The 10 Best Wetsuits For Kids [2021 Edition, Boys & Girls]

by Oliver Sander

This guide picks out 10 of the best wetsuits for kids on the market right now, with options for boys and girls and all levels of budget.

Groms – you gotta’ love em. Whether you’ve got a 3-foot foam warrior catching their first whitewash or 8-year-old Kobi Clements tearing up the glassy barrels of the Maldives, starting on the surf nice and young is most definitely the way to go. Things are just easier when you’ve been doing it since you weren’t so scared of falling. What’s more, it sure is better to be paddling and popping up out in the ocean than glued to TikTok, right? Right.

But kids need gear just as adult surfers need gear. Yes, you might not want to fork out too much because it’s no secret that little ones grow and grow and just keep growing. But you can’t expect the tykes to brave cold waters without neoprene. Daddy or mommy wouldn’t, that’s for sure!

Cue this guide to the best wetsuits for kids out there today. We’ve gone hunting for the creme-de-la-creme of younger person’s neoprene. It’s a range of tried-and-tested suits that we know hold up well in the water and offer some of the top-quality thermal and flex features going.

Our selection of the best wetsuits for kids is based on one-on-one chats with groms and parents, personal experiences, and an in-depth knowledge of all the major surf brands. We’ve also gone for a good mix of options that are easy to purchase online and get delivered straight to the door (parents are busy folk, hey!). Finally, we cover a host of budgets (because no one wants to spend a gazillion $ on a wetsuit that won’t fit next year!) and surf levels, from ultra-beginner to those firmly on the road to becoming Kelly Slater mark 2.

We might use affiliate links in this post. Basically, you click em’ and we get a little something from your booking or purchase. They help us keep offering more and more in-depth surf guides to awesome places all around the globe. So, thanks for that!

What’s in this guide to the best wetsuits for kids?

READ THIS before buying wetsuits for kids…

wetsuits for kids

Don’t worry – we know it can be tricky for a mom or pop to navigate all this nifty surf gear. That’s especially true for parents who aren’t surfers. But you’re doing the right thing getting the little ones into wavecraft, and we salute you for being here. We’re also at hand to help…

Summer suit or winter suit?

The key decision when you come to buy a children’s wetsuit (or even an adult’s suit for that matter) is whether to choose a summer suit or a winter suit. Just as their names imply, a summer suit is better for the warmer months. A winter suit is better for the colder months. The main difference between the two is going to be thickness. However, there can also be other tech involved that keeps you warmer in the winter and lighter in the water come summer.

  • If you’re buying your child’s first ever wetsuit and don’t want to have to buy a second anytime soon, then we’d ALWAYS say choose a winter suit. The reason? It’s better to be too warm in the summer than too cold in the winter. The only other downside of winter suits is that they’re a touch heavier, don’t dry so fast, and aren’t as flexible. But those aren’t major issues – temperature is the number one concern! This is why the bulk of our selection is in the winter category (just look for any suit that’s got 4/3 in the name)
  • If you’re buying for a surf trip somewhere then you should check what the average water temperatures are at that time of year wherever you’re going. The general rule is 62°- 68° (16-20) and it’s a summer suit, under <62 and you’re looking at a winter suit.
  • If your son or daughter only surfs in summer then it’s probably better to go for a summer suit. Remember, though, surfing is addictive – the tykes might say they only want warm-water surf and then crave those winter sessions when the mercury drops. What’s more, most of the best swells (surfable conditions) come in fall and winter, so, again, a winter suit could be your best all-round option. In this situation, you’re likely to end up needing one of each. Sorry, wallet!

Wetsuits for kids sizing

Kids wetsuit sizing is a little different to adults. It’s basically done by age, which is helpful but obviously not an exact science. We’ve seen some 10 year olds fresh off a growth spurt that could easily fit into a 14-year-old’s suit. On the flip side, there are some pretty small 16 year olds out there that often go a few notches down.

There are some suits that are specifically made for toddlers (usually marked as size 2 or 4). They take care of the smaller children (covering heights up to 4’1″). However, most suits are for ages 6-16. They go up in increments of two years and there are separate ranges for boys and girls, which we’ve put into separate sections below.

A note on our guide

We’ve deliberately not gone overboard and whacked up 40 different wetsuits for kids. We’ve seen umpteen guides that do that, mainly because the more products they offer the more likely you are to buy. Yes, we do get a commission if you click through and buy from one of our affiliate partner. But, to be frank, that’s just a bonus. We’d prefer to get things right, which is why you’ll see just one or two of the wetsuits that we think truly are fantastic buys in each category. They’ve made it to this list because they stand out for their thermal features, their fit, their durability and style. We let the surf do the talking…

Boys wetsuits

Check out the best male wetsuits for kids below. It starts with what we consider to be the top all-round suit for 2021 and then moves onto a few more budget-friendly or alternative options.

Vissla 7 Seas 4​/3 Back Zip Wetsuit – the best of all the boys’ wetsuits for kids

PRICE WHEN REVIEWED: $189.95

If you’ve read our guide to the top wetsuit brands out there today, you should know that we have a serious soft spot for Vissla. Based out of the balmy hills of Aliso Viejo close to Laguna Beach in the OC, the company now creates what we’d say are some of the most solid all-rounder wetsuits out there. The 7 Seas is flagship model in the range. On a basic level, it’s got a fantastic balance between stretch, flex, and thermal, so we don’t hesitate to put it at numero uno here.

Let’s dig down into the tech. The Super Stretch Light Neoprene lives up to its name. It’s 100% Japanese eco material and we find that it stays way airier in the water than other wetsuit brands. The inner-membrane Thermal Hollow Fiber Lining doesn’t add loads of bulk but has never left us shivering. What’s more, it’s designed to dry super quick – it’s rare that we’ll be left pulling on a soggy suit when we surf several days in a row.

It should hardly come as a surprise that we’ve got the adult suit version of the 7 Seas. We love it, and the good news is that there’s hardly a hint of downgrading the features in the junior version. Nope, you still get all the bells and whistles that put Vissla on the forefront of wetsuit manufacturing right now. Oh, and perhaps more importantly, there’s no denying that this one’s a darn stylish looking product, with muted front-panel graphite colors mixing with teal arm panels. It really looks the business.

  • Great balance between weight and thermal
  • Eco-friendly limestone neoprene
  • Looks so cool
  • This isn’t the cheapest suit out there
  • Vissla suits sell out fast!

Quiksilver 4​/3 Syncro Back Zip Wetsuit

PRICE WHEN REVIEWED: $165.95

Quiksilver Synro - one of the best wetsuits for kids

We’ve raved about the Quiksilver Syncro 2019 model as a cracking adult’s wintertime steamer. There’s nothing that changes our mind when it comes to the youth version. It’s a midrange option at heart, but with a price tag of under $200 and all the features of much higher-spec suit, we really don’t think you can go wrong.

Let’s begin with the basic stuff. This is a 4/3 suit, so it will cover your grom for surfs in pretty much any season in most Northern Hemisphere destinations (California to the East Coast, Wales to Portugal). Yes, it might balmy in the summer, but Quiksilver have cut out any weighty membranes to offer StretchFlight x2 neoprene instead. That’s VERY stretchy stuff, and helps regulate temperatures well. For surfs in the cooler months, that WarmFlight inner lining on the chest panel works wonders. And you’ve got a special  Vapor Stretch material there that helps to block wind chill.

More generally, we just feel that this is a very solid and capable suit. Quiksilver has proved durable to us over several seasons, so we’d hope the same is true of the boys’ model (AKA it’s growing that’ll have you buying the next product, not wear and tear). This is also the only back-zip suit we list here. That’s a better buy for non-experienced surfers who haven’t used wetsuits before.

  • StretchFlight x2 makes it very flexy
  • Light for a 4/3
  • Fantastic for total beginners
  • Back-zip suits aren’t so good for experienced surfers who demand specific fits
  • Some people aren’t fans of multiple color panels

XCEL 3​/2 Youth Comp Wetsuit

PRICE WHEN REVIEWED: $169.95

If you’re little ones are going to be surfing in warmer waters or simply won’t be surfing in the winter months, you can get away with dropping the thickness of that neoprene a little. Cue this 3/2 wetsuit (that means it’s got 3mm- and 2mm-thick panels) from Xcel. Another of our top-pick industry leaders, this brand is used almost religiously by The Surf Atlas writers. We find it consistently light and fast drying, but with very little compromise on the thermal specs.

Obviously, it’s not going to be quite as warm as the 4/3 options above. However, sometimes you don’t want to be baking hot in the water. Mid-June to September in south Cali, the UK, France, and oodles of other spots call for something a touch thinner. You’ll really capitalize on the drop in rubber thanks to Xcel’s trademark Lite Japanese Limestone Neoprene, which we say is as light as a feather and flexier than a slinky.

We also love that the interior membrane of the Xcel Comp has been gifted that high-performance Thermo Lite Infrared lining. It’s used throughout the brand’s high-spec suits and means you’ll warm up super fast in the water. Finally, Xcel have put a lot into eco credentials in recent years. So, expect limestone-based rubber (better for the environment) and dope-dyed yarns (a process that doesn’t use quite so much water) throughout.

  • Added flex of a summer suit
  • Fast drying
  • Very light
  • This is a summer suit, so can only be used in warmer months
  • Some wearers find the Xcel chest zip a touch tight

O’Neill Youth Epic 4/3mm Back Zip Full Wetsuit Boys

PRICE WHEN REVIEWED: $149.99

If the O’Neill Youth Epic 4/3 was a surf spot it would be Kuta, Bali! What do we mean? We mean oodles of surfers have cut their teeth on one of these. They’re probably the single most common entry-level grom suit out there. And, you know what? We can’t complain a dash.

True the O’Neill mantra of surfing for the masses, the Youth Epic manages to tick all the boxes without making things prohibitively pricy. For under $150 a pop, you can score a steamer that’s both flexible and thermal, with some nifty features that mean you won’t be left behind by the A-lister surfing groms who can afford the height of the range.

There’s a rash-reducing Smooth Skin Fluid Flex Firewall Thermal Lining on the inside panels. It makes light work of the chilly autumn and winter water conditions, even if it’s perhaps not fantastic in December and January. On top of that, there are blind-stitched seams to cut flushing (the process of water running into the suit – cold!) and seamless panels on key paddle areas (making it easier for your little one to catch waves).

The only real downside for us is the apparent lack of eco-friendly focus. O’Neill looks to have stuck with conventional neoprene rubber over the greener limestone stuff for this suit.

  • The ultimate entry-level suit
  • Gets the basics right
  • Low price!
  • Not for advanced groms
  • No eco-friendly features

Girls wetsuits

Below is our selection of wetsuits for kids that are tailored to the female side of the species. These will often have more ergonomic fits and tactically placed panels.

Kids’ R2® Yulex® Front-Zip Full Suit – the best of all the girls’ wetsuits for kids

PRICE WHEN REVIEWED: $199

When the surf industry started waking up to the need to go green around the turn of the millenium, most companies went out and changed the way they did things. No one went further than Patagonia, though. In fact, they blazed a trail to totally neoprene-free rubber with their first ever range of suits and they’ve been legendary ever since, not just because Greta Thunberg would approve, but also because they’re awesome products.

The Kids’ R2 Yulex has precisely the same environmentally considered makeup as Patagonia’s main range. It’s 85% Yulex (a sort of natural rubber that’s endorsed by the Forest Stewardship Council) and 15% synthetic rubber. More than that, the whole thing is Fair Trade Certified so you don’t have to worry about your grom’s surfing habit fuelling sweatshops down the line. And there’s a 100% recycled polyester interior.

And if you thought eco meant a dip in performance, think again. The $200 price tag is every inch worth it here. Yulex has proved itself to be not only good for the ocean but fantastic at in-water heat retention. It’s stretchy and light, not to mention more durable than most neoprene suits. This is easily a purchase for several seasons, not just one.

  • Innovative materials that trump most other neoprene
  • Uber eco-friendly
  • Light and warm
  • Pricy

Girl’s Sisstrevolution 7 Seas 4/3mm Chest Zip Fullsuit

PRICE WHEN REVIEWED: __

And so we come to Sisstrevolution. Notice the similar range name to Vissla. That’s because Vissla is the parent company of this all-new branch-out brand. They’ve only been around for a couple of years but have already shifted the paradigm on female surfing a lot. They bring a whole new focus on ergonomics and fit to the female side of industry. It was something sorely missing before and our women-surfer friends report some very good things indeed.

So, the Girl’s Sisstrevolution 7 Seas 4/3mm. It’s certainly a fantastic looking piece of kit. We love the balance between the greys and the muted teals. It’s like a throwback to the 80s retro suits back in the day. But there’s nothing retro about the tech that the folk at Sisstrevolution (and, by extension, Vissla) have managed to work into the material…

There’s hardly a touch of water flushing thanks to those powerful Thermal Flush Barrier. The same Super Stretch fabric that’s in the men’s 7 Seas ensures its flexy and manoeuvrable from tip to toe. Also worthy of mention is the glideskin neck seal, which will keep water out on a whole variety of body shapes. Talking of body shapes…there’s no one that models female suits better than Sisstrevolution, so the fit you get from these should be prime.

  • Fantastic sealing properties to prevent water flushing
  • Retro style
  • Tailor-made for female surfers
  • Hard to get your hands on cos’ it sells like hot cakes!
  • Some people might not like the design

Girls 7 Seas 3/2mm Back Zip Fullsuit

PRICE WHEN REVIEWED: $179.95

There’s not too much to say here because we’ve covered the basics of what’s in the Sissterevolution suits above. The main difference is that this is a 3/2 option, better for summer surfing in warmer destinations. Basically, if you think you’ll be sticking to April-May surfs in the Northern Hemisphere, this might be a better pick. We’re talking all waters of 56-65° F.

There’s also a noticeable difference in the design of this suit, too. For starters, it’s a back-zip, which you can get away with a little more in the summer months when uber-snug fits aren’t needed. It’s also fully black, with the Sissterevolution logo front and center. It’s minimal, less retro, but downright cool looking in our humble opinion.

Also worthy of mention are the eco additions. The whole thing is dope-dyed to reduce water consumption in the factory and it’s made from fully limestone-based neoprene. Overall, very nice indeed and it lets you stick with a brand that’s ALL about female surfing.

  • Tailored to women surfers
  • Subtle but sleek design
  • GOOD 3
  • Same price as the winter suit, but thinner!
  • Not good for winter surfing

O’Neill Youth Epic 4/3mm Back Zip Full Wetsuit Girls

PRICE WHEN REVIEWED: $149.99+

Calling all beginner surfers – we think you’d have to look pretty darn hard to find a suit that will give you same good value for money as the O’Neill Youth Epic 4/3mm. It’s an ever-reliable and popular girl’s choice, with a price tag that makes it unquestionably one of the wetsuits for kids looking to dip their toe in the world of water sports for the first time.

The features might be on the basic side but they take care of all you really need for eight-month surf seasons lasting spring to autumn. Those O’Neill FluidFlex Firewall Panels keep out strong winds but also help you warm up the suit fast from within. You’ll also benefit from blind-stitched and double-stitched seams – key for stopping too much water turnover in the suit, which has a huge effect on the thermals.

It’s hard to wax lyrical about the Youth Epic too much. But therein lies the charm. This is the essential and basic toolkit for girl surfers wanting to get started in the sport without breaking the bank.

  • Affordable
  • Reduces water flushing with blind-stitched seams
  • Great for casual, starter surfers
  • No fancy thermal stuff
  • Not the option for hardcore surfers

Toddler wetsuits

Here’s our $0.2 on wetsuits for kids of a younger age, from 2-4 years…

O’Neill Toddler Reactor-2 2mm Back Zip Full Wetsuit

PRICE WHEN REVIEWED: $42+

Let’s put it this way – if we had a toddler right now and wanted to get them splashing around in the surf, we’d go straight for the O’Neill Reactor. At under $69 a pop, it’s fully aware that suits are usually only good for a year or two at most at this age. It’s not going to drain the bank account but gives all the things you want from a tyke’s neoprene. There’s regular 2mm neoprene all over, with Flatloc-Stitched seams that stop the water going in and out. The suit is also full-arm and leg, which adds some SPF cover to the mix and protects your little one from strong sun when they’re at the beach. The thinner neoprene means this isn’t really for winter swims, but it will cover you for those first sessions in the whitewash from spring to fall.

  • Unisex fitting makes it easy to match age to size
  • Super affordable
  • The best toddler wetsuit out there if you ask us
  • Only 2mm means it’s not for midwinter use
  • Fits aren’t always perfect in Unisex suits

Quiksilver 4​/3 Syncro Back Zip Wetsuit

PRICE WHEN REVIEWED: $139.95

The same range as we list above as Quiksilver’s go-to option for older boys is also a great choice for younger surfers in the 2-5 age range. The suit retains many of the stand-out thermal features we love, including the Vapor Stretch panels on the upper body, which really help to cut down what you feel in high-wind environments. The back-zip entry really helps to make it a suit that mom and dad can slip on and off without too much hassle. We also think the adjustable neck strap is an ingenious idea for toddler age groups, scene as body shapes differ considerably at younger ages.

  • Adjustable neck closure
  • Well-taped seams
  • Great wind protection
  • Small chest panels
  • They’ll outgrow this one pretty quick!

If you’ve got anything to add to this ultimate guide to wetsuits for kids, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Perhaps you’ve tried and tested one of the models above or have discovered a whole new model that should 100% be in our selection. Either way, we wanna’ know about it!

We might use affiliate links in this post. Basically, you click em’ and we get a little something from your booking or purchase. They help us keep offering more and more in-depth surf guides to awesome places all around the globe. So, thanks for that!

This guide to wetsuits for kids is just one part of our larger guide to wetsuits

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