The question of what to wear under a wetsuit will pop into the heads of all wetsuit first-timers – and reasonably so! You’ll be wondering what the acceptable norms are and most likely… should you go nude underneath? We’ll answer you below…
Are you naked under your wetsuit?
Let’s start with the most awkward one! While you can go naked under your wetsuit and a lot of people do, there are a few reasons why most prefer not to. Here are the pros and cons.
Pros for going naked underneath your wetsuit:
- You’ll have fewer items to dry and fewer items to pack.
- It can feel more comfortable under the wetsuit as there are no pressure points created by any other clothing e.g. bikini knots.
- There is no material to get rucked up underneath.
- There are no visible clothes lines that could show through your wetsuit.
- There’s nothing to give you a wedgie or become awkwardly misplaced.
Cons for going naked underneath your wetsuit:
- You won’t be able to wear your wetsuit half down or strip to your swimwear if it’s too hot.
- You’ll have less support in the top area for women and the bottom area for men.
- There’s no extra insulation or protection from the cold.
- There’s nothing between your skin and the neoprene wetsuit fabric which can be uncomfortable and cause the skin to chafe.
- You’ll be left naked if you need to take your wetsuit off in an emergency for any reason.
- If you’re hiring a wetsuit you might not be so keen on the idea of your skin and private areas rubbing against places other peoples also have.
- You’ll likely need to change in a public place. Being naked underneath makes struggling out of a tight wetsuit in public a lot less practical, as you’ll also have to worry about holding up a towel at the same time.
What Should You Wear Under A Wetsuit?
What you should wear under your wetsuit is pretty much down to personal preference, but keep in mind your specific sport and how much movement is going to be needed. Wear something that is stretchy and fits tight to the body. Anything too loose will ruck up uncomfortably. The most common items to wear under a wetsuit is a bikini/swimming costume/shorts, plus a rash guard top.
Also, keep in mind the weather and sea temperature for how much extra insulation you will need to keep you warm in the water. You can find our general wetsuit thickness guide here.
It goes without saying but we’ll say it anyway, you should not wear any item of clothing under your wetsuit that will become heavy and easily waterlogged, such as a cotton T-shirt, jumper or hoodie. Wetsuits are not waterproof and will not keep you dry inside! Only wear items designed with material safe for water activities.
In most cases in mild to warm conditions wearing a bikini or a swimsuit, or swimming shorts or trunks underneath is fine. Just try to avoid choosing ones with loose fabric (best to avoid board shorts -sorry!). Boxer briefs are better as board shorts will bunch up uncomfortably under the tight wetsuit. Save the boardshorts for wearing over the top of the wetsuit to give the wetsuit bum a bit more protection when sitting on rough beachy grounds and surfaces.
Other items to wear underneath a wetsuit include:
- A Full Body Rash Guard
- Diving Shorts
- Sports Bra
- Sleeveless Vest
- 1-2mm Neoprene Vest
- The most common item worn underneath a wetsuit is a short or long sleeved rash guard such as the ones below. In addition for women a bikini top or a swimsuit can be worn under the rash guard for extra support.