What Do You Wear Under a Wetsuit?

Perhaps one of the most commonly asked questions among beginners is what do you wear under a wetsuit? It can be confusing to decide if you are supposed to wear anything or go wholly naked underneath.

There are different opinions on this matter, but you only need to remember how you have to go with what works for you – whether it means wearing an entire layer of clothing or nothing at all. This article tells you why you need to be layered up inside and what to wear under a wetsuit.

What Do You Wear Under a Wetsuit?

what do you wear under a wetsuitWhat you wear under a wetsuit is a matter of your personal preference. You can wear board shorts or a bikini. You can go nothing at all or with your undies. It is up to you.

However, most experienced water enthusiasts prefer to wear an item of clothing according to the activity they are participating in.

Sport Specific Gear

Generally, wetsuits are designed to keep you warm while in the waters without wearing anything unique underneath. Still, sometimes we feel we can do better to keep ourselves cozy and warm from within. Here are what most people do:

Surfing and General Watersports

A large number of surfers and riders prefer to wear board shorts or swimsuits under the wetsuit. These pieces of clothing are easy, convenient, and flexible. They do not make the wearer feel restricted with the extra layer inside. A rash vest under a wetsuit can add an additional layer of wamth and even protection if the wetsuit seams rub or chafe your skin after a long surfing session. Thermal rash vests are available if the cold water is really an issue in the climate you’re surfing in.

Some mind the bunching of board shorts. In such cases, they wear Speedo-style suits or rash undershorts to keep it unnoticeable.


Open water swimmers usually have a Speedo-style swimsuit under their wetsuit. On the other hand, competitive triathletes wear bike shorts or one-piece tri suits to transition from swimming to biking or vice versa efficiently.

Scuba Diving

The majority of divers wear a swimsuit underneath their wetsuits. A full-body rash guard or a poly fleece baselayer are practical options for staying warm and protected in cold waters. Full body rashguards make it easy to slide into a think scuba suit. Poly fleece thermals act the same while wicking moisture and keeping you warmer.

Why You Should Wear Something Under Your Wetsuit

what do you wear under a wetsuitUndergarments offer more insulation and protection.

While wetsuits provide warmth and protection from cold waters, adding these extra layers of undergarments will keep the body warmer, whether immersed in or above the water.

However, if you struggle with flexibility and feel like your wetsuit limits your movement in the waters, you may consider getting a thinner wetsuit. Be sure to layer up inside for added warmth and insulation.


Some wetsuits can be pretty uncomfortable to wear for extended periods when naked underneath. The inside seams may brush up against your skin and cause chafing. On the contrary, some surfers find underclothing uncomfortable, too.

To ease up, wear at least a Speedo (for men) or a two-piece bikini (for women). These should be enough to provide the comfort you need, especially on those intimate parts. Moreover, it makes you more comfortable when you need to take it off in public places.


Washing your wetsuits guarantees it stays longer and doesn’t stay bad. However, if you wear it naked underneath, the rubber may absorb your body juices and start developing a smell.

In addition, it is even more important to wear undergarments if you are renting a wetsuit. You may not be sure just how often the people at the rentals wash their wetsuits before letting them get rented.

Other Undergarments You Can Wear Underneath Your Wetsuit

Understanding your tolerance to cold waters can help you decide what to wear under your wetsuit. Aside from the pieces of clothing we already mentioned, here are a few more choices;

  • Surf shorts
  • Sleeveless vest
  • Bike style shorts
  • Men briefs
  • Neoprene shorts
  • Underwear
  • Full body jumpsuit


Generally, what do you wear under a wetsuit is common question, and the answer mostly depends on the activity you are wearing wetsuits for and when you are wearing it. Paddleboarding during mid of February is an excellent reason to wear a full-body jumpsuit within for added warmth and insulation.

Surfing in summer doesn’t really require you to put effort into getting it warm inside, however you might want to consider rash/chafe when deciding what to wear under your wetsuit. A two-piece swimsuit or men’s brief should work just fine.


FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: What do you wear over a wetsuit?

A: In some sports like kayaking, wearing something over a wetsuit can help. This technique is called layering. A quick-dry top under your wetsuit is your base. A long-sleeve base layer or rashguard over the wetsuit adds for more warmth or sun protection. You can also go with something heavier if the air is cool.


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