Before you start putting on a wetsuit there are a few things we would like you to know. First, be prepared for a workout. Second, it doesn’t hurt to have someone nearby to help you get out of the suit. Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly how snug a wetsuit will be, and after the workout of getting into it, you might be happy to find a nearby friend there to help you get out. That being said, here’s our quick rundown on how to get into the different types of suits.

What Should You Wear Under Your Wetsuit?

That’s up to you. Most people don’t wear anything under their wetsuit, but you can wear a bathing suit if that is more comfortable. There are no specific rules, but we do not suggest board shorts because they can bunch up and become uncomfortable.

Putting On Wetsuit Legs

STEP 1: Get Your Feet Through the Legs and Fully Outside the Wetsuit

Your first step here is to make sure the front is in the front. If it’s a chest zip, the zipper is in the front. If it’s a back zip, the zipper is in the back. Then put one leg in at a time and get your feet through the legs on the suit. Point your toes and put your first leg in. Hold the suit by the top of the leg you are working on to help pull your foot through. If you aren’t able to get your foot through by simply doing that it’s OK, that’s not uncommon. You should at least be able to see that your toes and part of your foot have made it through the wetsuit. At that point, you can roll back the ankle cuff, slide your fingers in between your foot and the suit, and pull the suit out and around your heel. Repeat this with your other foot.

How to pull a wetsuit up to your waist

STEP 2: Pull the Wetsuit up to Your Waist

Now that your feet are through the legs you can start pulling the suit up to your waist. If your wetsuit has smooth skin neoprene you’ll want to be careful not to use your fingernails at this point. You can start by grabbing the suit near the top of each leg (one at a time) and making sure the suit’s knee pads are right at your knees. Feel free to hold the suit a little lower on the leg if you find that helps. Once that’s all set you can grab the wetsuit much like a pair of pants and pull it up to your waist. At this point, the suit should not have any major folds of neoprene below your waist, and the ankles and knee pads should line up with your ankles and knees.

Pull wetsuit up to your chest

STEP 3: Pull the Wetsuit Up to Your Chest

If you go for the arms too soon it’s going to be trickier, so at this point it’s good to grab the suit (avoiding the smooth skin and without using fingernails) and make sure the groin is pulled up all the way and the torso is up to your chest so it will be easy to put your arms in.

Putting on wetsuit arms

STEP 4: Go For the Arms One at a Time

If you have a back zip wetsuit it’s going to be quite a bit easier from here on out than if you have a chest zip suit. Since the chest zip is a little bit trickier, we’ll focus on that. Either way, you can follow these same instructions. The key is to go for one arm at a time. Most people tend to go with their right arm first, but in the end, you should do what you feel comfortable with. It can help to first take the hand that isn’t going in the arm and hook your thumb in the suit to open up the arm hole. Once your arm starts to slide in, you can continue using your other arm help get the suit up and over your shoulder. Just like getting your feet through, you can pull your hand through and make sure that your wrist lines up with the cuff of the wetsuit. For the second arm, you can repeat the same steps. This arm is usually a little bit awkward but isn’t too tricky. For a chest zip entry, it helps to push your arm through the arm hole and down. After you push your arm most of the way through, you can extend your arm straight out to your side and then straight up, which usually will do the trick. Don’t forget, your other arm is available to assist in pulling your hand through.

How to secure a wetsuit chest zip closure

STEP 5: Secure the Closure

There are many different ways to secure a closure depending on the type, be it zip free, back zip, chest zip, or hooded chest zips. On chest zip suits and hooded suits, you’ll generally have a flap hanging out behind you that you’ll want to grab and pull up and over your hood. After that, zip up the zipper and cinch any cinch cords to your liking, snap any snaps, or Velcro any Velcro and you’re set! For a back zip, reach back for the long pull tab to zip up the suit. Once it’s zipped up you’ll want to secure the Velcro on the back of the neck so that you have a watertight fit.