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Wetsuits provide thermal protection for swimmers, divers, and surfers. You might’ve noticed that they mostly come in one color; black.
So, you’re probably wondering: why are wetsuits black? Are they available in other colors?
Black is a suitable option for many reasons. Besides looking cool, black can absorb heat and keep you warm. Additionally, it doesn’t show dirt like other colors.
Do you want to find out more? Today’s article will explain all the reasons behind the color choice of wetsuits.
Let’s dive into the details right away.
Why Are Wetsuits Black?
At first glance, you might think that color isn’t crucial in wetsuits. However, the black color of wetsuits serves multiple beneficial functions.
1. Providing Protection Against UV Rays
Surfers and swimmers spend most of their day under the sun, which means their skin might take a beating on a sunny day. Additionally, prolonged UV exposure can lead to health consequences in the long term.
The materials inside the suit can protect swimmers from harmful UV light. Most wetsuits are mainly made from neoprene, which is highly durable.
On top of that, manufacturers add carbon black to provide extra UV resistance. That’s because carbon black is excellent at absorbing UV radiation. As a result, the radiation won’t reach the skin.
2. The Darker, the Warmer
The color black doesn’t only absorb harmful radiation, but it can also take in heat. The darker the color of garments, the more warmth they can provide.
More importantly, neoprene is an excellent insulator. As a result, it can keep you warm in the water and provide good heat regulation.
Water can conduct heat faster than air. Additionally, water gets colder the deeper it is. However, the combination of neoprene and black color leads to a well-heated suit, which keeps divers warm, even at great depths.
Manufacturers used to treat rubber with carbon black to stabilize it and give it its black color. Recently, they started using polymers and other affordable methods to stabilize the rubber and give it its color.
On top of making the suit black, the treatment makes the suit more durable and resistant to the harshest conditions. More importantly, the manufacturing process isn’t costly.
Therefore, the final product is more affordable than colored suits, which require an expensive dying process. That’s why most manufacturers stick with black suits.
Additionally, the demand for colorful suits is low, so it would be risky and expensive for manufacturers to produce them.
4. High Durability
Neoprene has a low level of viscoelasticity, which is the ability to stretch without damage.
Naturally, neoprene can withstand harsh conditions. However, it’s prone to water damage, especially when stretched out. That’s why manufacturers treat it with carbon black.
Soot, also known as carbon black, can add an extra layer of durability to neoprene. As a result, the suit can last much longer and withstand the toughest conditions.
5. Helps You Perform Better
The wetsuit’s design can significantly improve your performance in various marine activities.
For starters, the black color keeps your body warm under the water. Nobody can swim or dive well when they’re freezing underwater!
What’s more, the combination of neoprene and carbon black provides elasticity and durability. The comfort of the suit can boost your performance underwater.
On top of that, research about the enclothed cognitive theory proved there’s a connection between performance and uniforms.
Psychologically speaking, clothing can affect a person’s confidence. Therefore, an elegant black suit can surely boost a person’s performance!
6. Lets You Blend in
The deeper you go under the water, the darker it’ll be. As a result, wearing a black outfit can make you blend in more with the environment.
Black suits have lower chances of attracting sharks and other dangerous creatures in deep water. Although different colors won’t provoke sharks, black is the safest option.
On the other hand, wearing a contrasting bright color might get a shark’s attention. While a shark won’t attack a person just for wearing a bright color, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
7. Doesn’t Show Dirt
You might’ve noticed that black cars can show dirt easily, but this is not the case with rubber wetsuits. The materials of wetsuits have a non-reflective black color, which can be forgiving to some stains.
If you get some dirt on your wetsuit, the black color might hide it. You’d be surprised by how much dirt your suit carries when you wash it.
Although swimming can rinse the sand and dirt on the suit, sweat and salt will stick to your suit. However, black hides sweat and dirt so well. That’s why I highly recommend washing your wetsuit after a long day of water activities.
8. When in Doubt, Go for Black
Most people go for black when they’re not sure what color of clothing to pick. It’s a safe option, as it can easily match with other colors and styles.
The same rule applies to wetsuits.
In addition, black is less likely to fade over time. Black never gets old or unfashionable. It’s also future-proof color in all aspects.
Why Are Black Wetsuits More Popular Than Colored Wetsuits?
Colored wetsuits sound like fun, right? So, why aren’t colored suits as popular as black ones?
1. High Manufacturing Cost
One of the main reasons behind this is that dying wetsuits is a costly process.
Many brands came out with colored designs over the years. However, most of them failed to generate enough profits, and shortly after, they discontinued the manufacturing process.
To add, the demand for colored wetsuits isn’t high. Therefore, with the cost of dying the suits, manufacturers don’t find it cost-efficient to mass produce them.
As a result, black wetsuits are popular, but this doesn’t mean you won’t find a colored suit if you’re looking for one.
In fact, there’s a wide variety of colored ones from different manufacturers. You can find them in different patterns and designs that fit any style.
While they don’t offer better functionality than the traditional black, they can make you stand out from the crowd.
2. Little to No Benefits
Some people believe that multicolored suits can confuse underwater predators. Additionally, they come in handy for tracking beginners, as colors make them more visible.
However, with the extra cost of adding color and the little to no benefits they add. So, you can consider colored suits only if you’re looking to look more fashionable.
3. Underwater Color Loss
Even when choosing colored wetsuits to be more visible or fashionable, they don’t remain that way underwater. Once you’re deep underwater, colors will start to look faded the deeper you go.
Check out this video about color loss under water.
At some point, you won’t be able to tell colors apart. That’s because water absorbs different wavelengths of light.
Typically, red is the first color to fade, followed by orange and yellow.
Don’t fret! Once you return to the surface, the colors will look vibrant again. However, you should expect your suit to be less colorful underwater.
What Gives Wetsuits Their Black Color?
At first, wetsuits were made from natural rubber, which wasn’t durable enough. Nowadays, manufacturers make them using closed-cell neoprene.
The reason behind using neoprene for wetsuits is that it’s waterproof and has good insulating properties.
Before neoprene gets into your suit, it undergoes a long manufacturing process. Initially, neoprene has a white, milky color. After treating it with many chemicals, it becomes black.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are the Available Wetsuits Colors?
Wetsuits are like any garment you wear. They come in almost any color you can think of. You can find them in all the basic colors, patterns, and multicolored designs.
You can find almost any style you’re looking for. However, colored suits aren’t popular, so you might need to check a couple of stores before finding the design you’re looking for.
How Do Black Wetsuits Keep You Warm?
The neoprene inside wetsuits traps a thin layer of water between the suit and the wearer’s skin. That’s why it’s called a wetsuit.
That black neoprene absorbs photons from the light, which heats up the water layer. That, along with the neoprene’s insulation, keeps the wearer warm.
Are Colored Wetsuits Dangerous?
No, colored wetsuits aren’t dangerous by any means. Some would even argue that colored suits are safer as they increase visibility. Therefore, your group can easily spot you in case of an emergency.
Many believe that colored suits can attract sharks, but this isn’t true.
So, why are wetsuits black?
Well, wetsuits are naturally black. Dying wetsuits can cost more, but more importantly, there are many benefits to the black color of the suits.
For starters, it protects you from UV radiation and keeps you warm. Additionally, it’s more affordable than colored suits, not to mention how durable it is and how it can make you perform better.
It also helps you blend in with the environment so that underwater predators are unlikely to notice you. Moreover, black doesn’t show stains!