Cheap Wetsuits, avoid???

Hi, I'm a newbie to triathlon, have been a runner for many years and now progressing on to multi discipline.

The running and bike will take care of themselves as I have no problem with them, however, I am looking at open water swimming and as I am only new into this is it worth buying one of the cheaper models of wet suit from Ebay (£25-£50) or will I regret it and wish I had spent more???

Any advice welcome.

Cheers, Matt.


  • Err no, avoid those

    Likely they will be bog standard surf ones that you wouldnt be able to swim very far in

    You can get bargains but you need to know what you are looking for and know make v sizes

  • Depends on which sort of wet suit you are buying ? 


    One designed for wind surfing or sailing with thick neoprene ?  

    Or one with full articulated shoulders designed for swimming with thin neoprene ? 

  • Minimum needs to be a decent make (Speedo, Huub, Orca, Blue Seventy etc).  Cost unimportant if a decent brand.  
    My first open water tri was in a £15 TWF wetsuit (Cornish company) from Tesco.  Ended up being baggy and rubbing.  Given that I run a 1:18 half marathon I finished last in the swim!!! Last!!! 28 year old male getting out the water behind overweight 40 plus women!  I am also a rubbish swimmer.  I now have a £70 Triathelite Speedo which I got in sale from Chain Reaction Cycles.

    For more info check out

  • I hadn't realised that having a decent half marathon time turned you into Ian Thorpe as well 

  • Quite - my point was that I am fit (in terms of health) and that it was not a lack of fitness only a lack of technique and, given my now year old wetsuit, kit that caused my to finish stone dead last.  

  • Many thanks for the swift responses, I am guessing that the ones I have seen are not best for swimming, the brands are No Fear and Osprey so I'm guessing they are best for surfing rather than Tri's.

    I think I will have a pop along to my local tri shop and see what they advise for newbies image

  • You can buy wetsuits from ebay. But you have to know what you are looking for. A baggy fit is a total no-no. Unfortunately you are exactly 6 months out from the end of season, which is the best time to buy.

    Have you considered hiring for the season? eg TriUK?

  • D0MD0M ✭✭✭

    Buy cheap, buy twice.

  • MandMsMandMs ✭✭✭

    Hi I bought an ex display xterra vortex off eBay for £80 seemed to be perfect but l did buy last October at end of season.

  • Personally I think you'd be better off with a half decent second hand triathlon wetsuit than a new, cheap, surfing style wetsuit. I'm sure you'd find something on ebay. Flexible shoulders is probably the most important thing for swimming and you won't get that in most cheap wetsuits. Also triathlon wetsuits are generally designed to be easier to get off if you want a quick transition.

    I did swim the first few of my triathlons in a ripcurl surfing wetsuit and it wasn't a problem. I was faster once I switched to speedos entry level suit though and much les tiring on the arms. I've just gotten an Orca Alpha and tried it out yesterday. Baltic cold but the wetsuit was great! 

  • you can get a made to measure suit for the same price as a mid range off the peg i had 2 mail order sale suits which i thought were Ok until i bit the bullet and got a made to measure much faster comfortable swim now and quicker T1 times as it just peels off. Got mine at Snugg well recommended

  • BudjudeBudjude ✭✭✭

    i got mine on ebay - for £30 its osprey - does the job for me - never had one before but it fits well and is fine.

    could i go quicker in a tri specific one? probably but not enought to justify the large outlay

  • Having finished with triathlon My wetsuit is about to go on ebay, Its a Blue Seventy Helix siz e medium and worn three times!

    Drop me a PM if your interested open to reasonable offers

  • I'm doing my first open water swim in the Great North Swim and I've deliberated wheteher to buy or not, but you can hire one for £130 (and get £81 back when returned).

    Has anyone any experience of these hire suits, as I'm new to this.




  • £50 is too pricey in my opinion.. If you have plans to swim OW a few times a year then I would just buy one. If its a one-off swim then maybe it makes more sense to rent. The rental suits are probably perfectly fine. You could ask them if they'd sell one for a good price?

  • I am looking at a cheap tri wetsuit for future races and I have a lack of funds. Was wondering if anyone knows anything about the brand FOOR? They have some pricey wetsuits but they have a 'classic' tri wetsuit for £100 sold by tri uk and this is also thesame wetsuit which they rent out for 50. I cant find any reviews. Anyone know Iif its decent and whether it woulf hold up for up to 70.3?

  • BudjudeBudjude ✭✭✭

    still maintain my cheap and cheerful is more than adequate. unless your going to be at the front pushing for the win - does it really matter?

  • After a recommendation on this forum i purchased my wetsuit from

    It was an ex hire, used three times. under £100. I sent them my measurements and they rang me to discuss. Sent me an aspire3, fits really well! so happy with it (0:

    Ignored instructions though and put a nail hole in it, first time i put it on. Fixed that with that black witches glue stuff.  



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