What Is Wetsuit Material Neoprene Fabric

May. 06, 2023

Nowadays, wetsuit is so popular all over the world to let us can have more outdoor activities as it can protect our body for keeping warmer. The wetsuit manufacturers are most from USA and China, as the USA is the biggest market for wetsuits and China has a cheaper cost and more skillful tech. of manufacturer. But for the wetsuit industry, if we would like to know more not only about consumers but also about businessmen, we also should study the neoprene and fabric of wetsuit materials as the following.


In 1931, DuPont invented neoprene, a synthetic rubber made by polymerizing chloroprene. It's arguably the best material for insulation, so it's often used to make wetsuits. It hugs the body, remains flexible over time, and protects you from hypothermia. The main component of wetsuit neoprene is elemental carbon (C), an element derived from petroleum. However, we now source this main ingredient from more environmentally friendly limestone and other sources that are high in carbon. There are many types of neoprene available with different properties, prices, applications, and environmental impacts. For example, you may have heard of different types of neoprene such as CR neoprene, limestone neoprene, oil neoprene, hevea trees natural rubber.


We use neoprene foam sliced into different thicknesses to make our wetsuits. Different grades of foam have different characteristics. Generally, the more flexible and softer the sponge, the more premium it is. You will learn more about the different neoprene types available below.

1) CR Neoprene: Oil-based or Limestone-based

the most common type of neoprene is CR Neoprene. You might know it as Chloroprene rubber, simply CR or Polychloroprene. CR neoprene can be made from environmentally harmful oils. Alternatively, we can now use higher-end types of rubber foam that are based on limestone instead of oil. In fact, the impact on the environment is much less.

a) Petroleum-based Neoprene

Gasoline-based neoprene is the traditional method of making neoprene invented in the 1950s. However, this gasoline-based neoprene is far less environmentally friendly than the newer, cleaner neoprene available, such as limestone neoprene.

What Is Wetsuit Material Neoprene Fabric

b) Limestone Neoprene

In the 1960s, it became possible to manufacture neoprene using different methods. The main neoprene compound is still chloroprene. But instead of using dirty petroleum-based ingredients, it's possible to use calcium carbonate from limestone. Limestone is usually mined in Japan, where manufacturers turn it into rubber chips. Afterward, they melted the chips in an oven and then put them through a chemical process. Next, they injected air bubbles into the molten mass and baked it into a piece of neoprene foam. After that, they cut this block to whatever thickness of neoprene we need to make wetsuits. Thicknesses range from 0.4mm to 10mm and everything in between. What's more, limestone neoprene has the same or better elongation, flexibility, and insulating properties, and is less harmful to the environment. Most importantly, this is why limestone neoprene is one of the most flexible and environmentally friendly types of neoprene available.

What Is Wetsuit Material Neoprene Fabric

c) Eco-friendly Neoprene

There are different types of environmentally friendly neoprene available. The invention of limestone neoprene had a major impact on wetsuit manufacturing, making the high-end wetsuit industry more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Some companies have different names for their limestone-based alternatives. You may have heard of the Japanese Yamamoto neoprene used in some high-end wetsuit models. Other versions of limestone neoprene are Jako neoprene wetsuits.

What Is Wetsuit Material Neoprene Fabric

d) Natural Rubber and Yulex Pure

A completely different way of making wetsuits is to use natural rubber. Locally known as caoutchouc, it is made from the material harvested from the latex sap of rubber trees. It consists mainly of polymers of the organic compound isoprene and water. Rubber trees grow in tropical regions all over the world. For example, Yulex uses this natural rubber as the main component to make a neoprene-like material, which is suitable for making diving suits. As long as rubber tree plantations are FSC-certified, Yulex is a very attractive alternative.

What Is Wetsuit Material Neoprene Fabric

2) SBR Foam

SBR foam is similar to neoprene foam and can be lined with nylon or polyester for the same look as a regular neoprene wetsuit. However, SBR foams have poor elongation capabilities and little ozone or chemical resistance. That's why manufacturers mainly use SBR foam in very cheap and low-quality wetsuits. In other words, avoid SBRs in your next winter wetsuit.

What Is Wetsuit Material Neoprene Fabric

All in all, there are so many types of neoprene material for wetsuits. If it is a little difficult for knowing them, especially for B2B, you should ask some enriched experience wetsuit manufacturers such as Wetop Sports, they will provide professional answers for you.  


For lining a wetsuit, we make it resistant to abrasion, impact, and damage during use. Diving suits are available as single-lined or double-lined. Examples of single-lined neoprene are smooth skin or glide skin. Different manufacturers produce linings in polyester, nylon, spandex, or Lycra.
1) Single Lined Neoprene

Single-lined neoprene goes by many names. Examples include mesh, sliding skin, or smooth skin. The finer the mesh, the smoother and more radiant the skin. Plus, the single-lined neoprene has excellent insulating properties to protect you from wind chill. We use single-lined neoprene on the chest and back panels of the wetsuit to keep you warm in windy and cold conditions. Single-lined neoprene protects you from the wind and chill for more warmth than double-lined neoprene. Plus, we've lined the inside of the single-lined panel with a nylon or polyester knit lining for next-to-skin comfort.

What Is Wetsuit Material Neoprene Fabric

2) Double Lined Neoprene

After we slice the neoprene foam into sheets of the appropriate thickness, we laminated a layer of elastic fabric on both sides. By doing this, we make the neoprene more durable. Also, by lining the exterior in neoprene, we protect it from nails that might scratch the fabric.

What Is Wetsuit Material Neoprene Fabric

3) Thermal Insulation

Thermal insulation is the reduction of heat transfer between objects of different temperatures. In terms of wetsuits, it refers to the suit's ability to protect you from cold water and wind. This causes your body heat to be retained inside the wetsuit. So the thicker the neoprene foam, the better the insulation and the warmer it will feel in cold water.

What Is Wetsuit Material Neoprene Fabric


When you're shopping for a wetsuit, always look for the type of neoprene that fits your needs. However, don't be fooled by neoprene's fancy names. It all comes down to doing what's inside.

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