Swimming is fun. Swimming in summer is double-fun: hot days, blue skies, refreshing (or maybe bracing) water, and the feelings of exertion and weightlessness, all in one glorious package.
But after summer comes fall. And fall means cooler days and colder water. But, intrepid swimmers have options, and technology has provided us with a good one: the wetsuit.
My friend Norah swims at Walden Pond as often as she can in the summer, and it’s one of her favorite things. This year, we’ve been speculating about what life will be like come fall, when our access to outdoor activity starts to drop off. I suggested she think about buying a wetsuit to extend her swimming well into October, maybe longer. There’s a lot of variation in temperature, but who knows.
Seems like an obvious thing to do. I offered to do some online research and also ask around to get advice. Turns out, buying a wetsuit is complicated in a bunch of ways:
- wetsuits vary by sport (swimming, diving, surfing, kayaking)
- wetsuits vary by thickness
- wetsuits vary a lot by price (fair enough, so do bikes…)
- wetsuits come in different styles– shortie, full length, sleeveless, etc.
- and then there’s the sizing
- Who is in charge of this? I want to speak to them
Here is a sample size chart for women’s wetsuits:
Just in case you think, oh, that’s just some wacky off-brand wetsuit site, here, Orca’s wetsuit size chart for women (Orca is a major brand of wetsuits):
I’m actually not looking for a wetsuit for myself (at the moment). But I am looking to help Norah (who would fit in an Orca wetsuit) navigate the treacherous waters of wetsuit shopping. So:
Readers, do you have tips on how to buy a swimming wetsuit? In particular:
- Do you tend to order multiple sizes online and then return them?
- Do you go to a local store to try some one, and order from there or online?
- How did you get help in getting the right fit for swimming?
I’m posting on some triathlon groups and getting some info. Any tips you have would be most welcome. Thanks!