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Best wetsuits for cold water swimming

man stood in lake

Are you an avid cold water swimmer? Or perhaps you are a newbie to wild water swimming.

Either way, one of the first things you may want to invest in is a high-quality wetsuit, as the water you will be diving into will be very cold. 

Well, you’re in luck, as we have reviewed the best wetsuits for cold water swimming!

A wetsuit’s purpose is to keep you warm while allowing a full range of motion and buoyancy. It also provides extra protection against skin irritation caused by low temperatures or debris in the water.

So, the quality of your wetsuit makes a difference and could make or break your wild water journey. Ps. Always remember to take care of your wetsuit!

Cold water swimming wetsuits

Here at Cold Water Swim, we are passionate wild water swimmers, and we have taken the time to trial, test and review the best wetsuits so you don’t have to. 

We have found wetsuits with added features, such as hoods, long leash zips, sustainable materials, reactive stretch technology and more. There are even wetsuits on the market that claim to deter sharks! (The jury’s out on that one).

There are cheaper wetsuit options for those who want to test the waters but aren’t ready to make big purchases. Open-water swimming isn’t for the faint of heart, so it’s understandable if you want to start small while you make up your mind. 

There are also more expensive options that experienced cold swimmers might want to consider. The pricier wetsuit brands tend to have a more ergonomic design and will withstand damage more easily.

Best wetsuits for cold water swimming

So, let’s dive right in with our list of the best wetsuits for cold water swimming!

1. Gills Pursuit 4/3mm Neoprene Wetsuit

gill wetsuit

Up first, we have a suit from Gill Store; this full-length wetsuit is perfect for winter as it covers your whole body.

At 4mm thickness, your body will be highly insulated so you can withstand a longer period in the icy water. This great winter wetsuit can also be used for other sports like paddle boarding, surfing, and other cold-water activities.

Gill’s wetsuit is one of the more expensive suits on the market; however, due to its high-quality and amazing features, it is a worthwhile investment.

We recommend investing in a quality wild water wetsuit as it is crucial to remain safe and healthy while participating in this exciting sport.

The Gills pursuit wetsuit is available to men and women in various sizes, so it is a suitable option for anyone looking to get involved. 

Key features:

  • Double-lined Glideskin collar, which prevents cold water flush.
  • 80% Neoprene 20% Nylon.
  • 4/3mm zoned Yamamoto Neoprene.        
  • £129-£145.

2. Osprey Hooded Thermal Wetsuit

wetsuit model with board

Osprey’s hooded wetsuit is ideal for wild water swimmers looking for full body coverage, as it provides thermal insulation from your head to toe.

Many swimmers take their open water swimming to the next level by fully submerging themselves, so a hood is perfect for swimmers looking to challenge themselves.

The built-in hood and anti-flush technology keep the cold water from entering your swimming wetsuit, meaning your body temperature will remain consistent throughout your swim.

The 5mm thickness is another great feature, as the added thickness of the swimming wetsuit will provide additional warmth.

A hooded wetsuit is beneficial even if you don’t want to put your head under the water, as it will protect you from cold winds and a surfer’s ear.

So, Ospreys’ thermal suit is perfect if you want complete protection from the elements. 

Key features:

  • Thick 5mm neoprene material with thermal fleece lining.
  • Full body and head coverage.
  • Anti-rub openings and supratex knee pads.
  • £120-£200

3. SK Studio Wetsuit

SK Studio wetsuit

SK Studio’s wetsuits come in various colours and styles, so you can add a splash of personality to your equipment without disregarding your warmth and safety. They offer open water swimming wetsuits for men and women in several sizes and designs.

Their open water swimming wetsuits provide UPV protection and high levels of insulation. It will shield you from jellyfish stings and scratches from marine debris.

The super stretchy material is extremely comfortable in the water, allowing you to swim freely and have a great range of motion. It gives added buoyancy which will help you maintain a good body position.

SK Studio’s swim wetsuit is one of the cheaper options on the market, so if you want to start your venture into wild water swim, this could be a cost-effective choice.

Key features:

  • 90% Neoprene and 10% Nylon wetsuit fabric
  • 3mm thick highly stretch neoprene.
  • High-quality fabrics provide UPF50+ sun protection.
  • Suitable for 55℉- 64℉ water temperature.
  • £73

4. Wenlia Full-Length Wetsuit

wetsuit model

A perfect entry-level wetsuit, this 3mm thick wetsuit for swimming in cold water is practical for any winter swimming or water sports.

Made of high-elasticity neoprene fabric, the Wenlia wetsuit is lightweight and allows you to glide easily through the water. There are different sizes to suit both men and women, so you will be sure to find the right fit; they have plus-size wetsuits too.

The material and thickness have been designed to ensure your body temperature doesn’t drop too fast to prevent you from going into cold water shock when you drop into the cold water.

Wenlia’s suit is ideal for wild water swimming but also for kayaking, diving, windsurfing and more.

The snug fit provides more warmth during longer swims, and you will get maximum flexibility, making swimming much easier. No one wants a stiff open water swimming wetsuit that makes swimming difficult!

Key features:

  • 3mm Yamamoto Neoprene with double-sided Nylon.
  • Elastic wear-resistant fabrics to protect the skin.
  • Suitable for 55℉- 64℉ water temperature.
  •  £45-£58

5. ZCCO Ultra Stretch 3mm Neoprene Wetsuit

wetsuit

The ZCCO, like many other cold water swimming wetsuits, has a thickness of 3mm, allowing easy movement while maintaining a warm body temperature. The split neoprene chest panels will help you keep buoyant and hold a good body position.

Movement and insulation are extremely important for wild water swimming, as you want to swim easily, especially if you need to get out quickly. So, this is a great swimmer’s wetsuit for agility.

When looking for a wetsuit for swimming in wild waters, long sleeves and legs are important to keep you warm and protect you from any hazards in the lake or sea.

ZCCO’s swim wetsuits provide strong coverage for new and experienced swimmers at an affordable price. You should also check out the rest of their impressive cold water swimming gear.

Features:

  • 3mm Yamamoto Neoprene material.
  • Across body zip for easy opening and closing.
  • Tight neckline to avoid water rush.
  • £59-£83

6. Synergy Triathlon Wetsuit

man adjusting goggles

The Synergy triathlon wetsuit is the best option for experienced cold water swimmers, as it is Open Water Swimming Ironman & USAT Approved. Endorsed by athletes, there is a reason why this sculpted wetsuit is popular with professionals.

With a thickness of 2/3mm, you can swim faster, move easier, and save energy – which is very important in wintery conditions. The anti-corrode zipper is positioned inside the wetsuit to prevent any drag in the water.

If you want to take open water swimming seriously, or if you take part in other extreme activities, such as triathlons, then it is advisable to invest in this high-end wetsuit. However, this suit will set you back more than other cheaper alternatives. 

Key features:

  • It comes in a wide range of sizes to ensure a perfect fit.
  •  3/2mm wetsuit for improved flexibility.
  • The best triathlon wetsuit on our list.
  • Hydrodynamic neoprene with silicone-coated SyPrene.
  • £170

7. PAWHITS Neoprene Long Sleeve Wetsuit

PAWHITS Neoprene Long Sleeve Wetsuit

The PAWHITS wetsuit is made from an eco-friendly, high-elastic material that will keep you insulated for hours in low temperatures.

You can choose between various colours, including blue and pink, to keep you looking stylish as you swim and stay visible at night. Or, you can opt for a classic slimming black colour to keep it simple and sophisticated.

This cold water swimming wetsuit has a long lifespan, so you won’t need to purchase another suit for a long time, making the swimming wetsuit a reliable investment.

The material has been designed to prevent any cuts and scratches in the water, which is ideal for wild water swimming, as you might not be familiar with the terrain you find yourself in.

So, if you want to brighten the icy waters while remaining incredibly comfortable during long swims, this could be your wetsuit. Available for both men and women at a reasonable price.

Key features:

  • 3mm Premium 90% SCR Neoprene + 10% Imported Nylon.
  • High thermal insulation performance, ideal for 70-77℉.
  • Specific streamlined design to slim the body.
  • Heavy-duty metal back zipper with an extra-long leash.
  • £126-£130

8. Owntop Thermal Diving Suits

man modelling wetsuit

Owntop is popular among divers due to its extensive range of diving suits and equipment. Their wetsuits are engineered to keep swimmers, divers and surfers warm in cold weather and cold waters.

So, they are a great option for anyone interested in swimming in wild waters. This versatile suit will even protect you in warmer waters and prevents any damage from UV rays.

You can wear the wetsuit all year round, and the elastic 4-way stretch material allows you to drop the wetsuit halfway down if you fancy challenging yourself.

A long, sealed zipper and rope help you easily escape the open water swimming wetsuit. Owntop has an easy-to-use size guide for men and women to ensure you can find the perfect fitting wetsuit even if you shop online.

The tight fit will act like a second skin and help you maintain a streamlined body position which is great for keeping warm. Don’t worry about the thinner material; it will cling to your upper and lower body, keeping you toasty in cold water temperatures.

Key features:

  • 3mm SCR Neoprene Material.
  • High-quality fabric provides UPF50+ sun protection.
  • Flat-lock stitch and 4-way stretch.
  • £58

9. Cressi Castoro Monopiece Wetsuit

wetsuit model

Cressi’s modular one-piece wetsuit is a great option for any wild water swimmer, as it has a thickness of 5mm. The neoprene material is the most commonly used fabric as it provides the best level of insulation.

The Cressi model has been manufactured for men and women. Another amazing benefit of shopping with Cressi is that they focus on sustainability. You can open water swim knowing you are wearing a brand that does its bit to protect the oceans.

The wetsuit is available in black, grey, and silver so that you can take your pick. If you want additional insulation, this wetsuit comes with a detachable hood!

Again, this wetsuit is a bit more pricey than its alternatives; however, if you can, we recommend splashing out on cold water swimming gear as it is important to keep you safe.

The extra thickness provided by a 5mm will provide extra buoyancy but may reduce good shoulder mobility, so this wetsuit might be better for the professionals amongst you. 

Key features:

  • 5mm Nylon and Neoprene material.
  • Rear zip and watertight edges.
  • A sustainable brand and the establishment is zero impact.
  • £276

10. Layatone Adult Full Length Wetsuit

wetsuit models

Last but not least, we have Layatone full-length wetsuit. The heavy-duty 3mm fabric is abrasion resistant; you will be protected from any debris in the water, such as rocks or coral.

Wearing this wetsuit, you can take on the icy waters of wild swimming for long periods. The seams are carefully glued and blind stitched together to prevent water from leaking into the suit and reducing your body temperature.

Smooth skin inside the swimming wetsuit and an ergonomic neckline will also help maintain reasonable body heat.

Competitive swimmers need a more streamlined body position, so the range of motion you can achieve in this thin-layer suit is ideal. The super composite skin makes this a good wetsuit for swimmers looking for zero shoulder restrictions.

Layatone’s thermal suit is a great option if you want to stay warm this winter while diving deep into ice-cold water temperatures, especially at a more affordable price.

Key features:

  • 3mm Stretchy Yamamoto Neoprene Wetsuit.
  • Abrasion resistance performance.
  • YKK zipper.
  • Reviewed as one of the best womens wetsuits.
  • £35.

Tips for choosing the best wetsuit

  • An ill-fitting suit can impact a swimmer’s range of motion in both their upper and lower bodies, which can be dangerous, especially in extremely low water temperatures. So, following open water swimming brands’ size guides is important.
  • Be aware that the best wetsuits are a tight fit; the Yamamoto Neoprene material will hug the body to ensure the best level of insulation.
  • Most open-water swimming wetsuits are manufactured with thermo-guard technology to help you maintain body heat.
  • Other suits have features to promote natural buoyancy. So, when reviewing wetsuits, it is important to review the key specification materials. Lucky for you, we have done this for you!
  • Make sure – whichever you choose – you look after your wetsuit.

Ready to take the plunge?

So, that’s our list of the best wetsuits for wild water swimmers UK. We have taken in a range of factors to select the top ten best wetsuits for cold swimming on the market. 

We have covered you from men’s 5mm wetsuits to 3mm wetsuits for women.

If you are a competitive swimmer looking for more buoyancy to support you in the unforgiving spring waters, or if you have some swimming experience and are looking for normal wetsuits for open water, you can browse the key specifications material listed above to find the best wetsuit for you. 

Now that you have all the information, you can start or continue, your wild water journey with the best cold water wetsuits!

Our list of the best wetsuits for cold water swimming will allow you complete freedom wherever you choose to take a dip.