7 of the best environmentally friendly wetsuits

If you’re in the market for a new wetsuit it is worthwhile considering options that are manufactured using sustainable materials and environmentally friendly manufacturing processes.

Conventional Neoprene is a synthetic rubber – also called polychloroprene – derived primarily from oil and sometimes from limestone. It was invented by the DuPont company as a substitute for natural rubber, which was in high demand in the early 20th century.

Neoprene exploded onto the scene, providing a quality, durable material that can be used for insulation, safety gear and, of course, in wetsuits. Unfortunately manufacturing Neoprene – especially from oil – is seriously unsustainable and communities near manufacturing plants have reported seriously negative health outcomes, including an increase in cancers.

The Californian Proposition 65 document now includes chloroprene amongst its list of carcinogens. You might have noticed the ominous warning “This product may cause cancer” on certain Neoprene wetsuits and rash guards.

Clearly, many surfers are waking up to the importance of choosing products that are both sustainably sourced and manufactured.

To help you make your decision, we’ve researched 7 of the best eco-friendly wetsuits available today.


Patagonia – Men’s R3 Yulex Front-Zip Full Suit

A high-performance, neoprene-free wetsuit made of warm and stretchy 85% Yulex® natural rubber/15% synthetic rubber by polymer content. Suggested water temperatures: 48°–55° F/9°–13° C. Fair Trade Certified™ sewn.

R3 Yulex Features

Warmth & Stretch

  • 85% Yulex® natural rubber/15% synthetic, chlorine-free rubber by polymer content; natural rubber is Forest Stewardship Council® certified by the Rainforest Alliance
  • Arms/legs have stretchy, solution-dyed 100% recycled polyester lining; stretchy, solution-dyed exterior is 85% recycled polyester/15% spandex; laminated with solvent-free AquaA™ glue
  • Torso/thighs have stretchy, solution-dyed 95% polyester (51% recycled)/5% spandex microgrid thermal lining that dries fast and minimizes weight

Durable & Watertight

  • Asymmetrical front-zip with replaceable, corrosion-proof Salmi® zipper provides better seal and extends suit’s lifespan; internal key loop included
  • 100% external seam sealing; all seams are triple-glued and internally taped
  • Supratex kneepads and ankle cuffs for maximum durability and anatomic fit

Check out our review of the Patagonia R2.

Price: USD $489

Buy here: patagonia.com


Vissla – North Seas 3/2 Full Suit

New improved fit for better range of motion – anatomically engineered body lines with minimal seams for unrestricted performance and warmth.

We use earth mined limestone to replace petrochemicals in our neoprene. It comes from nature and has less environmental impact.

Vissla.com

North Seas 3/2 Features

Warmth & Stretch

  • I-Foam Premium- the lightest weight, warmest & stretchiest limestone based neoprene available; significantly less weight, enhanced flexibility and superior comfort
  • Full body thermal and Brain Fuzz lining insulates heat and dries fast
  • Dope Dyed Fabric- A softer, eco-friendly, anti-fade made by Bluesign approved mills
  • AquaA eco-friendly water-based lamination is completely solvent free with no harmful chemicals

Durable & Watertight

  • PK S-LOCK Water Tight Zipper – Chest-zip entry with Cris-X panels for easy entry and minimal bulk with a perfect fit
  • Vissla’s super stretch Neo 2.0 tape allows for maximum seam sealing while having unrestricted stretch and comfort
  • Tripled glued, double blind stitched seam
  • Glideskin on the neck seasl to skin to prevent flushing
  • Knee pad – Supratex abrasion resistant jersey for flexibility and strength
  • Liquid taped on the cuffs, seals to prevent flushing
  • Easy access secure key cord

Price: USD $300

Buy here: vissla.com


Matuse – Tumo 4/3

The Tumo is named after the Buddhist meditation Technique where naked Monks sit in the snow, underneath a wet blanket, and dry-it-out with their own body heat. So jump into the coldest environments. The Tumo wetsuit has you covered even if you don’t meditate.

Features

  • HIDDEN CHAMBER: Geoprene with built-in air chambers: stores radiant heat from the body and improves the suits ability to slow down heat loss to the outside environment. 
  • HYDRASILK: Silky smooth, hydrophobic ( i.e. rejects H2O ) material that’s your windbreaker in the water. Makes you feel all buttery inside.
  • SATIN SEAL TAPE: A durable yet flexible SCS tape that provides extra seam durability that is soft and comfortable to your skin. Ichiban infused. 

Price: USD $550

Buy here: matuse.com


Xcel – Drylock 3/2 Fullsuit FA19

DRYLOCK – UNMATCHED WARMTH AND PERFORMANCE

MATERIALS – Featuring Xcel’s all-new Channel Flex Exterior for a weightless feel and unrestricted warmth. Celliant Black High Pile with Hollow Fibers, in the chest is the next generation TDC with enhanced heat-retaining minerals to maintain the warmth generated through the Infrared Process, with brushed hollow fibers enhancing the air particles trapped between your body and suit. High pile Celliant Black Jacquard, in the sleeves and lower body, is also the next-generation TDC with enhanced heat-retaining minerals to maintain the warmth generated through the Infrared Process. Eco-friendly Nanoprene Lite Japanese Limestone neoprene is limestone-based with unrivaled memory and rebound that is lighter, warmer, and softer than the average neoprene. There is 100% Ultraflex in the lower body for high performance and a durable glide skin collar creates a watertight seal to prevent flushing.

DESIGN – Engineered fit system which fits like a second skin. An easy entry system with a balanced shoulder design. A semi-dry zipper with a magnetic closure to keep water out, Drylock wrist seals that lock water out and back knee flex grooves that prevent bunching.

CONSTRUCTION – Triple glued and blindstitched seams provide a water-tight seam construction where foam edges are glued multiple times before being slammed together creating air/water-tight seal, then stitched a quarter way through the foam to give it the strength needed. FusionX taped seams is the next generation of precision tape technology, applied by a machined heat-pressure process that bonds tape directly to suit ensuring maximum seam durability while eliminating the need for excess glue that causes irritation. Eco-friendly water-based glue provides premium durability and bonds while being environmentally conscious. Nexskin ankle seals that minimize flushing.

Price: USD $394.95

Buy here: xcelwetsuits.com


Picture – Civic 3/2 Zip Free Wetsuit

The best possible environmentally friendly product design. Unique designs that stand out for their fresh colors and valued for their good quality. Picture products are made from 100% recycled, organic or responsibly sourced materials.

The Civic 3/2 Zip Free suit is essential for your mid-season sessions. It is made from Picture Naturalprene and constructed using Aqua-a ™ water-based glue lamination technology. This suit has stitched seams glued for more waterproofness, seamless areas and knee pads for optimal comfort and ideal freedom of movement.

Features

Outside

  • Hermetic construction without zip, using a PU coating to benefit from the best sealing
  • Elastic tape strategically placed to prevent water ingress
  • Resistant and stretchable zone thanks to a specific fabric construction for more durability and comfort
  • The seams are triple glued and then sewn with invisible stitches. More stretch and fewer water entries
  • More ergonomic construction behind the knees for more comfort
  • Provides great mobility of the shoulder without any irritation

Interior

  • Smooth neckline for better waterproofing and more comfort
  • Hydrophobic recycled polyester which allows quick drying and better insulation. Also gives more lightness to the suit during practice
  • Double thickness to protect the sides
  • Facilitates water drainage
  • An innovative fit inspired by triathlon suits. Its construction frees the mobility of the shoulder. Adapts easily to the free zip or front zip.
  • The band is glued inside each seam

Price: €359.99

Buy here: picture-organic-clothing.com


Sooruz – Greenline Chest-zip 2020

The First eco-responsible wetsuit of oyster powder.

The new Biöprene Soöruz is the result of several years of work by the R&D Soöruz Department. Convinced by the oyster powder interest, we crushed the oysters and sent the powder to our factories. This new material is made from a mix of natural rubber, sugar cane and non-food vegetable oil.
Its flexibility is equivalent to conventional wetsuits. The seams are reinforced with ultra-flexible neoprene strips, optimizing the durability and warmth of the wetsuit. On the front and back, you will find our inner lining that will maintain the natural temperature of your body.
We have selected the chest-zip opening system, easy to thread and limiting water inlets. It makes this wetsuit accessible to all levels of practice and for all watersports.

Our R&D team work hard to propose you the most performant, stronger and most organic product of possible.

Eco-Responsibility

  • New «recipe» to develop a neoprene even more eco responsible for the first time in the wetsuit environment
  • Exclusive to Soöruz, this recycled polyester lining provides warmth, comfort and quick drying
  • Water based ink that doesn’t contain any endocrine disruptors, heavy metals or any chemical and dangerous substances for the environment

Special Features

  • The use of recycled Nylon allows working with new raw materials instead of traditional oil Using a Recycled Nylon is less impacting for the air, water and ground pollution
  • Front zip with a left side opening to give you a maximum of flexibility when you are paddling and reduce the water entry

Price: €240.83

Buy here: surfwear.sooruz.com


Sen No Sen – Yulex 4/3 Black

This is our line of the most efficient and environmentally friendly material.Yulex is natural rubber while neoprene is synthetic rubber. It is made from Hevea tree sap which is grown in a sustainable and renewable way (FSC certified). 

Our mission is to design and manufacture the best products that we want to wear every day and that make our lives better.

Features

  • FrontZip closure for a easy to put on and make rowing easier because there are no pressure points on the shoulders or back
  • Hand-assembled for a better non-standard service life
  • Glued stitch and inner band for a excellent insulation 
  • Combination light, dries quickly
  • Cut designed for a maximum comfort and uncompromising freedom of movement while maintaining excellent posture
  • Directly from the workshop to your home, without intermediaries, to offer best value

Price: €349.00

Buy here: sennosen.com

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