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Why Are Wetsuits Black? Unravelling the Mystery in Style

Why Are Wetsuits Black Unravelling the Mystery in Style

Why are wetsuits predominantly black?  Well, dear reader, let’s embark on a delightful journey through the realms of science, practicality, and a touch of whimsy to unravel this aquatic mystery

Wetsuits are commonly black in colour and there are various reasons for this choice. One of the primary reasons is that black neoprene, which is the fabric used in most wetsuits, is particularly effective at regulating body temperature.

This helps to keep you warm in cold water and maintain a comfortable body temperature during water-based activities.

Another reason is that black wetsuits offer protection from UV radiation along with other harmful elements found in the environment. In this article, we will further explore the different factors that contribute to the predominantly black colour of wetsuits and how it benefits the wearer. 

So, dive in with us as we uncover the story behind this classic and practical choice of colour!

Alternative Wetsuit Colours

Alternative Wetsuit Colours

While black wetsuits are the most common, other colours have made their way into the market. Here, we explore alternative wetsuit colours and discuss their pros and cons, as well as popular options available.

Pros and Cons

Some advantages of coloured wetsuits include increased visibility, easier to locate in a group, and a unique sense of style. A brightly coloured wetsuit can help you stand out in the water, making it safer for swimmers, surfers, and other water sports enthusiasts around you. 

However, as mentioned earlier, black wetsuits absorb sunlight and provide better thermal protection compared to coloured wetsuits. Black wetsuits also have better UV-protection and may last longer because they are less prone to fading.

Popular Colour Options

Here are some popular alternative wetsuit colours:

  • Blue: Provides a balance between visibility and thermal protection. It blends well with water, making it less visible to marine life, while still offering some contrast to the surrounding environment.
  • Red: A highly visible option, great for water sports where the user needs to be seen by others, such as kayaking or lifeguarding. However, red may not have the same thermal benefits as black or blue wetsuits.
  • Green: Popular among scuba divers, as it can blend well with seaweed and underwater plants, allowing for a more immersive experience. Green wetsuits are ideal for diving in areas with plenty of vegetation.

In conclusion, while black wetsuits remain the most popular choice, there are alternative colours available, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. It is essential to consider your intended use and the environment when selecting a wetsuit colour.

Materials and Thickness

Materials and Thickness

Neoprene

Wetsuits are primarily made of closed-cell neoprene, a synthetic waterproof material that provides insulation and flexibility. The black colour of wetsuits is due to the addition of carbon black, which strengthens the material and increases its resistance to UV radiation and degradation.

Different Thicknesses

Wetsuits come in various thicknesses to accommodate different water temperatures and environments. Thicker wetsuits provide increased insulation for colder water, while thinner wetsuits are better suited for warmer climates. The thickness also contributes to the wetsuit’s durability and UV resistance, making black a practical choice.

Smooth Skin and Double Lined Neoprene

Smooth skin neoprene has a smooth surface, which reduces water absorption and wind chill, making it an excellent choice for colder water conditions. It is commonly found on the chest and back panels of wetsuits. 

In contrast, double-lined neoprene has a layer of fabric laminated to the surface, improving durability and abrasion resistance. This type of neoprene is often used for larger coverage areas, such as the arms and legs.

Selecting the Right Wetsuit

Selecting the Right Wetsuit

Functionality

When choosing a wetsuit, consider the activities you’ll be participating in and the water temperature. Wetsuits come in different thicknesses, providing varying levels of thermal protection. 

For example, thinner wetsuits like 2mm suits are suitable for warmer waters, while thicker wetsuits like 5mm or 7mm suits are ideal for colder environments.

Aside from thickness, the wetsuit’s construction and design can also impact its functionality. There are full suits, spring suits, and shorties, each offering coverage for different water activities and conditions. Reflect on your specific needs before making a decision.

Fit

The right fit is crucial when selecting a wetsuit. A well-fitting wetsuit should be snug without being too tight, allowing for flexibility and mobility. It should not have excessive air pockets, as they can allow cold water to enter and reduce the suit’s insulation properties.

When shopping for a wetsuit, pay close attention to the sizing chart provided by the manufacturer. It’s essential to take accurate body measurements to ensure the right fit. Don’t hesitate to try on different brands and styles, as each may have slight variations in fit based on their design.

Personal Preference

Finally, personal preference plays a role in selecting the right wetsuit. Although black is the most common colour due to its protective properties and affordability, other colours and designs are available to suit your style.

Consider the activity you will be participating in and your personal preferences regarding appearance, comfort, and budget. Choosing the right wetsuit can significantly impact your overall experience in the water, so take the time to weigh all these factors carefully before making a decision.

FAQs

FAQs

Why are wetsuits black?

Wetsuits are primarily black due to the properties of black neoprene, which is the primary fabric used in wetsuit construction. Black neoprene is better at regulating body temperature by absorbing more sunlight and retaining heat.

Are there any other benefits of black wetsuits?

Yes, black wetsuits are also more cost-effective to produce, as the dyeing process is simpler and less expensive than creating wetsuits in other colours. Additionally, black wetsuits provide protection from harmful UV rays and can make surfers more visible to lifeguards in certain conditions.

Can wetsuits be made in other colours?

Although black is the most common colour for wetsuits, they can be found in a variety of other colours, including blue, red, and green. 

However, these coloured wetsuits may not provide the same level of heat retention as black ones. Additionally, multicolour wetsuits can sometimes be found, though they are less common and may be more expensive due to increased production costs.

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Wetsuits are predominantly black for a variety of reasons. Among these reasons is the natural colour of neoprene, which is black, making it more cost-effective for manufacturers to produce. Additionally, black provides excellent UV protection and insulation, which help keep divers warm both in and out of the water.

A black wetsuit also has the advantage of being a slimming colour and coordinating easily with other gear. While many divers and surfers appreciate the functional benefits of black wetsuits, some might prefer more colourful options for reasons such as fashion or visibility in the water.

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.

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