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What Should You Wear Under Your Wetsuit?

If you are someone that is new to diving, then you are probably wondering what we all have at one point- what on earth do you wear under your wetsuit? It’s a question as old as time, but nobody ever wants to ask it out of fear of looking stupid. You are left there wondering if you should be wearing normal clothes or if you should go commando, but you don’t dare to risk either. Worry not, we finally have the answer so that you don’t have to ask.  


What is a wetsuit? 

Before working out what you need to wear under it, it is probably a good idea to learn what a wetsuit really is. 

A wetsuit is a full-body suit that is made of neoprene and is usually worn by divers, snorkelers, or sea workers. The main purpose of a wetsuit is to insulate the body of whoever is wearing it. This is because humans don’t really have the blubber that can be found on most aquatic creatures and so when in the cold water, we find it hard to find warmth, especially since there is no source of heat around us. Wetsuits work by insulating the heat that you do have and then also holding a layer of warm water close to your body to ensure that you don’t lose any more heat. Not every wetsuit offers the same amount of insulation and so if you are someone that is looking to be quite warm when in the water, you should consult the wetsuit thickness guide 

However, though wetsuits do provide some level of heat, a lot of people don’t think that wetsuits keep you warm enough when you are underwater. Because of this, many people choose to wear clothing items underneath and on top of their wetsuit, here is a list of the most popular items that people choose to wear underneath their wetsuits and the pros and cons of each.  



Arguably the most popular item of clothing that people choose to wear underneath their wetsuit is a rash guard. Rash guards are very similar to wetsuits and are long sleeve tops that surfers and snorkelers use. Rash guards are even worn out of the water, due to their ability to block out any dangerous sun rays which could lead to sunburn. They are so popular due to the fact that they sit so snug on the body and also because there are many types of rash guards. If you really struggle with the cold, you can get insulated rash guards that are much thicker and can help you insulate your body’s natural heat.  

Surf Shorts 

Surf shorts are very standard equipment when it comes to scuba diving. Surf shorts are made of very stretchy materials that are light and thin. They are a favorite among scuba divers because they give a little bit more coverage and also dry quicker due to their thin material, meaning once you take your wetsuit off, you don’t have to sit around cold and wet for ages.  


Though this isn’t the most recommended option, a lot of people choose to wear underwear under their wetsuits, When you go to the cheapest places to learn to scuba dive, they usually don’t provide any clothing to wear underneath your wetsuit. Because of this, a lot of people have no other choice but to only wear underwear. They are great if they are tight to the skin as this means they will insulate heat, but if you are wearing boxer shorts or baggy underwear, then you won’t feel much benefit.  

Neoprene vests 

Neoprene is what your wetsuit is made out of and so if you are looking for an extra layer of warmth that doesn’t disrupt your wetsuit’s feel when you are swimming, then a vest is the perfect choice for you. However, neoprene vests can be quite pricey. 


Another very common option to wear under your wetsuit is a swimsuit. This is mainly due to the convenience of going from the beach and being able to just slip your wetsuit over your swimsuit. They are also tight to the body, which means they will be extremely useful when it comes to insulating heat to your body. However, swimsuits don’t exactly cover much of your body and so you will not get a lot of extra insulation from them. 

Cycle shorts 

Cycle shorts are a good option because everyone has a pair or two that they bought during a failed attempt to pursue fitness. Again, cycle shorts are made from thin elasticated materials and so are snug to wear and also dry quite fast, which means that you will stay warm. 

Nothing at all  

If you are someone that doesn’t mind braving the cold, you may choose to wear nothing at all. A lot of people choose to wear nothing underneath their wetsuit as it means that they can move a lot more freely and are less constrictive. It also means that you have fewer things to dry after you have left the water, which is extremely convenient.  


What to think of when choosing what to wear underneath 


The main reason that people choose to wear items of clothing underneath their swimsuits is for hygiene purposes. Unless you have your own scuba set up, then it is likely that you are renting your swimsuit. As a general rule, most places that you rent from prefer for you to wear something underneath. But also, wearing clothes underneath is an extra layer of protection from any bacteria that may come in contact with your skin when underwater.  


Though some people enjoy the feel of a wetsuit, a lot of people believe that wearing an extra layer between yourself and the wetsuit makes your wearing experience much more comfortable. This is because you can wear pretty much whatever you want under the swimsuit, so if you want a softer material you can slip that on underneath.