will flatter and protect. Made with a lighter fabric for the sleeves and a thicker fabric for the body, the Mountain Warehouse wetsuit is designed for freedom of movement and support – without adding bulk. Its adjustable fit around the neck and added rubber panel on the chest area are just two ways this wetsuit will keep you warm for longer.


  • Sculpted fit for added comfort
  • Machine washable
  • Adjustable neck closure for a snug fit


  • Some reviewers found the sizing to come up a little baggy

Best windproof wetsuit

With its clever mesh panelling, the Osprey wetsuit aims to keep you warm and sheltered from the wind. This is a great entry-level wetsuit for men, as it features everything you'd expect from a quality wetsuit. This includes ultra-flex neoprene, chest and back wind shields, anti-rub sealed openings and flatlock seams. All of these are there to provide you with the best and most comfortable fit. And to avoid any signs of chafing or water flushing.


  • Features wind-resistant mesh panelling to keep you warm for longer
  • Anti-rub openings to prevent chafing
  • Protective knee pads for leaning on rocky surfaces


  • Some say the pull cord length is too short

Best no-nonsense wetsuit

Although Cressi isn't perhaps as well-known as Osprey or O'Neill, they're a brand that has been in the wetsuit business since 1946. Their wetsuits are always made to a high standard, with elements like a separate hood, Aquastop under zipper and a water-tight neck seal always coming in handy. The sleek, fitted design hugs your body contours. Meanwhile, the neoprene material with stitched and glued seams keeps you warm and protected from the elements.


  • The seams are glued and stitched for insulation
  • Features an Aquastop under zipper and water-tight neck seal
  • Separate hood


  • Suit gets a lot of pull underneath the zipper

Best wetsuit with buoyancy panels

ZONE3 Women's Agile WetsuitZONE3
Price: £159.20 (was £199)


The ZONE3 Women's Agile wetsuit is a sleek and stylish addition to your aquatic gear - designed to enhance your underwater experience. The main draw of this wetsuit is the mixture of 2mm, 3mm, and 4mm buoyancy panels, which make your body more streamlined in the water. Meaning that you can swim for longer without feeling fatigued. Furthermore, the high-stretch shoulder panel increases flexibility by reducing drag and increasing your potential with each stroke.


  • 2mm Flex-Fit shoulder panels to improve your range of motion
  • Glued and blind stitched for increased comfort and warmth
  • Talon-resistant coating applied to the front legs for durability


  • For women only

Best wetsuit that's not entirely black

Tribord Dinghy 500 Women's Sailing GBS 3/2mm Neoprene WetsuitTribord

Although this wetsuit is primarily made for regular dinghy or catamaran sailing, it works perfectly for open-water swimming too. With its 3/2mm neoprene and glued blind-stitched seams, water never gets inside your wetsuit. Plus, if you're worried about putting it on and taking it off, there's a zip at the back with a long pull tab to make it a bit easier.

If comfort is your priority, this Tribord wetsuit offers it all. The knee, hip and arm patches, and anti-abrasive reinforcements on the back of the thighs and knees, are all there for freedom of movement and durability. So you can wear this wetsuit swim after swim.


  • Aesthetically pleasing colour combination
  • Well-reinforced knees (7mm) for durability
  • Cut designed to suit the female body shape


  • Hand wash only

Best wetsuit for children

Olaian Kids Steamer Full Wetsuit 100 4/3Olaian

This is the best wetsuit for children on the market, and it's a reasonable price. Made with care and designed for comfort, the Olaian wetsuit is perfect for young swimmers, surfers and divers alike. For example, the shape of the wetsuit has been created to optimise arm rotation while your little one is paddling. Plus, with thoughtful features like ankle and back zips, the Olaian Kids Steamer wetsuit is hassle-free.


  • Shaped to optimise arm rotation whilst paddling
  • Ankle zips and back zip for easy put-on and take-off
  • Adjustable neck for snug fit


  • Only designed for water between 12 and 17 degrees Celsius

Finding the best wetsuit for you: FAQs

How thick of a wetsuit should I get?

When it comes to deciding how thick of a wetsuit you'll need, thickness matters because it determines how warm and comfortable you'll be in the water and out before you step into a dry robe. In simple terms, Samuel advises, "the colder the water, the thicker the wetsuit!" He continues: "in the UK the sea temperature can drop as low as 7° C. If you were surfing/bodyboarding in this, you would require a 6mm wetsuit to keep you warm while bobbing around waiting for waves."

However, the thickness of a wetsuit also depends on the type of activities you'll likely be doing, "expensive high-performance swim wetsuits can use neoprene as thin as 0.3mm on the shoulders for optimum flexibility, while an entry-level swim wetsuit will use a combination of 4/3/2mm neoprene for added buoyancy support, warmth and flexibility."

Do wetsuits actually keep you warm?

In short, providing the wetsuit fits snug and is made of neoprene, it will keep you toasty. "For a wetsuit to work, it must be tight enough to trap the water against the skin and not allow cold water to flush in and out," Samuel says.

Do you wear anything under a wetsuit?

Many open water swimmers and surfers opt to wear nothing under their wetsuits. This is because wetsuits are designed to fit snugly against the skin to trap that thin layer of water. Wearing something underneath could potentially compromise this seal and lead to chafing. But, "if you are finding the water a bit chilly and don’t want to splash out on a thicker wetsuit, you can add a thermal base layer, made of neoprene or polypropylene, under your wetsuit that will add an extra layer of warmth," Samuel says. "If you get unwanted rashes when wearing your wetsuit, you can also wear a rash vest to combat this."

About the expert

This article contains expert advice from Samuel Westlake, Product Designer for the world's highest rated triathlon brand, ZONE3. As a brand they've been producing wetsuits since 2007, and have an entire range of performance-based suits. Samuel specialises in wetsuit design and construction.

Gemma Lavers is a Health & Fitness Writer for What's The Best. From understanding nutrition to practising yoga and Pilates to delving into the psychology of motivation. She enjoys demystifying the latest fitness trends and staying on top of the dynamic health landscape, whether that's the best gym leggings, fitness trackers or the benefits of yoga.

When Gemma’s not writing, she can be found attending Pilates, yoga and Zumba classes. She’s also a bit of a home workout aficionado, constantly trying out new ways to keep her moving at home. Between writing, exercising and shopping, there’s nothing she loves more than hopping on a plane and exploring new cultures.

Subscribe to the What’s The Best Newsletter to keep up to date with more of the latest reviews and recommendations from the rest of the What’s The Best team.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us