What To Wear Under A Wetsuit: Guide for Men and Women

what to wear under a wetsuit

The links below may be affiliate links. If you shop through them, I’ll earn a commission at no additional cost to you. For full information, please see my disclaimer here.

Are you going on a dive adventure for the first time and not quite sure on what to wear under a wetsuit?

In this post, find out why you might wish to wear something beneath your wetsuit, as well as the numerous alternatives available for both men and women.

During your time spent underwater, picking the appropriate undergarment is essential in assuring your comfort before, during, and after your dive.

Continue reading to learn what men and women wear underneath their wetsuits.

Can I be naked under a wetsuit? 

While it is technically possible to wear a wetsuit without any undergarments, it is generally not recommended to be completely naked under a wetsuit.

Scuba divers wear various swimwear like bikinis, dive skin, or rash guard as an extra barrier between their skin and the wetsuit. These lightweight, quick-drying, and flexible clothing can help increase comfort and protection while diving.

Why do divers wear anything under the wetsuit?

There are various reasons why scuba divers wear additional clothing inside their wetsuits. Here are some of the reasons:


One of the struggles divers have is getting into their tight-fitting wetsuits. Wearing an attire made of materials like Lycra or spandex lessens friction and allows for smoother movements while donning your wetsuit. It makes it easier to slip in and out of them.


When you’re on a dive boat or a dive site, you may need to partially or fully remove your wetsuit. Wearing an underlayer can offer you some modesty.

While you may be comfortable with your own nudity, many people and cultures may not be. Wearing something underneath your wetsuit may prevent some awkward and uncomfortable interactions with fellow scuba divers.

Minimize chafing and skin Irritation

Direct contact with the wetsuit material can cause some skin irritation and chafing especially when worn for extended periods. Wearing and underlayer can serve as a protective barrier between your skin and the neoprene wetsuit.


If you are renting a wetsuit, it is important to consider your personal hygiene. Wearing an undergarment ensures a more hygienic experience, as rental wetsuits are often shared among different individuals. An underlayer adds an extra layer of protection and reduces direct contact between your body and the rented equipment.

Additional INsulation

The underlayer can provide additional insulation, enhancing the thermal properties of the wetsuit. This is especially beneficial in colder water environments, where maintaining body temperature is crucial for the diver’s comfort and safety.

What to wear under a wetsuit for men

If you want to know what men wear under a wetsuit, here are the common choices:

1. Swimming Trunks

Many men opt for swim trunks underneath their wetsuits. These can be worn alone or paired with a rash guard for added protection. Some men prefer to wear briefs or shorts with a more snug fit to help prevent chafing.

2. Rashguard

Featured Spacefish Army rash guard for men:
Mens Eco-friendly Shark Camo Rashguard
Mens Octopower Rashguard

Rash guards, also known as rash vests or rash shirts, are lightweight and quick-drying garments worn as a top. They are made of stretchy and breathable materials and are designed to dry quickly, allowing moisture to evaporate rapidly from the fabric. This feature helps maintain comfort during and after dives.

Men can also wear rash guards under their wetsuits. They offer added protection against chafing, enhance insulation, and provide a comfortable fit. Because of their skin coverage, rash guards are also great in preventing sunburn between dives.

3. Board shorts

Featured Waterlust boardshorts for men:
Whale shark board shorts
Spotted eagle ray board shorts

While board shorts are typically worn by surfers, they are a popular choice of attire for scuba divers especially in warm, tropical environments.

Board shorts can be identified by their baggy fit, knee-length length, and a lace-up or Velcro clasp at the waist. They are not designed to insulate the body, but rather are worn because of their length and flexible fit.

Divers can wear board shorts in their wetsuit and out of them, making them a versatile option. They are appropriate not only for diving but also for post-dive activities such as swimming, snorkeling, or simply resting on the beach.

4. Leggings

waterlust leggings for men
Featured Waterlust leggings for men:
Men’s whale shark leggings
Men’s tiger shark leggings
Men’s black circularity leggings

Scuba leggings, also known as dive leggings or dive pants, are specialized garments that can be worn as a bottom layer under your wetsuit. It’s not the most common option but it’s gaining some popularity due to practical reasons.

Made of Lycra or spandex blended with nylon or polyester, dive leggings can provide minimal insulation. If you’re prone to chafing, leggings can minimize that as well.

Another benefit of wearing leggings is they can help you slide into your wetsuit with ease.

What to wear under a wetsuit for women

Women have several options for what to wear underneath their wetsuits. Here are some popular choices:

1. Swimsuits

blue adaptation swimsuit
Featured Blue Adaptation swim wear:
Coral sea fan racerback bikini top
Coral sea fan bikini bottom
Hi-tide whale shark swimsuit

Scuba divers can wear their swimsuits under their wetsuit.. Often you’ll see female divers in just their one-piece suit, bikinis, or tankinis. It’s important to choose a swimsuit that fits well, provides comfort, and allows for freedom of movement.

2. Dive Skins

waterlust full suit dive skin
Featured Waterlust full-body dive skin:
Tiger shark trailblazer full-body sun suit
Fountain of Youth full-body sun suit
Whale shark warrior full-body sun suit

Another option for women is to wear a full-body dive skins. These one-piece suits are made of lightweight and breathable materials that feel like a second skin.

Made of Lycra or spandex blended with nylon or polyester, dive skins provide minimal insulation but are a great option if you’re prone to chafing as it cover your entire body.

Dive skins are a popular choice for divers who struggle with putting on or taking off full body wetsuits. Due to the dive skin’s fabric, the wetsuit’s neoprene material can easily glide up your body.

Another benefit of wearing a dive skins is its effectiveness of shielding your skin from harmful UV rays in between dives.

3. Scuba leggings

Dive Leggings from Spacefish Army
Featured Spacefish Army Leggings:
Manta Mayhem Leggings
Galaxy Jellyfish Leggings
Psychedelic Mermaid Leggings

When it comes to options on what to wear under your wetsuit, scuba leggings are also a popular choice for women. Many women favor wearing leggings over full-body dive skins because of sizing availability and design.

Another practical reason is if you need to go to the bathroom between dives, dive leggings is easier to remove compared to a full body dive skin.

Here are some posts you should check out if you want to buy scuba leggings:
Best Scuba Leggings: 10 Brands To Help You Look Good While Diving
10 Best Whale Shark Leggings For Your Active Lifestyle

4. Rash guard

Blue Adaptation Rash Guard for Women
Featured Blue Adaptation women’s rashguard:
Coral reef sea fan high-neck dive rashguard
Save the vaquita crew-neck rashguard

Rashguards are a popular choice to wear under the wetsuit for women. They are available in various designs, including short sleeves, long sleeves, and different patterns or colors, offering divers a range of options to suit their preferences and style.

Best Scuba Diving Rash Guards for Women of Different Styles, Shapes, and Sizes

5. Sports Bra

spacefish army sports bra
Featured Spacefish Army sports bra:
Eco-friendly Psychedelic Mermaid Bikini Sports Bra
Eco-friendly Electric Blue Octofloral Bikini Sports Bra
Eco-friendly Coral Kaleidoscope Bikini Sports Bra Hybrid

Women can also wear a sports bra underneath their wetsuit. This is a suitable option for added support, comfort and confidence for female divers.

When choosing a sports bra, opt for one made of moisture-wicking and quick-drying materials to prevent discomfort caused by prolonged exposure to water.

Look for designs without hooks, buckles, or excessive padding, as these features can create pressure points or restrict movement.

6. Shorts

waterlust shorts for women
Featured Waterlust shorts for women:
Cosmic coral 4″ shorts
Abalone restoration 8″ shorts
Parrotfish protection 4″ shorts

Wearing shorts under a wetsuit provides additional coverage and modesty, especially if you prefer not to wear just a swimsuit. This is a great option for women if they are wearing shorties or short wetsuits.

If you’re prone to getting rash or chafing in your crotch or thigh area, shorts can serve as a wonderful barrier between your skin and the wetsuit. Opt for quick-drying and moisture-wicking materials that allow for unrestricted movement. Choose shorts that fit well and does not bunch when worn under the wetsuit.

Can I wear COTTON underwear in my wetsuit? 

Wearing regular cotton underwear under a wetsuit is not recommended.

Cotton absorbs and holds water, which can cause chafing and discomfort throughout your dive. Furthermore, cotton underwear does not dry quickly, which might contribute to extended dampness and potentially cause discomfort or blisters.

To ensure a comfortable and chafe-free experience, select undergarments designed expressly for use with wetsuits. Choose non-cotton materials such as dive skins, rash guards, or synthetic textiles such as spandex or nylon over cotton. Specialized underwear that is moisture-wicking, quick-drying, and provides a comfortable fit, is the way to go.

Remember to consider the specific diving conditions and your personal preferences when deciding on what to wear under a wetsuit. Whether you’re a male or female scuba diver, there are many choices for wetsuit undergarment that provides comfort, protection, and freedom of movement. Ultimately, it’s essential to choose clothing that enhances your overall diving experience.

The links above may be affiliate links. If you shop through them, I’ll earn a commission at no additional cost to you. For full information, please see my disclaimer here.

Scroll to Top