Newspaper reporter by trade, though in my spare time I'm interested in pets, health, books, cooking, the outdoors, and family.
Finding a Women's Wetsuit for Petite Proportions
Wetsuits are supposed to be snug and form-fitting. It's that close, glove-like contact with the skin that makes wetsuits such great insulators. They allow a thin layer of water to enter between the wetsuit fabric and the body and trap it there. That layer of water can't escape and is soon heated by your body temperature, which in turn keeps you warm while you scuba dive or surf in chilly seas.
For this reason, finding a wetsuit that fits you right is a top priority when shopping for a wetsuit. That means a men's small usually won't cut it because women are curvier than men—they have breasts and their waists nip in while their hips swell out. These anatomical realities mean that a man's suit, or a child's wetsuit for that matter, are likely to fit a woman all wrong and won't offer her the insulation she needs.
Women, in general, can find it challenging to find a top-quality wetsuit that is designed specifically for women and isn't just a small men's size. That's because in all, far fewer women than men are out there practicing the kinds of sports and activities that demand a good wetsuit. But more and more women are learning to surf every year, so an increasing number of brands are making wetsuits specially designed for women.
Unfortunately, most of those wetsuits are designed to fit tall or average women. This is true in most activewear categories, not just in wetsuits. But since a good fit is critical to the very functioning of a wetsuit, a five-foot woman, or even a 5'2" woman, will have a heck of a time finding a full wetsuit that fits her properly.
Brands That Make Petite Westuits
Some of the brands that make women's wetsuits go one step further and make wetsuits designed specifically for tall women or short women. In wetsuit sizing lingo, a medium-sized short woman will wear a "medium small." The medium here refers to her general body size, the small refers to the length of the sleeves and legs. A "large small" fits a bigger body, but again with small arms and legs. Thus a "medium tall" or "medium long" wetsuit will fit a tall woman with a medium build.
Here is a list of brands that I have found that make wetsuits for short women:
- SeaDreams: This is a California wetsuit company that only makes wetsuits for women.
- Roxy: The girls line by Quicklsilver.
Other Wetsuit Options for Petite Women
The surest way for a petite woman to get a proper fitting wetsuit is to have one custom made. Liquidfit makes custom wetsuits at reasonable prices, considering that they are tailor-made for people who otherwise are hard to fit. While a men's small wetsuit will be too long in the arms and legs and too big in the shoulders for most short women, a boy's large wetsuit could meet her needs.
One popular choice of wetsuit for short women is the junior Hendersion Hyperstretch. These wetsuits are extra stretchy, so they will fit over a small woman's hips and chest. Akona boys wetsuits are a popular choice with some petite women, but arms are slightly too long for most wearers. Other brands to look at include O'Neill, Body Glove, Camaro and Deep Sea.
Places to Look Online for Petite Wetsuits
There are several websites that offer a wide array of wetsuit brands and sizes. These are good places to look for hard-to-find sizes like Medium Small and Large Small.
You can search by brand, or go to a multi-brand retailer. Here are some of the larger e-commerce sites that sell wetsuits in small sizes for women.
- Wetsuit Warehouse
- Wetsuit Megastore
- Swim Outlet
- Harvey's Divesuits
Sizing Tips to Remember When Buying a Wetsuit
- A wetsuit that is new and dry feels tighter than a wet wetsuit. It will give some once immersed in water.
- Wetsuits also stretch and expand over time, so it is important that it fits you snugly when it is new.
- A wetsuit should be snug, but it is too tight if it forces you to alter your posture in any way, i.e. round your shoulders or bend in the waist or if it is hard to take a deep breath.
- The wetsuit should be snug, and there should not be excess fabric under your arms, along the length of your back, behind your knees, etc.
Terry on April 22, 2013:
jill on May 27, 2012:
Thank you!!!! This is exactly wha I was looking for! :)