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10 Best New 5 mm Wetsuits

ScubaLab puts 10 new wetsuits to the test—plus, six bonus accessories we love
By Robby Myers | Updated On June 13, 2024
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10 Best New 5 mm Wetsuits

HOW WE TEST

ScubaLab tested 5 mm wetsuits at Devil’s Den Pre-historic Spring in Williston, Florida, and Blue Heron Bridge at Phil Foster Park in Riviera Beach. Air and water temperatures were both in the low 70s, with partly cloudy topside conditions. Test divers equipped with underwater slates and waterproof score sheets scored each wet-suit in the following performance categories.

Ease of Donning

How easy was the wetsuit to pull on, zip, adjust and prepare to dive? Can it be done without assistance?

Fit

Relative to other wetsuits of similar size, how is the overall fit to your body, with attention to areas including the lower back, underarms and extremities?

Comfort

How is the overall comfort of the wetsuit in and out of the water? With movement, is there discomfort at the neck closure, wrist and ankles, zipper seal, crotch or underarms?

Related Reading: Best Scuba Fins of 2024

Seals

How well do sealing surfaces at wrist, ankles, neck and zipper block water entry? At depth, is there excessive water entry while swimming or moving?

Warmth

What is the wet-suit’s overall effectiveness as insulation, relative to similar suits? Does cold water move or flush through the suit with movement?

Range of Motion

Does the wetsuit provide full and unfettered range of motion in and out of the water? Does it bind or restrict movement in any way?

Ease of Doffing

How easily can the wetsuit be removed after diving? Can it be done without assistance?

Related Reading: Gear of The Year: The Best New Dive Gear & Equipment

HOW WE SCORE

Test divers scored every wetsuit in each of seven performance categories. Our scoring is as follows:

5 - excellent

4 - very good

3 - good

2 - fair

1 - poor

The bar graphs accompanying each wetsuit review indicate that wetsuit’s scores for comfort and warmth.

Test divers also recorded their comments and observations from their experience diving each wet-suit and ranked their favorite wet-suits in every category.

Wetsuits were also evaluated for the quality of their design, construction and materials used.

SUIT UP

SHERWOOD SCUBA MARINE CONSERVATION 5 MM

SHERWOOD SCUBA

MARINE CONSERVATION 5 MM

Sherwood’s first-ever wetsuit, this 5 mm back-zip simultaneously protects both the diver and the planet with its use of sustainable materials and construction processes. Proceeds from each suit are used to support science-based conservation groups such as Pelagios Kakunja, Fins Attached and CREMA. This “super stretchy and flexible suit,” as one tester described it, allows for a full range of motion. The topographical design on the men’s suit—the women’s version features a wave-like pattern—could be seen as a reference to the suit’s fit, which closely follows the body’s topography for maximum comfort and warmth with zero flushing. “Feels like it molds itself to your shape,” one tester said. Rolled neoprene seals are simple to don and doff, and very effective with a proper fit. A favorite of testers, with excellent scores across the board, this conservation-minded suit is our Testers Choice for 5 mm wetsuits under $500.

MSRP $460

CONTACT sherwoodscuba.com

SIZES 9 men’s, 6 women’s

"Loved this one for the fit; was perfection underwater".

AKONA QUANTUM STRETCH 5 MM

AKONA

QUANTUM STRETCH 5 MM

Constructed of Quantum Stretch neoprene with glued and blind-stitched seams, this suit offers incredible flexibility. Test divers scored it excellent for range of motion. “No restrictions or binding points,” is how one test diver described its pliable construction and fit. The suit’s stretchy material and long zipper pull make for effortless donning and doffing. Some divers noted that the lining felt a little coarse against bare skin during donning, but the suit is very comfortable overall. Smooth-skin material inside the collar helps minimize water entry at the neck, while rolled neoprene seals are used at the wrist and ankles. Test divers scored this flexy 5 mm good for the effectiveness of its seals and overall warmth.

MSRP $403

CONTACT akona.com

SIZES 9 men’s, 6 women’s

"Excellent fit and flex".

BARE VELOCITY ULTRA 5 MM

BARE

VELOCITY ULTRA 5 MM

Combining highly effective seals, a body-hugging fit, and Bare’s high-tech Omnired lining, this suit impressed testers with its excellent warmth and comfort. The location of wrist seals at the forearms and ankle seals at the calves provides a stable sealing surface and doesn’t interfere with comfort. They are very easy to slip in and out of, which made test divers question the necessity of the bulky zippers at each cuff. The suit’s high-stretch construction offers a natural range of motion and very easy donning and doffing. With excellent overall performance and impressive thermal characteristics, this suit offers all-day comfort during long days of diving. It was a favorite of test divers and a top contender in its category.

MSRP $449.95

CONTACT baresports.com

SIZES 16 men’s

"Warmer at the end of the dive than at the start".

CRESSI FAST 5 MM

CRESSI

FAST 5 MM

Some effort is required to get this suit on and off thanks to a tight, body-hugging fit. However, once in place, it fi ts like a glove. The flexible, double-lined neoprene earned a very good score for range of motion, with no obvious restrictions or impairments to the diver’s natural movements. It also all but eliminated water movement inside the suit. “Zero flushing, no cold spots,” one diver noted. Wrist and ankles utilize a band of stretchy liquid seal that forms a ring inside each cuff for a simple but highly effective seal. Offering outstanding warmth and comfort, this budget-friendly suit was a favorite of test divers. The Fast is our Best Buy for 5 mm wetsuits under $500.

MSRP $249

CONTACT cressiusa.com

SIZES 6 men’s, 5 women’s

"Couldn’t believe how warm this was".

XS SCUBA KANA

XS SCUBA

KANA

Donning and doffing this wetsuit is very easy thanks to its flexible construction and stylish custom zipper pull. The cut of the suit minimizes seams for comfort and flexibility, while high-stretch materials further enhance the Kana’s impressive dexterity and comfort. Test divers scored it excellent for fit, comfort and range of motion. “Super stretchy. Very soft and comfortable,” is how one test diver described the suit. Simple hemmed seals are easy to don and doff but require a solid fit for maximum effectiveness. Test divers really liked the coated chest and back panels, which block wind top-side for additional warmth out of the water. The Kana combines impressive comfort and flexibility at an attractive price point.

MSRP $269.95

CONTACT xsscuba.com

SIZES 7 men’s, 6 women’s

"Soft, stretchy comfort".

FOURTH ELEMENT PROTEUS II

FOURTH ELEMENT

PROTEUS II

This suit’s internal bib pulls over the head to create a double neck seal. It requires some assistance to put on, but the warmth and comfort are well worth the effort. Donning aside, the suit scored excellent across the board. Stretchy neoprene provides natural flexibility while a thermal lining at the core and a soft, plushy interior add warmth and comfort. Effective, comfy seals and a snug fit minimize water entry and flushing. The suit is made with limestone-based neoprene and other eco-friendly materials. Double-glued, blind-stitched and taped seams ensure watertightness and long-term durability. A favorite of testers, with excellent performance, the Proteus II is our Testers Choice for suits over $500.

MSRP $659

CONTACT fourthelement.com

SIZES 16 men’s, 17 women’s

"Pull-over is really warm and comfortable".

FOURTH ELEMENT XENOS

FOURTH ELEMENT

XENOS

The Xenos provides an excellent range of motion and natural, unrestricted movement in any direction. This stretchy material allows the suit to hug the body like a second skin. “Like it was made for me,” is how one tester described the suit’s seemingly tailor-made fit, which is super comfy and keeps water flushing to a minimum. Narrow elastic cuffs use simple but effective Glideskin and polyurethane seals to keep water out without impeding donning and doffing. Effective seals and a thermal lining helped this suit score highly for warmth. Double-glued and blind-stitched seals are reinforced at key areas. Compared to the Proteus II, this suit is slightly easier to get on, slightly cooler overall and slightly less expensive.

MSRP $549

CONTACT fourthelement.com

SIZES 15 men’s, 18 women’s

"Best fit ever, with high stretch".

SCUBAPRO EVERFLEX 5 MM

SCUBAPRO

EVERFLEX 5 MM

Made of plant-based Yulex foam and designed with minimal seams, this 5/4 mm suit offers incredible stretch and comfort. It has a collar zip for additional comfort topside. Testers liked the warm, fleecy interior lining. Seals located in the forearms and midcalf scored very good for effectiveness, and the suit scored very good for warmth overall. “Was damp and cold when I put it on, but I started warming up immediately,” one test diver said. The low-profile wrists each sport a computer retainer strap. Durable blind-stitched seams and abrasion-resistant materials at the seat and shoulder ensure the suit will last a long time. This suit combines premium performance and quality with an eco-minded construction.

MSRP $586

CONTACT scubapro.com

SIZES 14 men’s, 15 women’s

"[Build-quality] feels like you’d get a lot of dives from it. "

SEAC SPACE 5 MM

SEAC

SPACE 5 MM

This stylish wetsuit impressed test divers with its warmth and comfort. The Space earned an excellent score for seal effectiveness on the merits of its incredible double-cuff neoprene seals at the wrist and ankles, and its heavy-duty internal zipper barrier. “Actually warmed up a surprising amount by the end of the dive,” one test diver observed. The suit’s plushy interior lining is soft and warm and doesn’t stick to skin when sliding the suit on or off. “Nice lining,” one tester noted. Zippers at each cuff facilitate very easy donning and doffing. Ultrastretch neoprene and soft embossed inserts inside the knees and elbows allow for unrestricted flexibility. Test divers scored the Space excellent for range of motion.

MSRP $509

CONTACT seacsub.com

SIZES 10 men’s, 9 women’s

"Terrific wrist and ankle seals".

WATERPROOF W8 5 MM

WATERPROOF

W8 5 MM

This suit is outfi tted with several high-end features, including built-in lumbar support and an easy-to-access front-zipper entry. The zipper has double sealing panels to prevent seepage, while the wrist and ankle seals utilize double neoprene seals with zippered cuffs, which scored very good for effectiveness and comfort. Test divers liked the streamlined, self-draining pockets. This suit is built with durability in mind, featuring heavy-duty anti-abrasion/anti-slip decals, Kevlar knee-pads, and glued and blind-stitched seams. Flexibility was rated very good. Test divers did report some flushing within the suit, but the W8 scored very good for warmth overall and features a soft plushy thermal lining.

MSRP $599

CONTACT [email protected]

SIZES 15 men’s, 7 women’s

"Loved this one for the fit; was perfection underwater".