Athletes often ask us what's the difference between a full and a sleeveless wetsuit?
Easy: full suits are faster and warmer. In the past, full suits were often only used for very cold swims, as they had a reputation for reducing stroke efficiency and causing muscle fatigue in the arms. With the advent of more flexible materials and better construction techniques, today's crop of full suits, even the value ones, feature restriction-free design benefits. Now they have become the choice of suit for most triathletes.
So why would you want a sleeveless suit?
Full suits are warmer. The number one reason for picking up a sleeveless suit is swimming in warmer climates and races. When air and water temperatures over longer distances rise, some athletes can overheat in a full suit. A sleeveless suit offers most of the buoyancy and speed of a full suit without the additional warmth.
Sleeveless suits are easier to fit. Without the sleeves, getting into and removing a sleeveless suit makes transitions quicker. If you're someone who hits the gym to bench press like Arnold Schwarzenegger, a sleeveless suit can fit and feel less restrictive in the upper body. Novice athletes also may prefer the feel of a sleeveless suit when shopping for their first wetsuit. They will help beginners develop the feel for the water that advanced swimmers have developed over years of pool swimming.
Diversity. If you're an athlete who takes to the open water multiple times a week you will find a lot of use in adding a sleeveless model to your gear arsenal. It allows you to mix up your open water routine, it's easier to get on and off, and it provides less overheating when the water temperatures rise at the conclusion of the summer.
While full suits have certainly become more and more popular in the past 5-10 years, we still offer our all-time best-selling REACTION sleeveless. Featuring great buoyancy and comfort, its not surprising to see it is the 1st or 2nd suit of choice of many open water swimmers. Happy Swimming!