What Type of Clothing to Wear Under a Wetsuit

There are a few things you can wear under a wetsuit, ranging from your skin to synthetic fabrics.

Wetsuits are designed to keep you warm in water, but they don’t always do it perfectly. For one thing, they’re usually made of neoprene or other stretchy synthetic fibers, which can become uncomfortable and cause chafing after a few hours. If you want to spend longer in the water, it’s a good idea to pair your wetsuit with something like wool or fleece—not only will it offer extra warmth, but it can soften the feel of the suit at the same time.

Lucky for you, there are plenty of options available when shopping for base layers specifically designed for wearing under wetsuits. They range from synthetic fabrics that include spandex and nylon to natural materials like wool and fleece. The goal is to find something that isn’t too tight (so it doesn’t cut off circulation) or too loose (so it doesn’t bunch up under your wetsuit), while also ensuring that whatever you choose will remain comfortable and itch-free during wear. And although some brands recommend avoiding cotton underwear when wearing a wetsuit because of its drying properties, many customers report having success with this material; just make sure that it’s not an old cotton T-shirt that might disintegrate in water! The most important thing is to choose what feels best; often this means an option based on your personal preferences in fabric softness and thickness.

These will work well under most wetsuits, but there are times when you shouldn’t wear them.

To determine what type of clothing to wear under your wetsuit, you first need to know the approximate size of the wetsuit. Skimpy wetsuits often come in one-size-fits-all sizes. However, if you are a man with broad shoulders and a muscular build, you may find that even the largest size isn’t going to fit without some adjustments. For example, my husband’s shoulders are too broad for his wetsuit sleeves to stay on comfortably while swimming.

If the problem is that your wetsuit is too tight, then you may want to consider buying a larger size and taking them in yourself at home by tightening them with a machine called a steam iron (sold at most home improvement stores). Make sure to follow directions carefully when doing so—steam might damage your suit—but it can also be used for other purposes as well: when worn inside out, these clothes can help protect against hypothermia caused by exposure in cold weather.

Rash guards are another option.

Rash guards are another option for those who don’t have wetsuits, but still want to feel protected from the elements. Worn in conjunction with your swimming suit, rash guards offer similar warmth and protection—as well as sun protection—to that of a simple swimsuit. According to US Divers, these garments can be made of Lycra or neoprene and will typically cover the torso and neckline.

Wearing a rash guard under your wetsuit may also help keep you warmer during colder months, as it can protect you from an “unpleasant chafing” caused by rubbing against your wet suit. Rash guards are especially useful for winter months, when cool water temperatures may leave a person feeling cold even after being submerged for several minutes. Additionally, rash guards provide physical protection from the elements like wind that could otherwise make you shiver or get goose bumps while treading water or sitting on your surfboard.

The best part about rash guards? They’re cheap! At the time of this writing, you can find them online from retailers like Amazon or Dick’s Sporting Goods starting at just $22. Even better: many surf shops offer rentals for their customers to take advantage of in case they forget their own surfing apparel at home.

They offer padding and protection against chafing, but they may cause unexpected problems.

There are many different factors that go into choosing the right wetsuit—whether you’re buying one for yourself or receiving one as a gift—including the thickness of its neoprene and whether it’s been pre-treated to prevent chafing. While these may be the most important factors, they should not be the only factors: rash guards can have their own set of problems, despite being able to protect against them.

Rash guards are essentially extra clothing that covers your upper body and arms, offering padding and protection against chafing (which is especially important when surfing). However, there is some debate about if/when they should be worn. Rash guards are a great choice for surfers who may want to wear them under a normal swimsuit; however, if you’re an active surfer who will be paddling, diving underwater often and riding waves on your stomach or back, it may not matter how much padding your rash guard has—you can still get hurt.

Because rash guards already provide extra coverage from the water and from sun exposure (they’re always black), some argue that wearing them opens up your skin to additional damage through friction. In addition to this argument about their utility in active surfing situations, there are also concerns that wearing rash guards can cause new rashes to form on top of old ones if you’re prone to them.

So while they offer protection against potential sources of irritation while surfing, rash guards may also cause new rashes without proper care (such as changing immediately after surfing). If you’re interested in purchasing one or receiving one as a gift but wonder what the best use cases are for them, maybe just try surfing with just normal swimwear first before making any rash decisions!

Sand can also get into the seams of your suit and cause irritation.

Since sand can also get into the seams of your suit, that’s another reason to go for a full-length wetsuit. These will keep you warm in colder waters, and are designed to be watertight without causing any chafing or irritation. If you do get sand in your suit, you can wash it out. In fact, if you’re worried about getting sandy on a trip, you can use talcum powder to help prevent sand from sticking to your suit.

Board shorts also don’t offer much in terms of warmth.

We all know that board shorts are the best type of swimwear in the beach. They’re comfortable and flexible, allowing us to maneuver quickly around shallow waters as we avoid incoming waves. However, this flexibility can be a double-edged sword when it comes to warmth.

The problem is that most board shorts are made of relatively loose material—bamboo or spandex—which is somewhat akin to wearing a wet suit underneath other clothing. It’s like wearing a one-piece bathing suit under a two-piece bathing suit—great on its own, but not great with another layer. This means that water typically pools up on top of our board shorts, creating pockets that let cold air in as we swim through cooler temperatures.

Two solutions exist: use thicker cotton boxer briefs or get some really nice long underwear from Northern Wisconsin Tool & Die (like Under Armour ColdGear) with the Absolute Technology fabric from Patagonia (which has an unbelievable fit and warmth rating of 4 out of 5). I’ve been using both for years now, and I swear by them!

When choosing a base layer, consider what kind of water activity you’ll be doing.

The water in which you’re diving doesn’t care at all whether you’re wearing a tee shirt or a $5,000 neoprene wetsuit. It’s going to be cold, so get a good base layer. A thin long-sleeved t-shirt under the neoprene is probably best, but if you don’t feel comfortable or secure with that, consider getting an undershirt instead. If you think it’s likely that your protective layer will get wet (for example during surf for your child), go with a thin T-shirt and nothing else underneath. Anything thicker and it’ll just weigh down and restrict your movement too much.


When you board a longboard and get in the water, you immediately realize that the answer to your recent frustration is just a piece of fabric. Wetsuits, like most products that take a high-level amount of skill and practice to use properly, are for experts alone. But it’s not just about learning the hows and whys of using them properly: it’s also about finding something that feels and fits well when you’re actually wearing one.

A wetsuit is designed to give surfers some protection from the cold water they paddle into, as well as some warmth if it’s really cold out. In order for it to provide these benefits without sacrificing functionality (or comfort), there are a few things that need to be considered:


The way someone wears their wetsuit depends on many factors, but includes the type of surf they do and whether they ride bodyboard or longboard. Let’s look at each category separately:

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