Many divers struggle to find a wetsuit that fits just right. I’ve always bought off the rack and then sent it in to have some length taken off the arms and legs because I’m quite short. There are also differences in differences in bust sizes, butt sizes and shapes, and so on and so forth. For some of people, buying a wetsuit off the rack is almost impossible.
A few companies will create a custom suit for you; one of the newer ones on the scene is 7till8. They have different types (surf or dive), different styles (full, spring, hooded, front-zip), different thicknesses, zipper options, and two different types of neoprene. I’m not going to go into all of the possible options, I’m just going to talk mostly about the one I have. But please check out their site to see all that they offer.
My 7till8 suit is a 3mm fullsuit with the Yamamoto neoprene. Never heard of Yamamoto? Neither had I. It’s Japanese neoprene made from 100% limestone, which makes it slightly more eco-friendly than petroleum-based neoprene. But more to the point, this neoprene is more flexible, softer, lighter, and warmer. Oh, and durable too, which is important for an active diver.
See the Yamamoto neoprene flexibility in action in the video below:
After I got my suit, I did have to send it back for some alterations, something they politely worked with me on and quickly completed. Once I got it back, I could see they’d made the changes I requested, and it was perfect. Next step was trying it out.
In the water, there’s very little water exchange to the point that when I emerge I actually have to pull out the ankles to let out the water that’s trapped in the suit. While teaching a class recently I had to stand around in the water for a couple hours and I honestly never even felt it. In the ocean off the North Carolina coast I was so toasty that I actually had to open the neck to allow some water in. (Bear in mind that I run warmer than most people). But my point is — I kid you not — this is the warmest suit I’ve ever had on. It could easily take the place of a 5mm. And as a bonus it’s quite thin. Most people who saw it thought I was wearing a 1mm.
For a little extra, they’ll customize the color and style and even add a logo. You can check out their customization gallery for some of the more unusual options, including one that looks like a business suit.
7till8 Comfort and Warmth
- Full warranty
- Free alterations until you’re happy – note: they will even make alterations if you lose/gain weight later
- Very flexible
- Very warm with minimal water exchange
- May be more expensive than off-the-rack suits
- Takes about three weeks to get
- Alterations will take time (shipping there, altering, and shipping back)
In short, if you could benefit from a custom suit, definitely check out 7till8. Custom suits are always more expensive than off-the-rack, but in this case, I think the price is reasonable and you get amazing quality workmanship, materials, and customer service.