Wet Suits


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Bespoke is now affordable thanks to computer-aided technology

Jack O’Neill: A former commercial fisherman widely credited with inventing the neoprene wetsuit.

Wetsuit: An insulating garment that allows individuals to spend more time in cold water.

Tech to ensure you thrive on the sand and in the water this summer.

Designers are using inflatable technology to make products—from the ultimate commuter helmet to airy insulation—lighter, safer, and more portable.

A low price tag and a quality build make this among the best wetsuits for newbies.

Seven surfers from Montauk, New York, give you the lowdown on one of the East Coast's premier surf towns.

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2011 Summer Buyers Guide, including the Rusty Turn Around swimsuit Top and Bottom.

Some of the world's best outdoor gear is still made right here in the USA.

The gold standard of expedition paddling gets a makeover with a more versatile neck closure to fit everyone from a linebacker to an Olsen twin and—thankfully, with all that water rushing by—a “relief” zipper. kokatat.com…

The PsychoFreak introduces a new three-layer neoprene sandwich—two thin, solid layers around a perforated middle layer that traps air like a double-pane window—to keep you warmer with less fabric. It works: This super-stretchy, 3.5-milli-meter suit kept us as warm as a five-mil suit while affording tons more flexibility.

Throw this sporty bathing suit on for surfing or volleyball. Then, to thwart tan lines, swap the top out for the Bali Bandeau ($40; not shown) in the matching print. carvedesigns.com…

Constructed from just five main neoprene panels—versus ten-plus in many wetsuits—the CL5 limits the number of irritating seams and boosts your freedom of movement. This 3mm/2mm full suit has fluid-sealed seams to minimize water seepage and works best in water temperatures between 55 and 64 degrees. www.quiksilver.com…

Yes, the name says “boardshort,” which means these quick-dry bottoms are meant for ocean play. But they’re so cute, you won’t feel as if you’re wearing your bathing suit around town. columbia.com…

Forget funeral black: O’Neill lets you customize your wetsuit online, choosing from 15 colors, plus logo options. You can deck out one of two wetsuits, but we recommend the Psycho II 4/3 cold-water suit (48 to 56 degrees). Though it’s built from toasty 4mm/3mm neoprene, the Psycho is still…

This suit’s halter top and low-rider bottoms favor slim shoulders and long legs. $74; www.billabonggirls.com…

This spare bikini is perfect for petite women—or French beaches. The top is narrow, with removable pads, and the bottom’s cut is slim in the back. $76; www.raisins.com…

A wide chest band and ample cups suit a range of sizes and hold everything securely in place for pickup volleyball. $72; www.watergirlusa.com…

The simple, boxy lines and unpadded top of this ensemble compliment curvy, athletic women. $66; www.jcrew.com…

Adjustable clasps provide a custom fit, while the bottoms are both sports-worthy and flattering. $78; 800-472-4746…

Wide-set cups and full-coverage bottoms make this suit best for women with broad shoulders and muscular frames. $90; www.eddiebauer.com…

Outside's guide to the best new concepts in gear, garb, human performance, and green.

1. FELT ZW1 BIKE It looks fast, it feels fast, and it is fast—even if you’re not. The oversize carbon-fiber tubes are dialed for female riders; they were never too stiff, never too soft. Shimano’s finest Dura-Ace components, Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels, gel grips, and Felt’s women’s carbon saddle…

I'm going surfing in Hawaii. Can you recommend a bikini that will stay on? The Editors Santa Fe, New Mexico

Get dialed for summer's coolest sport

Following the lead of NBA guard Stephon Marbury, whose $15 Starbury basketball shoe is sold through budget retailer Steve & Barry’s, Laird Hamilton hits S&B shelves in May with his surf line, Wonderwall. The collection will feature some 250 graphic T-shirts, polos, pants, and boardshorts—all for less than $15. “The…

1. WILSON AVP REPLICA BALL You might not be able to spike like Misty May-Treanor, but you won’t be able to blame the ball. This soft, composite-leather volleyball is a facsimile of what the pros use. $15; wilson.com Women’s Beach Gear Essentials 2. LOLË…

Classic or skate? Either way you'll go fast with the latest—and best—Nordic gear.

1. Bern Muse Helmet Slope Style This downsized lid has zero bobblehead factor yet still has room for a removable liner (with speakers). $99; bernunlimited.com 2. Marmot Furlong Like it or not, you will get noticed in the lift line when you’re…

1. HIND P.E. SHORT SLEEVE SHIRT » This T’s grid pattern minimizes points of contact on the skin for increased airflow, which helps keep you cool. And on long runs, the extra-stretchy underarm panels don’t chafe. $38; hind.com womens running…

Strange but true: It feels good to run all day. Prep yourself with this go-far gear.

Recycled, salvaged, and renewable gear that doesn't sacrifice performance