Wetsuit Sizes11 comments
Have you ever taken a look at the description of a wetsuit in a surf shop, online, or in a surf magazine? It's probably become clear that there are a number of terms used to describe the type, size, and fit of a wetsuit. Here we'll look at how to choose the right size based on your height, weight, chest / bust, waist, and hip measurements.
Which Wetsuit Size do I Need?
Wetsuit manufacturers produce a range of wetsuit sizes, and use letters to describe the different sizes. You'll have to look at a brand specific wetsuit size chart to find out which suit will fit you correctly. Although manufacturers use the same letters in their ranges, the sizes for those letter ranges differ between brands. (i.e. one brand's extra large wetsuit will be a different size to another brand's extra large) Make sure you look at the size chart for the right wetsuit brand.
Most brands produce ranges from XXS to XXL. The letters correspond to a mixture of sizes and heights. Here's what the letters stand for:
- S - small
- M - medium
- L - large
- T - tall
- X - extra
So, XL is extra large, MT is medium tall, and so on. Take a look at the size chart, use your own height, chest and waist measurements, and there you'll have your letters. For example, if you're 5'8 tall, weight 150 pounds, have a 40 inch chest, and a 32 inch waist, it's likely that you'll need a MS (medium small) wetsuit.
The above chart is based on the Xcel mens wetsuit range. Women's sizing charts will be slightly different, with bust, waist and hip measurements used.
The above image shows where the measurements should be taken
Although you now know which wetsuits to choose from, there are a few other things to keep in mind. Not everyone will fit exactly into one size, and even if you do fit into a range on the size chart, the suit may just not feel right. It is a good idea to visit a surf shop and try on a range of wetsuit models, and suits from different brands. Different brands and different brand models will have a different fit and feel. If you are determined to buy online, visit a surf shop and find the right suit, make a note, and head for the internet cafe!
Happy with the sizing? Now you'll need to choose the right thickness, seam construction, neoprene type, zip type and location, and look. Who would have thought it would be so complicated?
Further wetsuit information
Sizing is one consideration, but what about the type of surfing wetsuits?.
If you would like more information about the types of wetsuit stitching and seams (sealed / flatlock), it's explained here.
Take a look at our main wetsuit details page that explains how they work.
Don't forget to take care of your wetsuit once you have made the purchase.
Our definitive wetsuit buyers guide.
Shop for a wetsuit
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- The Different Types of Surfing Wetsuits
- Wetsuit stitching and seams explained in detail
- The thickness of a wetsuit explained
- A List of Wetsuit Terms and Terminology
- Taking care of your wetsuit
- Wetsuit Temperature Guide - make sure you get the right suit
on Jun 2, 2011
|Thank goodness, someone with brains speaks!|
on Oct 17, 2011
|I think you mean Pounds not Kilos 150 Kilos is 330LBs which is massive!|
on Oct 17, 2011
|You're right Tim, thanks for pointing out the error.|
on Oct 21, 2011
|what about someone who's under 5'7? i'm 5'1 and a size 6-8 - i've hired a kids one before but that cut the circulation in my wrists and ankles - what would you suggest?|
on Oct 22, 2011
|I'd always suggest trying one on. The size guides will give you a good idea, but the right fit is so important. Also, sizes and fits differ between manufacturers, another reason it's important to try one on. I'm sure that the hire place will let you try on wetsuits before you hire.|
on Mar 25, 2012
|What if I'm 5'11" and weigh 250lbs, with a 38 to 40 waist? Would I have to go for a XXL?? And if so, how would that fit, do you think?|
on Mar 26, 2012
|If you want one off the rack, you'll probably need an XXL or a 3XL, depending on which wetsuit brand you choose. Each brand differs in the way they will fit, so it's always best to try before you buy.|
Some people will simply not fit into an off the rack size, and if that's the case there is always the option of a custom fitted wetsuit. They are a little more expensive than on straight off the rack, but the fit will be excellent. A good fitting wetsuit is really important. It it's too small, it will be uncomfortable, too large and it won't keep you warm.
on Apr 16, 2012
|Hi. My son needs a wetsuit, but is v embarrassed as he is overweight.( medication related) he wants to join in with the scout activities but I cannot find a children's wetsuit to fit. He is 145 tall, but has a 33inch waist . Any advice???|
on Apr 17, 2012
|@Guest on Apr 16, 2012: I think your best option is to get a custom made wetsuit. These are a little more expensive that a wetsuit off the rack, but will fit correctly. There are several companies that offer a custom wetsuit service. I can recommend Snugg wetsuits from personal experience, I ordered a custom winter wetsuit from them a few years ago and it is excellent quality.|
on Jun 30, 2012
|I'm female 5 foot 10 and 100 kg. What size do you suggest? Large chest too.|
on Sep 8, 2012
|Hi, I'm 5'6" and 130 lbs. I've been wearing an O'Neill women's size 6 3/2, but have felt that it might be a little too tight. I have a bit of difficulty zipping it up, and it is a bit tighter around my neck, but I always feel fine once I get in the water. I want to buy a 4/3 and am entertaining the idea of getting a size 8 instead. I was wondering if anyone knows how different the two sizes are? |