What Do You Wear Under a Wetsuit? The Ultimate Guide to Staying Comfortable and Protected

Wetsuits are designed to provide insulation and protection, but wearing the right undergarments can enhance your comfort and overall experience.

In this article, we’ll explore various options for what to wear under your wetsuit to ensure maximum comfort and protection.

Choosing the Right Base Layer for Wetsuit Comfort

what to wear under a wetsuit

When it comes to wearing something underneath your wetsuit, a suitable base layer is essential. The base layer acts as a barrier between your skin and the wetsuit, preventing any irritation or chafing.

Here are some options to consider:

  1. Thin Thermal Tops: These tops are made from lightweight materials that provide insulation without adding bulk. They are perfect for colder waters.
  2. Swimwear: If you prefer simplicity, wearing your swimwear underneath your wetsuit can be a convenient choice. Opt for snug-fitting swim trunks or a one-piece swimsuit to avoid any discomfort.
  3. Compression Gear: Compression shorts or leggings can offer additional support to your muscles and improve blood circulation. They are especially beneficial for long hours in the water.

Exploring the Benefits of Neoprene Shorts and Leggings

Neoprene shorts and leggings are popular choices for wearing under wetsuits due to their versatility and added features.

Here are some benefits of using neoprene shorts and leggings:

  • Enhanced Flexibility: Neoprene material provides excellent flexibility, allowing you to move freely in the water.
  • Extra Warmth: Neoprene offers insulation, keeping your lower body warm even in colder conditions.
  • Protection from Chafing: The smooth neoprene surface reduces friction, preventing chafing and irritation.
  • UV Protection: Neoprene has natural UV-blocking properties, safeguarding your skin from harmful sun rays.

Recommended Read: How Long Does it Take for a Wetsuit to Warm Up?

Stay Warm and Dry with a Rash Guard Under Your Wetsuit

A rash guard is a lightweight, quick-drying garment that fits snugly against your skin. Wearing a rash guard under your wetsuit offers several advantages:

  • Keeps You Warm: Rash guards provide an extra layer of insulation, helping to keep your body warm in cold water.
  • Protects Against Irritation: The smooth fabric of a rash guard reduces friction and prevents rashes or chafing.
  • Blocks UV Rays: Rash guards with UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) ratings protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.
  • Offers Quick-Drying Properties: The moisture-wicking nature of rash guards keeps you dry and comfortable during and after water activities.

Should You Wear Underwear Underneath Your Wetsuit?

One common question that arises is whether or not to wear underwear underneath a wetsuit. While personal preference plays a role, many experts recommend going without underwear for the following reasons:

  • Improved Comfort: Wetsuits are designed to be worn directly against your skin. Adding an extra layer of underwear can create discomfort and restrict movement.
  • Reduced Chafing: Underwear may cause friction against the wetsuit, leading to chafing and irritation.
  • Better Hygiene: Wetsuits are designed to be rinsed and dried thoroughly after each use, while underwear may retain moisture, potentially leading to bacterial growth.

Tips for Proper Hygiene and Care of Your Undergarments

Maintaining proper hygiene and care for your undergarments is key for your comfort and overall well-being.

Here are some essential tips:

  • Wash After Each Use: Rinse your base layer, rash guard, or wetsuit liner with fresh water after each use. Use a mild detergent to clean them thoroughly, and avoid using bleach or fabric softeners.
  • Dry Thoroughly: Hang your undergarments in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. Ensure they are completely dry before storing them to prevent mold or mildew growth.
  • Store Properly: Fold or roll your undergarments neatly to avoid creases or wrinkles that could affect their performance.
  • Replace When Necessary: Inspect your undergarments regularly for signs of wear and tear. Replace them if they become stretched, torn, or lose their elasticity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I wear cotton underwear under my wetsuit?

It is not recommended to wear cotton underwear under a wetsuit as cotton retains moisture, which can make you feel cold and uncomfortable.

Should I wear a bra under my wetsuit?

It is not necessary to wear a bra under a wetsuit, as most wetsuits provide adequate support. However, if you feel more comfortable wearing one, choose a sports bra made from moisture-wicking materials.

Can I wear a bikini under my wetsuit?

Yes, wearing a bikini under your wetsuit is a common choice. Opt for a bikini with minimal straps to prevent any discomfort or pressure points.


When seeking expert advice on what to wear under a wetsuit, it is essential to consider your personal preferences and the specific conditions you’ll be facing. Consulting with experienced divers or professional instructors can provide valuable insights tailored to your needs.

Whatever undergarments you choose for your wetsuit, it is important to stay comfortable and protected during your water activities. Whether it’s a suitable base layer, neoprene shorts, rash guards, or wetsuit liners, each option offers its benefits.

Maintain proper hygiene and care for your undergarments to ensure their longevity and optimal performance. Enjoy your time in the water with the perfect combination of comfort, protection, and style.

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