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 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 body into a size 18 suit 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 entering a rental location to look for a wetsuit. Almost invariably it ends up with some guy holding up a men’s suit and asking (in front of everyone), “Do you think THIS will fit?”
This is 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 much easier 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. Some only sell up to a 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.
Lots of women end up wearing men’s wetsuits which is… okay. 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.
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 Wetsuit
If you are outside of the “normal” range of sizes, don’t worry. There are plus sized wetsuits for women 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 shortie wetsuit with appropriate boots is a more flexible option for summer activities.
- Remember that wetsuit measurements usually 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. Some of these retailers offer wetsuits in sizes up to a UK size 30, while others offer custom-made suits to your specific measurements. 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
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. Wetsuits come in short and long styles, 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 the suit, so about £66 all-in. I thought that was really good value.
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.
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 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.
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 “outdoor” brands don’t cater to size 18+ women, many of the scuba diving and open water swimming sites DO offer more extended ranges.
Diving Direct offers women’s wetsuits in sizes up to 2XL and men’s suits up to a 3XL. The women’s SEAC suits in this range go up to about a size 20/22 while the men’s suits should fit up to a size 24/26.
This online retailer has a dedicated section for both men and women’s plus sized wetsuits, including brands like Roxy and Henderson’s. Suits 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.
Wetsuit Warehouse will also custom make a wetsuit to your own measurements.
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 in many styles. Expect to pay around $145 for a suit, plus shipping.
This range is currently out of stock but I’m including it in case the fact it sold out in a hot minute persuades Sainsburys 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 short 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.
Amazon – What to Look For
There are a few plus size wetsuits for women on Amazon, but it’s important to know what you’re looking for. In some ranges that XXL might be a size 14, or it might be a 20. You need to do your research:
Cressi – This 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 retailer 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.
The Mix and Match Option
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