A surfer on a wave with a shorty wetsuit

Sometimes, we can get away with being in the water without a wetsuit when the weather is hot, but how long can you actually stay in the sea for? For many of us, not long enough! And that’s when a shorty wetsuit is useful!

With a decade’s worth of experience in the online wetsuit industry, we provide our top recommendations, including features to look out for and our best offers in line with your budget! Whether you’re after kids’, men’s shorty wetsuits, or shorty wetsuits for ladies, find out all you need to know below!




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Why Use a Shorty Wetsuit?


Shorty wetsuits are perfect for the UK’s summer season or warmer climates when a swimsuit or a pair of boardies don’t quite cut it!

Shorty wetsuits are usually either 3mm or 2mm in neoprene thickness, with some even being around 1mm. They provide just enough neoprene to keep your body warm in the water while not being too thick to stifle you under the hot sun.

A standard winter wetsuit is a thickness of 5mm in the legs and body, so you can just imagine the relief these wetsuits can bring in hotter climates!

They are super versatile in their uses and can cover a wide range of watersports, including:

  • Surfing
  • Paddleboarding
  • Bodyboarding
  • Kitesurfing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet skiing
  • Sailing
  • Swimming (may require a specialised shorty wetsuit)

If you’re looking to advance your abilities and want a longer session, a shorty wetsuit can provide the perfect balance of temperature. The wetsuit works by keeping the main part of your body warm while allowing your arms and legs to remain cool in the water.

Perfect for Beach Days

If you are looking to spend a family holiday by the beach, a shorty wetsuit is the perfect beach addition. They are great for dipping in and out of the sea with the family, not to mention they are small in size compared to full-length wetsuits, so they are very transportable too.

Why Not Opt for a 3:2 Summer Wetsuit?

A 3:2 summer wetsuit is an excellent choice in the summer if you tend to feel the cold. If it is a sunny day, you might feel quite warm over a more extended period as your whole body is covered in neoprene.

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What to Look For in a Shorty Wetsuit


As you browse through our site, you may find that we have many different shorty wetsuits at different price ranges! It may leave you wondering why this is, and what makes a shorty wetsuit worth the price?

As with all wetsuits, the price is affected by how advanced the wetsuit is.

The best shorty wetsuit for you will depend on a couple of things:

  • What you will be using it for.
  • Your budget.

These are two factors to take into account when considering your value for money.

If you are using your wetsuit on holiday while spending time on the beach, you might not necessarily require a higher-end and more expensive wetsuit because the benefits might not be as noticeable.

If you are using it for more extreme sports, you might be looking for a wetsuit that focuses on flexibility as a key feature at the heart of its design.


One of the critical price points of a wetsuit is neoprene. The more flexible the neoprene is, the better it will fit you, which means you will feel warmer in the ocean. Not only will it fit with more accuracy to your body shape, but it will also be more comfortable. With the flexibility to move more freely, your session in the water can be enhanced by the suit's stretchiness.

Sleeve Length

Across our range of shorty wetsuits, it may have occurred to you that there are a variety of sleeve lengths. In general, most shorty wetsuits cut off at the elbows and knees.

However, other designs, such as the Xcel Axis Long Sleeve Short wetsuit, feature full-length sleeves. This is mainly to do with temperature. If you feel the cold, a long sleeve shorty wetsuit might be a great choice, especially if you like to have dawny or sunset summer surfs when the air temperature is colder.

Sealing of Seams

Seams in thicker wetsuits, where trapping heat is essential, should be glued and blind-stitched to stop excess water leaking into the wetsuit.

However, because trapping heat isn't so much of a priority in shorty wetsuits because they are supposed to be used in warmer climates, you will find that most designs are finished with flat-locked seams. Only in the more performance-based shorty wetsuits will you see advancement on flat-lock seams.

Entry Systems

Another thing you will notice as you search our range are the different entry systems.

Back Zip

One of the most popular entry systems for a shorty wetsuit is a back zip. It is a favoured entry system as it is straightforward to get in and out of the suit with back zip. It is perfect for quickly taking it on and off as you dip in and out of the water on a hot day.

Chest Zip

Chest zip shorty wetsuits are perfect for those who require some more flexibility in their wetsuit. It is the preferred entry system for those who want to maximise their performance in the water.

Our O’Neill Hammer Chest Zip Shorty wetsuit is a great example of a highly regarded chest zip shorty wetsuit. The combination of high flex neoprene and a chest zip means you feel unrestricted in the water, all at a fairly affordable price.

The zip on the chest removes any restriction that you may feel with some back zip suits.

Front Zip

Instead of a zip going horizontally across your chest, you may notice some suits come with a front zip placed vertically down the chest. There are a few reasons for this.

In wetsuits such as the Orca SwimRun Core wetsuit in the ladies and men's range, the front zip is placed for ease of access during triathlon and other open water swimming races. They are specially designed for a fast way to cool down during the running part of a race after swimming.

You will notice how specialised these wetsuits are through their thin but durable neoprene. They are specially designed for serious swimmers and competitors in the sport.

Other wetsuits designed for surfing in warmer climates, such as the O’Neill Ladies Bahia Shorty wetsuit, the front zip is an added feature to ensure you can cool down quickly should you feel too warm in the ocean.

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The Best Shorty Wetsuits For Men


Here at Wetsuit Centre, we provide many affordable shorty wetsuits for men and offer more advanced designs for those wanting a more performance based suit. We take a look at our favourites below:

On a Budget

If you are looking for a reliable wetsuit at an outstanding price, the C-Skin Element 3mm Shorty wetsuit is a steal. The value of this wetsuit is extraordinary with 30% of the suit created from C-Skin’s highly regarded Ultra Stretch C-Flex neoprene. So not only is it comfortable, but it also provides a snug fit.

The O’Neill Men’s Reactor 2 Shorty is also another reputable suit in the same price range. The reactor range is renowned for its incredibly soft neoprene, which is perfect for summer weather. It is also available in women’s sizes!

Bigger Budget

If you are looking for something more advanced, the next wetsuit up in the O’Neill range is the O’Neill Hammer 2mm Chest Zip Shorty. If you are looking for a wetsuit that isn’t flat-flocked, the Xcel Comp 2mm Long Sleeve Shorty wetsuit is a fantastic, next-level wetsuit. Praised for its flexibility, a highlight of this shorty suit is the semi-dry zipper and magnetic closure, preventing water from leaking into the suit.

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The Best Shorty Wetsuits For Women


Whether you are looking for an affordable wetsuit or one with the ultimate flexibility, we have you covered at Wetsuit Centre. Take a look at our recommendations for women’s shorties below.

On a Budget

Like the men’s shorty wetsuits, the C-Skin Element Shorty wetsuit is perfect for those who are looking for an all-round shorty wetsuit. It is great value for money. Another great and affordable women’s shorty wetsuit is the Mystic 3:2 Shorty wetsuit. This suit is in the same price range, and the back zip entry makes it super easy to get in and out.

Bigger Budget

If you are after an advanced wetsuit that is not only incredibly flexible but also beautifully eye-catching, the Rip Curl G-Bomb 2mm Zipless Long Sleeve wetsuit is the one to go for.

The wetsuit is created with Rip Curl’s famous E6 neoprene, which is regarded for its stretchiness, meaning you have a better fitting suit as well as an unrestricted time in the water. The entry system for this suit is a step up form chest zip wetsuits, and the zipless aspect means there is less opportunity for excessive water to leak in.

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The Best Shorty Wetsuits For Kids


Many parents love shorty wetsuits for beach days with the kids! Hassle-free to get on and off, they can be much less effort to convince your kids to wear compared to a full-length suit!

They are easy to transport because of their small size. An invaluable feature is the sun protection they provide while your little one is in the sea!

Most parents prefer not to splash out on wetsuits for beach holidays with children growing out of clothes almost as soon as you buy them. Luckily, there are many affordable options out there!

Here at Wetsuit Centre, we love the O’Neill Reactor Kids Shorty range, and it is a firm favourite amongst our customers who have young families.

The range is available in both kids sizes and toddler sizes, meaning the whole family is covered. Recognised for its soft neoprene, it is liked by children because of its comfort.

If your child requires a more advanced shorty wetsuit, the next step up from the kid’s reactor would be the O’Neill Hammer Chest Zip Shorty Youth wetsuit. Complete with a chest zip, it offers optimum flexibility and comfort for kids who can’t get enough of the water.

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How a Shorty Wetsuit Should Fit


Whichever wetsuit you decide to buy, it will be pretty useless if it isn't the right size! We can't emphasise this enough at Wetsuit Centre - a poor fitting wetsuit won’t do the job if there are gaps for water to flush through.

A correctly sized wetsuit will fit close to your body like a second skin and there shouldn't be any gaps. A key area to check when sizing a wetsuit is the lower back. If there is excess neoprene there, the suit is too big.

However, the suit should never pull on the shoulders or neck, and you should be able to move and paddle your arms freely. Ensure that the edges of the wetsuit just above your elbows and your knees doesn’t hurt or feel restricted.

For more tips on how to choose the correct fitting wetsuit, check out our guide below!

Check out our wetsuit sizing guide

Please feel free to call our friendly team for any advice on the shorty wetsuits featured or any of our other products! We have 10 years of online experience and are on call to help you with any questions regarding choosing the correct wetsuit and the right size!