How to pick the right wetsuit - a guide for open water swimmers

Whether you are an open water swimmer or a triathlete the wetsuit is important in chilly, Finnish open waters. 

Wetsuits are often thought to be somewhat universal, that any suit will do as long as it is classified a wetsuit. This is not the case. Wetsuits are designed for specific purposes such as for surfing, diving or swimming. Wetsuits rarely, if ever, are suitable for another purpose from what they were made for. Just like Formula1 cars are made for the track and not suitable for regular roads. 

Wetsuits are made of neoprene, which is a synthetic rubber, and is very elastic which has a steering effect on swimmer’s pull. This is why a wetsuit made for surfing is not fit for swimming as the type of neoprene isn’t as elastic as on a wetsuit made for swimming. When the neoprene isn’t flexible enough, it will steer the swimmers technique in the wrong direction. All the hard work of practicing indoors all winter will go to waste with a wetsuit unfit for you and your purpose. 

Open Water Swimmer, Huub, kuvaaja Sami Vaskola ja mallit Noora Honkala ja Robson Lindberg.

Right size is the key

In wetsuits the right size is the key. If the suit is too large it will form bags that will fill with water whilst swimming, consequently slowing down the swimmer. Being too small, the suit will be difficult to put on and take off and it can cause distress while swimming. Also, a wetsuit too small might limit movement even though Huub neoprenes are extremely elastic.

Huub is a british premium brand known for their quality swimming and triathlon gear. Some of the best olympic distance triathletes, such as Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee swear by Huubs products. Their products are known for being based on science, studies and practice - nothing is left to guesswork.

Choosing the size we start with the swimmers height and weight. Huubs products are sold at the -onlinestore, and to make the search easier, a size chart can be found on each wetsuit.

Also, a wetsuit’s neckline fit is important because this is where most of the water will go into the suit. Huub suits have a really tight neckline. The correct way to dress the suit will also have an effect on how the suit fits on the upper body and neck area. If you do not pull the suit up from the legs and crotch area, it can significantly limit the movement of the upper body. The same goes for the sleeves that need to be pulled high enough to ensure the movement the suit was made for. Armpits need to be tight enough not to form bags as that will lead to excess mechanical wear on the suit and this can lead to the suit breaking fast.

What wetsuit to choose?

Sport4me -onlinestore supply has suits for both men and women.

For men:

  • Huub Brownlee Agilis GoldLimited Edition
  • Huub Brownlee Agilis 
  • Huub Varman Fluo Limited Edition
  • Huub Varman 
  • Huub Aegis III

  • The first two suits only differ by color and the Gold Limited Edition -design comes with a TT Bag for carrying the gear. The same goes for the Varma suits.

    Huub Browlee Agilis is Huub’s finest and fastest suit ever. The Brownlee brothers have taken part in developing the suit. The Brownlee Agilis wetsuit has advanced neoprene which is not only nice and soft to wear, but also incredibly easy and fast to put on and take off.

    Huub suits are also known for the so called Arm Neutral -technique, meaning the sleeves’ neutral position is brought to the center for the crawl hand stroke. Neoprene is rubber and it stretches like a bow, hence giving a minimal amount of resistance to both the start and end of the stroke. 

    The neoprene used by Huub is +43-neoprene, meaning its 43% more buoyant than regular neoprene. As such, the 5mm wetsuits have the buoyancy of a 7mm wetsuit. Women's suits with 3mm neoprene are also 43% more buoyant. 

    Mens suits have a buoyancy rate of 3:5 and the women’s 3:3.

    All Huubs wetsuits are made for triathlons and have a so-called BreakAway Zipper, made for a quick change. Here is a video of how it works:

    Huub Breakaway Zipper tutorial

    Brownlee Agilis is your choice when you are looking for speed and the best quality on the market.

    Varma wetsuits come with the same Arm Neutral technique, +43 neoprene and the Huub BreakAway Zipper as in the Brownlee Agilis suits. Varma wetsuits are for an athlete who has a smaller budget but does not want to save on quality.

    The womens selection of wetsuits come with the same logic as the mens wetsuits:

  • Huub Brownlee Agilis
  • Huub Aura 2

  • Technically these wetsuits are identical to the mens suits except with a womens cut. Women’s Brownlee Agilis is technically the same as Brownlee Agilis and the women’s Aura 2 wetsuit is equal to the men’s Varma wetsuit, Huubs flagship models for sporty and demanding trainers.


    Huub wetsuit, kuvaaja Sami Vaskola ja mallit Noora Honkala ja Robson Lindberg.

    I’m a beginner. I don’t need an expensive one

    “I don’t need an expensive wetsuit, as I’m a beginner”

    This is a phrase we hear much too often from our customers. We at Huub think of it differently. As it happens. we’ve noticed the ones who buy a cheap wetsuit soon find out the suit is not the right buy as it limits the movement on the upper body. As we established early on in this article the winter season training session might be wasted with a wrong wetsuit. 

    The truth is that the more expensive the wetsuit, the more aspects have been perfected, for example with regards to fit. Huub wetsuit’s excellence in movement, buoyancy and the Arm Neutral technique are the key factors why a beginner swimmer should buy a more expensive suit. By buying quality gear you get the most out of your training sessions. Also, a wetsuit is ultimately a purchase that lasts a number of years, thus for an active swimmer it won’t be too expensive per workout. 

    If you want to purchase a good basic wetsuit, that still does what its intended to do, and get an excellent bang for your money, the choice is Huub Aegis III. This suit can be found for bothmen andwomen. Aegis III wetsuits have the BreakAway Zipper and the supporting X-O-Skeleton.

    Open Water Race

    As mentioned previously, the women and mens wetsuits are so called triathlon suits, hence the zipper is designed to make the changes as quick as possible. The suits are also good for just open water swimming and training.

    Huub also has a completely new wetsuit option for open water training - the Huub Open Water Race wetsuit. 

    The wetsuit in question can be found both for men and women. The suit is FINA approved, meaning you can compete in open water races where the requirement is an international swimming associations FINA approved wetsuit.

    The Huub Open Water Race wetsuit is an excellent choice for those who want to get the best feel and speed in the open water. This suit will give you speed.

    If you need guidance in finding the right wetsuit, do not hesitate to contact online store experts.

    Manu Tuppurainen

    Written by Sport4me- online store founder, Huub swimgear importer, an active open water swimmer, harrastaja triathlete and coach for kestävyyliikunta.

    Pictures taken by Sami Vaskola, models Noora Honkala and Robson Lindberg.