Swimmer wearing a outdoor swimming wetsuit in a Welsh lake

How to choose an open water swimming wetsuit

By Alpkit>

We've been open water swimming in the outdoors since before we can remember. We delight in a dip when hiking in the Welsh hills; being drawn to nearby rivers and streams; sneaking in local reservoirs or Alpine lakes and swimming in the oceans year-round.

A wetsuit designed specifically for swimming is a great way to increase your comfort in the water, and a properly fitting wetsuit can help you swim faster by reducing drag and improving buoyancy.

Our Outdoor Swimming Wetsuits

  1. General Considerations
  2. Element two-piece wetsuit for swimming or SUP
  3. Terrapin outdoor swimming wetsuit
  4. Lotic open water swimming wetsuit
  5. Silvertip cold water swimming wetsuit
  6. Duel Swim-Run wetsuit

General Considerations

Choosing a wetsuit - and choosing a wetsuit that fits! - can be tricky. All of our wetsuits have flashes of colour at the neck, wrists and ankles for improved visibility, and deep back zippers with a lanyard so you can get in and out of them yourself.

The key features of an open water swimming wetsuit are:

  • The temperature retention for extending swim time
  • Comfort. Good fit promotes freedom of movement
  • Buoyancy, to promote a natural swimming style
Two-piece SUP and outdoor swimming wetsuit

Element two-piece swimming and SUP wetsuit

For Element, we've designed a dual-component wetsuit system that offers both flexibility and versatility. This allows you to put together your own system from a choice of jacket, vest, pants and shorts. It empowers you to decide your warmth level on or in the water while ensuring unrestricted swimming action. It's not only excellent for standup paddleboarding (SUPing), but also a suitable replacement for the conventional open water swimming wetsuit.

We've incorporated Glideskin neoprene for smoother movement through the water, strengthened with nylon in areas prone to wear and tear. We've adjusted the thickness in specific sections to enhance flexibility and motion where it's crucial. The jacket and vest features a front zipper for ease of wear, accompanied by a pocket suitable for soft flasks or gels.

Of course Element is recyclable at end of life with Circular Flow.

Best for: Standup paddle boarders, swimmers looking to mix and match.

Outdoor swimming wetsuit

Terrapin outdoor swimming wetsuit

The Terrapin is our most neutral swimming wetsuit. 2-3mm thick for lower buoyancy, it features a GlideSkin front for performance and the cut provides unrestricted arm and shoulder movement for comfort and maximum swimming efficiency.

Unlike other similar wetsuits on the market, the Terrapin is designed specifically for outdoor swimming. The less buoyant nature allows a more natural swimming style and is ideal for those who want the thermal protection of a wetsuit, but not the buoyancy. The Terrapin is perfect for swims around 2 miles in length (or 30min-1hr in the water) in typical UK swimming conditions.

Best for: quick sea dippers, mountain tarn splashers and experienced skin swimmers looking for a neutral-form swimming wetsuit.

Outdoor swimming wetsuit


The Lotic was our very first outdoor swimming wetsuit. A classic all-rounder, it uses neoprene panels of varying thicknesses (from 1.5mm to 4mm) to perfectly balance buoyancy, freedom of movement and swimming comfort for swimmers of all abilities.

By targeting the back, leg and bum area (3.5mm, 3.5mm and 4mm respectively) these panels give you a bit of extra lift in the lower body and promote a more efficient swimming position. Multiple panels of GlideSkin neoprene increase swimming hydrodynamics and improve stroke efficiency. GlideSkin also provides better water repellency and reduces heat conduction, making it warmer than bog-standard neoprene.

Best for: all types of swim activity, splash and stroke; all swimmers, all year round - that's all. Perfect for a Great North Swim attempt.

Outdoor swimming wetsuit


We spent over 12 months developing the innovative fleece-lined Silvertip, sending several samples and prototypes to be tested by our swimming-focused Alpkiteers and our good friends at the Outdoor Swimming Society.

SilverTip is a fleece-lined swimming wetsuit with much higher thermal properties than our other wetsuits. We've designed it to be suitable for longer swims, colder water and hardy winter swimmers.

Using 3mm-5mm panels of GlideSkin neoprene, we’ve paid very careful attention to balancing the buoyancy with the fleece lining, providing a comfortable and supportive swimming action. The Silvertip is a serious suit for serious swimmers - swimmers who want to swim year-round, in cold water, or spend longer in the water, pushing your distance.

Swim-run wetsuit


The Duel is our front-zip swim-run wetsuit. It makes getting in and out of your wetsuit easy-peasy! Great for SwimRun events. Or just for warmer dips when you want a shorty wetsuit.

It's got panels of varying thickness - mixing 2mm and 3mm neoprene to balance insulation and flexibility so you don't feel suffocated on land or cold in the water.

Built to last with nylon-faced neoprene on higher friction areas, making it durable for sliding in and out of water. But the Duel has still got smooth Glideskin neoprene on the chest and back to reduce drag in the water.

If you are a swimmer but new to SwimRun check our our introduction to SwimRun.

Outdoor Swimming Swimwear and Wetsuits

Natural swimming position with thinner more flexible neoprene
Natural swimming position with thinner more flexible neoprene
Our best all-round wetsuit for outdoor swimming in open water
Our best all-round wetsuit for outdoor swimming in open water
Fleece-lined wetsuit for long swims and braving icy waters
Fleece lined cold water swimming wetsuit
Front zip wetsuit jacket. Keep warm your way and easy to put on.
Front zip wetsuit vest. Keep warm your way and easy to put on.
Wetsuit pants. Keep warm your way and easy to put on.
Wetsuit shorts. Keep warm your way and easy to put on.
Wetsuit shorts. Keep warm your way and easy to put on.
Front zip wetsuit jacket. Keep warm your way and easy to put on.


  • Hi, I am 5’2" – do you do a petite size? (Female, open water swimmer (mostly summer))?

    Jill Chalmers

    November 22, 2021

  • could you please let me know what the recommended water temperature range is for your Silvertip thermal wetsuit ?

    Beverly Lach

    November 12, 2020

  • Good morning,
    Do you deliver to Ireland. I am looking for a wetsuit to allow me swim when the temperatures drop over the winter.

    Pat O Mahony

    September 30, 2020

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