Wetsuits can come in full-body options (long sleeves and legs that run to the ankles or feet) or short-sleeve/no-sleeve and thigh-length options (sometimes called a "shorty"). They can consist of one piece, or two pieces (top and bottom).
One-piece suits are the most popular. A "Shorty" covers the torso only and the "Full Suit" or "Steamer" covers the torso as well as arms and legs. Usually they have no feet or hood, so you may wear separate boots and a hood made from wetsuit material.
Wetsuits can be purchased in a variety of qualities and price ranges. Spring/summer suits can cost between €40-€120 whilst winter suits can cost between €100-€250. The higher the price, the more technical the wetsuit.
A "Shorty" or spring suit covers the torso and has short sleeves for the arms and legs. There are also suits with long arms and short legs. They are normally manufactured from fairly thin neoprene, often 2-3mm, for spring and summer use.
Covers only the torso and thus provides only minimal warmth on its own. It is not intended to be worn alone, but rather as an extra layer over or under a longer wetsuit. Some include an attached hood.
A legless wetsuit is also available, although rare. It consist of long sleeves, or none at all, and no legs. Covers just the crotch and most of the buttocks.
Covers the torso and arms, with little to no coverage for the legs. Some jackets have short leg sleeves like a shorty, others feature leg holes similar to a women's swimsuit.
The beavertail jacket was quite popular until the 1980s. It had a flap which closed over the crotch and attached at the front with a fastener.
A Long John or Farmer John/Jane (depending on the gender the suit is designed for) covers the torso and legs only; it resembles a bib-and-brace overall, hence the nickname.
Some suits are arranged in two parts. The jacket and Long Johns can be worn separately in mild conditions or worn together to provide two layers of insulation around the torso in cold conditions.
A full suit or steamer covers the torso and the full length of the arms and legs. Winter wetsuits, also known as 'steamers' are much thicker, often constructed from 5mm and above neoprene. Spring/summer wetsuits can also be purchased in full length versions.
A specialised kind of wetsuit, with a very smooth (and somewhat delicate) outer surface is used for long distance swimming and triathlon. These are designed to maximize the mobility of the limbs while providing both warmth and buoyancy.
During colder days, it is best to wear your diveskin inside a wetsuit as a liner to slip it on without tugging and fumbling.
Thirty years ago, divers would wear a pair of pantyhose to cut down on the struggle of donning their wetsuits. Well, we don't see people using panty hose any longer, but the concept is the same.
Now, because of the thin stretch fabric which is a very smooth and silk material, it is easier for divers to get in and out of their wet suits fast and without any struggle.
The slick lycra construction of the diveskin helps you peel your wetsuit off or pull it on in a hurry. Some divers find that wearing a stingersuit as a diveskin liner makes it easier to slip into a thicker wetsuit, without tugging and fumbling. Get a diveskin with a thumbloop so it doesn't slide up in your wetsuit.
Diveskins usually have the zip on the front to avoid discomfort when wearing scuba gear on the back. It also allows you to peel off the rubber suit and still have full sun protection while on the surface.
Diveskin suits are non-buoyant, which means you won't have to add any lead to the weight belt to compensate for your suit. Some divers will wear a light diveskin suit throughout the day, even if they plan on adding a thicker wetsuit during the dive. It is lightweight and dries fast. Made with overlock seams, this is also a great tropical suit for warm water snorkeling.
Made with front zip and overlock seams, this is a great swimsuit for tropical warm water snorkeling adventures. They usually have the zip on the front to avoid discomfort when wearing scuba gear on your back.
Diveskin suits are non-buoyant, which means you won't have to add any lead to the weight belt to compensate for your suit.
Some divers will wear a light bodysuit throughout the day, even if they plan on adding a thicker wetsuit during the dive.