3 Things to Wear for a Cold Water Swim in Winter

3 Things to Wear for a Cold Water Swim in Winter

So, you’ve decided you want to take up sea swimming in the winter, but have zero clue what to wear and how to begin, right? This post is for you!

Something to remember is that once you start getting into cold water immersion, you will be hooked! It’s that good! We run monthly events and retreats to encourage and empower more women to get in the sea; with returning regulars as well as new faces.

Usually, before an event, we’ll have some people who are interested but nervous - which is normal! - and the main nerves come from this question:

“I haven’t been swimming in water this cold, any suggestions on what to wear??”

Woman standing by the sea wearing a long sleeve swimsuit

The thing to remember when it comes to cold water exposure is that everyone’s comfort zone and physical limits are different (and you might not have figured yours out yet!), but having dipped in the sea for the last few winters in the UK, this is what we suggest women wear when they join us for a swim for the first time…

  • Long sleeve swimsuit or ‘shorty’ wetsuit: something like this Finisterre Yulex® 2mm suit is ideal because it gives you a little extra warmth while you adapt to the cold conditions as a beginner
  • Neoprene gloves: any wetsuit gloves will do but we’re both big fans of these 3mm wetsuit gloves by Swim Club because they’re really easy to put on and take off, and they even have a velcro strap to stop too much water flushing in
  • Neoprene boots: as with gloves, any wetsuit boots or socks from 3-5mm will keep your toes toasty but go for ones that aren’t too much of a wrestle to get off! When you get out of the water and back on the beach, your dexterity is likely to be a bit rubbish so bear that in mind. Check out these 5mm neoprene socks from Two Bare Feet.

Now let’s chat about getting dry and dressed once you’ve come out of the water:

  • Changing robe: not strictly necessary but more and more people are opting for a changing robe so they can quickly and easily get changed. We both have this longsleeve one from Dryrobe but there are tonnes of alternatives to suit every taste and budget. If you don’t go for a robe, then make sure you have a big enough towel to change under.
  • Changing mat: again, not necessary but we both have them and love them - these are drawstring waterproof mats to stand on and put all your wet gear into. You can then draw the string and keep the wet things nicely inside!
  • Waterproof ‘dry’ bag: we love our roll-top dry backpacks as they are waterproof and keep everything wet inside. You can also get these smaller roll top bags to keep in your tote or rucksack.

Got your cold water kit sorted but still feeling nervous about being a beginner? Join one of our regular meetups in Bournemouth where you can be part of a supportive and encouraging community when you go for your first cold water swim. Browse our events here.

See you in the sea soon!

Em and Elissa xo

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