As a plus-size athlete, it’s pretty ridiculous when one of the most frustrating things about keeping fit is trying to find sportswear that both fit and perform.
Don’t let me even mention the intimidation, body shaming, and fear that comes from entering a gym.
See, for a long time now, fitness brands have marginalized the plus-size community.
Until recent years, activewear wasn’t readily available for plus-size athletes. Most options were only available in size 13 and lower, and if it was, it was like cotton loungewear passing off as sportswear.
The available “extra extra large” body wetsuits weren’t as roomy as I envisaged; instead, they were too tight and nearly impossible to get into without completely lubing my body and the inside of it to slither into it.
But thankfully, that is behind us- we’re not there yet, but with the championing of plus-size sensationals such as Louise Green, we’re definitely headed in the right direction.
Green is a plus-size fitness coach, fitness athlete, and author changing the narrative and idealistic standards of plus-size fitness culture.
Over time, retailers have also upped their game, and today, we’ve a host of both small and big corporations who answered the call to fit the big hole in the fitness world.
Today, if you need a plus-size wetsuit, you don’t simply “make do” with oversized cotton shirts or even cross-dress.
Our time has come to shine in well-fitting, cute, and performance-oriented fitness apparel.
Now, if you’re thinking of taking a dip in water sports, and need one of these plus size wetsuits, we’re here to help.
From apple size, inverted pyramid, pear body to plus size triangle, we’ve listed a collection of the best plus size suits for all body shapes and sizes. Here, you’ll definitely find an option that will not only keep you looking good but also protect you from cold and harm.
Table of Contents
The Best Plus Size Wetsuits For The Money
#1 Cressi Lido Wetsuit - EDITOR'S CHOICE
If you need a body wetsuit that accentuates your body curves while keeping your body warm and protected, the Cressi Lido Wetsuit is the right wetsuit.
As with all Cressi wetsuits, the Lido has incredible quality and assurance for a flattering fit.
But how does it perform as a big-size wetsuit?
Incredible! There’s plenty to love with this full wetsuit.
Let’s start with the choice of material.
This Cressi suit utilizes Neoprene, so soft and luxurious.
It’s easy on the skin and will slide into your body without leaving you red-faced struggling yanking, or breaking your fingernails.
Now, for such a soft suit, you might think it’s not protective enough. We also thought so.
But the truth is, the Cressi suit is double-lined. For those still new to wetsuit technology, a double-lined wetsuit means the neoprene is lined both inside and outside with nylon material.
Want to know the benefit?
There is no way harmful UV rays will get through this wetsuit. Of course, Cressi is a shorty, so you’ll still need to slather sunscreen on the exposed arms and legs, but it offers UV protection and eliminates sunburn for most parts of the body.
Secondly, the double-lined neoprene material is hardy as it gets and will keep your body out of harm’s way. So you don’t need to worry much about scratches or even stings from jellyfish.
What about its thickness?
Cressi Neoprene is light and breathable. It may not be a savior in the chilly waters, but its packability is incredible. I can travel with mine in a tote bag and still leave more space for my towels, sunglasses, goggle, shoes, and more.
However, the biggest benefit is how the material dries quickly in between dives, making it far more pleasant to put on for a second dive of the day.
As I mentioned earlier, Cressi isn’t thick, and at only 2mm thick, it’s not warm enough for the colder waters. So I wouldn’t recommend this option for winter swimming.
But all isn’t lost.
I give credit to the wrist and ankle “Aquastop ” cuffs seals, or simply a water-resistant closure. The closure does a great job of keeping the water exchange to a minimum while helping you slide the suit on and off easily. The only time you might get chilled is when you remain stationary underwater for extended periods.
My favorite feature of the Cressi is the front zip, a nice change from the traditional back-zip wetsuits. Unlike the back zips that are a hassle to operate, surfers can easily and quickly put the suit on and take it off between dives, and the zipper doesn’t interfere with any of my gear.
Flexibility is also amazing on this front zip wetsuit, though I wouldn’t recommend it for the serious swimmer. It tends to get hot and heavy; it fills up with water and doesn’t allow you to move.
However, it’s a perfect wetsuit for scuba diving, snorkeling, diving, and surfing.
An ideal option for sized women, Cressi sports an anatomical cut that hugs the curve of any big sized women’s body, making a comfortable fit.
Overall, the Cressi is an amazing option, and by following the right size, this wetsuit should fit comfortably like a second skin.
And after use, it doesn’t stretch out as other shorty wetsuits do. Instead, it remains snug, offering the same fit as it did when new.
#2 O'Neill Women's Reactor-2 3/2mm - Best Plus Size Wetsuit for Scuba Diving
A list of the best plus-size wetsuits can never be complete without an O’Neil wetsuit.
See, O’Neil is the oldest wetsuit brand out there, and as an established brand, it’s currently the epicenter for wetsuit innovation and development.
The brand has been making wetsuits designs and styles every year to cater to all sports needs while making its classic designs even better.
And today, we’ll be looking at one of its popular models, the O’Neil Women’s Reactor-2 3/2mm suit.
It’s part of the Reactor series, which has been around for some time. The series sits at the low end of O’Neil’s range; it’s more of a back-budget or baseline entry-level series. And this is really down to the quality of construction, comfort, and the fact that you don’t get as many technical features as the premium Hyperfreak.
But having said that, you still do get great quality and performance on this reactor model.
The first impression with the Reactor is that it comes with exactly what most water sports enthusiasts want for their wetsuit.
It’s black, and the material felt thicker than your typical 3mm body wetsuit. It’s also protective enough, and you can clearly see it can support a broad range of water sports.
Much to my delight, this wetsuit fits like a glove. You don’t have to struggle the Reactor on, and the speed at which I can get it on my body is impressive.
While it has a bit of a tight-fitting experience, most users can tell it’s good. The water definitely loosens it a bit, but the skintight fit means it doesn’t really get baggy, and it’s more likely to keep you warm.
Reactor 2/3mm wetsuit works well for scuba diving. The reason is the suit helps divers with their buoyancy better than the rental and generic neoprene wetsuits that instantly balloon up with water on surfers when they dive.
While remaining as the ideal scuba diving option, Reactor doesn’t fail in other water sports. It’s a fine option for swimming, thanks to the super stretch neoprene fabric on the shoulders. It allows full, unrestricted upper body movements.
And that’s not all!
As with all O’Neil bodysuits, the Reactor utilizes “FluidFlex”;handy technology consisting of ergonomically designed seamless Fluid Flex paddle zones. FluidFlex promotes greater freedom of movement. They’ll let you move your hands with ease, without causing chaffing or rubbing in between.
Durability is one less thing to worry about with the Reactor. The custom Neoprene is sturdy as it gets and will take a beating without exposing your body to harmful UV rays or abrasions.
Though the suit won’t protect you in the cold waters, you don’t need a 5m for two hours in the swimming pool. The reactor’s 3mm is perfect for most conditions, but it’s ideally suited for warm waters. It works well, keeps you warm, and maintains everything as it should be.
Ergonomics is also a key selling point for the Reactor.
For example, this option features Kyrpto knee pads. These are ergonomically shaped stretch and abrasion-resistant panels that protect your knees and the full wetsuit from damage while promoting comfort and freedom of movement.
#3 Henderson Women's 3mm Thermoprene Wetsuit - Lightest Body Suit
If you’re on the hunt for a new wetsuit and need an option that is lightweight and easy to get in and out of, you can’t go wrong with the Henderson Thermoprene Wetsuit.
It’s one of the hidden gems in the wetsuit market, and while it’s not widely rated as our other tall wetsuits, it has fantastic feedback from a specific group of users; the plump size women.
This women’s plus size wetsuit is everything the sized women would envisage in their wetsuit; it’s super comfortable, well-fitting, and with great performance.
But how good is this wetsuit?
One of Henderson’s greatest strengths is its construction. Sporting a lightweight and strong Neoprene, this women’s plus-size wetsuit certainly won’t add any extra weight to your body or gear as it only weighs 3 lbs.
While retaining a lightweight design, Henderson is ultra-comfortable. According to the manufacturer, the material is 75% more stretcher than a normal wetsuit.
Want to know the benefit?
It not only makes the suit comfortable to don but also makes it possible to wear other garments either over or under your wetsuit without feeling uncomfortably squeezed.
Durability on the Henderson Thermoprene is also on point, thanks to the 8-needle stitching and gluing of the joints. No need to fear your breathable seams fraying as the glue holds them together. Plus, you get maximum protection against abrasions and scrapes.
As for the ease of use, specifically coming in and out, the Henderson Thermoprene utilizes a high-quality front zipper. It’s a nice change from the backside zipper, and I love it as it makes it far much easier to operate, and you won’t struggle to put on the suit in between the dives.
The zipper is durable and comes with a safety flap to keep the zipper from rubbing against your body.
Even better, the wetsuit has a good amount of Lycra trim and an essential feature that makes the wetsuit move with your body. As a result, it gives you a greater full range of flexible movement than other women’s wetsuits.
The zip wetsuit also offers a contoured fit, and this is useful in eliminating flushing. In addition, the water exchange is kept to a minimum, effectively increasing Henderson’s ability to regulate body temperatures.
While still on the topic of temperature regulation, Henderson has a bag of tricks that minimizes flushing while keeping your body warm.
One, it comes with a spine pad, filling any extra space around your spine, preventing colder water from running down your spine. Two, it has a collar that adjusts to fit your neck appropriately.
When it comes to the ideal usage, Henderson Thermoprene is a warm water suit. With a material thickness of 3mm, it’s better suited for waters of warmer climates in the 70-85 degrees F range.
Keep in mind that Henderson tends to make you quite buoyant, so if you like a free dive to take close-up photos of things while you snorkel, you may need a weight belt.
When it comes to finding the perfect size, you’ll be glad to know this option comes in every size imaginable. Of course, not all sizes, but they’ve an excellent selection of sizes so that you won’t have any problem finding a unit that fits you well.
And yes, regardless of your body shape or size, you’ll probably find a Henderson Thermoprene wetsuit for you.
#4 Seavenger Navigator - Best Wetsuit for Snorkeling
If you need a stylish body wetsuit that will give you everything you’re looking for, look no further than the Seavenger Wetsuits.
I know Seavenger might not be the most popular brand on the wetsuit market, but its products are increasingly becoming popular.
The Navigator is by far one of their most prized products.
This wetsuit not only looks great on you, but one of its greatest features is its unisex option. So it’s the perfect option for you and your better half when wanting to snorkel in the warm, tropical water.
See, most unisex wetsuits get the fitting idea wrong, often offering a poor fit and letting water flush into the suit.
But not on the Navigator!
The guys at Seavenger have managed to create a suit that fits all body shapes, both male and female, quite well.
While looking great on any sex shape, Navigator is a versatile option and can be used for any type of water sport you wish. While it’s best suited for scuba diving, it’s also a great option for other water sports such as surfing, diving, and recreational swimming.
Navigator’s adaptability for different uses stems from a stretchy neoprene construction. The material will not only mold to your body for a great fit, but the stretchy neoprene material gives you plenty of flexibility and allows you to move freely.
The armpit panels are particularly key for swimmers, allowing them to move their arms freely without any restrictions. Swimmers will also appreciate the performance cuts that contours their bodies for maximum performance and speed.
Snorkelers will also have no reason to worry about skin irritation or chaffing as Navigator utilizes flatlock seams.
When it comes to the ideal use, THE Seavenger Navigator is perfect for use in warmer climates. The 3 mm material thickness keeps you warm in the cold waters and will let you last for long without the need for a break.
Even better, it has a cut that keeps water flushing to a minimum, which again helps with promoting warmth.
When it comes to ease of use, Navigator is bliss. It’s easy to get in and out of.
While it has a back zipper, it’s not a hassle to operate, thanks to the extra-long zipper leash that makes zipping this wetsuit a breeze.
Finally, Navigator is the perfect pick for guys for all shapes and sizes. It comes in a wide range of sizes, so you can always get a Navigator that fits your shape and size.
#5 Synergy Endorphin Wetsuit - Best Wetsuit for Triathlon and Swimming
A traditional triathlon competition consists of swimming, cycling, and running. All these three stages are equally important, and so, you should go above and beyond when searching for the best gear for the competition.
Few gears can give you a boost in performance, such as the Synergy Endorphin Wetsuit.
While it’s one of the pricier options on our list, nothing beats this suit when it comes to a high-quality suit. But, of course, you wouldn’t mind the high investment in the end.
The Synergy Endorphin comes with a long list of body design features that will maximize your talent, giving you a massive advantage over others.
Let’s start with buoyancy.
Buoyancy can be a bit challenging on wetsuits, but essentially, the higher the buoyancy of a suit, the more floatation it offers.
Obviously, a higher buoyancy makes you a lot better, allowing you to propel across the water easily.
Fortunately, Synergy doesn’t fall in this category.
It’s a highly buoyant wetsuit and will assist in keeping you afloat while aiding you in your swimming.
Naturally, there’re rules governing buoyancy in competitive swimming, and I’m glad to report that USAT and Ironman approve the Synergy Wetsuit. So, yes, you should never worry about getting kicked out of the competition for not having the right gear.
If you’re worried that you’ll get a cold in your swim run, then you’ll be glad to know this wetsuit has a 5mm thickness.
It’s by far the thickest plus-size wetsuit on our list. Besides providing plus-size triathletes with maximum buoyancy, it shields them against the biting cold.
At 5mm, it’ll allow you to dip in the cold waters without fear of getting a cold or even experiencing an uncomfortable experience.
But at such a thickness, it’s easy to think the wetsuit is bulky and heavy.
We also thought so, but to our surprise, it packs light and will fit into our tote bag and still leave extra space for other accessories.
More importantly, it doesn’t feel bulky when wearing, and it’s almost double the lightness you can get from any 3mm wetsuit in the market.
Simply put, this women’s plus-size wetsuit offers maximum protection while remaining as light as the thinner neoprene wetsuits.
Synergy is also a full-body design option and will provide maximum sun protection against the harmful UV ray and other elements,
It’s durable, too, with the corrosion-resistant zippers standing up to abuse from the elements.
The other excellent thing about Synergy is its flexibility, an element that matters a lot in competitive sports such as swimming.
According to the manufacturer, Synergy has massive flexibility of 680%, giving you the maximum potential for full range movement and functionality. It’ll let you move your hands and make strokes effortlessly.
The other advantage of purchasing this perfect wetsuit is the 30-day money-back guarantee. But the good news is it’s unlikely you’ll need this because it’s an excellent purchase.
The only downside I can think of this purchase is the price.
Best Plus Size Wetsuits Buying Guide
In the section below, we’ll look at everything you need to know about selecting the best wetsuits.
But do you really need a wetsuit in the first place? Or is it just another extra item in your burgeoning suitcase on a beach vacation?
Wearing a wetsuit in many conditions is essential, and here are some of the reasons you should wear one before plunging into the water.
4 Reasons to Wear a Plus Size Wetsuit
Body Wetsuits Provide Floatation Assistance
While a body wetsuit can never replace the need for swimming lessons or wearing a life jacket, its thickness offers additional buoyancy in the water.
The thicker the wetsuit is, the more buoyancy it offers.
Wetsuits Prevent Heat Loss
Depending on the water temperatures, a dip in the water can be deadly because of hypothermia.
But a wetsuit can help with heat insulation against the surrounding water temperature.
Just because the water is warm doesn’t mean a wetsuit isn’t useful.
The material wetsuits are made from helps to protect skin from the harmful UV rays.
Along with protection against harmful weather elements, a wetsuit will also safeguard your skin against stings and abrasions.
The wetsuit protects you from the painful jellyfish stings and protection against abrasions against rocks and reefs.
Of course, it won’t offer 100% protection, but it goes a long way in promoting safety for you.
Essential Factors to Consider When Purchasing Plus Size Wetsuit
Now that we know the benefits of having a wetsuit let’s look at the critical elements to consider in your next purchase.
But before then, it would be a good idea to look at the different types of wetsuits.
Different Types of Plus Size Wetsuit
The four common types of plus size wetsuits are:
1) Full-body design wetsuit
As its name suggests, the full wetsuit is a complete long-sleeve wetsuit covering the entire body, arms, and legs.
It’s an ideal option for the cold temperatures but also fit for the warmer temperatures.
They’re best suited in swimming waters where there may be jellyfish or creatures that can sting.
2) Shorty/ Spring suit
A shorty wetsuit is cut above the knees and has short sleeves.
This plus-size wetsuit is optimal for warmer temperatures and in-between seasons where body warmth is the most crucial issue.
3) Long John
These are sleeveless options, extending entirely over the legs.
They’re best suited in the warmer weather conditions where extra mobility is needed in the upper body for swimming.
The separate wetsuits consist of two pieces divided at the waist.
Here, you can mix and match between long and short sleeves, depending on water sports and water temperature.
After style, the next critical element to consider when selecting the best plus-size wetsuit is the thickness.
Generally, if you live in a cold climate with cold temperatures, you’ll definitely need a thick enough wetsuit to keep you insulated.
On the other hand, surfing in warmer climates requires a thinner and lightweight wetsuit.
Wetsuit Size and Fit
The point of wearing a wetsuit is proper temperature regulation and control, and this is typically achieved through a snug fit of the wetsuit.
You must have a body-fitting wetsuit.
This is because if you get a poorly-fitted wetsuit and one that is too small, you’ll restrict your movement, and you’ll not be as comfortable as you should be.
In this case, you won’t even manage to wear any undergarments.
This is not to mention; the suit will start rubbing and chafing against your skin.
Plus, wearing a wetsuit that is too tight exerts too much pressure on the internal seams causing them to leak and break down faster.
On the other hand, if your plus-size wetsuit is too big, it will compromise the water leakage system. Instead of letting a little bit of water inside and not losing out to warm you, it continuously flushes out warm water and lets in cold temperatures. It’s as if you’re not wearing any suit.
So, it’s always a good idea to choose a wetsuit that fits you perfectly.
A good way to a perfectly sized wetsuit is by trying it on. If you lift your arms above and over your head and feel some restrictions, then the suit may be too small.
Tip * Keep in mind that a wetsuit loosens after several uses.
Also, when wearing your wetsuit for the first time, it may feel a little tight and may need some time adjusting. But once you start moving, you’ll get the hang of it.
Women’s plus-size wetsuits are made from different materials, but one of the most common durable materials for plus-size wetsuits is neoprene.
It’s a popular material because it stretches easily and can retain its shape afterward.
While some users find it quite tight at first, it easily conforms to their body shape with time.
But neoprene isn’t the only material; there’re plenty of others, but always consider a material with great stretch. It should also be of high quality, so it doesn’t sag or lose its flexibility over time.
As with any activewear gear, style is important.
Generally, a wetsuit that reflects your tastes and style can make you feel good and confident when you’re on the water.
Find a wetsuit with a pleasing body design to ensure you’re happy and comfortable when surfing and swimming.
Determine your Body Size
The two important references in the sizing of a wet-size suit are height and weight.
Then you’ve the chest dimension, which should be fitted correctly so that the wetsuit doesn’t press or fit loosely.
Chest size, in particular, is critical because if you get it wrong, you’ll probably have a hard time getting into the wetsuit. It could also significantly constrict your arms, and this might not be good for paddleboarding or performing other water sports.
So, when choosing a plus-size wetsuit, you need to be aware of your size. Using a sizing chart, measure your height, hip, chest, and waist to ensure it matches the wetsuit of your choice.
Identify the Water Conditions and Temperatures
Generally, wetsuits work to keep you warm and protected against different water conditions.
Now, if you know the water conditions, you can determine the important elements to consider in a wetsuit, namely the type and thickness of your suit.
Generally speaking, thinner wetsuits, those ranging from 0.5mm to 2 mm, are best suited for the warmer water conditions of 65 degrees and up.
On the other hand, the thicker wetsuits, those ranging from 3 mm to 5 mm and above, are optimal for cold-water temperatures.
Wetsuit Design and Accessories
A wetsuit should be easy to wear and take off.
It should also provide you with the comfort and protection you need when surfing.
However, you need to pair it with accessories for the best performance to help you customize it according to your sports gear and water conditions.
Some of the essential accessories include zippers, gloves, a water-resistant closure, and boots.
Balance Between Warmth and Flexibility
The choice of wetsuit material determines your freedom of movement.
Sometimes, the thinnest material can impede your movement and flexibility. But thicker material is definitely more taxing.
So, when choosing a wetsuit, it’s good to consider an option with the right balance between warmth and flexibility.
Choose an option thick enough to provide you with the warmth you need, yet, it shouldn’t work against you when paddling or making movement.
Fit and Flush
Finding a right-fitting wetsuit is important as it results in less flushing and space for cold water to get in your suit.
As we mentioned earlier, the best material for plus-size wetsuits is neoprene, as it’s stretchable enough to fit and hug your body.
You can also use a size chart to identify the best size for your wetsuit.
Stitches are important in a wetsuit.
Usually, ultra-stretchy neoprene is stitched using a needle and thread.
The needles create holes where the water comes in and out of the neoprene.
Generally, the smaller the needle holes or stitches, the warmer the wetsuit.
Neoprene panels play a critical role alongside the stitching.
However, it’s a practice that most manufacturers tend to lessen the number of neoprene panels stitched into their final products.
And while there’re numerous stitching techniques, the breathable seams are less flexible and more likely to suffer damage. So, fewer seams allow for a warmer and more flexible suit.
The sole function of a zipper is to let you get in and out of the suit.
Generally, zippers are found either on the back or front (chest zip).
A zipper also provides a point of entry for the water, so while longer zippers will make it easier to put your suit on, they also make it easier for water to get in.
However, some high-quality body wetsuits feature a small flap of neoprene (zipper closure) under the zipper, slowing the water intake.
Some wetsuits also have a zipper on the wrists and ankle. This is a great setup allowing for a snug fit while making it easy to put the wetsuit on and take it off.
Regarding quality, we would recommend a plus-sized wetsuit with YKK zippers as they’re heavy-duty and super durable.
Most high-performance wetsuits are constructed from neoprene; some feature additional lining to enhance durability and functionality.
Here are the popular linings:
Double-lined neoprene: Here, neoprene is lined on both sides with nylon for enhanced durability. The downside is that it’s less stretchy.
Single lined neoprene: Neoprene is lined on one side. This setup is more flexible but not the most durable option.
Titanium lined: Here, a layer of titanium is placed between neoprene and nylon. It helps in UV protection as it reflects the body heat into the body, making the wetsuit warmer.
The list is endless, and there’s even three-layer diving material that offers the best protection against cold.
Best Plus Size Wetsuits Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What Should I Wear Underneath a Wetsuit?
A: A regular swimsuit is fine. But steer away from those with knots or metal beads as they may press against your skin.
You can also consider wearing tight-fitting cycling shorts as they offer more coverage than bikini bottoms and prevent your thighs from rubbing against each other.
Q: Will I look fat in a wetsuit
A: Wetsuit isn’t about shape.
They’re meant to help you stay warm, protected, and streamlined in the water.
The best plus-size wetsuit will fit snugly and keep you protected at all times.
In my opinion, how you look matters less when you’re comfortable in the water and having fun.
Q: Should I size up in a wetsuit?
As with any piece of activewear gear, your choice of wetsuit should keep you as comfortable as possible.
You don’t want a loose option as it will result in cold water flushing inside and eliminating the body warmth.
On the other hand, you don’t want a too tight option either, as it will constrict your movements, making you feel a little uncomfortable.
Generally, you want a snug option to keep you warm in the cold conditions, but not too tight that it restricts your movements.
Q: Can a woman wear a man’s wetsuit?
A: There’s no harm in a woman wearing a man’s wetsuit.
Remember, the materials are similar and stretchable, so you can fit into any suit with ease.
However, women’s wetsuits are specifically designed to accommodate females and accentuate and contour a woman’s curve better than a man’s wetsuit.
Wrap Up: Our Choice
Our winner for the best plus size wetsuit is Cressi Wetsuit.
We choose this model because it comes with an array of features supporting incredible performance in the water. A lot has also gone into making Cressi wetsuits.
From the choice of material, level of construction to the ease of use, this Cressi wetsuit ticks on all boxes for the best plus-size body wetsuits.
It also has a handy front zip, a nice change from the traditional back-zip wetsuits. As a result, it’s not only easy to operate but allows easy getting on and out of the wetsuit.
Even better, it’s a budget-friendly option that doesn’t cost an arm and leg.