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Best swimrun wetsuits reviewed for 2024

With swimrun growing in popularity, swimrun wetsuits are becoming increasingly feature-packed. But which is best for you? Our experts test six specialist releases

Thinking about trying swimrun for the first time, and wondering if you really need to splash out on a new swimrun wetsuit? Well, in short, we would say yes.

Okay, you can do a race in an old triathlon wetsuit cut down above the knees (and possibly arms too), but it’ll likely be uncomfortable to run in and lack many of the features that specialist swimrun wetsuits do.

These include a front zip for flexibility, extra buoyancy in the legs and torso, stretchy nylon panels in the underarms and groin for easier running, and pockets for all your essential kit (you have to carry a whistle, map, compass and bandage in swimrun).

The good news? As the sport has grown in popularity so have the number of suits available.

Most brands now offer a range of prices and specs, with entry-level ones from as little as £125 online (by Wiggle’s own Dhb brand) and if that’s still too expensive, there’s bound to be someone in your local tri club who can lend you one for your first adventure.

In this test we’ve focussed on swimrun wetsuits across the price points, so there’s something for you if you’re looking for an upgrade and there’s an option if you’re unsure if this is the sport for you.

For this money we’d be looking for well-thought out features, excellent fit and flexibility, speed and adaptability for different conditions.

Now, over to 220 Triathlon editor Helen Webster, swimrun coach Jude Palmer and former 220 staff writer Kate Milsom to reveal the results of their testing…

Best swimrun wetsuits for men and women

Orca Vanir Flex

Orca Vanir Flex swimrun wetsuit
  • £199 / $259

Orca claims the Vanir Flex is its most comfortable swimrun wetsuit, and the brand is not exaggerating.

The simple design of open-cell neoprene legs and bum area provide great flexibility on the runs and means the material is less likely to snag as you scramble in and out of swims.

The smoother neoprene on the top half not only improves the suit’s hydrodynamics, but also makes for a stylish look, while the removable arm sleeves fit well, stay in place and give great choice for staying cool on longer runs or in warmer waters.

Though it’s worth noting that Orca also offers a thermal swimrun suit, the more premium Aesir Thermal, for roughly double the price.

A front zip makes cabbing down (unzipping and peeling the top of your swimrun wetsuit down to your waist) easy and a soft neckline is much appreciated to avoid chafe.

The size (15cm x 12cm) of the back pocket on the Vanir Flex is a great sign that this brand understands the sport, as the large pocket is great for stashing mandatory kit or a filled soft flask.

Overall, the Vanir delivers great comfort and super flexibility, especially around the all-important shoulders and legs.

Plus, at £199 it offers a great suit and a great price for newcomers to the sport or those looking for a versatile all-rounder.

I wore a women’s medium and found it true to size. However, Orca currently offers nine sizes for men compared to just five for women, and it would be good to see this improved upon.

Verdict: A great all-round suit for racers and swimrun newcomers alike.

Score: 90%

Orca Aesir Flex

Orca Aesir Flex swimrun wetsuit
  • £449 / $549

At first glance, Orca’s Aesir Flex may look like a basic swimrun wetsuit, but it’s anything but.

The lightest and thinnest suit on test by some way, it delivers great comfort and super flexibility, especially around the all-important shoulders and legs.

The full jacket-style zip means it’s easy to take the top of the suit down or open up to help breathing, which is particularly useful when on long or hot runs.

The Aesir Flex comes with optional arm sleeves for those colder swims and also has an internal back pocket to stash mandatory safety kit.

However, if you want to carry more than that, you’ll have to find other means.

The rougher fabric on the lower half means this suit is less likely to get snagged when scrambling out of the water.

Admittedly, this is the swimrun wetsuit I’ve has been waiting for and the only drawback is its price, which may put it out of reach for people trying the sport for the first time.

I wore a women’s size medium and found it true to size. JP/KM

Verdict: Comfort and flexibility combine to deliver a great suit for racing, especially in warmer waters.

Score: 90%

See our full Orca Aesir Flex swimrun wetsuit review for more detail.

2XU Pro Swim Run

2XU Swim Run Pro wetsuit
  • £375 (no longer available in US)

Fit is key with any wetsuit, but especially with one you have to run in.

The 2XU size chart initially had me in a medium but, after experiencing a lot of water ingress, I sized down to a small.

I loved the 8mm upper leg inserts that, combined with stretchy leg backs, gives good buoyancy but not at the expense of run mobility.

The arms are 1.5mm and felt plenty flexible enough for swimming, and there are cut guides with rubber grippers if you choose to remove them.

After sizing down I did find I had to unzip on longer runs or the suit felt restrictive across the body, but that snugness was welcome for warmth.

Like the Zone3 Evolution it has a large, zipped rear pocket and you get a quality whistle in a breast pocket.

It’s a stylish-looking suit, although for partner-visibility and safety I wish 2XU had opted for a brighter colour and not this girlie mauve (men’s in red). HW

Verdict: Sizing down gave us a better overall experience; a quality suit with some nice design features.

Score: 83%

Head MyBoost Pro

Head MyBoost Pro swimrun wetsuit
  • £349.99 (UK only)

Head was one of the original swimrun innovators and the brand has raised its game again for 2019 with the newly-designed MyBoost Pro – and it shows.

The suit fits perfectly and true to the size guide. In the swim it kept me buoyant (although you have the option of adding more buoyancy inserts into clever internal pockets if you need them) and was the suit on test with the least water ingress on the neck.

Here you get a full front zip, but Head has added a small third-length zip on the back of the neck to add flexibility and to make removal easier, which is a neat touch.

Stretchy panels are perfectly placed to make running easier and neoprene cuffs on the arms and legs keep them snugly in place.

Added features include a whistle on the zip, a large zipped rear pocket large enough for all our essential kit and a tow-loop on the front for linking to your partner in the swim. HW

Verdict: Not cheap, but a suit that would perform superbly in most race conditions.

Score: 93%

Zone3 Evolution

Zone3 Evolution swimrun wetsuit
  • £399 / $545

The Evolution was the first swimrun specific wetsuit to become popular in the UK and it’s great to see it having a welcome refresh.

Although not the lightest here, the Evolution is lighter than previous models and feels comfortable both in the water and on the run.

I wore a women’s size medium and found it true to size. Flexibility on the legs and shoulders is good and it comes with arm sleeves for colder swims (many competitors wear these folded at the wrists, then pull them up for swimming).

This wetsuit looks good and it’s great to see it move away from the gender bias colours to orange highlights.

Orange is the most visible colour underwater, so there’s science here, too!

If you want plenty of storage, the Evolution is for you as there are two separate zipped back pockets, thigh pockets, plus two inside the torso.

With slightly thicker neoprene on the chest area, the Evolution offers more buoyancy to the swimmer and the rougher fabric on the lower half makes it less likely to catch on obstacles. JP

Verdict: An upgraded old favourite packed with features that still very much makes the cut.

Score: 85%

Aquasphere Limitless

Aquasphere Limitless swimrun wetsuit
  • £360 / $399.99

The Limitless comes with three key features: a whistle, which is mandatory at most swimrun events, plus front and back loops, which are a great addition if you’re racing as a pair and want to use a tow line to tether.

Lastly, the Limitless has both a back and a front zip, which makes it easy to get on and off, perfect if you’re racing solo and don’t have someone to help you (the front-only zips on many suits make it easy to get air and flexibility when running, but very hard to pull on and off!).

The thicker neoprene on the legs and torso offer extra buoyancy and warmth but make this suit one of the heaviest on test.

It also means that the flexibility isn’t as good around the shoulders and legs.

I like the use of Velcro to close internal storage pockets as otherwise they can spill their contents when the suit is taken down on runs.

The sizing’s a little odd, though. I wore a women’s large, which according to the guide was the top end of my measurements, yet the suit felt too small. JP

Verdict: This good value suit has some great features but is letdown by sizing.

Score: 70%

How we tested the swimrun wetsuits

We tested these suits during a number of hot weeks in the summer, performing multiple loops around our local lake and wooded run trails.

We considered warmth and buoyancy in the swim, flexibility and comfort in the run, and also what additional features, such as removable sleeves, an easy-to-peel-off top and storage pockets, are included.

Any score over 90% is class leading, 80-89% is still impressive and one of the best you can buy, while 70-79% is a decent performer. Anything below that starts to become a little average.

How to pick the best swimrun wetsuit for you

Getting the right swimrun wetsuit can really make or break your day.

Your suit needs to fit well enough that you can swim and run in it comfortably (trickier than it sounds) and it also needs to hit that sweet spot between keeping you warm enough in the water, but offering enough ventilation or options to unzip (or ‘cab down’ in swimrun terms) when you get warmer while running.

Swimrun wetsuits offer a range of options based on ability, too – do you want one which is super-lightweight for racing, but at the expense of buoyancy?

Or are you a slower swimmer who needs to think about completing, rather than competing?

Top image credit: Akuna/Otillo

Profile image of Helen Webster Helen Webster Editor, 220 Triathlon

About

Helen has been 220's Editor since July 2013, when she made the switch from marathons to multisport. She's usually found open-water swimming and has competed in several swimruns as well as the ÖtillÖ World Series. Helen is a qualified Level 2 Open-Water Swim Coach focusing on open-water confidence and runs regular workshops at the South West Maritime Academy near Bristol. She is also an RLSS UK Open Water Lifeguard trainer/assessor.