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Product Reviews

The Best Wetsuits For Women

What Women Want In The Water

We have a wetsuit guide already, but what about a wetsuit guide for women?  As a female surfer myself, I know that some wetsuit brands fit a bit different for the gals.  So what are the best wetsuits for women?  It really depends on a number of factors, but read on for our assessment of the top brands for surfing rubber.

It wasn’t that long ago that only a few brands made wetsuits in a women’s cut.  The pickings were slim, and sometimes us girls had to make do with a men’s suit now and then.  But the times they are a’changing, and now women have a huge variety of companies and cuts to choose from.  And not only that, but the quality has increased by quite a bit.

Tips for selecting a women’s wetsuit:

Fit is king (queen?)

Our biggest tip: fit is king.  Trying a suit on is your best bet.  However, with the neoprene shortages and shipping delays, it’s hard to find a wetsuit in person, in a shop.  In that case, try to find the best match using the brand sizing charts.  These charts are generally pretty accurate.  If in doubt, size down.  Having a suit be too loose can significantly impact how warm it is.  However, it’s a personal choice.  Do you want more room, or do you want more warmth?

Rubber Matters

Higher quality rubber does mean a bit more warmth.  Yamamoto rubber is all the rage right now, but it does offer a few advantages including lighter weight and warmer feel.

Gimmicks Are Gimmicks

Gimmicks are generally gimmicks.  Does the Xcel infrared technology really reflect body heat?  I’m not really sure.  It’s just a ploy to sell more suits.  I’ll take a better-fitting suit over the new technobabble that comes out every year.  However other things are advantageous, such as Xcel’s dry lock technology.  Those cuffs really do help keep water out.  Use common sense when identifying gimmicks.

Chest Or Back Zip?

Chest zip wetsuits will always be warmer and let less water in.  Although they tend to be more expensive and slightly more difficult to get in and out of, they’re worth it in terms of warmth.  However, if you have mobility issues or concerns about getting the suit on and off, you may want to get a back zip.

It Sucks To Buy A Suit Now (2021)

Everyone is out of stock.  We will attempt to keep this page updated with stock when we find it, but because of shipping delays and shortages, it’s tough to find a wetsuit at the moment.  My advice is don’t wait too long – if you see a suit in your size, grab it.  It might go out of stock by tomorrow.


Our Top Choice Brands – The Best Wetsuits For Women

Xcel

Xcel has been a favorite of mine for quite a long time.  They were one of the first to make super high quality women’s suits and the fit was always superb.  They’ve made a few changes over the years and the fit is a bit looser per size around the hips and waist so keep that in mind.  They are flexible and warm, although they are not the most durable – they tend to develop leaky seams more quickly than other suits.

Xcel’s top line suits are the drylock and Infiniti.  The lower end suits are the comp (lightweight and less warm) and the X Zip (back zip).

Consistent Favorite
Xcel Women's Wetsuits

An industry standard and one of the first to really push higher quality women's wetsuits

Pros:
  • Great fit
  • Very warm
  • Flexible rubber
Cons:
  • Not the longest lasting brand
  • Expensive
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O’Neill

O’Neill Technobutter has to have a place in this list as it’s widely regarded as one of the most warm and flexible suits on the market.  However, the price point can be a bit steep for this suit so that is a downside.  O’Neill has also been a longtime supporter of women in the industry and have been making women’s suits for quite a while.  O’Neill also offers a strong line of cheaper wetsuits for all budgets.  They also have one of the biggest selections of colors and designs.

Community Favorite
O'Neill Wetsuits

O'Neill is a household name in wetsuits and has always had one of the most extensive lines of women's suits available in the industry. Their top line technobutter neoprene available in the Hyperfreak models is one of the warmest suits.

Pros:
  • Hyperfreak technobutter is very warm
  • Wide range of suit price points and styles
  • O'Neill is known for durability
Cons:
  • Top line suits are expensive
  • Hard to find stock at the moment
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Feral

Feral has recently come out with a women’s line and the suits are legit.  They fit true to their size guide, and I recommend sizing down if you’re in-between.  These suits are incredibly lightweight and warm.  They are constructed of 100% Yamamoto rubber meaning they are very water resistant.  The seams have held up very well over our wetsuit test, and the suit has not sprung any leaks around the seams.  The only downside is a very strong rubber smell from the Yamamoto.  Check out our Feral wetsuit review here!

New Favorite
Feral Wetsuits

Feral has finally begun making women's suits and we couldn't be happier with the fit, comfort, and warmth of these suits.

Pros:
  • Very warm
  • Lightweight
  • Yamamoto at a reasonable price
Cons:
  • Strong rubber smell
  • Stock issues due to port backups
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Buell

Buell is fast becoming a household name for affordable and warm suits, and their women’s line is solid.  These suits are cheaper than average and incredibly warm.  However, the tradeoff is a bit less flexibilty.  They aren’t the most flexible suits.

Buell Wetsuits

Buell is a newer brand that's gaining popularity. They have a solid line of women's suits at an affordable price point.

Pros:
  • Warm
  • Affordable
Cons:
  • Less flexible than other brands

Need Essentials

Need Essentials has positioned itself as the most affordable suit on the market that doesn’t sacrifice quality.  They do so by eliminating the “middle man” in their supply chain and selling direct to consumers, with no logos, overpaid sponsorships, and no advertising.  Generally, Need Essentials has purely been advertised by word of mouth.  I have several friends who really love these suits.   We should have a review up about them soon, but for now they seem to have quite a bit of stock and are lower priced.  Word on the street is they aren’t as flexible as top-line suits but are plenty warm and an excellent value for the price.

A plus?  They have women of color as models for their suits.  Bravo for inclusivity for women!

Best Budget Suits
Need Essentials

Need Essentials is a direct to consumer brand aiming to make quality wetsuits more affordable by cutting advertising and middlemen. These are great suits for the price point.

Pros:
  • Affordable
  • Warm
Cons:
  • Not the most flexible
  • Durability issues

Hayley Gordon

Hayley is an avid surfer and the founder of this website. She splits her time surfing between Encinitas, CA and Montauk, NY.

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