Can Wetsuits Be Altered?

Can Wetsuits Be Altered?

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If you’re a scuba diving enthusiast, you know how essential wetsuits are for this water sport. They provide thermal insulation, keeping you warm as you venture into the sea.

One common problem with wetsuits, however, is finding the right fit. For instance, you might find a tight, fitting suit, but it’s too short. Conversely, the length might be suitable; however, the wetsuit is too loose.

Such a situation begs one question: can wetsuits be altered? That’s what we’ll answer in this article. So, keep reading to find out!

Can Wetsuits Be Altered?

Yes! You can alter your wetsuits. Although the diving outfit comes in various sizes and is stretchy, you might still need a few adjustments to get your wetsuit to fit well.

Generally, the process involves taking your measurements and then making the adjustments. Of course, making the diving outfit smaller will cost less than increasing the wetsuit’s size. That’s because the latter requires adding material to the neoprene panels, which costs more.

Whichever wetsuit alterations you want, you’ll usually need a professional’s help to ensure the suit’s thermal properties and durability aren’t affected. That’s especially true for extensive adjustments, such as adding or removing panels.

Types of Wetsuit Adjustments

Most wetsuit adjustment shops offer several alterations to ensure a proper fit and improve performance. Those include:

1.   Ankle and wrist adjustments

Sleeves and leg lengths are the first things you should check when trying on a wetsuit. That’s because the length would give you a clear idea of whether the sizing is fitting or not.

Ideally, you don’t want any folds near the ankles and wrists because that indicates the suit is big. The former problem result in water flushing into and out of the suit. That takes away from the primary function of wetsuits, which is to trap water to keep you warm.

You don’t want a short length either, as a small-sized wetsuit can be uncomfortable.

The problem is that sometimes you can find a perfectly fitting suit, but it has long sleeves. Going a size smaller might not be an option. That’s when ankle and wrist adjustments come in handy; you simply need to trim the excess material.

In contrast, you might need to lengthen the wrists and ankles to have a properly fitting wetsuit. Either way, with a professional’s help, you’ll save the effort of buying a new diving outfit.

2.   Torso adjustments

Another sizing problem you might have encountered is excess material in the torso area. A properly fitting wetsuit won’t contain extra materials on the chest and shoulders. Likewise, you shouldn’t feel too much space around the waist.

Now, you might think, if the suit isn’t fitting, why not look for another size? That’s perfectly fine if you’re still looking for a diving outfit.

However, if your last season’s suit is no longer fitting, it’s usually more affordable to adjust it instead of buying a new one.

Additionally, sometimes altering a wetsuit is the only option for tall, skinny people. If that’s your body type, you know the struggle of finding a long enough suit that isn’t too loose.

So, taking away from the torso’s width might be the only option available for achieving the right fit.

3.   Adding special features

Wetsuit alteration doesn’t always have to do with adding or removing material to adjust the size. You can also add zippers for style and convenience, as zippers can help you get in and out of a wetsuit with ease.

You can also consider reinforcing the seams or adding pockets! Not only do the pockets help keep your hands free during the diving adventure, but they also make for appealing aesthetics.

The best part is that you’ve got a pool of pocket colors, shapes, and sizes to choose from!

Why Should You Alter Wetsuits?

Several reasons can call for wetsuit adjustments, including body weight fluctuations, changing the style, and even saving the environment.

Let’s discuss each reason in further detail!

1.   Body weight fluctuations

Unless you’re genetically blessed, body weight fluctuations are something that most of us struggle with.

The problem with weight gain or loss is that your diving outfit won’t accommodate it. And as mentioned earlier, adjusting wetsuits to fit you perfectly is crucial for your safety.

That’s because a wetsuit that’s too loose or tight can impede your movement. Plus, poor sizing increases the risk of hypothermia.

The idea behind wetsuits is to trap a thin layer of water. Your body temperature then heats that layer, making the water warm. Because neoprene is an insulator, the trapped seawater keeps its high temperature.

Consequently, you maintain a warm body the entire time you’re in the ocean. However, that’s only achievable as long as the wetsuit is perfectly fitting and prevents cold water from seeping.

2.   Customization

Off-the-rack wetsuits may not fit everyone. Some people may have specific needs that a standard wetsuit doesn’t provide. For that reason, altering the wetsuit according to an individual’s needs might be the best option to improve its performance and safety.

Plus, you can change the suit’s style while saving a few bucks! For instance, if you want a summer diving outfit, you can change your steamer wetsuit into a long john or a spring suit. The best part is that it’ll usually cost less than buying a new neoprene suit!

That said, not all wetsuits are suitable for adjustments. That’s especially true for old, weary ones. If that’s the case, purchasing a new wetsuit might be more cost-effective since your old diving outfit is no longer efficient.

3.   Reduce waste

Sure, neoprene isn’t eco-friendly because it’s not biodegradable. That means landfill microorganisms can’t degrade the synthetic rubber. As a result, it accumulates in the environment and contaminates the land.

However, that’s not the only bad news; every year, around 380 tons of synthetic rubber are wasted! While some biodegradable wetsuit options are emerging, they’re still not as popular as neoprene wetsuits.

So, altering and repairing your wetsuit rather than throwing it away might be the lesser of two evils.


So, can wetsuits be altered?

Yes, you can alter your wetsuit to fit you properly or change its style. Aside from size adjustments, you can add pockets and zippers to add convenience and spice up the diving outfit.

Whichever reason you want to alter the suit, it’s crucial to ask for a professional’s help. That’s to ensure that the alterations don’t compromise the wetsuit’s function and that you remain warm while enjoying scuba diving.

Jack Thompson

Jack Thompson, a scuba diving enthusiast from San Diego, has spent over a decade exploring the underwater world across the globe. Sharing his passion through captivating stories and informative articles, Jack aims to inspire others to embark on their own scuba diving adventures and uncover the ocean's hidden treasures. Follow Jack on Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, and Facebook or email him at

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