Wetsuit Loose Around Waist? (Plus, 3 Steps to Choosing the Right Fit)

Wetsuit Loose Around Waist? (Plus, 3 Steps to Choosing the Right Fit)

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Wetsuits are a must-have item for scuba diving enthusiasts. They provide thermal protection and buoyancy, allowing you to stay longer in the water!

The problem is that your suit needs to fit well to get the most out of it, and finding the right size is no easy feat. That’s especially true for the torso, as having a wetsuit that’s loose around the waist is a common issue.

In this article, we’ll explore why a wetsuit may be loose around the waist. We’ll also guide you through three steps to pick the right wetsuit size. So, stick around!

Should a Wetsuit Be Loose Around the Waist?

Typically, a wetsuit should have a tight fit. Still, the fit shouldn’t be so snug that it impairs your range of motion.

That said, it’s natural that your scuba diving outfit feels slightly loose in the torso area, particularly the lower back. That’s just the way human backs naturally arch. As a result, most people have a bit of space between their lower back and the wetsuit.

The reason wetsuits are close-fitting is to help keep you warm. How? Well, that’s thanks to neoprene, the synthetic rubber most wet suits are made of.

Neoprene is stretchy; as you dive into the ocean, it traps a thin layer of water. Because of the temperature difference between your body and the water, heat transfer occurs.

Soon, your body temperature heats the trapped water. Now, thanks to the insulation properties of water, it retains that high temperature. As a result, the suit keeps you warm the entire time you’re scuba diving.

Why Does Your Wetsuit Feel Loose?

Several reasons can cause your wetsuit to feel extra roomy around the waist. Those include body weight fluctuations, incorrect sizing, and unsuitable maintenance practices.

Let’s discuss each reason in further detail!

1.   Body Weight Fluctuations

Your wetsuit fitting can change depending on your weight—just like your entire wardrobe. If you’ve lost a couple of pounds, it’s only natural that the suit starts feeling roomy.

That’s especially true if you bought a wetsuit during the winter. The cold months are usually when most people tend to gain weight.

Other factors like diet, particularly high-sodium foods, can affect your weight temporarily. As you might know, salty foods can cause short-term weight gain. Why? That’s because your body retains water to balance the excess sodium you get from the food.

Consequently, you might look puffier than usual. Don’t worry, though. Simply drink more water to flush out the excess salt and lose weight. While that sounds great, losing water weight will cause your suit to feel a bit loose.

Even just wearing the wetsuit can help you reduce water retention. Thanks to neoprene’s compression qualities, wetsuits alter the water-mineral balance within the body. As a result, you lose the water weight.

2.   Incorrect Sizing

Wetsuits are meant to fit comfortably inside the water. Trying to have a comfortable suit outside the ocean might result in fitting errors.

Even if you’re lucky enough to get a comfy suit now, after a couple of diving sessions, the wetsuit will stretch. That’s just a part of neoprene. The synthetic rubber can stretch up to six times its length.

Of course, the more you use it, the more pliable the suit becomes. The problem is that the wetsuit will feel larger after a few uses if you buy the wrong size. Not to mention, neoprene will lose its elasticity over time.

In that case, the diving outfit will be roomy throughout your body, not just around the waist.

3.   Unsuitable Maintenance Practices

Inadequate care of your wetsuit can make it loose around the waist and shorten its lifespan. As surprising as it might sound, washing the rubber suit can do more harm than good when done improperly.

Washing with hot water is one way to ruin a perfectly fitting suit. While steamy water might sound like a good idea to disinfect your wetsuit, it can be counterproductive. That’s because neoprene is sensitive to high temperatures.

When you soak your wetsuit in hot water, the rubber expands. As a result, neoprene loses its strength and flexibility. Likewise, exposing the wetsuit to harsh chemicals can also wear out the rubber.

What’s more, hanging the diving outfit will stretch it out, causing it to become too big.

How to Choose the Right Wetsuit Size

Choosing the right wetsuit fit can be overwhelming. You don’t want to buy an oversized suit. That’s because the seawater will rush inside the loose corners, and you end up feeling like a heavy bag of water.

An overly tight suit isn’t something you want either, as it can feel suffocating and limit your movement. It sounds confusing, but once you get the hang of it, picking the correct wetsuit size will be as easy as pie.

Here’s how to choose the right wet suit size:

Step 1: Take Your Measurements

Whichever wetsuit brand you purchase, they’ll have a size chart to help you get the right fit. In general, you have to measure your chest and waist. Plus, you need to know your height and weight.

When taking your chest measurements, make sure to measure the widest part at the nipple line. Similarly, look for the narrowest area in your waist and measure it. For women, taking your hip measurements might be helpful.

Step 2: Choose the Appropriate Size

Once you write down your measurements, compare them with the size chart to determine your size.

Now, you might find your measurements between two sizes. In that case, choose the larger size, as a short suit can be uncomfortable.

Step 3: Try on the Suit

After you’ve got your wetsuit on, you should check for some fitting essentials. First, look at the ankles and wrists to make sure they’re not baggy. Next, look for excess material in the armpits, knees, shoulders, and crotch. If you can pull much material, that means the suit is too big.

Additionally, wearing a wetsuit shouldn’t feel restricting. Try squatting or lifting your arms over your head. If you feel a lot of pressure as you move, the size is too small.


Having a wetsuit that’s loose around the waist can be a frustrating issue for scuba diving enthusiasts. Incorrect sizing is probably the most common reason for the former issue.

To ensure the right fit, it’s essential to take accurate measurements of your body and choose a wetsuit that fits comfortably in the water.

Additionally, taking proper care of your wetsuit, such as washing it with cold water, can help prolong its lifespan. That way, you can enjoy your scuba diving experience to the max!

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 Jack@diving-info.com

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