Far and away the
single most important thing to look for when purchasing a new
wetsuit is how it fits. Shop around as much as you can. Make sure
the suit has a comfortable feel. All suits will be tight by design
but it shouldn't be totally restrictive of motion. Test range of
motion by raising your arms overhead and arching your back, then
bending and touching your toes. Do some squats. Pay attention to the
suit's response, if you're getting pinched by the neoprene or if it
is going taut then you'll need to try a different suit.
Ladies will find
additional problems in that most wetsuits are cut for men. There are
women's suits out there, ask your shop if they carry any. Don't just
order one right off the bat without getting a chance to try it on.
If you're going with a swimsuit, look to get a 1-piece suit or a
pair of ladies' trunks.
It's possible to get
a good price on a used wetsuit as well. Check to see how intact the
seams are and look in high-wear areas (underarms, hindquarters) for
neoprene damage. As neoprene ages it stiffens and shrinks. Used
wetsuits are thus a good idea for the beginner who isn't sure about
sticking with the sport.
For more details,
see the wetsuit guide. For some amusement, read Bonzer's story about
his first wetsuit.