Posted Feb 02, 2017
How can you tell if a wetsuit was built to its best quality?
We have been handcrafting custom wetsuits for divers and surfers for many years and have learned in great detail how to build a wetsuit that will last and perform to its highest ability. We want to share how you can determine the quality of a wetsuit from its appearance and feeling.
There are many wetsuit material suppliers that offer various grades of neoprene. Touching and stretching the fabric is a great place to start when gauging wetsuit quality. Try this out below.
1. Grab a sleeve and stretch it
If it's rigid and feels more like cardboard and has a spongy squeeze to it, the rubber likely is old and dry. Yes, neoprene rubber has a shelf life and in fact, raw wetsuit rubber is formed into what is called buns, then sliced into various thicknesses. You wouldn't serve guests old dry bread now would you? The freshness of the rubber is key to getting the most use out of your wetsuit.
2. Don't be afraid, touch it!
Fabrics used on wetsuits are referred to as jerseys and typically is nylon weaved with spandex. Nylon is cheap and fabrics that have more nylon will be rough and won't have much elasticity to it. Now, spandex is an expensive material. If you look at an old wetsuit closely you will see little yellow hairs protruding through the fabric. Those yellow hairs are spandex fibers deteriorating. High-quality spandex is more durable and also has a very soft touch to it. The softer the material the higher quality the fabrics are and better the wetsuit quality.
We tried almost every neoprene supplier out there and learned that Japanese Yamamoto neoprene is the highest quality rubber available. We're stoked to be offering Japanese Yamamoto fabrics in our custom wetsuits. Check out our materials here.
How do you feel in the wetsuit, does it fit right?
If you feel good in your wetsuit and it fits well, then that's a sign for a high-quality wetsuit.
1. Seam design
Wetsuit patterns and seam design are very important in determining how you fit in a wetsuit. Mass produced wetsuits have seams placed in many different areas that reduce stretch and flexibility. The reason why wetsuit manufacturers do this is to fit in as many pieces of scrap neoprene to save on material cost. It's a great way for them to maximize yield but the consumer suffers from the wetsuit breaking down quickly and underperforming.
2. Panel distribution
Look at the overall design of the wetsuit. Does it have large panels and minimal seams? Larger panels and minimal seams indicate a designer that was building for performance and quality. Seams stretch less than panels do. The more seams you have the more uncomfortable you will be in a wetsuit.
We build each wetsuit specific to your body shape and maximize the use of large panels so the wetsuit can form to your body nicely. Check out our entire wetsuit line here.
If a wetsuit manufacturer cares to hire the best seamstresses and only use state of the art equipment than they are serious about quality.
1. Take a close look at the stitch
Does each stitch have an equal distance between stitches? Are the stitches consistent in size throughout every seam? Look closely and make sure that they are for a consistent and high-quality stitch.
Seams require the most attention during the construction process. Seamstresses need to be extremely careful to stitch evenly for the best bond. When a manufacturer hires the best talent and uses the best machines they will also have that same integrity throughout the wetsuit build.
Through customer feedback, we listened and implemented new techniques to build better wetsuits. Because we are in control of who we want to source materials and work with, each customer's individualized custom wetsuits is far superior to our competitors. See what the buzz is about and learn more about us.