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EXTRA,  GEAR,  June 2023,  May 2024,  Product Reviews

Open water swimsuits for all bodies

Whether you’re looking for spaghetti strap training suits or more modest coverage, body positive styles or longer lengths, or perhaps bonded fabrics, Yulex or silver-lining for warmth, we have found your next swimsuit! Gear Editor Jo Tinsley reviews the best open water swimsuits for all bodies

ZOGGS Sea Change Silver Lined Scoopback

£65

They say: Our open water swimsuits have been tested for over 400 hours by members of the Her Spirit community. Research revealed our thermal silver lining helped retain body heat for 60% longer compared to normal swimwear. The Sea Change Scoopback has wide supportive straps and a medium leg height, giving great coverage and comfort, and Level 2 Low Support, with a colourful coral on an electric blue print. (Size 8-26).

We say: You can tell that the thermal benefits work as when you take it off there is a distinct difference in skin colour. While the skin exposed to the water shows that cold-water redness, the skin under the suit remains normal. The scoopback is super comfortable, fits well across the chest and around shoulders. This is a simply designed suit that just works! Partnered with neoprene gloves and booties, we had a decent swim in single-digit temperatures. It is our go-to cold-water swimsuit.


ORCA Core One Piece

£44.95

They say: This one-piece swimsuit is made with a compressive fabric for added support and comfort while swimming in the pool or in open water. The compressive fabric makes the swimsuit fit your body perfectly – if you are between sizes, choose the larger size. Thanks to this fabric’s specific properties, this swimsuit is ultra-resistant to chlorine, maintaining its properties and extending the life of the product. Made with 80% recycled material. (Size 8-18).

We say: The streamlined construction of this suit makes it ideal for training, with a mid-high leg for freedom of movement and good bust support. But the stand out feature has to be the chlorine resistant and compressive material, which felt so supportive. We loved the understated design, too. It’s actually one of two swimsuits in Orca’s Core collection. The other has narrow straps for unrestricted movement with a slightly less supportive fit; we liked that Orca gives us the choice.


BOBBIES Donna *LAUNCHES EARLY MAY

£135

They say: Bobbies’ vibrant, sustainable and quality designs celebrate the diversity of real body types, ensuring comfort and instilling confidence whether it’s a for a dip, marathon or Channel swim. Our first range, launching May 2024, comprises the ‘Bobby’, supporting larger chests for proper training; ‘Vicky’ with low-cut legs, full bum coverage and front zip for curvy bodies; and the ‘Donna’, a V-neck swimsuit with short legs for those who prefer more coverage. (Size 6-28).

We say: As our theme is ‘performance open water swimwear for all bodies’, we were drawn to newcomer Bobbies’ ethos, which promises to redefine swimwear with their body inclusive styles. We tried the ‘Donna’, a style inspired by the designer’s mum who wanted more coverage and found booty shorts too revealing. This chic, shortie-style swimsuit provides great coverage without compromising on performance and flexibility in the water. We felt supported, streamline and rather stylish.

*Launches early May. Pre-register for 10% off


DEAKIN & BLUE Reversible X-Back in Liberty Mountain River & Cobalt *LAUNCHES 3 MAY

£130

They say: Our modern take on a classic: our best-selling X-Back Swimsuit is designed to adapt perfectly from lengths to holiday lounging. Featuring built-in bust support and a flattering scoop X-back, this piece is fast becoming a summer staple. Now available in a reversible colourway. We’ve improved the style based on feedback; now with more generous coverage on the gusset and bum. (Size 8-24, AA-HH cup).

We say: It’s great that D&B is now offering an extended range of prints in their trusted styles. We love these swimsuits for the soft fabric, bust support and excellent range of movement. This Liberty print reminded us of waves or rushing rivers. These suits are so comfortable it feels like you’re not wearing anything, yet they give the confidence to jump waves and do serious swimming with their supportive design. Work out the cost per swim and you won’t regret the investment.


CAPE COVE Claire L/S Zip Front Swimsuit

£139

They say: With a zip front, nehru collar and long sleeves, this swimsuit offers a flattering fit, thanks to its subtle seam detail. The fabric has fantastic characteristics including breathability and flexibility with its high Lycra content providing the perfect level of comfort while keeping its shape, even after washing. It’s quick drying, due to the open structure of the fabrics and has SPF50 protection. (Size 6-20).

We say: We liked the classic silhouette of this long sleeve suit, with its pop of red on the trim. Chlorine and salt resistant, the lined fabric felt robust and it’s a suit that would work well in the pool or open water. At 5’10”, our tester found the suit short in the body, which resulted in restriction across the shoulders, but even so the fabric’s high elasticity meant it was easy to take on and off. The foam cups were inclined to shift, but are easy to remove and we appreciate that it gives the option for more support.


FUNKITA On the Grid Diamond Back One Piece

£44.95

They say: Our most popular one piece with fabric panels across the back for a secure fit and comfy double bind shoulder straps. Eco C-Infinity is 100% chlorine resistant and gives new life to discarded plastic bottles. With fabric panels across the back you will feel secure and supported across the bust and shoulders. Double bind straps over the shoulders provide comfort and support while swimming. (Size 6-18).

We say: Now here’s a pattern to brighten up a morning swim! The fit of the shoulder straps was very comfortable, and the Eco C-Infinity material felt soft and of superior quality. We wondered if the high-cut leg style would feel too revealing but once in the water, it made our front crawl kick feel completely free and unhindered. We would happily train in this swimsuit for hours.


HUUB Her Spirit Costume

£44.99

They say: The HUUB Swim Training Costume in the Her Spirit design with spaghetti straps delivers the latest cut and styling to the pool. You either love ‘em or hate ‘em! High performance, fully lined and with chlorine resistant fabric. (Size 8-20).

We say: The fit of this swimsuit was excellent and the chlorine-resistant fabric felt really high quality. We wondered if the spaghetti straps might be too thin and cause chafing on the shoulders but our front crawl felt smooth and unhindered, plus the material is meant to soften with use. The cut is quite high on the legs, which is ideal for an unhindered kick, but might not work for everyone. We received plenty of compliments on the eye-catching print. All in all a well-designed training swimsuit.


COOTS SG One Piece

£170

They say: Made in East London and inspired by the sturgeon fish that wrap around the lampposts on the banks of the Thames: the contrast panel represents the fish’s lighter underbelly with the contrast top-stitch a nod to their unique markings. Expertly constructed from an ultra chlorine resistant techno techno techno fabric. The regenerated nylon (Econyl) is made from rescued waste that would otherwise pollute our oceans. Produced in a zero-waste factory. Limited quantity. (Size 6-20).

We say: The SG One Piece strikes an ideal balance between supportive fit and freedom of movement, the high neck and front zip providing an exceptionally supportive feel while the slim and curved racer back allows for unhindered front crawl. The fabric feels smooth and premium, promising to retain its shape and wear well. Sure this suit is pricy, but it’s exceptionally well-made and in terms of cost per wear, it makes a good investment.


WALLIEN Yemaya One Piece

£129

They say: Introducing our latest one-piece, designed to enhance shoulder mobility without compromising our celebrated fit. This suit excels even under the most demanding conditions, providing flexibility, warmth and protection. The front lining is gentle against the skin and offers superior breathability. Plus, it’s chlorine-proof. Its adaptability makes our swimsuit ideal for extended periods in the water. (Size 6-16).

We say: Dutch brand Wallien promises “thoughtfully produced designs that are meticulously tailored to the female form” and the Yemaya certainly delivers. This is an exceptional swimsuit. We liked the timeless style, but it was the impeccable fit that impressed us most. The suit did not budge when pool training and allowed for remarkable shoulder mobility; we felt streamlined and unhindered in the water. The buttery soft fabric was also supportive and breathable.


ALPKIT Dulsie

£44.99

They say: A one-piece swimsuit with long-sleeves for extra warmth and sun protection, the Dulsie protects your arms and shoulders from sun burn and reduces wind-chill. The high-performance stretch fabric supports cold muscles and retains its streamlined shape when wet. We’ve also used a panelled fit with low-profile seams that’s been specifically designed to enable free movement in the water, whatever your stroke. (Size 6-20).

We say: This swimsuit felt stretchy and comfortable and it retained its shape out of the water. We liked the modest cut and the long sleeves gave welcome protection from the wind. We found the back zip a little tricky to do up, but managed it eventually. It works well as a rash vest below a wetsuit, the long sleeves preventing chafing when doing breaststroke. We would prefer the neckline to come up a bit higher to keep the chill out of the neck and shoulders, but overall happy with the streamlined design and quality.


TALLBOTO Navy/Red Reversible Longer Length Swimsuit

£60

They say: Enjoy a perfect fit with our extra 2-inch torso length, made with recycled materials. This two-in-one design is crafted from sustainable leftover fabric right here in the UK. Our mission is to save dead stock fabric from landfill. Furthermore, they are manufactured in London, reducing the carbon footprint of transportation drastically. (Size 8-26).

We say: We couldn’t fault this reversible swimsuit which, being a whole 2” longer than a standard length swimsuit, felt insanely comfortable and made our 5’10” tester feel fantastic. No more riding up, strap marks or constant adjustments. For the price, the quality of the fabric is exceptional – it’s soft to touch and, with a four-way stretch, feels remarkably supportive. It’s sun cream and oil resistant too, so it should last. We appreciate the inclusive size range, too.


DAVY J Bonded Long Sleeve Swimsuit

£160

They say: A staple piece to see you through dips during the chillier months, this Bonded Long Sleeve Swimsuit features a flattering mid-high leg and is made from a 1mm bonded material that gives you the feeling of wearing something half-way between a wetsuit and a swimsuit but with no neoprene in sight. This reversible swimsuit features classic black and a striking ocean blue with contrast stitching and thumb holes. (Size: 6-20).

We say: A beautifully-made swimsuit, in a recycled 1mm bonded material that not only feels really premium but also provides extra warmth without needing to wear neoprene. The ocean green is so striking and the long front zip makes changing easy – not always the case with long sleeve suits! Our tall tester loved the extra length in the sleeves, which allowed a good range of movement when swimming but can be folded back for those who don’t need it.


ZONE3 Yulex Long Sleeve Swimsuit

£125

They say: The women’s Yulex natural rubber long sleeve swimsuit is made for all your open water adventures. Featuring 1.5mm thickness throughout and full coverage across the back and arms, it provides core warmth and protection from the elements while allowing great freedom of movement, whatever the activity.

We say:This swimsuit is an excellent, eco-friendly choice for those looking for extra warmth without the restrictions and faff that often come with wearing a wetsuit. Despite the thickness, the panel design enabled me to move comfortably through the water. There are several options available, including separate tops and bottoms and a sleeveless one piece.


COOTS LF One Piece

£150

They say: Swimsuit made in East London inspired by London Fields Lido. Expertly constructed from an ultra-chlorine resistant techno techno techno fabric. The regenerated nylon (ECONYL®) is made from rescued waste that would otherwise pollute our Earth and oceans. Produced in a zero-waste factory. Limited quantity.

We say: The production and design credentials of this costume are seriously impressive. This swimsuit bridges the gap between function and fashion seamlessly – it supports me on the longest training swims, whilst exuding style. Every time I wear this swimsuit, I get compliments! It’s definitely one of my go-to costumes.


DAVY J The Zero Trace Swimsuit

£120

They say: The latest addition to our collection and one that we’re pretty proud of, the Zero Trace swimsuit is the first style in our collection that will be fully biodegrade at the end of life. The swimsuit is the result of years of innovation and development to minimise the negative impact of fashion on the planet. Featuring a flattering high, race cut neckline and elegant low squared back, this swimsuit will sculpt, shape and smooth the body.

We say: This swimsuit is worlds apart in terms of its eco-credentials; it’s clear a lot of thought has gone into sustainability, but also the design aspects too. It’s an incredibly flattering swimsuit that feels comfortable to swim in as well. The belt is a unique but lovely addition, providing a hint of grace when wearing.


NABAIJI Aquafit-Aquabiking Shorty 1-Piece

£34.99

They say: Our design teams developed this 1-piece swimsuit for all women doing dynamic aquabiking or aquafit classes. Are you looking for a swimsuit with enhanced support for your aqua jump classes? The Elea swimsuit, with its crossed back and moulded cups, provides support and shapes the bust.

We say: Despite being the cheapest product on this list, the quality and fit of this costume is still of fantastic
quality. The bust support was a terrific addition, giving me unparalleled support. Unlike some other shorty pieces I have worn, this doesn’t ride up, providing optimal security and comfort through all aquatic activities.


All products were chosen independently by our editorial team. This review contains affiliate links and we may receive a commission for purchases made. Click here to subscribe to the magazine. Read more Outdoor Swimmer gear reviews. Last updated April 2024. Main photo: Orca.

To see all the online content from the June 2023 issue of Outdoor Swimmer, visit the 'Sea' page.

Jo is the Gear Editor for Outdoor Swimmer and also writes news and features for the website. A keen open water swimmer and long-distance walker, she loves seeking out lakes and lidos close to her home in the Mendip Hills, Somerset. She is the author of The Slow Traveller, editor and founder of independent magazine, Ernest, and has previously tested outdoor clothing and kit for BBC Countryfile Magazine, BBC Focus and Ernest Journal.