What Do You Wear Under a Wetsuit?

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If you like diving, surfing, or enjoying other water-based activities while wearing a wetsuit, you are probably wondering what you need to wear under the wetsuit. It’s one of the first questions that those who are new to these types of sports ask. There’s no hard and true answer that is going to work for everyone. However, if you want to know “what do you wear under a wetsuit”, you will find the most common options below.

In addition, we will look at some of the best reasons to wear something under the wetsuit. There are some great options available, and you might find that you want to have several of these options available. Depending on how and where you might be diving or using the suit, some options might be more appropriate than others.

While you will find that many of the options will work for either men or women, we’ve broken them down into separate categories. This should make it easier for you to find the option that will work best for your needs.

Table of Contents

Wetsuit Undergarment Options for Men to Consider

There are many wonderful options that you could choose for wearing beneath your wetsuit. We’ve included a range of choices that should be able to service just about everyone’s needs. Let’s take a closer look at some of the possibilities.

Bicycle Shorts/Diving Shorts

You could opt for either bicycle shorts or diving shorts, which tend to be made from the same material, neoprene. These can provide you with an added layer of protection, which can be nice for colder dives. You will also find that it will be easier for you to get into and out of your wetsuit when you use diving shorts under your wetsuit.

The shorts tend to be light and you won’t feel as though they are bogging you down. Still, they can provide an added layer of warmth to the wetsuit, which can be nice for divers. While this is a good option for men, you will also find that the shorts are unisex, in many cases, and will work just as well for women.

Rash Guard

You might also want to wear something on your upper body under the wetsuit. While a standard t-shirt might be able to do the job in a pinch, you should consider getting a rash guard. These are often used by surfers, and they work very well under a wetsuit. They can provide some added warmth and protection without being bulky.

Again, these are often made from lightweight material that will feel great, reduce friction, and provide some more warmth when needed. Another benefit of using rash guards and similar compression shirts is that there are many styles available.

Full Body Suit

Instead of option to buy the tops and bottoms separately, you might want to consider a full body jumpsuit for your wetsuit. You can find high-quality neoprene options that are thin enough to still allow freedom of movement when you are in your wetsuit, and that are easy to put on and take off. They are comfortable and can work very well for those who want that added layer. You will find many options available made from material like Lycra. If you simply need to have something to slip on beneath the wetsuit and you don’t want to add too much to your overall diving setup, briefs could be a good option to consider.


For those who feel that they don’t need as much protection when they are in their wetsuit, there is always the option of using a pair of briefs, such as speedos.

You will find that the options above can also serve double duty. Not only will you be able to wear them under your wetsuit, but you can also wear them during many other types of activities around the water, such as surfing, bodyboarding, etc. If you opt for some bike shorts and a compression shirt, they could be great when you are biking, for example.

Wetsuit Undergarment Options for Women to Consider

There are plenty of great options available for female divers, as well. Some of the options are the same as those for men. For example, you will be able to find neoprene diving and biking shorts to wear under the wetsuit.

In addition, there are full body suits designed for women that are lightweight and that add protection and warmth under the suit.

One-Piece Swimsuit

Women who want to have some additional coverage, but who don’t want to have a full bodysuit under the wetsuit might want to consider a swimsuit. It is important to keep in mind that not just any swimsuit will do.

You will want to look for a quality suit that is made from material such as Lycra and nylon. This helps to ensure that you will still be able to slip on the wetsuit. You do not want to get a swimsuit that has any zippers or attachments that stick out and that could get caught on the wetsuit, for example.

A nice benefit of choosing a swimsuit for beneath the wetsuit is that it provides you with a suit that you can wear to the beach when you aren’t diving.

what do you wear under a wetsuit

Sleeveless Tops

Choosing sleeveless tops is an option that is popular with many women. While women could wear compression shirts and rash guards, sleeveless tops provide you with more freedom in the shoulders. This helps to offer more maneuverability in the water.

Again, you should choose a material like neoprene, and you will want to make sure it is not too thick. You will find that these sleeveless tops can work quite well for many other water sports, as well, which makes it cost-effective.

Could You Wear Nothing Under a Wetsuit?

Of course, you might be one of those people who are considering not wearing anything between you and the wetsuit. Is this possible? It is in many circumstances. However, if you are going to be renting a wetsuit, you certainly want to have something between you and the suit. It’s typically a requirement for rental, and not wearing anything is not hygienic.

If you own your wetsuit and will be the only one wearing it, there is nothing that’s stopping you from going “commando” if you would like. Yet, many divers find this to be rather uncomfortable for a range of reasons.

  • What if you need to get out of the suit fast?
  • It can cause chafing
  • Consider where you are going to be diving

If you need to get out of the suit quickly after a dive, or if you just want to take it off to keep cool while you aren’t in the water, you certainly need something beneath! Along the same lines, you have to think about where you will be diving and changing. You may not be able to find a private area to change, and this could be problematic if you don’t have anything on beneath.

Chafing is another issue with which you will have to contend if you do not have anything on under the wetsuit. You might end up getting a rash or sores, which will make diving more difficult. In fact, the chafing will cause problems and pain with just about anything else that you plan to do, as well. That’s the last thing you need on vacation, or even just for a quick weekend getaway.

While you may not be required to wear anything under your wetsuit, it’s still a good idea. Look at the benefits of using undergarments in a wetsuit below to see why.

Benefits of Using Undergarments in a Wetsuit

If you are still on the fence about wearing undergarments with your wetsuit, the following benefits might help you make up your mind.

Added Comfort

The first and foremost reason that most people want to wear gear under their wetsuit is the comfort that it can provide. As mentioned, chafing can be painful. After wearing a wetsuit without anything underneath, the skin will become sore. This is most common around the neck, behind the knees, between the legs, and the armpits.

Some divers choose to use special gel that helps to prevent chafing. While this can be helpful, it is much easier to simply add an extra layer of protection. This can provide more comfort and better protection from developing sores during the dive sessions.

Protection from the Elements

One of the other major reasons to wear undergarments with a wetsuit is the protection it can provide from the cold. Adding the extra layers provides more insulation and warmth when you are in the water and when you are out of the water. Keeping the body comfortable and adequately insulated before, during, and after the dive is essential.

Choosing quality undergarments to wear beneath the wetsuit makes it easy. You should always have an idea of the temperatures in which you will be diving, so you can make sure you have all of the right gear and garments with you. If in doubt, bring it along with you and only use it if needed.


Take a moment to think about where you will be changing into your wetsuit. You will not always have the luxury of a private location where you can change. Sometimes, you might be on a beach, on a boat, or in some other public location. Not having any undergarments between you and the wetsuit would make this nearly impossible.

For the sake of your privacy, it is best to have one of the options that we’ve listed above that you can wear beneath your suit. It’s also helpful if you are coming off a dive and want to strip out of your wetsuit while you are relaxing on the boat. There are plenty of options, and you will surely find the perfect solution for your wetsuit needs.

Figure Out What’s Right for You

With a better understanding of the options available to you, and the best reasons to wear something under your wetsuit, it’s time to make your choice, or choices. There is no “best” undergarment for your wetsuit. The option you choose will often be based on your preferences.

Those who will be diving in warmer waters will likely want to have less coverage beneath the wetsuit. This is because they don’t need the added thermal protection. Those who will be diving in colder waters may want to have more coverage, so they are comfortable when they are diving.

Regardless of which option you choose, it is a good idea to understand just how thick the material is before you make your choice. You do not want to get any undergarments for the wetsuit that are too thick, as they will feel bulky.

The more you dive, the easier it will become to know what your preferences are for undergarments. Always make the choice to buy high-quality items, since you can use them for multiple purposes, such as swimming, biking, and more. Now, it’s time to figure out which options you want to try, so you can have a great dive.