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The best neoprene accessories for open water swimmers

Swim the channel with the Mencap Marvels

Swim socks, fleece-lined caps and baselayers: as temperatures drop, we review some of the best neoprene accessories (and natural rubber alternatives) for keeping you warm while you swim this winter.

Finisterre Nieuwland 2e Yulex Pant


They say: Our Nieuwland 2e collection has been designed for a growing community of cold-water swimmers and surfers around the UK. Built with Yulex natural rubber, manufacturing these wetsuit pants produces up to 80% less CO2 than using traditional neoprene. Designed with ergonomic panelling and flatlocked panel seams throughout, it’s built for maximum movement and comfort in the water. The 2mm suit thickness provides a layer of warmth without losing the feeling of the elements.

We say: These pants provide serious warmth without the faff that often comes with having to wear a wetsuit. I love the fact they’re made from Yulex, an eco-friendlier alternative to neoprene. There’s an accompanying jacket also available for the top half of the body. Together, they help you stay comfortable in the water for longer, while still being able to move freely.

HUUB Neoprene Swim Socks


They say: The HUUB Neoprene Swim Socks – or booties as some people like to call them – have a protective reinforced sole which provides ‘non slip’ protection and abrasion resistance, and a split-toe design to avoid ‘rolling’ on the foot. It also has adjustable velcro closures to make this neoprene sock suitable to be worn either over or under your wetsuit. The 3mm neoprene also helps to keep your feet much warmer for both training and when allowed in races.

We say: Swim socks provide added warmth for the feet, but very often can get in the way of actual swimming with their design. HUUB’s split-toe design prevents this, allowing enough flexibility and movement to kick through the water with ease. The velcro closure also makes it ideal for skin swimmers who do not have a wetsuit to tuck their socks underneath, creating a seal and preventing water ingress.

Zone-3 Neoprene Heat-tech Warmth Swim Cap


They say: Anyone who has experienced ‘brain-freeze’ when swimming in cold water will know how valuable triathlon skull caps can be to get you going! Our Neoprene Heat-Tech Warm Swim Cap offers fleece-lined insulation while maintaining optimal hydrodynamics through the water. Made of high quality 4mm Yamamoto Smoothskin material. Our design is focused on making this cap the best fit possible, with hook and loop fastening under the chin to cater for different head sizes.

We say: Very often when swimming, my head is the first thing that gets cold. This cap, with its fleece-lined insulation, keeps my head as toasty as the rest of my neoprene-clad body in winter months. I assumed the cap would be slightly clunky when compared to a silicone hat, but the hook and loop fastening allow for a really snug fit.

Lomo Swimming and Triathlon Gloves


They say: Our soft and stretchy swimming gloves are great for triathlon and open water swim training in the colder months. The seams are glued, then blind stitched, then liquid seamed on the outside. The super stretchy material allows the gloves to conform to the shape of the hand really well and the wrist gasket keeps water ingress at the wrist down to a minimum.

We say: These gloves have been designed really well. The glued seams stop most of the water ingress, preventing the hands from getting heavy when trying to swim. The fit is comfortable and tight enough to have minimum impact on my swim style when compared to wearing no gloves. A decent price for the quality.

Orca Base Layer Neoprene T-shirt


They say: The Base Layer can be used as an outer layer or as an inner layer underneath the wetsuit. In temperate waters, it can be used as an outer layer, protecting you from the cold and the sun without any restriction thanks to its elasticity. In colder temperatures, it is the ideal accessory to wear underneath your wetsuit while swimming in open water.

We say: This is a staple for me throughout the winter; in the coldest of temperatures, I’ve worn this under my wetsuit and have noticed a considerable difference. There’s a pattern specifically designed for women and another for men, both of which conform to the body’s shape for greater performance and comfort.

C-Skins Freedom 4mm Round Toe Thermal Swim Sock


They say: These superb 4mm socks are specifically designed to provide thermal protection while enabling freedom of movement making them ideal for open water swimming use. The dura flex finished sole provides improved abrasion resistance and protection. Made from thermo tech pro poly lining for added warmth and performance.

We say: At 4mm, these socks are extremely warm and suited to the coldest of waters throughout the winter months. Despite this, it still feels comfortable to wear and doesn’t impede on movement through the water. The material feels durable enough to withstand more tough terrain outdoors.

Find all the gear you need for open water swimming, from adventure bags and swimming togs to tow floats and changing robes, at the Outdoor Swimming Shop. Read more gear reviews. If you buy a product through a link on this page we may receive a commission.