Sleeveless vs Longsleeve wetsuits

As a Triathlete, you invest a wealth of time, energy and sweat into training. So, ensuring you have the best gear is vital to help you perform at your highest potential. This gives you an advantage over your competitors and sets a strong foundation that supports all those hours of hard work and preparation.


When competing in a triathlon, you need to consider an abundance of gear. One of the most essential pieces of equipment you need to get right is your triathlon wetsuit


Open water swimming and triathlon wetsuits are game changers when getting you through your swim due to their extra warmth and streamlined features. Whether you’re taking part in the next Ironman triathlon or just open water swimming to reap the benefits of it without the competitiveness, there are a couple of wetsuits to consider: sleeveless wetsuits and long sleeve wetsuits. 


check out our blog on the benefits of open water swimming



The difference is pretty simple. Long sleeve wetsuits, or full-body wetsuits, have long neoprene arms that come to your wrists and long neoprene legs that reach your ankles. Sleeveless wetsuits do not have neoprene sleeves, as they’re cut off at the shoulders. Some sleeveless wetsuits have long neoprene legs, while others have short legs cut off just above the knee. 




Sleeveless swimming wetsuits come with their benefits, such as:
Less restriction
Free shoulder movement
More suitable in warmer waters
Better fit
Quicker transition for triathlon races



Long sleeve wetsuits offer many great benefits, too, like:
More insulation
Better suited for colder waters 
More buoyant
Faster (more hydrodynamic)
Added protection 



Selecting the right wetsuit matters, so let us break it down for you. Sleeveless wetsuits are ideal for those competing or swimming in warmer waters. They are also an excellent option for novice open water swimmers, as they feel more comfortable and are a great option to slowly help you become accustomed to the feel of a wetsuit. Sleeveless wetsuits also have a quicker transition time as they’re easier to put on and take off, allowing you to shave seconds off your overall race time. 


On the other hand, long sleeve wetsuits are a better choice for those swimming in colder waters. They also benefit triathletes who want to take seconds off their swim time, as the extra neoprene material around the arms provides more lift out of the water and creates less drag, allowing swimmers to be more streamlined. 


Suppose you’re a regular open water swimmer or triathlete who races through the summer and winter months. In that case, we recommend getting one of each, so you can be prepared and make the right decision based on your circumstances without being limited. Doing this will help you make the most of your swims and give you the best advantage when going head-to-head against competitors. 


At Wetsuit Centre, we stock top-of-the-range swim wetsuits and other essential open water swimming equipment. 


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Here are our top picks for sleeveless and long sleeve triathlon wetsuits. 


Our Zone 3 Lava Women’s Sleeveless Distance Trisuit is an excellent choice for long-distance triathlons in warmer waters or the peak of summer. This women’s sleeveless wetsuit offers a reduced risk of swim fatigue due to the short neoprene and legs and missing arms, which allow for less restrictive movements. It’s breathable and lightweight, with great flexibility and manoeuvrability. 


zone 3 lava womens sleeveless distance wetsuit


Another one for the women is the Zone 3 Women's Vision Sleeveless Wetsuit. The long neoprene legs improve hydrodynamics, encouraging a faster and more streamlined swim. This brilliant wetsuit has been awarded a Gold Award and a 5/5 for performance from Triathlon Plus. Our Zone 3 Vision Sleeveless Wetsuit For Men offers the exact same features. 


zone 3 womens vision sleeveless wetsuit


Our Zone 3 Men’s Activate+ Momentum Sleeveless Tri Suit is a stylish racing choice with a comfortable feel thanks to the high-powered Lycra Sport fabric. This men's sleeveless wetsuit features a front zip, allowing swimmers to easily get in and out for a quick transition. With brilliant shape retention, this suit perfectly fits women. 


zone 3 mens activate+ momentum sleeveless tri suit



If you’re just starting in open water swimming, then our Ocra Vitalis Breast Stroke Women’s Open Water Wetsuit is the perfect match for you. Featuring added warmth that will allow you to swim for hours, flexibility and extra buoyancy. 


orca vitalis breast stroke womens open water wetsuit


Our Zone 3 Men’s Vision Open Water Wetsuit is warm, comfortable and streamlined. With minimised drag, this is one of the fastest swim wetsuits on the market. Even better, this fantastic Zone 3 Vision Open Water Wetsuit For Women is available too.


zone 3 mens vision open water wetsuit


Do you swim often in harsh, cold waters? Our flexible and streamlined Orca RS1 Thermal Men’s Open Water Wetsuit is built with 5mm of Yamamoto 39 technical foam and Thermal X high-performance inner lining, keeping you warmer for longer.  


orca RS1 thermal mens open water wetsuit


We hope this guide has helped you better understand sleeveless and long sleeve wetsuits. Both types have their place in the open water and can help bring the most out of your training. Now, you can make a more informed decision when deciding on the right wetsuit to support you best in certain conditions.


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