I'm a beginner and need a wetsuit, but don't know what to get. It seems that a sleeveless one with shorts would be more comfortable, but I'm not sure. Cost is a consideration as well. I live in Western Pa and don't plan on doing anything in super cold water. I have lake swim and river swims planned. Should I go full suit?
I purchased a full suit, and I don't recommend it. I believe I can do without the sleeves, but just my opinion. I have no idea what effect, if any, that would have on speed, time, etc. But the sleeves seem more trouble than it's worth when taking the suit off, without any measurable benefit to your swim.
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I'm a fan of the sleeveless too. My first wetsuit was from Neosport, it's affordable and gets the job done for beginners. Once I progressed a little further, I sold the Neosport on craigslist, and used the money to upgrade. But now I get ads for Xterra suits for $99, soooo you could start there too.
I did a ton of research and asked a bunch of people before I got mine and everyone said "Sleeveless" so i got one, and totally regret it. I wish i got a Full Sleeve suit. I started training with a bunch of people who do tris all the time, and I'm the only one in the group that wears a sleeveless suit.. and they all tease me about it.
Full sleeve, you will go faster and swim easier in the water, and it wont be as cold. I'm in So. CA and the water temp is like mid 50's to mid 60's so its always pretty cold. I'm really glad i have a suit, but on the mid 50 swims my arms are SO cold and my hands are so numb I can't even cup them.
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Sleeves, or no sleeves, the eternal question.
Personally, I use a sleeveless wetsuit and I also cut short the legs to it's really a short john. Why? I race in the Midwest in lakes that are generally in the low 70s or flirting with the wetsuit legal temperature cut off. I'm a pretty streong swimmer so it's only to add some bouyancy.
You'll get some arguments that you can "grip" the water better in a full suit, but I don't think that's a huge factor.
I think it comes down to where you race and in what water temps, and also what you're comfortable in. If I was only going to buy one wetsuit, have it for 3-4 years, and plan to race in multiple geographic areas, I'd definitely get a full suit. They're a pain to get into, but there are plenty of simple tricks to get out of them. Just check on YouTube if that's the direction you take.
There isn't a correct answer, just an answer that's right for you.
Full sleaves are the way to go. Most people find that they are restricting but that is usually because they do not take the time to put it on correctly.
A full suit is faster than a John. I like Synergy and 2XU.
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