How to put on a wetsuit easily

November 14, 2022
A wetsuit is a great tool to keep you warm in the water but putting it on can be quite a hassle. But don’t worry, you just have to know how to do it. With the following tips and tricks, putting on a wetsuit will no longer be a struggle. And remember: practice makes perfect!
How to put on a wetsuit easily

A good-fitting wetsuit is easier to put on

If you want to put on your wetsuit easily and fully enjoy your time in the water, finding a proper-fitting wetsuit is key. A wetsuit that is too small is harder to put on and won’t be as comfortable during your activity in the water. In fact, it might even limit you in your movements. A wetsuit that is too big, on the other hand, might result in accumulations of excess neoprene that can fill up with cold water.

Different wetsuits require different methods of putting on!

Not all wetsuits should be put on in the same way. A chest zip wetsuit, for example, requires a different technique than a zipperless suit. In general, wetsuits with longer zippers, such as back zip wetsuits, are easier to put on, but offer less flexibility and freedom of movement than suits with shorter or no zippers. For this reason, most contemporary performance wetsuits are equipped with a chest zip system. O’Neill’s own, innovative take on this system is called F.U.Z.E. technology.

How to put on a chest zip wetsuit?

Since it’s the most popular and common performance wetsuit, we will start to explain how to put on a chest zip wetsuit, also known as a front zip wetsuit or F.U.Z.E. When your wetsuit is pulled up to your waist, insert your right arm into the right sleeve. Then put your left arm in the left sleeve, and pull the entry flap over your head. Lastly, close the front zipper and attach the snap (if there is one).

Check out all of our chest zip wetsuits!

Wondering how to put on a chest zip wetsuit? Check the video!

How to put on a zipless wetsuit?

Putting on a zipperless wetsuit is quite similar to putting on a front zip wetsuit. There are however some minor differences. The good news is that wetsuits without a zipper are usually made from very stretchy neoprene, which makes them easier to put on. If you have your suit pulled up to your waist, start working your left arm through the left sleeve and pull it over your shoulder. Pull the right side down and insert your right arm. Arrange all the panels around your neck in the right position and pull the zip-free gaiter over your head from right to left. Make sure the adjuster is loosened to make it easier.

Wondering how to put on a zipless wetsuit? Check the video!

How to put on a back zip wetsuit?

A back zip wetsuit is great for surfers with broad shoulders, because it has a larger entry than a front zip wetsuit. Once the suit is pulled up all the way to your waist, close the velcro closure to prevent it from sticking on other parts of your suit. Then

insert your right arm into the right sleeve. If you lift your arm in the air, it’s easier to get the suit over your shoulder. Do the same with your left arm and make sure the suit sits well on your shoulders and under your arms. If your suit has a gaiter, such as O’Neill’s ZEN wetsuits, pull it over your head. Then grab the zip cord with one hand and close it with your other by pulling it up above your head. As the last step, close the velcro for a nice and snug fit.

Check out all of our back zip wetsuits!

Wondering how to put on a back zip wetsuit? Check the video!


How to put on a shorty wetsuit

Shorty wetsuits are available with both chest zip and back zip entry systems. Follow the instructions above to learn how to put these on. Keep in mind that shorty wetsuits are usually easier to put on, because of the shorter sleeves. This means that less neoprene has to be shoved over your arms and legs.

Check out all of our shorty wetsuits:

  1. Shorty wetsuits for men
  2. Shorty wetsuits for women

General guidelines for putting on a wetsuit

Even though different types of wetsuits have to be put on differently, there are some general guidelines that apply to all wetsuits. First off, it’s important to keep your suit in the best possible condition. In order to prevent damaging the neoprene, you should find a clean and flat surface to put your wetsuit on. Avoid standing on rocks, stones or other jagged surfaces. If there is no smooth surface available, you can use a changing mat to get changed. Your nails can also harm the neoprene, so use your fingertips instead. Another important thing is to make sure you have the right side facing forward. If you go wrong on this one, you have to start all over again!

Feet first!

Whatever wetsuit you want to put on, you should always start with your feet. Start with one foot, and pull up the leg over your calf. Meanwhile, make sure the cuff of the leg is positioned at the bottom of your ankle. Repeat these steps with your other leg and make sure the suit’s knees, which often have knee panels, are positioned on top of your knees. Then pull up the wetsuit to your waist. From here on, different methods are used for different suits.

Enjoy your activity!

After you have put on your wetsuit, it’s time to hit the water. Whether you go surfing, kitesurfing or swimming, your wetsuit allows you to stay out longer and have more fun. Enjoy!

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