Choosing a Wetsuit
If you don't already own a wetsuit use my article "Before You Buy a Wetsuit" as a guide when considering wetsuit thickness, design, construction, proper fit, and more.
Putting on a Wetsuit
The most common mistake people make getting in a wetsuit for the first time is putting it on backwards. To avoid this embarrassing moment make sure the zipper is in the back. They all come with a long string attached to the zipper which makes it easy to zip it up behind your back.
An exception to this rule is with two-piece suits, which sometimes zip in the front and there is no zipper string attached. If you are unsure, the label will be in the back of the suit, much like in clothing.
Start With the Feet
Find a place to sit down to help with your balance. Roll or push down the legs of the wetsuit so that there is just enough room to put in your foot and stop before your heel goes through the foot hole. Grab the outside of the suit at the heel and gently lift it to help your heel slide through the hole. This is a better option to punching your foot all the way through the hole in one motion because it helps maintain the seam construction. Do this with both feet.
Next, the Legs
Stand up and from the bottom of the wetsuit legs, slowly pull the suit over your legs. Grab each roll in the suit and work it up inch by inch, first to your knees and then up your thighs. Don't just grab the top of the suit and pull it up. Why? Again, this puts less stress on the seams. Make sure the suit is pulled up all the way to the crotch so there is no sagging. If it is not pulled up all the way your leg movements will be restricted.
Time for the Arms
It helps to get the arms in a wetsuit if you have someone to help. Start with one arm and gently slide your hand in the hand hole. Work the opening from the outside to slide your hand all the way through. As mentioned above, to protect the seams, don't grab the suit at the elbow and force your hand in the hole. Do the same with the other hand and work the wetsuit over your forearms.
Next, have your assistant lift the suit over your shoulders. A buddy also comes in handy pulling up the zipper because they can make sure it does not snag on the neoprene or get caught on long hair. Secure the Velcro at the top of the zipper to prevent it from unzipping.
How Does it Feel?
At this point you may feel the suit is too small. I always rotate my arms around like a windmill to add a little stretch to the suit arms. I then squat down to add stretch to the suit legs. This helps to get rid of some of the suit tightness. A wetsuit with a good fit makes contact over most of the body, leaving as little space as possible between the suit and your skin. If you have gaping spaces between the suit and your skin, excess water will enter the suit and prevent the suit from insulating the body. Read more on how a wetsuit works.
Are You Still Frustrated?
If you are still struggling to put on your wetsuit consider a lubricant such at Suit Juice which will help it slide across your skin.