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What Is a Spring Suit/Shorty Wetsuit? Why Would You Need One?

   May 23rd, 2019   Posted In: Articles  

What Is a Spring Suit & How Can It Make Your Water Activities More Comfortable?

If you’re new to watersports, you may have heard people talking about spring suits and shorty wetsuits. As you tried to nod knowingly so people wouldn’t know you were a newbie to water activities or wetsuits, you probably realized you had some learning to do.

What is a spring suit anyway? And what good will it do you? Don’t worry – we’ll bring you up to speed so the next time someone mentions a shorty wetsuit you can wow them with your knowledge.

what is a springsuit

Top: Long Sleeve Springsuit & Bottom: Shorty Springsuit

What Is a Spring Suit?

Although this may be a new term to you, it’s quite simple. Spring suits are wetsuits that don’t provide full coverage.

That may lead you to your next question – what is a shorty wetsuit? A shorty wetsuit is another name sometimes used for spring suits. It has short legs and sleeves, and it’s great for watersports where you may need your knees and elbows as mobile as possible, so you’re ready for action.

There are different types of wetsuits though, and it will be helpful to know which ones you should use in what conditions. Let’s break down the basic types of wetsuits you might see:

  • Long Sleeve Spring Suit: As the name indicates, this one has long sleeves instead of short.
  • Short Johns: Short in the legs like a shorty spring suit, this one is different because it doesn’t have sleeves. The top portion looks like a tank top.
  • Long John Wetsuits: This has long leg sleeves, but you don’t have coverage on your arms. The top portion also resembles a tank top.
  • Shorty Spring Suits: This kind of wetsuit features short legs and sleeves.
  • Triathlon Wetsuit: This type is similar to a shorty wetsuit, in that the legs are short. The big difference is that these types of wetsuits provide a little more flexibility in the shoulders, which is a good benefit when swimming in a triathlon.
  • A Fullsuit: With long sleeves and long arms, this wetsuit gives you maximum protection in cold water. This is meant for much colder water temperatures than you’d wear a shorty wetsuit in, such as when you are diving in deeper waters.

The Usefulness of a Spring Suit

Now that we’ve answered your questions about what is a spring suit wetsuit and the various types of wetsuits you may want to consider, let’s look at when you might need them and how to choose the one that will best work for you.

Spring suits are a great option for when you don’t need a fullsuit. If the water is on the warm side, you might not want to wrestle your way into a fullsuit, when a shorty wetsuit is easier and quicker to put on. Plus, you might find you get too warm in a fullsuit or that your range of motion is too limited when you are using them for watersports where you need more mobility.

Spring suits are great when used in warmer waters, such as 68 degrees or higher when you are participating in surface sports and water that is 72 degrees and higher when you are SCUBA diving.

You can use spring suits in all types of water sports, including kayaking, paddling, diving, surfing, triathlons, swimming, windsurfing, skiing, water aerobics, and more.

what is a springsuit

A short john like this is used for water activities like triathlons and recreational swimming!

Which Spring Suit Should I Choose?

With so many options, you can feel like you’re at a buffet and you only get one plate to fill. Everything looks good to you, but you’re not sure what to pick. And because springsuits are a fairly big investment, you want to feel confident in your new purchase and love how it looks and feels.

Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re selecting your springsuit:

  • How thick it is: You’ll want to pay attention to how thick your wetsuit is because the thicker it is in millimeters, the warmer you’ll stay in cold weather. If you’re going to be in cold water, you’ll need a thicker wetsuit. The tradeoff is that the thicker it is, the more restrictive it is. Think about the temperature of the water you’re likely to be in and then you can assess the thickness and whether you need a shorty wetsuit or a fullsuit.
  • The style you want: We’re not saying you have to look like Beyonce out there, but how you feel about your suit matters. If you aren’t comfortable showing off your upper arms and a short sleeve instead of a tank top style won’t hurt your performance in whatever watersport you are participating in, you should opt for that style. If you aren’t comfortable with a swimsuit-like bottom, then pick a shorty, which has slightly longer leg sleeves.
  • How much sun protection you need: If you are wary about your skin cancer risk because you spend so much time in the sun, you might have more peace of mind with short or long sleeves than you will with a tank top style of springsuit. That would provide sun protection on your shoulders and upper arms.
  • How it zips: Your zipper can be on the chest or on the back. You might have a preference over which one you choose.

Get Out and Play

Now that you know what a springsuit is, you can find one that works for you. With so many styles to choose from, you’re sure to find one you love. Just make sure you find one that is right for the elements you’ll face.

You’ll feel comfortable doing the activities you love, and, as a bonus, you may feel a bit like a superhero every time you zip that wetsuit up.

Shannon Serpette is an award-winning writer from Illinois, contributing to newspapers, magazines, and websites. As a mom of two, she doesn’t have much spare time, but when she does, she spends it on her favorite hobbies – metal detecting, kayaking, and running. She can be reached at writerslifeforme@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter, @shannonserpette.

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  • Julian Barlow says:

    Hi I have bought a shorty wetsuit but I am a stocky but short guy (5ft 4) the upper torso element fits perfectly but the
    lower legs portion is loose so does not fit tightly. I am looking at limited use in British waters surfing Oct/Nov where water is not at its coldest.

    Julian Barlow

    • Elizabeth Werdnik says:

      Hi Julian! The goal is to reduce cold water flushing into your wetsuit so that it can actually keep you warm! Having loose-fitting wetsuit legs does not help much with that… What size did you order for this shorty wetsuit? If you can provide me with your chest and weight measurements I can help see if we can find you an alternative option, or I recommend reaching out directly to our expert customer service team either via email (service@wetsuitwearhouse.com) or call +1 866-906-7848 so they can help you find something more suitable. Cheers!

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