Sick of looking for plus size wetsuits for women?
If you’ve got curves, wear above a size 16, or maybe you’re just blessed in the chest or butt area, I bet you’ve wondered where are all the decent plus sized shortie and full length wetsuits?
And honestly, it drives me crazy. If I want to do yoga, or go for a run, there are plenty of comfortable, attractive clothes I could wear. But if I want to go surfing, or paddle boarding or diving? It’s not so easy. I can get half my bottom half into a size 16/18 wetsuit, but my boobs are not going to be co-operating with that project.
Almost every woman who wears a size 16+ will know the fear of doing any activity where you need to borrow a wetsuit. Will they have a wetsuit in my size? Will I be able to fasten the wetsuit they give me? What if it doesn’t do up? If it does, will I be able to move?
In my experience, I’ve found most watersports companies only hold women’s wetsuits up to a size 16, so you end up being offered a men’s XL or XXL wetsuit. Some dude will hold it up, looking doubtful and say, “Do you think THIS will fit?”
This is 100% the reason I bought my own water gear (and ski gear, but that’s another blog post). It’s a little more luggage when we travel but it means I am confident I have something comfortable and good quality to wear when we’re in the water.
Why are Wetsuits not more Inclusive?
That said, it’s not always easy trying to buy plus size wetsuits for women.
Many of the major surf and waters port retailers ONLY sell women’s suits up to a size 16, or 18. You can buy plus size wetsuits at Sainsbury’s, but they are often out of stock. Other supermarkets often only sell wetsuits up to a size 14.
Given that 50% of women in the UK are a size 16 or above, it’s beyond ridiculous that so many women aren’t being catered for. Mountain Warehouse, TWF, O’Neill, Two Bare Feet? I’m looking at you guys, here. Where are your plus size wetsuits for women?
Lots of women end up wearing men’s wetsuits which can work… sometimes.
Strictly speaking, there’s no real difference between men’s and women’s wetsuits except the length. Generally men’s wetsuits are designed for people over 5′ 7″, while ‘women’s’ suits are shorter in the limbs and torso. Some women’s suits might be broader across the chest and hips. But not always.
What this means for shorter, curvy women is you end up in a XL men’s suit designed for someone who is six feet tall. You’ll almost always end up rolling up the arms and legs, making the suit uncomfortable at best, and letting in gallons of water if you’re unlucky.
What we really need are suits that are designed for curvy women, shorter women, women with big boobs, women with longer bodies – just a wider rage of wetsuits for ANY body. I hate the idea that any woman is made to feel abnormal and ashamed because she’s wearing a particular clothes size that is not deemed worthy of being accommodated.
Tips on Choosing a Plus Size Wetsuit
If you are outside of the “normal” range of sizes, don’t worry. There are plus sized wetsuits for women in the UK that will fit you, and look great to boot.
Based on my years of trying on wetsuits and ending up depressed and frustrated, here are some tips on choosing a suit:
- Height and shoulder width is the major difference between men and women’s suits. Look for a suit that won’t be too long – if the arms and legs need to be rolled up your suit could end up letting water in. Short and curvy? A plus size shortie wetsuit with appropriate boots might be a more flexible option for summer and shoulder season activities.
- Remember that wetsuit measurements may refer to the suit and not you. A 3mm wetsuit might stretch 4-5 inches, a 5mm wetsuit up more like 1-2 inches. Buy a suit that will stretch to fit you, to ensure the right, snug fit.
- Suits with front zips are great if you need to put on a suit solo and want to relax with the suit open while you’re on the beach. But they’re not always great for something like paddle boarding or kayaking, where you need to pull yourself back on board. Front zips can get caught on the board/deck and make it difficult to get out of the water. They also tend to let in more water, so you’ll get cold and tired more quickly.
Where to Buy Plus Size Wetsuits for Women
Today, I’m sharing some of the best places I’ve come across that sell plus sized wetsuits for women in the UK. Some of these retailers offer wetsuits in sizes up to a UK size 30 or US size 34, while others offer custom-made suits to your specific measurements. Some of the below links are affiliates, meaning I’ll make a small commission if you make a purchase via this site.
I’ve tried to offer products for all budgets. Prices will vary, and suits that are custom-made or thicker will cost more, of course. But I hope that if you’re hunting for a plus sized wetsuit for women, this list will help you out!
Tommy D Sports
- Sells: A wide range of shortie and full length wetsuits
- Sizes: Sells up to a size 6XL in some styles, or a UK size 30
- Good to Know: Great customer service, ships to the UK for a small additional fee
I really recommend the Tommy D Sports website, and have bought two plus sized wetsuits from them so far. Tommy D is an American website that offers a range of pretty affordable wetsuits in various styles, in sizes from XS to 6XL, which equates to about a UK size 30. You’ll find a selection of shortie wetsuits up to a size 6XL, and long styles in the same sizes, with front and rear zippers and 3mm, 5mm and 7mm thickness.
Delivery is available internationally and in my experience takes about a week to ship to the UK. I paid $25 to ship one suit to the UK, plus about $60 for a shortie suit, so about £66 all-in. I thought that was really good value. My second purchase was a full wetsuit, in winter thickness. It was a size 3XL (around a 22), and cost just over £100 including shipping.
The site also offers lots of advice on how to measure yourself for a suit, which style of suit to buy, and you can email any questions and I’ve found the support staff really fast, and helpful. This is a really quick, fuss-free way to get a plus-size wetsuit.
- Sells: A range of colourful sleeveless wetsuits, shortie wetsuits and full wetsuits
- Sizes: 21 different sizes designed to cater for all women of all shapes and sizes
- Good to know: There is a Facebook group where women can pass on pre-loved Truuli suits
Truuli is a wetsuit company set up specifically to offer beautiful plus sized wetsuits for women who want to get in the water feeling confident and comfortable. These suits are made in Canada, and are available in a range of bright colours and modern designs, in a wide range of sizes up to a UK size 28.
The company is SMALL, and often struggles for stock but there is currently a kickstarter campaign until 30 November, where you can pre-order a suit for summer 2021 at a discount of up to $200. It’s currently just over $2,000 from its target so if you can support it, please do!
The sizing at Truuli is unusual, in that there are lots of very similar sizes, designed to help everyone find a perfect fit. The sizes are also name rather than number based, because who wouldn’t want to order a wetsuit in the size “Courage” or “Fearless” rather than a boring old 20 or 24? The company recommends you email your height, bra size, hip and waist measurements and weight to them before ordering and they will recommend the best size for you. I absolutely LOVE this because it means there’s almost no risk of buying a suit that won’t accommodate your boobs or hips.
The suits are not cheap, costing around $250 up, but Truuli regularly has BOGOF offers. There are sales on RIGHT NOW, and there’s even a Facebook group where you can buy pre-loved suits from other customers.
- Sells: A range of colourful sleeveless wetsuits, shortie wetsuits and full wetsuits
- Sizes: Up to mens 3XL and women’s 2XL, so suitable up to around a UK size 20-22
- Good to know: There are different suits for diving, snorkelling and swimming
As with many things when you don’t wear a standard clothing size, buying a plus sized wetsuit can mean going to specialist retailers. What I have found is that while many of the high street brands don’t cater to size 18+ women, some of the scuba diving and open water swimming sites DO offer more extended ranges.
Diving Direct offers women’s wetsuits in sizes up to XXL/2XL and men’s suits up to a 3XL. They stock the brand SEAC, which offers women’s wetsuits up to a size 22, while the men’s suits should fit women up to a size 24/26.
- Sells: Plus size wetsuits and a good range of accessories
- Sizes: The women’s plus size section is small, and mostly up to 2XL (UK size 20-22)
- Good to know: Buy a men’s suit and cut it down
This online retailer has a dedicated section for both men and women’s plus sized wetsuits, including brands like Roxy and Henderson’s. Be warned: it’s not a BIG section.
Womens’ wetsuits are available up to a US Size 16, which is equivalent to a UK size 20. In the men’s section, suits go up to a 5XL. You pay a $20 surcharge for some larger sizes, and full wetsuits here start at around $150.
Don’t worry about buying a wetsuit that’s for someone much taller – you can easily trim down a wetsuit’s legs using sharp scissors. Neoprene doesn’t fray, but if you want to be extra safe, just use a hot piece of metal or lighter to slightly “melt” the edges to stop any curl. I promise faithfully this is perfectly okay to do, and will not damage your suit AT ALL.
Wetsuit Warehouse will also custom make a wetsuit to your own measurements.
- Sells: A wide range of suits for diving, snorkelling and open water swimming
- Sizes: Up to a 2XL in many women’s suits and a 3XL in many men’s styles.
- Good to know: Buy a men’s suit and cut it down
This website is part of a Spanish group of websites offering everything you might ever need for any sort of water activity.
The diving site offers a decent range of wetsuits in a broad range of sizes including plus sized women’s wetsuits. The women’s SEAC wetsuit goes up to 2XL (about a size 18/20) while the men’s range goes up to 4XL (26/28) in many styles. Expect to pay around $145 for a suit, plus shipping. Remember you CAN buy a men’s suit and cut down the legs, if you need to.
- Sells: affordable 3mm wetsuits ideal for holiday/hobby use
- Sizes: Up to a XXXLT1 (up to 250lb)
- Good to know: These ship from the US but only cost around £50, so worth considering!
This is a new brand to me, but Hevto offers men and women’s 3mm wetsuits in sizes up to XXXL including a XXXLT (tall) and XXXLS (short) model. There’s no specific sizing info on their website, but most items are available to buy from Amazon. It’s worth buying here for the comprehensive size guide which lists height, weight and body measurements to help you select from a huge range of sizes. Reviews are mostly good, so definitely worth a look!
- Sells: Cheap and cheerful wetsuits, perfect for holiday wear
- Sizes: The standard range goes to a 16/18 but if Banana Bite is in stock, up to a UK 26
- Good to know: These are sized on the smaller side, so size up if you can
This range of Sainsbury’s plus size wetsuits is currently out of stock. I’m including it in case the fact it sold out in a hot minute and lots of people are still looking at the page persuades Sainsbury’s to restock plus size wetsuits for women up to a size 26. Are you listening Sainsbury’s?
The Banana Bite range is actually made by TWF, one of the country’s biggest suppliers of wetsuits. While standard TWF sizing only goes to a 16/18, the Banana Bite range is available in up to a size 26. There are shortie and long versions available and the quality is pretty decent. I bought a size 18/20 and it was a pretty tight squeeze on my chest, so I feel like these are sized on the smaller side.
Buying Plus Size Wetsuits on Amazon : Some Suggestions
- Sells: Lots of wetsuits from all over the world, especially if you’re open to buying from the US
- Sizes: I’ve found up to a UK24 wetsuit on Amazon
- Good to know: Check the sizing chart for each brand because they’re wildly different
There are a few plus size wetsuits for women on Amazon, but it’s important to know what you’re looking for and CHECK the sizing chart for each specific brand. In some brands an XXL might be a size 14, or it might be a 20. You need to do your research:
Cressi – This wetsuit brand has a reputation for making wetsuits that are good for women with bigger chest measurements. The Cressi Playa range is available in sizes up to a 3XL, or size 7 in wetsuit numbers. What does this mean? Well, a 3XL should fit someone up to around 18 stones, with a 45-inch chest. Find one here.
Henderson – This brand specialises in diverse sizing for wetsuits and custom-made wetsuits. They ARE what might be called “a bit spendy” with prices starting at around $250 and going up from there. Other annoying news – there are currently no UK distributors for this brand. That said, Henderson does have a reputation for great quality plus size wetsuits for women, that will last for years. Suits are available in up to a WP2, which is roughly equivalent to a US size 26 or UK 30. There are usually odd ones on the UK site, and more on the US site if you don’t mind paying shipping. See here for an example.
Mix and Match Wetsuits
If, like me, you are different sizes on the top and bottom half then wetsuits are a nightmare to buy. I have to buy plus size to accommodate my chest, but it does mean suits are often looser on my bottom half.
Next time I’m wetsuit shopping, I’d love to try one of these neoprene shorts and jacket sets, from Two Bare Feet, that allow you to buy – GASP – different size top and bottom wetsuit. The ONLY downside of this is that the men’s jackets only go up to a 2XL, or 38 inch chest, so wouldn’t be ideal for women who are bigger than that on top.
Mike’s Dive Store does a range of wetsuits from various brands that go up to a size 20/22 for women, and a 4XL for men. Helpfully, the company offers mix and match shorts and tops, so you could get the relevant size for each item. As an added bonus there is a 30-day guarantee so you can send back something that doesn’t fit AND you can request a phone or video consultation before you buy, to ensure you get the right sizing. Last reason to check out their site – they have an amazing fit simulator. Just pop in all your measurements online, and it will recommend suits and sizes to fit.
If none of these ten plus size wetsuits for women suit, then there a few other brands that you might want to check out, that offer broader sizing (although not as broad as those above). You might need to find a local dive shop that acts as a dealer for these brands, or you may pick up items on eBay or Amazon:
- Scubapro – Offers a 2XL short and 2XL wetsuit in various styles
- Fourth Element – Offers a Size 20 in both tall and short lengths, plus long/short styles
- Sharkskin – Offers up to a size 22/4XL in certain styles