Tried & Tested: our guide to neoprene accessories

Neoprene Accessories

Whether you are a dedicated winter skins swimmer or planning your first foray into year-round swimming, a little bit of neoprene can help you stay in the water longer and enjoy your swims more. Whether you choose to wear a wetsuit or not, gloves, hats and socks will give you an extra bit of insulation – it is the extremities that get cold first.

We tested a full range of neoprene accessories – including a bandana from Head, a balaclava from Huub and a neoprene swimming costume from Zone3. Some kit can even be worn under a wetsuit to give you extra protection from the cold.

Socks & Booties

1- Head Neo Socks 3

£15.99 - XXS-XL

Head Neo 3 Socks

We found a size below our regular shoe size gave a better fit. Good flexibility at the ankle minimises interference with swimming.

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2 - Huub Swim socks

£29.99 S-L

Huub Swim Sock

The split-toe design feels odd to start with, but helps keep sock in place. We liked the Velcro fastener on the calf. It helps to keep water out and means socks can be worn alone or over a wetsuit.

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3 - Orca Hydro booties

£39 XS-XXL

Orca Hydro Boots

Very similar to the Orca swim socks but with a split toe design, slightly thicker material and longer on the leg for additional protection.

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4 - C-Skins Swim Research Swim sock

£25 2XS-L

C Skins Sock

Split-toe design helps keep sock in place. There's no fastening but they fit well and are comfortable. I have been known to wear around the house! Excellent range of sizes.

Where to buy:

5 - Zone3 Heat-Tech swim socks

£35 S-L

Zone 3 Neo Tech

Thick 3.5mm neoprene keeps your feet warm. We liked the rubberised sole for grip and durability on land. Hard-wearing rubberised seams. Adjustable velcro fastening keeps everything snug. Good for wearing with or without a wetsuit.

Where to buy:

6 - Lomo Tri-X socks

£19 S-XL

Lomo Sock

3mm neoprene sock. No fastening, but the tight ankle fitting keeps water ingress to a minimum. The embossed sole gives extra durability and some grip, but wasn’t the grippiest on test. Bonded seams.

Where to buy:


1 - Head Neo cap 3

£24.96 S/M and L/XL

Head Neo Cap

This 3mm thick neoprene cap from Head provides no fuss protection against the cold for your head, ears and chin.

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2 - Zone3 s Swim cap

£25 S-L

Zone 3 Hat

High viz orange cap of 3mm neoprene. Velcro fastening with soft and stretchy chin strap – very comfortable while swimming.

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3 - Huub Varme Thermal Balaclava

£34.99 S/M and L/XL

Huub Varme

Wow! Complete head and neck coverage. Makes you feel like you’re on a secret mission. Best worn with a wetsuit.

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4 - Lomo Swim cap

£14 S-XL

Lomo Cap

Bright orange double-lined swim cap for visibility and warmth. Velcro fastening. Wide range of sizes ensures a good fit.

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5 - Head Neo Bandana 3

£11.99 One size

Head Neo Bandana

We love this. Gives extra protection for your head and ears when you don’t need a full neoprene hat. Popular with swimrunners.

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6 - Orca High Visibility Neoprene Swimcap

£25 S/M and L/XL

Orca Neopene

Bright orange avoids the need to cover with another bright swim cap. Offers visibilty but with the warmth of neoprene.

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7 - Huub Skull cap

£29.99 S-L/XL

Huub Velcro Hat

Velcro chin strap; useful if you like some flexibility in fit, and comfort. Black, so should wear under a bright cap.

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8 - Yonda Ice cap

£19.99 M-L

Yonda Ice Cap

Simple, practical, bright. No fussy Velcro or fasteners. Titanium coated Yamamoto neoprene helps keep the heat in. Fitted well.

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9 - C-Skins Swim Research 3mm GBS

£19.99 XS-XL

C Skins Hat

One-piece strap with adjustable velcro fastening. Medium was snug but availability of wide range of sizes ensures a good fit. Soft lining very comfortable.

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1- Head Neo gloves 3

£20.00 XXS-3XL

Head Gloves

Comfortable with good dexterity. Long wrists work well for full coverage when worn with a wetsuit, but we found gloves took in water when worn without. Huge range of sizes.

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2 - Huub Neoprene gloves

£29.99 S-L

Huub Gloves

Relatively stiff, but holds fingers in good swimming position. Tough and stylish – also good for cycling in the rain. Long fabric (rather than neoprene) wrists reduce water ingress.

Where to buy:

3 - Lomo Tri-X gloves

£19 XS-XXL

Lomo Gloves

No fuss glove that delivers great warmth at a sensible price. Flexible 3mm neoprene with bonded seams. No velcro fastening but wide range of sizes ensures excellent fit, little water ingress.

Where to buy:

4 - C-Skins Swim Research 2mm GBS Gloves

£45 2XS-XL

C Skin Gloves

Sat comfortably around wrists and stayed in place while swimming. 2mm neoprene very flexible. Medium were a bit roomy, but wide range of sizes available. Minimal water ingress.

Where to buy:

5 - Zone3 Heat-Tech swim gloves

£35 S-L

Zone 3 Gloves

Long wrists and Velcro straps help keep water out and make these great for wearing without a wetsuit. Thick but stretchy, no loss of dexterity. A durable and stylish glove.

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01 Cover May

Issue 49 May 2021

  • How weather can affect your swim
  • How to train for your first open water mile
  • Where to swim in the Lake District
  • How pioneer women swimmers not only took on men in the open water but also campaigned for the vote
  • Training sessions to ease you back into the pool

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