The Best Wetsuits for Open Water Swimming 2021

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There are a few reasons why you might want to wear a wetsuit. Their primary purpose is to keep you warmer, which can help you stay comfortable in the water for longer and reduces your risk of hypothermia. Wetsuits are also buoyant and will stop you from sinking. If you need a rest when wearing a wetsuit, you can just roll onto your back and relax. Moreover, a wetsuit gives you some physical protection against cuts and scratches when swimming in natural water environments, where you might bump into sticks or stones, which can be reassuring. For these reasons, some venues and events even insist that you wear one.

Here are some of our top recommendations for wetsuits under £275 in 2021.

1- Orca Equip £249

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Orca’s Equip wetsuits are targeted at people with a strong swimming background and good technique, making these a good choice if you’re an experienced pool swimmer moving to open water for the first time. The suit is designed to maintain your natural body position while the 1.5mm neoprene on the arms causes minimal interference to your normal swimming stroke. We’d also recommend this suit to female swimmers who may find that suits with more buoyancy around the hips and legs lift their feet too high in the water.

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2 - Orca TRN £135

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Twenty-five years of experience in triathlon and open water swimming have enabled Orca to create a high performance entry-level wetsuit at a competitive price. The TRN, with 5mm thick panels around the hips and legs is warm and buoyant, making it ideal for swimmers who need some help keeping their legs close to the surface. We also liked the soft neck lining, which reduces the risk of chafing.

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3 - Yonda Spook £199


The Yonda Spook suit is designed to be robust for recreational and wild swimmers and incorporates the same new material (59:59) that Yonda has rolled out in its other range of wetsuits. A nice feature in the Spook is the zipped pocket on one leg, which you could use to carry your bike or locker key, or even a snack, for longer wild swims.

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4 - Yonda Spectre £249


One step above the Spook, the Spectre is targeted at the more competitive swimmer who plans to race or do a triathlon. The new version features a standard, rather than a reverse zip, so easier to do up on your own. Excellent flexibility due to incorporation of 59:59 in key places..

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5 - Alpkit Lotic £149.99


Designed to withstand the rigours of adventure swimming, the Lotic offers a good balance between flexibility, warmth and toughness. It uses Glideskin neoprene varying between 1.5mm thick across the shoulders to 4mm across the chest and back to protect your core. The abrasion resistant nylon-faced neoprene on the lower leg protects against damage when scrambling in or out of the water.

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6 - Alpkit Silvertip £199.99


Designed for swimmers wanting to spend longer in cold water, the thermal Silvertip from Alpkit has a “thermo stretch lining” throughout, except for the lower leg panels (which makes the suit easier to get in and out of). Some suits compromise flexibility for warmth. This doesn’t. It glides through the water and I kept toasty warm in the snow melt of Loch Morlich. Other useful features include abrasion resistant nylon on high-wear points and an internal pouch for valuables.

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7 - Swim~Research C-Skins £185


Comfortable with easy arm movement. The pull cord for the zip was incredibly useful (and a nice touch in orange). We were impressed at how protective it was against the cold, which no doubt is a result of C-Skins surfing heritage. Bright orange panels across the calves and wrists aid visibility in the water.

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8 - Nabaiji OWS 500 2/2mm Sleeveless £89.99


Sleeveless wetsuits are best suited to warmer conditions for obvious reasons. We loved the freedom of movement around the shoulders along with the feeling of water against our arms. A good compromise, and a great price.

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9 - Zone3 Advance £179

Zone3 Advance

The Advance is Zone 3’s cheapest wetsuit and a great entry level suit for the price. In the water, it feels balanced with the right levels of buoyancy in the right places, it copes well in cooler water, is well made and should last you several seasons. Perfect for training and recreational swimming.

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10 - Zone3 Vision £275

Zone3 Vision

Based on the top-of-the-range Vanquish, the Vision packs a lot of punch for its price. The one-piece 2mm neoprene across shoulders and down the sides of the chest makes swimming in the Vision comparable to more expensive suits. We loved its flexibility and fit. The signature silicon speed cuffs make putting the suit on and off quick and easy. 5mm neoprene from hips to the knees helps maintain buoyancy and warmth.

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11 - Selkie Spirit £125


A versatile suit made with super stretch and mesh Glideskin neoprene for a second skin feel and neutral buoyancy. The asymmetric lime green and black design is great for visibility. Good suppleness in the arm and shoulder area. End-of-line price gets you a high-spec suit for your money.

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12 - AquaSphere Pursuit £249.99


Although priced at £249.99, can be found online (e.g. at Wiggle) for considerably less, making this a good choice for a practical, well-made wetsuit. Ticks all the right boxes for warmth and mobility and is relatively easy to put on by yourself. Also worth a look if you’re interested in triathlon as the horse-shoe cut design around the ankles aids rapid removal.

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13 - Huub Alpha £129.99


As one of the cheapest entry level wetsuits on the market, Huub’s Alpha is worth a look. Although it lacks some of the features found on Huub’s high-end suits, the Alpha does well on flexibility, with its 1.5mm thick neoprene under the arms, and body position in the water feels good..

Where to buy:

14 - Blueseventy Sprint £209


Although at the pricier end of “entry level”, the Sprint from Blueseventy is worth a look if you want something that will serve you well in a race, as well as be a comfortable, all-round suit. We liked the stretchy under-arm panels for good shoulder mobility and the collar, which felt secure without excess pressure on the throat.

Where to buy:

15 - Head Explorer 3.2.2 £138.99


The Head Explorer is a good option for recreational and wild swimmers. While it lacks the smooth coating found on many swimming wetsuits, it still feels and swims like a swimming wetsuit in the water, and is both comfortable and warm. The brightly colour back and arms also help visibility in the water. Ideal for adventure swimming that may include scrambling over rocks.

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Less than £275



01  Cover  April

Issue 48 April 2021

  • Revival! Celebrating our pools and lidos
  • The environmental impact of your swim kit
  • Top tips for returning to swimming after lockdown
  • How to find a wetsuit that fits
  • Legends of the selkies – the myths of underwater folk

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