Do You Wear Underwear Under a Wetsuit?

Do You Wear Underwear Under a Wetsuit?

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When it comes to preparing for a day of water activities, wearing a wetsuit is essential. They provide thermal protection, ensuring your safety during the diving adventure. But what about wearing an undergarment beneath the suit?

While that seems like a small detail, adding another layer beneath the diving outfit can impact your hygiene and comfort.

So, do you wear underwear under a wetsuit? That’s what we’ll find out in this article. Keep reading to find out!

Do You Wear Underwear Under a Wetsuit?

Generally, wearing undergarments under a wetsuit is a personal preference. However, it’s recommended to wear underwear underneath the suit if you’re going to rent it.

That’s to ensure optimal hygiene and protection—you don’t want to have skin-to-suit contact when someone else’s raw flesh has been touching the fabric!

That said, you should wear specialized swimming undergarments, not your regular underwear. The former is usually made of quick-drying, stretchy material and can help hold the wetsuit in place.

Wearing something loose, like regular underwear, can create spaces beneath the suit. Not only does that allow a lot of water to flush into the wetsuit, keeping you cold, but it can also impair your movement. That’s especially true if you’re wearing cotton-based undergarments.

That material absorbs moisture up to 24-27 times its weight. As mentioned earlier, that can weigh you down and slow your movement. It can also cause chafing—yes, this unpleasant skin condition can occur during water activities.

Why Should You Wear Underwear Under a Wetsuit?

Putting on underwear underneath a wetsuit is usually a good idea. For one, it’s hygienic and protects you from skin diseases. Additionally, it can provide extra thermal protection when diving in cold water. Not to mention, it might increase your suit’s lifespan.

Here’s a detailed explanation of why you should wear underwear beneath a wetsuit:

1.   Hygiene

Without proper maintenance, wetsuits can harbor a ton of harmful organisms. Think about it: the diving outfit is always wet. That’s an ideal environment for microorganisms, such as mold and bacteria, to flourish.

Now, many sources can contaminate the wetsuit with harmful germs. For starters, fresh or marine water contains numerous microorganisms naturally living there.

Additionally, the human skin is home to various bacteria, fungi, and viruses. While those microorganisms are beneficial, when given the appropriate conditions, such as illnesses, they can become opportunistic and cause infections.

As you can see, wearing wetsuits can be risky. That’s why it’s best to wear undergarments to protect yourself from skin diseases.

2.   Added Layer of Warmth

Sure, your wetsuit, in and of itself, is enough to keep you warm, thanks to the neoprene. The rubber traps a thin layer of water. Your body then heats that water, which keeps you warm the entire time you’re in the ocean.

What’s more, neoprene, the synthetic rubber used in making wetsuits, is an insulator. Thanks to its foam structure, neoprene traps air bubbles, which are bad conductors of heat. As a result, your body doesn’t cool down even when surrounded by cold seawater.

All that sounds great, but what do undergarments have to do with keeping you warm?

The answer is layering! The tight underwear will add another layer of insulation. Piling on thin layers ensures you maintain a high body temperature, as they help trap more air. Not to mention, it’s usually more comfortable to wear thin wetsuits because you can move freely in them.

Thick wetsuits, on the other hand, are less flexible. Consequently, they impair your movement.

3.   Comfort

Whether you own an open-cell or a closed-cell wetsuit, adding another layer beneath can provide more comfort. That’s because it’ll prevent the inside material from rubbing against your skin, which can be painful. That’s especially true if you spend many hours in the water.

Aside from being comfortable, wearing undergarments under a wetsuit offers convenience. That’s because the added layer can make it easier to take off the diving outfit after getting out of the water, which can be a pain in the neck sometimes.

Plus, you don’t have to worry about changing in public areas, where there’s little to no privacy. With a protective layer beneath the suit, it’s possible to take off the diving outfit quickly whenever the wetsuit feels uncomfortable.

4.   Wetsuit Protection

As mentioned earlier, neoprene can rub against your skin while diving. That friction not only damages your skin but tears the wetsuit as well.

The problem is that wetsuits are always subjected to damage. Dirt, grime, salt, and various water microorganisms, among other debris, can all accumulate in your wetsuit. Not only does the buildup cause an unpleasant smell, but it also facilitates wear and tear.

Combine that with the skin-to-rubber friction, and you can expect your wetsuit to lose its quality earlier than it should. Wearing undergarments under the wetsuit can help protect the diving outfit from friction damage, thus increasing the suit’s longevity.

What to Wear Under a Wetsuit

Swimsuits make for a great underwear option under a wetsuit. That’s because the swimming outfit is made of stretchy, quick-dry material that hugs the body tightly and helps prevent chafing. The best part is that you’ve got countless swimwear options to choose from.

For women, you can wear a one-piece suit or a bikini. Just make sure to wear a simple diving outfit without knots, strings, and metals. That’s because the wetsuit will press the decorative features into your skin, which can be uncomfortable.

As for the men, a simple speedo brief would do if you don’t want to wear much under the wetsuit yet want protection in the groin area. You can also wear diving shorts or pants to allow the wetsuit to slide easily off your body.

In the case of winter, both men and women could wear full-body jumpsuits, as the added layer can help keep you warm.


So, do you wear underwear under a wetsuit?

Generally, it’s best to wear undergarments under a wetsuit for hygienic reasons. Additionally, they provide warmth and might help increase the wetsuit’s lifespan. Not to mention, the undergarments make it convenient for you to take the suit on and off in public places.

Ultimately, wearing underwear under a wetsuit is a matter of personal preference and comfort. For that reason, it’s best to experiment with different undergarments to find out what works best for you.

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. You can also follow him on Twitter.

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