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Should you get wrist and leg zippers on your wetsuit?

There are a few distinct advantages of having wrist and leg zippers on a wetsuit, and other than cost there are no real disadvantages.

Wrist and leg zippers make a wetsuit easier and faster to get in and out of by increasing the size of the openings that the hands and feet need to go through. Importantly, this reduces pre-dive stress and minimizes the pushing and pulling needed to get wider hands and feet through the narrow wetsuit openings at the wrist and leg. This reduction of effort becomes even more noticeable when the wetsuit is already wet, say when putting a wetsuit back on in between multiple dives. Having the zipper open also relieves the strain on the wetsuit material when donning and doffing the suit since there is less wear on the seams. Zippers offer other benefits as well, for example they can be opened to let outside water in if the diver gets uncomfortably warm during the dive.

A common misconception is that zippers leak. Zippers themselves are not completely watertight, but leaks are minimized or eliminated if the wetsuit is designed properly, fits correctly and is built from quality materials. Additional cost is the only real disadvantage to adding zippers to a wetsuit, but most divers will find them well worth the money.

Most recreational divers will find that the benefits of a high-quality custom-fit wetsuit with wrist and leg zippers outweigh any drawbacks. The zips will reduce the time and effort it takes to don and doff their suits, increasing their comfort and enjoyment of their dives. Likewise dive instructors, actors, rescue personnel, military divers and others will benefit from being able to get their suits on and off quickly. Commercial and other divers who wear thicker wetsuits will find that zippers make the suit much easier to get in and out of. Last but not least, divers with physical limitations might find that zippers allow them to put on and take off a wetsuit by themselves where they otherwise couldn't.

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