Best Bang For Your Buck: 4 Swimrun Wetsuits For Under £200

In this special supplement on swimrun.com, we take a detailed look at four of the best swimrun wetsuits for under £200. Our thanks to specialist swimrun shop Fenland Runner and to the wetsuit brands: Zone3, Orca, Head & DHB.

All the wetsuits were put through their paces and tested at Longside Lake near London Heathrow in the UK. Longside Lake has a variety of trail and swim options making it a great place to practice swimrun.

Testing Team

Jude Palmer is a fell running, swimrun and open water swimming coach. She has participated in dozens of swimrun races and regularly runs training sessions for beginners. To connect with Jude: Website, Social Media or on 07946 637584.

Paul Mackenzie is an open water and STA approved coach. Paul regularly participates in the activity of swimrun and champions self-guided adventures and you will often see him on the UK’s rivers, ruckraft in tow. To connect with Paul: Social Media or on 07930 304312.

Fred Newton is the Editor of swimrun.com and an ultra-endurance racer with recent finishes of the Dragons Back and Spine Race. He has a best placed finish of 1st at the Tal Y Llyn Swimrun. To connect with Fred: Social Media or on hello@swimrun.com.

Testing Process

All wetsuits were rigorously tested on a swimrun training course before scoring in the following categories: flexibility, robustness, comfort, warmth, extras, cabbing, appearance and value.

Choosing a wetsuit is a very personal choice, it is about finding the right wetsuit for you. Our testers all have different body shapes and as such the fit of the wetsuits varied enormously. We have also advised in this supplement on how we found the fit for our body types.


The Wetsuits

In no particular order, here is the detailed review of the four wetsuits under test.

1. Orca Vanir Flex Swimrun Wetsuit Review

Orca’s ‘most comfortable’ swimrun wetsuit. A classic design with DuraSkin 2 outer layer protects the suit with one large back pocket.

RRP: £199

Awarded: Best for comfort and flexibility

Fit: Great for those with a broader chest

What our testers loved

This looks and feels like a premium suit and actually shares many characteristics of a wetsuit for twice the price. It has a classic and unfussy design, with one large pocket at the back to store your bits. The wetsuit is well-made and performed to a high standard across all categories. It looks classy and all testers appreciated the environmental packing. This lived up to its claim of being ‘Orca’s most comfortable’ wetsuit and was a joy to wear.

What could be improved on

Our testers found that the cut across the chest and shoulders was a bit hit and miss. For those with slightly broader chests and shoulders, the fit was superb. For a smaller body shape, our testers found the suits didn’t quite have the right cut resulting in minor water ingress. Cabbing down was possible but not as easy as some.

The verdict – 8/10

Overall Orca’s Vanir Flex performed highly across all categories. Our testers felt that the suit was better for those with broader chests and shoulders but all appreciated this was a well-made and classy looking wetsuit. It was incredibly comfortable and flexible on both swims and runs. It is a well-made and robust suit which should give you many seasons of wear.

2. Zone3 Versa Swimrun Wetsuit Review

The versatile Versa purports to have a ‘super-fast profile’ with enhanced buoyancy panels making it perfect for heavy-legged swimmers.

RRP: £199

Awarded: Best made wetsuit

Fit: Good fit for all body types

What our testers loved

The Versa has great flexibility and was incredibly comfortable on both swims and runs. This is a robust and well-made suit that is also highly visible. Plenty of pocket spaces for a cup and gels as required. It did everything our testers asked from it. This was a decent wetsuit which had an excellent range of motion, it felt especially quick on swims. Our testers were purring with delight with how the Versa handled over the swimrun testing course.

What could be improved on

The style and use of colours might be considered unflattering by some, it has a futuristic looking design. The extras were perfectly adequate without setting the world alight. Cabbing down was tricky while on the move and our testers concluded this would be a better wetsuit for shorter distance races (up to about 21km) rather than long races where chances are you are going to want to cab down on runs.

The verdict – 8/10

Overall Zone3’s Versa was a solid and very robust wetsuit which was quick in the water. Our testers liked the bright colours and fit. The Versa is well named and is versatile across a number of sports outside of swimrun so would be one to consider if you planned to use it for other water based activities.

3. DHB AERON SWIMRUN WETSUIT 2.0 Review

Designed for racing and speed, the dhb Aeron Swimrun Wetsuit 2.0 has impressive flexibility and buoyancy. It is a smart looking and quick suit with a tight fit which hugs the body.

RRP: £170

Awarded: Best for beginners + Best value wetsuit

Fit: Great for those with smaller chests

What our testers loved

The dhb suit fits snuggly and is a great entry level suit. It was flexible enough and felt supple and comfortable to wear on runs. There is a monster pocket on the back of the suit you could fit a house into (good thing) and a useful little internal pocket for a whistle. The dhb has been well designed, the bottom half is tough and you would expect it to withstand the demands of swimrun. The top half is smooth and streamlined and our testers found it quick through the water. It is a good value wetsuit and for anyone who is a beginner, a very compelling option.

What could be improved on

Our testers felt that whilst the dhb is a good beginner suit, the cut across the chest was tight fitting. Some may really like that tight and snug fit which feels like a second skin, the collar is higher and tighter than most. However a bigger chested person might not get on so well with this suit, there was slight water ingress down the back for one of our testers. While it looks smart and slick, it is a dark suit and not very visible in the water.

The verdict – 8/10

A quick swimrun wetsuit which looks and feels as fast as the Bluebird. Perfect for those trying swimrun without breaking the bank (despite its RRP, this suit can be picked up for half the price). It comes with all extras you might need and for an entry level suit and is ideal for blasting around shorter courses.

4. HEAD Swimrun Rough Shorty Review

The Head Swimrun Rough Shorty is crammed with unique features, including a front and back zipper, a whistle and nylon loops to attach a bungee cord. It felt bullet proof and highly durable.

RRP: £179

Awarded: Best on test + Best for solos

Fit: Good fit for all body shapes

What our testers loved

This suit has an arsenal of impressive features and is built to last. The suit even has nylon loops for pairs to attach a bungee cord (rather than having to wear a waist belt). It is well made with easy and quick cabbing down thanks to the front and rear zips, a real advantage for solo athletes. The bright colours win top marks for being highly visible in the water. It felt unfussy and with a high level detail on the design to make this a useful and practical suit for swimrunners.

What could be improved on

The wetsuit was not as flexible as the other suits and there was less range of motion whilst running. There are no additional sleeves with this wetsuit, which would limit it in colder waters below about 12 degrees.

The verdict – 9/10

The Head Swimrun Rough Shorty impressed all our testers. The fit ran true for all different body sizes, the features were excellent and well thought through and this suit is incredibly tough and hard wearing. This is the ideal suit for solo athletes, the double zip on the front and back making it user-friendly. This is a workhorse of a wetsuit rather than a Ferrari, but for many athletes that would make it a sound choice. A worthy winner of ‘Best on test’.

Questions?

If you have any further questions from this feature, we are very happy to answer them! Please get in touch on hello@swimrun.com

That’s a wrap. For the best swimrun wetsuits, here are 10 of the best on the market right now.