How Do I Decide Between Chest-Zip And Back-Zip Wetsuits?

So you’re itching to hit the waves and catch some awesome surf, but you’re faced with a dilemma – should you go for a chest-zip or a back-zip wetsuit? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll break down the pros and cons of each style to help you make the best decision for your surfing adventures. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, choosing the right wetsuit can make all the difference in your performance and comfort in the water. So let’s dive in and find out which wetsuit style suits you best!



When it comes to wetsuits, neoprene is the most common material used. It is a synthetic rubber that provides excellent insulation and flexibility. Neoprene wetsuits are durable and can withstand the wear and tear of regular use. They are also resistant to UV rays and chemicals, which makes them ideal for water sports. Neoprene wetsuits come in different thicknesses, allowing you to choose the level of insulation you need based on the water temperature.


The seams of a wetsuit play a crucial role in its performance. They ensure that water does not seep into the suit, keeping you warm and dry. There are different types of seams used in wetsuits, including flatlock, glued and blind stitched, and welded seams. Flatlock seams are the most common and are visible on the outside of the suit. Glued and blind stitched seams are more durable and provide better water resistance. Welded seams, also known as seam tape, are the most advanced and offer the highest level of waterproofing.


Zippers are another important component of a wetsuit. They allow you to easily put on and take off the suit. There are two main types of zippers used in wetsuits: chest-zip and back-zip. Chest-zip wetsuits have a zipper on the front, which provides a more comfortable fit and better flexibility. Back-zip wetsuits, as the name suggests, have a zipper on the back. They are easier to put on and take off but may restrict movement and can let in some water.


Body Type

When choosing a wetsuit, it is essential to consider your body type. Different wetsuit brands have different sizing and fit options. Take into account your measurements and choose a wetsuit that will fit snugly but not restrict your movement. If you have a more athletic build, you may need a wetsuit with more stretch and flexibility. On the other hand, if you have a curvier figure, you may want to look for a wetsuit that offers more room in the hips and chest.


Flexibility is crucial for any water sports enthusiast. A wetsuit should allow you to move freely without feeling restricted. Look for wetsuits that are made from high-quality neoprene with stretchy properties. These suits will provide excellent flexibility and enhance your performance in the water. Pay attention to the design and construction of the wetsuit, as this can also impact its overall flexibility.

Ease of Entry

Putting on and taking off a wetsuit can sometimes be a challenge, especially when it is wet. The entry system of a wetsuit determines how easy it is to get in and out of the suit. Chest-zip wetsuits usually have a shorter zipper, which can make it a bit more challenging to put on and take off. However, once it is on, it provides a more secure and comfortable fit. Back-zip wetsuits, on the other hand, have a longer zipper, making it easier to get in and out of the suit, but they may be looser around the neck and can let in some water.


Water Flush

Water flush occurs when water enters the wetsuit through the neck, wrists, or ankles. This can significantly reduce the warmth of the suit, as the water acts as a conductor and cools your body down. To minimize water flush, look for wetsuits with features like adjustable neck closures, wrist and ankle seals, and well-sealed seams. A properly fitting wetsuit will also help reduce water flush and keep you warmer in the water.


The seal of a wetsuit refers to how well it prevents water from entering the suit. Wetsuits with sealed seams, such as glued and blind stitched or welded seams, offer better water resistance and are more effective at keeping you warm. Some wetsuits also have additional features like smooth skin panels or liquid rubber seals around the neck and wrists to provide a better seal against water flush.


Insulation is a critical factor in determining the warmth of a wetsuit. The thickness of the neoprene used in the suit plays a significant role in its insulation properties. Thicker neoprene provides better insulation in colder water, while thinner neoprene is suitable for warmer conditions. Some wetsuits also have additional features like thermal lining or inner insulation panels to enhance their warmth capabilities.


Range of Motion

Having a good range of motion is essential for any water sport. A wetsuit should not hinder your movement or restrict your performance in the water. Look for wetsuits that are designed with anatomical shaping and stretchy materials to ensure maximum mobility. Flexibility in the shoulder and arm areas is especially important for activities like paddling and surfing.


Flexibility not only affects mobility but also plays a role in how comfortable the wetsuit feels on your body. Wetsuits with high-quality neoprene and well-designed panels provide excellent flexibility. The neoprene should move with your body without feeling too tight or restrictive. Look for wetsuits that have strategic seam placement to enhance flexibility in key areas like the shoulders, elbows, and knees.


If you are into activities like paddleboarding or kayaking, the mobility of your wetsuit can significantly impact your performance. Look for wetsuits that are specifically designed for paddling sports. These suits often have features like seamless underarm panels or reinforced knees to enhance movement and durability in areas that are prone to wear and tear.



When it comes to choosing a wetsuit, price is often a consideration. Wetsuits can vary greatly in price, depending on factors like brand, materials, and features. It is important to determine your budget and find a wetsuit that offers the best value for your money. While it may be tempting to go for the cheapest option, keep in mind that a higher-quality wetsuit will likely provide better performance, durability, and overall satisfaction in the long run.


Durability is an important aspect to consider when evaluating the price of a wetsuit. A more durable wetsuit will last longer and withstand the rigors of regular use. Look for wetsuits that have reinforced knees, seat areas, or elbow pads to increase their longevity. Additionally, consider the reputation of the brand and read customer reviews to get an idea of the overall durability of the wetsuit.


Neck Closure

The neck closure of a wetsuit can greatly impact its comfort. There are different types of neck closures, including Velcro, zip, or glide skin. Velcro closures allow for adjustability and a customizable fit. Zip neck closures provide a secure fit but can be a bit more restrictive. Glide skin closures, also known as smooth skin or waterproof zipperless entry, offer a more comfortable and streamlined option. Choose the neck closure that suits your preference and provides the most comfort for your neck area.

Entry System

The entry system of a wetsuit refers to how you put it on and take it off. This can significantly impact the overall comfort of the suit. Chest-zip wetsuits typically have a shorter zipper, which can be a bit more challenging to get into, but once on, they provide a snug and comfortable fit. Back-zip wetsuits, with their longer zipper, are easier to get into but may be looser around the neck and can cause discomfort.


Seam Construction

Seam construction is an important factor to consider when evaluating the durability of a wetsuit. Well-constructed seams help ensure that the suit can withstand the stress of regular use and the pressure of the water. Glued and blind-stitched seams provide a durable and effective seal, minimizing the chances of water seeping through. Welded seams, also known as seam tape, offer the highest level of waterproofing and are incredibly strong and durable.


Reinforcements in key areas of a wetsuit can greatly enhance its durability. Look for wetsuits that have reinforced knees, seat areas, or elbow pads to prevent wear and tear in high-stress areas. These reinforcements help extend the lifespan of the wetsuit and ensure that it can withstand the demands of your favorite water sports activities.

Water Entry

Chest-Zip Advantages

Chest-zip wetsuits offer several advantages over back-zip wetsuits. The chest-zip design provides a more secure and comfortable fit, as the zipper is located on the front of the suit. This design eliminates the back zipper, reducing the chance of water entry. Chest-zip wetsuits also tend to have better flexibility and range of motion, making them ideal for activities that require a lot of movement, such as surfing or diving.

Back-Zip Advantages

Back-zip wetsuits are popular for their ease of entry and exit. The zipper on the back allows for a wider opening, making it easier to put on and take off the suit. Back-zip wetsuits are often more affordable than chest-zip suits and are a great option for beginner or casual water sports enthusiasts. However, they may not provide the same level of security, comfort, or flexibility as chest-zip wetsuits.



Proper maintenance is essential for prolonging the life of your wetsuit. After each use, rinse your wetsuit with freshwater to remove any salt or sand that may have accumulated. Use a mild soap or wetsuit cleaner to gently clean the suit, paying close attention to the seams and zippers. Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach, as they can degrade the neoprene. Hang the wetsuit to dry in a shaded area, away from direct sunlight.


Drying your wetsuit properly is crucial to prevent the growth of mold or bacteria. Hang the wetsuit upside down from the waist, using a wide hanger or wetsuit-specific hanger. Avoid hanging it by the shoulders, as this can stretch the neoprene over time. Make sure the suit is completely dry before storing it to prevent any moisture from causing damage.


When storing your wetsuit, avoid folding it, as this can cause creases and damage the neoprene. Instead, roll it up from the legs towards the waist. Store the wetsuit in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight or excessive heat. If possible, hang it or use a wetsuit-specific storage bag to keep it protected. Regularly inspect your wetsuit for any signs of damage or wear and make necessary repairs before using it again.



The aesthetic of a wetsuit may not impact its performance, but it can play a role in how confident and comfortable you feel wearing it. Wetsuits come in various colors, patterns, and designs, allowing you to express your personal style. Whether you prefer a bold and eye-catching look or a more understated and classic design, there is a wetsuit style to suit your taste.


The design of a wetsuit encompasses not only its appearance but also its overall functionality and features. Look for wetsuits that have thoughtful design elements such as strategically placed seams, reinforced knees and elbows, and adjustable closures. Consider the specific water sports activities you participate in and choose a wetsuit design that will enhance your performance and provide the features you need.

Choosing Between Chest-Zip and Back-Zip Wetsuits Deciding between chest-zip and back-zip wetsuits ultimately comes down to personal preference and the specific needs of your water sports activities. Chest-zip wetsuits provide a more secure and comfortable fit, better flexibility, and range of motion. They are ideal for activities that require a significant amount of movement, such as surfing or diving. Back-zip wetsuits, on the other hand, offer easier entry and exit, affordability, and convenience, making them a great option for beginners or casual water sports enthusiasts.

Consider factors such as warmth, mobility, comfort, price, durability, and maintenance when making your decision. Try on different wetsuits, take note of how they feel, and consider the specific features that are most important to you. With proper research and consideration, you’ll be able to find the perfect wetsuit that suits your needs and enhances your water sports experience.