Feral has been around for a few years, but it’s finally gaining a wider audience as word of mouth spreads great reviews and the recent feature on Stab gave the brand glowing accolades. But is all the hype really true? How does the wetsuit work for the average surfer? And for the gals out there, how does the wetsuit fit for women? We decided to write this Feral wetsuit review to answer these burning questions. I set out to see if Feral was the real deal. Also, they hang with the Gnarhunters crew so what’s not to like?
Feral’s story comes from two NorCal guys who wanted to offer premium Japanese Yamamoto neoprene to the masses for a cheaper price. That is, a premium suit without the “middleman” of surf shops or other dealers. Additionally, there is very little money spent on advertising. You probably haven’t even heard of Feral unless someone told you personally or you saw Stab reviews.
Additionally the neoprene is limestone based instead of petroleum based. Although it’s debated whether or not limestone has a smaller footprint, at least you’re not supporting big oil.
The Feral website is clean, easy to navigate, and minimal. They have wetsuits, a few t-shirts, and a currently out of stock wetsuit bag (that I hope they restock soon).
Unfortunately right now Feral doesn’t have a ton of sizes in stock for their suits; they’ve gotten creamed by shipping delays due to covid and all of the container ships stuck offshore of Long Beach, CA. However, they have a notice up as to when they’ll have certain suits and sizes in stock.
The suit itself arrived promptly, free shipping and all. I noticed right away that the suit was light. There’s nothing extraneous about these suits – they’re pure neoprene. None of that wooly material that a lot of suits have on their interior, making this suit lightweight both when it’s dry AND when it’s wet (we will come to that later).
When I tried the suit on to check sizing the neoprene felt soft, light I was slipping into a pair of premium Vuori joggers. It felt good, much softer and supple than other suits I’ve had in my life. This is that premium Yamamoto rubber that is constructed to repel 99.7% of water.
The fit was great throughout the suit, but one caveat about this review is that I’m on the VERY low end weight of a size 8. I technically should have gotten a 6T, however they were not in stock. So, I decided to roll the dice. Unfortunately the arms on my suit are a bit large/roomy. The rest of the suit fits well, although around the ankles it lets some water in while I’m wading in the shorebreak. I’ll update this review once I get my hands on a 6T.
The suits are designed to reduce seams, and it’s apparent. Even my friend commented on how few seams there were when I was wearing it. The suit is amazingly comfortable – no seams rubbing when I paddle and it feels free and easy especially through the shoulders.
This is where the rubber (ha) meets the road. How warm is the suit? Although the suit is not quite my size and is a bit roomy in the arms, the suit is still incredibly warm. I know that having a proper size would reduce the water coming in the arms and leg cuffs, so I’m not taking off points for that at the moment. Even despite this, the suit is the warmest and most comfortable 3/2 I have owned.
The suit feels like a second skin. The neck gaiter fits extremely well and doesn’t flush on duckdives – which is an issue I have been having recently with suits–especially women’s suits which seem to be trying to reduce the size of the neck cuff (for what, fashion?) and this results in water flushing into the suit around the neck because there’s no seal. The only downside to the Feral is that when I’m swimming, water seems to come into the suit from somewhere around the neck zipper – which is odd. However, this doesn’t affect me while I’m surfing.
Oh, and more about the weight of the suit – this suit is light. I can really feel the difference when I’m rinsing the suit out after a session – it retains almost no water, so the suit is extremely lightweight. It doesn’t absorb any water. This is in contrast to my previous Xcel suits that seem to retain water in the neoprene and the fuzzy liner that make them rather heavy.
Other Random Thoughts
The suit seems to be holding up nicely – after over a month of use there are no pinhole leaks in the seams and it is just as watertight as the day I got it. Obviously this isn’t that long in terms of usage, so I’ll be back to update this review.
One odd thing is that this suit has a very strong neoprene odor – I’m not sure if it’s a property of limestone neoprene or Yamamoto neoprene but even after a month the suit has a strong neoprene smell that seems to linger on my skin after a session. That’s really the only downside to this suit although it doesn’t bother me very much. It’s just…noticable.
I am sold. I really love this suit. Even it being slightly large in the arms it has been keeping me quite warm and comfortable in the lineup. I’m certain getting the proper size will leave me even more impressed. The hype, so far, seems to be real. And to be honest, these suits really don’t break the bank. They’re not the cheapest, but they’re also not the most expensive. Honestly these are a great buy, and if they hold up they way that they are rumored to, they’re almost on the cheap end since you don’t have to keep buying them over and over.
Honestly if you’re looking for a suit, give Feral a shot. And if they don’t have your size currently keep checking back. They’ve been very good at updating their site with estimated arrival dates for their suits.
And for the gals out there I give this suit a resounding thumbs up – one of the most comfortable suits I’ve had the pleasure of wearing (for the dudes out there – check the Stab review for fit review – they gave it high marks).