Choosing the Right Dive Suit

A dive suit is protective equipment intended for divers, whether snorkeling or with scuba diving. Its main function is to provide thermal protection to the user by limiting heat loss. The diving suit also serves as protection against the external environment, for example for friction (with rocks or the diver’s equipment), scratches, etc.

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  • How to choose a dive suit?

    To choose the right dive suit for your needs, there are a number of key criteria to consider. Whether you’re getting into diving or have already gained experience, you will need to look into the points we mention in this guide. Your choice of dive suit will depend not only on the user, but also on the type of suit, the thickness and the cut. 

    The choice will mainly relate to:

    • The type of suit (wet, semi-dry or dry)
    • The thickness 
    • The user (man, woman, child)
    • The cut
  • What type of dive suit should you choose?

    There are three types of dive suits to choose from: wetsuits, semi-drysuits and drysuits (or waterproof suits). 

    A wetsuit allows water to penetrate inside the suit. This thin layer of water will heat up in contact with the user’s skin and form an isothermal barrier. However, the user’s movements will allow this “warmed up” water to escape from the suit and be replaced by cooler water. The thermal protection is therefore imperfect, which is why it is only used in the most temperate waters (above 20°C). Less technical and generally less expensive, this is the most popular type of dive suit.

    A semi-drysuit is like a wetsuit but the openings (neck, wrists, ankles) are waterproof. Water can seep inside and act as an isothermal barrier, but less cold water re-enters compared to wetsuits. Usually, they also have a waterproof horizontal back zipper. All these features help retain heat inside the suit better, but they make semi-drysuits less easy to put on and take off. This type of dive suit is particularly suitable for temperate water (between 10 and 20°C).

    A drysuit (or waterproof suit)  does not allow water to penetrate inside. To ensure thermal protection, the user should put on another layer of clothing underneath. Its higher price and its technical nature make it suitable for experienced users who practice diving in difficult conditions: cold water (below 10°C), long and/or deep immersion.

    Aqualung dive wetsuit

    Beuchat dive semi-drysuit

    Scubapro dive drysuit

  • Which thickness should you choose?

    The thickness of a dive suit should be chosen mainly according to the temperature of the water in which it will be used.

    • Water above 24°C: 3mm thick.
    • Water between 24 and 16°C: 5mm thick.
    • Water below 16°C: 7mm thick.

    These values ​​are indicative because they depend on many parameters such as the sensitivity of the diver and the duration of the dive, as well as the type of activity practiced (spearfishing, freediving, scuba diving, snorkeling).

    The thicker the wetsuit, the more it will limit the user’s ease of movement. For example, a 7mm wetsuit is not recommended for the practice of spearfishing which requires great freedom of movement.

    The choice of thickness will also depend on the diver’s sensitivity to cold and fatigue.

  • Who is the dive suit for?


    In order to optimize thermal protection, dive suits must be adapted to the user’s morphology. In addition to different sizes (as for a classic garment), models are therefore often available in versions for men, women and children.

    Mares women’s suit

    Cressi child’s suit

  • Which cut should you choose for your wetsuit?

    There are many variations in the cuts available: shorty or full and one-piece or two-piece. 

    Shorty: Most often short-sleeved, the shorty ends above the knees. It is therefore intended for the warm water. It can come with or without an integrated hood.

    Full: It covers the body almost completely (integrated slippers), with the exception of the hands for which separate gloves will be used. It also does not necessarily have an integrated hood. The neck and wrists are protected by waterproof sleeves and the zipper is usually diagonal and on the front. This is a more technical fit, mostly found in drysuits.

    One-piece: The one-piece suit protects the user from the neck down to the wrists (or mid-arm for the short sleeve version) and ankles. It’s also available with or without an intergated hood. This is the most common and widely distributed cut.

    Two-piece: It consists of one part covering the lower body, usually in the form of overalls (without sleeves), and one part covering the upper body down to the waist worn on top. Compared to one-piece suits, the main advantage is that it is easier to put on and take off. It also allows protection to be adjusted according to conditions and use.


    Northern diver shorty dive suit

    Patagonia one-piece dive suit

    Seac sub two-pieces dive suit

    Rofos full dive suit

  • What accessories are there in addition to a wetsuit?

    As we have mentioned, you can add different elements in order to adapt to the temperature of the water and to practice. The hood protects the head and has a sleeve that goes down widely on the neck, upper back and shoulders. Dive gloves protect hands from the cold and external aggressions. Dive boots have a rigid sole while dive booties have a flexible one. They both protect the user’s feets from the cold. They are also useful when the user is required to walk on dry land before or after diving.

    Ursuit dive hood

    Epsealon dive glove

    Akona dive boots

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