How well does an eco friendly wetsuit work? Toby Heppell dons the Zhik Eco Suit and heads out on the water to put it to the test
Eco friendly wetsuit tested: Zhik Eco Suit
Having a wetsuit on board is always useful, whether you’re going for a swim, a paddleboard, or need to get in to check the prop.
This new eco friendly wetsuit from Zhik is made from plant-based neoprene-style material and from recycled plastic bottles.
The insulating rubber foam, 80% of the garment, is entirely plant-based while the outer surface is made from recycled plastic.
This is good news for the eco-conscious but does it work as a wetsuit?
In terms of the material, I found no discernible difference to other, similar thickness, neoprene wetsuits I have recently worn.
This wetsuit is geared towards the racing sailor so flexibility and comfort once on are prioritised over ease of donning.
As such there is no zip in the suit, which is made of thin material and has no arms.
Once on, the wetsuit is incredibly comfortable but it does take a fair bit of fighting to climb into it via the neck opening.
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Without arm coverage and with thin material, this is not the sort of wetsuit you’ll want to wear for any time other than the height of the British summer but I tested it for a full day in the water in late July in the rain but with relatively high ambient temperatures and was fine.
In recent years there has been a growing trend in wetsuits towards some provision to allow you to practically relieve yourself.
The Zhik solution for this men’s suit is for a roll-up tube of neoprene, which Velcros into a pocket at the crotch and which has a flapped opening inside, not dissimilar to a pair of Y-fronts.
When not in use it is barely noticeable, when extended (as I’m inclined to term it with a shudder) it is quite the funniest thing I have seen.
It certainly works and is probably the best of the options I’ve seen, though undeniably comical — at least to me.
The Zhik Eco Suit costs £239.95
Zhik Eco wetsuit deals
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- 100% Neoprene free
- 1mm Natural thermal insulation
- 4-Way super stretch
- 3D Body mapped fit
- Recycled outer fabric
- Fast-drying inner fleece
- High stretch flatlock stitching
- Ziband® silicone leg seal branding
- Waterproof loo-rip
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