It has been a while since we tested a Zone3 wetsuit, so we were interested to get our hands on the Advance. For wild swimmers and those for whom the experience of swimming outdoors is more important than PBs and chip timing, an entry level suit is a perfect buy. But not all entry level suits are the same. The Advance has a reputation for punching above its weight, so we were eager to benchmark the suit against some of the more expensive models in the H2Open wetsuit cupboard.
First up, flexibility. Many entry level suits can be heavy and restricting, but we thought the Advance felt much more expensive than its £159 price-tag. 2mm neoprene on the shoulders and arms gave great movement, while the combination of 3mm neoprene on the chest and upper back and 4mm on the torso and legs gave a good, streamlined position in the water.
It doesn’t matter how expensive a suit is, if it isn’t comfortable then it is a waste of money. The neckline on the Advance is lower than some suits, but some swimmers find low necklines more comfortable as you don’t feel like you are being strangled. A low neckline can often let in more water, however; but that wasn’t noticeable with the Advance.
The Advance also features Zone3’s trademark Pro-Speed Cuffs – a nice addition at this price point. They may not be necessary if you don’t do triathlons, but they do make it much easier to get the wetsuit off.
Verdict: great features at a great price, the Advance is definitely a suit worth considering.