Going surfing in the tropics? You might think that you won’t need to wear a wetsuit there, but you’d be surprised how it will immensely help you stay longer in warm waters.
According to Banner Health, our body’s metabolic rates are different, which is why some of us are more sensitive to cold than others. If you’re one of those people who have lower metabolisms, we recommend wearing at least a 2mm thick wetsuit to help regulate your body temperature.
Curious to learn more reasons why you should wear 2mm wetsuits? In this list, we’ll talk about how wearing one will benefit you. We’ll also include our top picks for the best 2mm wetsuits and springsuits in both men’s and women’s categories!
Table of Contents
What is a 2mm wetsuit?
The thickness of the neoprene in wetsuits plays a big role. The thicker this fabric is, the more insulation it’ll provide. This is why divers, marine researchers, and surfers who swim during winter require thick wetsuits that are at least 4/3mm to 5/4mm in thickness. With this range, they’re able to keep their body warm in extremely cold temperatures.
However, in seasons other than winter, wearing a wetsuit this thick is not just suffocating but also restricting. Hence why paddleboarders, skimboarders, and surfers who are in warm and tropical waters opt to wear springsuits or 2mm wetsuits.
Wetsuits that are 2mm in thickness are also more comfortable. They are made of a thinner and lightweight neoprene fabric that almost acts like a second skin. Aside from that, versatility is also one of its advantages. 2mm wetsuits can be worn as a base layer or paired with other surf clothing.
Here’s why you should wear 2mm wetsuits…
Wearing 2mm wetsuits is better than wearing none at all. They are not for the chilliest waters for sure, but they provide you with just the right amount of insulation during dawn patrols or when the trade winds are in.
2mm wetsuits help in keeping your body warm. Because you don’t exert much energy in regulating your body temperature when you’re wearing them, your body is able to preserve more energy so you can swim or surf for longer hours.
Now, when it comes to performance. Wetsuits with this thickness also contribute to how well you’re going to perform in the water.
Most wetsuits in the market today are made of a fabric called neoprene, a material that’s known to be buoyant and water-repellent at the same time. That said, wearing wetsuits, even the 2mm thick ones, will help you glide and swim faster in the water. If you’re not a good swimmer, they can also help you float in the water, although not as much as the thicker ones.
Compared to full wetsuits, 2mm wetsuits are often short-legged or short-armed. The one you’ll choose must depend on which part of your body you want to focus on having a wider range of movements.
Lastly, wearing a 2mm wetsuit will provide you with that much-needed confidence boost, especially if you’re in unfamiliar surfing spots. It gives the impression that you know your sport, and in some way will earn the respect of locals and other surfers.
Wetsuit Temperature Guide
How will you know which wetsuit is suitable for you? Before we discuss this further, you should know how to determine its thickness.
The wetsuit’s thickness refers to its neoprene, and it is usually measured in millimeters. It’s also determined by two or three numbers that are separated by a slash. As an example, let’s take a look at 3/2mm wetsuits.
The first or larger number, which in this case is 3 indicates the thickness of the neoprene in the core part or middle area of the wetsuit. While the second or smaller number, 2, indicates the thickness of the fabric in the arms and legs part of the wetsuit.
For wetsuits that include three numbers, however, the sequence goes as the first number being the torso area, arms for the second, and then legs for the third.
Take a look at the chart below to determine the ideal wetsuit thickness according to different water temperatures.
|Water Temperature in °F||Water Temperature in °C||Thickness of the Wetsuit||Wetsuit Type|
|More than 72°||More than 22°||N/A||Rashguard|
|65° to 75°||18° to 24°||0.55 to 2/1 mm||Shorty|
|62° to 68°||16° to 20°||2 mm to 3/2 mm||Springsuit / Fullsuit|
|58° to 63°||14° to 17°||3/2 mm to 4/3 mm||Fullsuit + Boots|
|52° to 58°||11° to 14°||4/3 mm to 5/4/3 mm||Fullsuit + Boots + Gloves + Hood|
While this water temperature guide works on most people, you should also consider your metabolic rate and cold sensitivity. If you’re more comfortable wearing thicker wetsuits in warm waters, then that’s entirely up to your preference. A reminder though, the thicker the neoprene is, the more it becomes restrictive.
Top 6 Best 2mm Wetsuits
With thousands of wetsuits available online, it can be difficult to choose which one’s really worth your investment. High-quality wetsuits can cost around $200, that’s why you must always go for trusted brands that were tested and proven by a lot of users worldwide.
For this list, we’ve picked wetsuits from companies such as O’Neill, Billabong, Roxy, 7Seas, Xuker, and Xcel. Here they are at a glance:
- O’Neill Men’s O’Riginal 2mm Spring Wetsuit
- Billabong’s 2/2mm Absolute Back Zip Short Sleeve Spring Wetsuit
- 7 Seas 2/2mm Long Sleeve Chest Zip Spring Suit
- XCEL Axis 2mm Short Sleeve Back-Zip Wetsuit
- Roxy’s 2/2mm Syncro Long Sleeve Wetsuit
- Xuker Women’s 2mm Neoprene Wetsuit
#1: O’Neill Men’s O’Riginal 2mm Spring Wetsuit
- Price: $59.99 – $163.99
- Sizes: S to 3XL
- Material: Neoprene, Nylon
- Features: Lightweight Fluidflex technology, Back zip closure
When it comes to making 2mm wetsuits, nothing beats the original. More than six decades ago, Jack O’Neill founded the O’Neill brand which will, later on, create the first modern recreational wetsuits. For their first lineup, they manufactured the O’Riginal series, which is known as one of the most trusted and reliable wetsuits today.
The O’Neill brand already has an indisputable reputation for making high-quality surf clothing, and their 2mm wetsuits are no different. For this article, however, we’ll focus on the O’Riginal Spring Wetsuit.
This 2mm shorty wetsuit is perfect for the California summer sessions or going diving in tropical destinations. Even in cold water temperatures of up to 65°F, it’s able to keep you warm and toasty all over, thanks to its construction material that’s made of 100% nylon bonded with neoprene fabric.
This all-black wetsuit features a retro and classic style. It has a sleeveless design that includes large armholes and a single-sealed neckline to prevent water from coming inside the wetsuit. To prevent skin chafing in the neck and armpit area, O’Neill also opted for adhesives and seamless blindstitching for its linings.
Meanwhile, its chest and back area are made with smooth neoprene that helps absorb the sun’s heat and preserve your body’s warmth. The neoprene also repels more water so you glide and swim faster. With its Fluidflex technology, this shorty remains compact and lightweight.
The O’Riginal wetsuit has a snug fit that’s not too tight or constricting. It’s also integrated with a lumbar design for added support and comfort. Finally, this wetsuit has a back zip that also includes a pull tab. This makes this short wetsuit easy to put on as well as take off.
|Can be a base layer for a jacket or long sleeve||Not for people with short torsos|
|Versatile, can be worn for other sports||Doesn’t include UV protection|
|Comfortable to wear, gives a good fit|
|Excellent value for money|
#2: Billabong’s 2/2mm Absolute Back Zip Short Sleeve Spring Wetsuit
- Price: $95.95
- Sizes: S to L
- Material: Neoprene, Nylon
- Features: Recycled Superflex neoprene, Back zip entry
Because of a special technique known as ‘triple-stitching’, the creator of Billabong made a mark in the world of water sports 40 years ago. They were first known for their board shorts, but today, all their other products, including wetsuits and accessories, are well-loved by their customers around the globe.
Ergo, the next one on this list is Billabong’s 2/2mm Absolute wetsuit from the series that’s built for high-performance and play. Another good thing is that this wetsuit was also created with eco-friendly initiatives in mind. Now you can swim and surf without guilt!
The Absolute 2mm wetsuit’s exterior is made from recycled Superflex neoprene, a kind of foam that’s made from recycled tires and neoprene scraps. Compared to regular neoprene, it’s warmer, more lightweight, and stretchier. Surprisingly, it’s also softer and more comfortable to the skin.
Meanwhile, its interior lining is made from silicon stretch, a highly elastic and flexible material. These two fabrics, combined with construction techniques to create a durable wetsuit are definitely worth your time and investment.
This wetsuit also features short sleeves for a wider range of movement in the upper body area, specifically the arms. This enables you to paddle with little resistance and restrictions. Its flatlock seams, on the other hand, prevent cold-water flushing and skin irritation.
When it comes to style, Billabong’s Absolute tends to shy away from the boring all-black wetsuits that can be often seen in the market. The sleek color combination of grey and black is refreshing, and the Billabong logo at the back of the wetsuit acts as the cherry on top.
|Made from recycled materials; eco-friendly alternative||Only available in a few sizes|
|Stylish color and design|
|Comfortable to wear|
#3: 7 Seas 2/2mm Long Sleeve Chest Zip Spring Suit
- Price: $179.95
- Sizes: S to XL
- Material: Japanese Yamamoto
- Features: Dope dyed yarns, AquaA adhesive/lamination
Surfers are now becoming aware of their impact on the environment, hence why more wetsuit manufacturers are transitioning to creating eco-friendly wetsuits.
Vissla’s 7 Seas lineup is among those companies that aim to lessen their carbon footprint. Instead of using petroleum-based neoprene that’s known to cause cancer, they opt for limestone-based neoprene known as the Japanese Yamamoto.
This wetsuit uses 100% Superstretch Yamamoto that’s proven to be lighter, more comfortable, and warmer than regular neoprene. And since it’s only 2mm in thickness, this wetsuit is also stretchier and more flexible; therefore, there are fewer constrictions and restraints in movements.
It’s also created using Dope Dyed Yarns and water-based adhesives to avoid using solvent-based chemicals. Its seams are also triple-glued for durability purposes.
What we also like about this wetsuit is the unrestricted and anatomically body fitting that’s not too tight or loose. Meanwhile, its contoured design gives a snug fit that provides the right comfort and support.
Keep in mind that this wetsuit is sort of an ‘in-between’ kind of wetsuit. This practically means that it can only be worn in warm tropical waters. So to keep the body warmer, this wetsuit features a Glideskin neck seal. It also has a chest zip entry and double blindstitched seams to minimize water entry.
Finally, this wetsuit line from 7 Seas comes with a 1-year warranty on the seams and another one for the neoprene fabric.
|Made from eco-friendly and high-quality materials||Expensive|
|Has contoured and tailored fit|
#4: XCEL Axis 2mm Short Sleeve Back-Zip Wetsuit
- Price: $184.94
- Sizes: XS to XXL
- Material: Neoprene, Spandex
- Features: ThermoDry Seam tape, Duraflex knee panels
Xcel was founded by Ed D’Ascoli who took inspiration from Hawaii’s warm waters to create 2mm neoprene wetsuits. Over the years, he continued to combine his expertise and experience to create high-performance wetsuits with thicker neoprene fabric fit for the winter season.
This 2mm, a short-sleeved wetsuit is made from 100% Superstretch, a special blend of spandex and neoprene. This material provides the Axis wetsuit with durability and flexibility for a wider range of movement. It’s also integrated with Duraflex knee panels that stretch as you move. This makes for easier paddling and pop-ups.
While the Xcel’s Axis wetsuit is not meant for colder temperatures, it’s just what you will need to stay in tropical water for long hours. For the Xcel brand, comfort is the top priority, that’s why they made sure that Axis has an engineered tailored fit, wherein its heat-preserving fabric almost feels like a second skin.
Aside from that, the Axis has a lot of features that make sure your body’s temperature is regulated. Its smooth-textured chest and back help preserve body warmth because it repels water, resists wind, and absorbs the sun’s heat. Because its seams are also blindstitched and sealed with ThermoDry Seam tape, water is prevented from coming inside the wetsuit.
Finally, the watertight back zip entry of the Axis wetsuit is unlike any other. It includes an aqua seal waterproof zipper that also keeps the water out in high-pressure depth.
|Comfortable to wear and has good fitting||Expensive|
|Comes in a wide range of sizes|
|Made of stretchy fabric|
#5: Roxy’s 2/2mm Syncro Long Sleeve Wetsuit
- Price: N/A
- Sizes: 2 to 14
- Material: Neoprene
- Features: StretchFlight 2, Q-Lock stitched seams
In 1990, Quiksilver launched its swimwear line for women, Roxy, which instantly became a hit for its high-quality sportswear that includes sport-fashion apparel and accessories. For this list, we’ve included their Syncro long-sleeve springsuit, a stylish 2mm wetsuit that’s both functional and eco-friendly.
Roxy’s Syncro wetsuit uses Stretch Flight 2, a neoprene fabric derived from limestones and scrap rubber tires. Its linings, on the other hand, are made from recycled polyester and nylon. To keep the Syncro solvent-free, they used water-based adhesives and Q-lock stitches to laminate and seal this wetsuit’s seams.
Meanwhile, the back zip entry of this wetsuit prevents the water from coming inside the wetsuit. As an added barrier, the Syncro also utilized the Glideskin neck seal and a technology known as Hydrowrap for its neck closure.
|Constructed with flexible and durable fabric||May be hard to find online|
|Has less carbon footprint|
#6: Xuker Women’s 2mm Neoprene Wetsuit
- Price: $54.99 – $75.99
- Sizes: XS to 3XL
- Material: 90% neoprene, 10% nylon
- Features: Thumbholes, 4-way flatlock stitch, Stirrup straps
Xuker may not be as famous as the other brands on this list, but it sure has a great reputation in the online shopping world. This women’s 2mm wetsuit, for instance, has over a thousand ratings on Amazon alone, and it’s not surprising why.
This wetsuit is made of 90% neoprene and 10% double-lined elastic nylon for its thermal insulation. Its thick fabric is well-made and is very forgiving to any body type because of its lightweight and stretchy characteristics.
The Xuker full wetsuit comes with lots of tiny details that ladies will surely appreciate. For one, it has an anti-abrasion knee pad that protects your knees against scratches.
Its long sleeves also include thumbholes that prevent the sleeves from coming up if you’re wearing it as a base layer under other surf clothing. Meanwhile, the leggings or pants have stirrup straps that help keep them down when you’re wearing diving boots.
This wetsuit’s fit is as amazing as it looks because of its four-way flatlock stitching. The seams make it more flexible, and the seamline accentuates the body curves.
It also includes a lanyard since this wetsuit features a back zip entry. For added mobility and to prevent water flushing, the soft collar is made with stretchable fabric. It’s also made with adjustable velcro to prevent choking.
Although not much, the 2mm-thick neoprene of this wetsuit is also buoyant, which somehow assists in swimming and paddling.
Based on some user reviews, the sizing of this wetsuit runs a bit small. That said, you need to go one size up if you’re on the heavier side.
|Fabric is thick and durable||The leg loops slide off when paddling|
|Comfortable to wear||Zipper unzips when diving|
Wetsuits with 2mm thickness provide your body with enough insulation to help keep it warm in water temperatures ranging from 62°F to 75°F; however, in this case, you should also take into account your metabolic rate and coldness sensitivity.
Since 2mm wetsuits are more often worn by surfers and other enthusiasts, all brands carry their own lines with this wetsuit thickness. Among those that create high-quality 2mm wetsuits are Roxy, Billabong, O’Neill, and Vissla.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How much is the cheapest 2mm wetsuit?
The O’Neill brand is known to create affordable and high-quality wetsuits. Their 2mm wetsuit usually costs less than $100; however, this depends on the sizing.
G’day, my name is Rach Taylor and I’m the proud Founder of Surf Hungry. I am a former Australian Olympic athlete and Australian representative surf sports athlete. I’ve worked in the surf industry and lived at many of Australia’s best surf spots, sparking a life-long love of the ocean and a passion for surf sports which also rubbed off on my two young sons! I am also lucky to spend a lot of ocean-time in my favorite second home, Indonesia. In addition to SurfHungry I have founded several other websites in my areas of passion, namely coffee and rock climbing, and am also a regular rowing content contributor.