We may earn commission from links on this page. Our editorial is always independent.

Zone3 Yulex Sleeveless Swimsuit review

Does this eco alternative to a neoprene swimsuit have a place in your kit bag? Editor Helen Webster puts it to the test

Our rating 
4.1 out of 5 star rating 4.1
Zone3 Yulex swimsuit

Wondering what the heck Yulex is? Well, be prepared to hear a lot more about it in the coming months.

Advertisement MPU reviews

Yulex is a natural alternative to traditional neoprene and is made from plant-based rubber sourced from the Havea tree.

This is relevant because traditional neoprene production is linked to a higher incidence of cancer cases in the area surrounding its main factory in Louisiana – a film due out this autumn, The Big Sea, is set to tell us more.

So in short, expect to see a lot more brands switching in the future (we’ll be exploring this in more detail in a 220 feature soon).

Zone3 Yulex Swimsuit review

We haven’t yet seen a full-length swimming or triathlon wetsuit made from Yulex, but this swimsuit from tri brand Zone3 is arguably the next best thing (B-corp brand Finisterre has similar products on sale, too).

Designed for water activities, it’s 1.5mm thick and the range includes a sleeveless swimsuit, too, as well as a top and shorts for the chaps.

During our test period in the summer in waters of 17-20°C we found it gave enough extra warmth to allow us to do a decent length of swim (though we are all different) and also protected us from the sun.

The suit was soft, flexible, comfortable and allowed us to swim without hindrance.

Of course there are other considerations – you don’t get the buoyancy of a normal suit, it isn’t coated so is less hydrodynamic, the soft fabric was easy to snag (e.g. with a tow float belt) and this tester found it near impossible to get off again without help.

But as a comfy and eco starting point to moving away from neoprene, we’re happy to use this for the summer and are excited to see what may come next.

Verdict: Innovative swimsuit that adds warmth and begins an important eco journey in tri.

Score: 83%

Pair this with…

Zone3 Swim Safety Buoy Dry Bag

Zone3 Safety Buoy

It’s always a good idea to use a tow float when you go swimming in open water, as it not only makes you more visible to other water users, but is also a handy safety net.

That’s particularly useful if you get tired or suffer from cramp and just need to grab hold of something to keep you afloat while you rest.

With that in mind, and taking the lack of buoyancy on offer from Zone3’s Yulex Swimsuit, a tow float is a great addition.

Advertisement MPU reviews

This version also doubles up as a dry bag, allowing you to store snacks or valuables inside, too.