Wetsuit Fitting Tips for Women

Woman in wetsuit sat on surfboard in sea

Knowing how your wetsuit should fit can be confusing! What’s too tight and what’s too loose? You may hear lots of conflicting information on this topic, especially as a female surfer! For some of us, our top half is not the same size as our bottom half, which leaves us questioning what size suit will provide the best fit?

In our blog, we breakdown the most popular queries and explain how to find the perfect fit for women’s wetsuits!


Fit is Key

If a wetsuit doesn’t fit correctly, it will not work. Purchasing one of the most advanced suits on the market could be a complete waste of money if the fit is poor. Therefore it is essential that you get the size right!

Two female surfers in wetsuits stretching on beach

How a Wetsuit Should Fit

A wetsuit should feel like a ‘second skin’. The neoprene should fit smoothly around your body without any baggy areas.

A tight-fitting suit is vital because your body heats the small amount of water that is trapped between the wetsuit and your body. Loose areas can flush through with excess water which cannot be heated by your body. In turn, your body temperature drops, making you feel cold.

How a Wetsuit Should Feel

The suit should feel reasonably tight when dry, but not so tight that your movement is restricted; you should be able to lift your arms and touch your toes etc. easily.

Once in the water, the neoprene will loosen up, which is another reason why it is essential that a new suit feels as tight as possible when dry.

Below, provide further detail on what to expect when fitting a wetsuit:

Female surfer in wetsuit sat on surfboard in sea


The fit around the neck should feel comfortable but tight. Ideally, you should be able to fit one finger in-between your neck and the suit. The secure neck stops excess water falling into the suit.

Extra tip: Fastening the neck properly is also vital to stop any wetsuit rub and sore skin! Having a loosely fitted neck is one of the top reasons people receive rubbed skin when in the sea.

Arms and Shoulders

The fit should be tight around the arms and shoulders while providing ease of mobility. Make sure there isn’t too much extra room under the armpits. If there are folds of neoprene here, the suit is too big.

The suit should fit snug around your wrists and the length should be just past your wrist bones. 

Lower Back

One of the most accurate ways to check if a wetsuit fits you correctly is to assess the fit on the lower back at the location of the kidneys. Try to pinch the suit here. A well-fitting suit shouldn’t be able to be easily pulled. A poor-fitting suit will have lots of space here for you to tug. It is one of the main places where water can sit, making you feel cold.


The suit should fit snuggly on the legs. There shouldn’t be too much room between the suit and the crotch area. If so, this could be that the suit isn’t long enough on the legs and may restrict your movement.

Similar to the arms, the length of the suit should reach the ankles.

Take a look at our Wetsuit Centre guide for exact measurements for women’s wetsuits in our range.

Female surfer on wave wearing shorty wetsuit

Start by Considering Your Clothing Size

The best place to start is with your current dress size. For most women, this should give an accurate fit for sizing a wetsuit. It is the safest option, especially when buying wetsuits online.

If Your Top and Bottom Size Aren’t the Same

However, not all of us have it that easy, and the top and bottom half of our bodies may vary in size. If your top and bottom sizes do differ, we would suggest choosing the larger of the two sizes.

As neoprene develops, suits mould to body shapes, the more often they are worn. Where a wetsuit may seem slightly long, other areas of the body may fill out the extra neoprene. Of course, this is only suitable for a small amount of excess neoprene.

However, if you are ever unsure of the sizing, check our size guide first and feel free to give us a ring; our team are always on hand to offer expert advice.

Consider Short and Tall Sizes

Depending on the model and brand of the wetsuit, some companies provide in-between sizes too. For example, instead of only having the generic sizes of 8 to 16, they may have short (S), and tall (T) sizes too. For example:

- 8S
- 8
- 8T
- 10S
- 10
- 10T and so on…

This may be something to consider if you want to ensure you are your warmest and most comfortable.

Female surfer walking into sea with surfboard in a wetsuit

Brands May Differ in Sizing

Another thing to be aware of is how different brands fit. For example, one size in one brand of wetsuit may not offer the same fit as the same size in another wetsuit manafacturer. It is especially common for women to feel this way, as some brands provide a more suitable fit for some shapes than others.

To guide you, a brand size chart is provided on each of our product pages which gives the exact measurements for height, weight, chest and waist.

Watch Out for Non-UK Sizes

Sounds straightforward but it catches many people out! As many wetsuit brands are worldwide companies, wetsuits usually have two or three sizes including UK, American and European. Make sure you know which one you are looking at it in a store. For example, it is not uncommon for O’Neill to be labelled with their American sizes, meaning you may have to go down a size.

Hopefully, our guide has helped you, but if you have any further questions, please feel free to get in contact with us? Which wetsuits do you prefer the fit of and why? We would love to know; why not let us know on our social media channels?