We got a sneak preview of the new range of wetsuits from Zoggs
Best known for their swimwear and goggles, Zoggs will be entering the wetsuit market in 2024. Zoggs Predator Goggles have long been a popular choice for outdoor swimmers and triathletes. More recently, their thermal-lined swimming costumes were a hit with wild swimmers looking for a little extra but subtle protection from chilly waters.
But how do their wetsuits stack up?
Zoggs has created a wetsuit range that caters to a wide range of swimmers and triathletes under the strapline “All Swimmers Welcome”. However, navigating the 10 options takes a little effort. It’s logical but requires explanation. First, the range is split into triathlon and open water. This recognises that triathletes and outdoor swimmers have different needs. For example, swimmers are less fussed about a quick exit from their wetsuits. They also tend to use their suits in a wider range of environments – for adventure and recreational swims, for example – and might appreciate a more robust suit. Secondly, there are three levels in both the triathlon and open water range (Tour, Pro and Ultra), giving different levels of flexibility and buoyancy. Finally, the triathlon range has two options at each level (Predator and Hypex) and the open water range has two options at the Tour level (Explore and Scout), while the Pro and Ultra Levels have “Explorer” only.
As an outdoor swimmer, I was naturally drawn to the open water range and grabbed the Explorer Ultra FS to test with a loop of Shepperton Lake. The suit fitted well and first impressions were good. The design detailing on the sleeves and legs suggests contour lines on a map, fitting with the exploration and adventure side of outdoor swimming. The multi-panel construction allows for thinner neoprene around the shoulders and arms for flexibility, with thicker panels on the chest, back and core for warmth and buoyancy. The double-lined panels under the arms and between the legs provide reassurance that the suit will be durable in these areas. In the water, the suit felt balanced and unrestricted. Overall, this suit feels like a great compromise between durability for frequent use in a wide range of conditions and fast enough for the occasional event.
I then had a go in the Hypex Ultra FS, from the top of the triathlon range. Before I entered the water, I knew I was wearing something special. Constructed throughout with Yamamoto 40 neoprene, the difference in flexibility to the Explore Ultra FS (which uses Yamamoto 38 neoprene) was immediately obvious. The Hypex Ultra FS is lightweight and built for speed. On my first swim, I had some water ingress and suit billowing around my chest. However, this was easily fixed by going down a size. I found this suit to be so flexible that the smaller size fitted better without losing any mobility. The Hypex Ultra FS is a joy to swim in. My only concern is how well it would cope with the rigours of frequent wild swimming. This one is best reserved for those races when you want to perform at your best.
Note that there two wetsuits at the top of the triathlon range: The Predator Ultra FS and The Hypex Ultra. While both use Yamamoto 40 neoprene, the Predator suit has 5mm thick panels on the chest, thighs and shins compared with 3.5 and 2mm on the Hypex. The thicker suit will provide extra lift, particularly for the legs, and more warmth. Both suits use 2mm thick neoprene around the shoulders, so flexibility should be similar. The Predator may be the better choice if your legs are low in the water in your normal non-wetsuit swimming position.
A nice feature across the range is that the arms and legs of all suits can be trimmed to suit your own limb length. As long as you follow Zoggs’ guidelines for cutting, your warranty remains intact.
The range will officially launch in spring 2024. Keep an eye on the Zoggs website for availability.