A wetsuit designed for breaststroke swimmers, super thermal insulation and a versatile two-piece: Omie Dale reviews the latest wetsuits.
They Say: The Element is Alpkit’s new two-piece wetsuit with four variations on offer. Both vest and long sleeve on the top with shorts or full-length bottoms on offer for the legs. With Paddleboarding growing and more people wanting to explore by water, the Element was born. The front zip on the tops makes getting in and out of them easier so you spend less time struggling to change at the water’s edge.
We say: This was my first time trying a two-piece wetsuit, and it didn’t disappoint. I particularly liked the high cut at the bottom, helping to keep full coverage. It’s ideal for those who want to reduce the faff that often comes with taking a wetsuit on and off. There is slightly more water ingress than there would be in a one-piece suit, making it more suited for those going for more leisurely swims or getting involved in open water activities.
Orca Vitalis Thermal Wetsuit | £369 *BEST FOR STAYING WARM*
They say: The Vitalis Thermal is a thermally insulated wetsuit for open water swimmers. It combines specific technologies for heat retention such as Thermal X technology and sealing technologies such as a second layer of “batwing” neoprene, which prevents water from entering the zipper and neck area. The high-thickness panels give the swimmer excellent buoyancy which helps them conserve energy during cold weather sessions.
We say: This is a seriously warm wetsuit, which surprisingly retains a lot of flexibility and ease of movement despite the additional insulation. I was impressed by the design; there was little water ingress throughout my swim. I would recommend this for the coldest months, allowing training in open water and longer distance swims to remain a possibility.
They say: Our first back zip wetsuit designed to be easier to get in and out of. Yulex® Pure natural rubber 3mm suit for 14-18℃ sea temperatures with 2mm panels on the arms and legs for easy entry. Featuring double needle blind stitch construction, high chest pile and recycled polyester fabrics.
We say: This wetsuit gave a snug and comfortable fit. With a maximum thickness of 3mm, this is more suited to warmer months, or for those who want to maintain a natural body position in the water as far as possible. I particularly love how it’s made from Yulex® natural rubber, which produces up to 80% less Co2 than traditional neoprene.
They say: Flexibility for light speed. For speed in the water and the transition out of it, the Proton range uses light, flexible, hydrophobic materials, suitable for strong swimmers looking for an extra edge on their performance. The Fastskin Proton Wetsuit has been developed with Y38 (Yamamoto 38 cell neoprene rubber) – a well-balanced foam providing high buoyancy and flexibility that makes it the most versatile neoprene available – to make sure it performs when it counts.
We say: This suit retails at a reasonable price, making it ideal for those new to outdoor swimming and looking to dip a toe in. The suit itself is exceptionally light and flexible, making it both easy to be transported around and taken on and off. There was some water ingress in the neck area when swimming, however.
HUUB Aegis X Wetsuit | £399 *BEST FOR FRONT CRAWL*
They Say: Every sporting goods company has a product that is too good to replace and delivers in so many ways that it’s earned a legacy in their lineup. For HUUB, Aegis is the product that’s always been there, that’s always delivered amazing performance, amazing feedback, and incredible value. Aegis X incorporates tried and tested technologies along with scientific research that ensures your swimming performance and enjoyment.
We say: This wetsuit is at a slightly higher price point, but the design and quality feel make it worth it. This wetsuit allows for robust performance in the water, particularly with the flexibility in the upper body. I felt very little strain when swimming front crawl, and little impact on my stroke form and body position. A really solid choice.
They say: Designed specifically for open water swimmers, the Zone3 Aspect wetsuit is built using a flexible and high-performance blend of materials in the legs and chest, which allows for a broad range of motion. Combined, this means the wetsuit is well-suited for both front crawl and breaststroke swimming and perfect for beginners looking to transition from the pool to the open water.
We say: As someone who doesn’t typically swim breaststroke, but performs best with minimal buoyancy in the water, this was an excellent choice, with my legs staying submerged in the water. As a result, I felt I was able to swim naturally and with less effort than with other, thicker, wetsuits. An excellent choice for those making the transition from the pool to open water.To see all the online content from the May 2023 issue of Outdoor Swimmer, visit the 'Spring(s)' page.