How to Choose Athletic Swimsuits

How to Choose Athletic Swimsuits

Whether you’re stand up paddle boarding, surfing or swimming laps at the pool, you’ll want a swimsuit that fits well, moves with you and stays put. Finding the right active swimwear will depend on a number of personal choices: how active you plan to be, how much support you need or how much skin you want to show. Luckily, the range of swimsuit styles, patterns and silhouettes available makes it easy to find a suit that’s flattering and functional.

When choosing a swimsuit for your favorite water activities, consider the following four factors:

1. Choose your swimwear style based on your activity:

How you’ll move and how much sun exposure you’ll face will help guide your choices. If you spend a lot of time ducking under waves, for example, pick a one-piece suit or a top with racerback or thick crisscross straps so your suit will stay secure.   

2. Decide how much coverage you want and where you want it:

For example, if you plan to spend the day at the beach sunbathing and snorkeling, you might choose a rashguard and board shorts that you can pull over a sporty bikini when you’re ready to limit your sun exposure.

3. Decide what fabric and design features you want: 

Quick-drying fabrics make it easy to go from playing in the water to lounging poolside. Zipped board-short pockets come in handy for holding essentials while you’re out on your paddle board.

4. Find a style that’s comfortable: 

You want to spend more time focusing on your water activity and less time adjusting your bottoms or making sure your top stays put. Whenever you can, it’s best to try the suit on and move around in it to find a good fit and make sure it doesn't ride up.

Swimwear Type

Types of Swimwear

One-piece women’s suits: These have come a long way in style and function. Because most active-style one-pieces tend to stay in place better than two-piece suits, they’re a great choice for sports such as diving, bodysurfing or stand up paddle boarding where you’ll spend time falling or diving into the water or waves. If you plan to do lap or competitive swimming, you may opt to choose snug-fitting, cross-back streamlined suits designed for minimal fuss and drag in the water. 

Two-piece women’s suits: With swim top and bottoms sold separately, it’s easy to customize two-piece suits to suit your watersport and body type. Many active brands design performance two-piece suits to stay in place during many watersports. Two-piece suits are also more convenient than one-piece suits for bathroom breaks.

Two-piece women’s suits

Tops on two-piece suits come in a wide range of styles in two main categories:

Bikini: These include the classic triangle top, bra or bralette-style top.

Tankini: These tank tops usually cover the full midriff (crop tops may fall somewhere between the two styles.

Swim bottoms range in coverage, from traditional bikini bottoms with a higher leg cut to more full coverage. Other options for coverage include swim skirts and boy short styles.

 

Athletic Swimsuit:Athletic swimsuit refers to the swimsuit used in the aquatic sports of swimming, diving, synchronized swimming, triathlon and water polo. ... They reduce friction and drag in the water, increasing the efficiency of the swimmer's forward motion.

Rashguards: These popular shirts provide protection from sun and chafing. Rashguards shield you from harmful UV rays during long hours of paddling, surfing, snorkeling or swimming. They’re lightweight, stretchy and can be loose- or form-fitting. The shirts come in many styles for versatility—cap-sleeve, short-sleeve, ¾-length, long-sleeve, pullover or zip-top.

Features to Consider in Active Swimwear

Fast-drying fabric. If you plan to spend a lot of time in and out of the water, consider choosing swimwear that dries quickly. Quick-drying suits also help prevent chafing since they wick moisture away from your skin. Thicker fabrics or suits with cotton blends may not dry as fast.

Sun-protective fabric. Sun-protective fabric helps shield you from harmful ultraviolet rays that can lead to sunburn. Clothing is rated on a UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) scale of 15 to 50+ based on its effectiveness against ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) light. The higher the UPF number, the more protective it is. To find out more, read our article on sun protection clothing basics.

Inner liners:Women’s suits may include liners for greater opacity when wet, and some have special linings that help the suit cling to your skin and keep it from slipping. 

Removable bra cups: Some women prefer the enhanced silhouette and modesty coverage they get with padded bra cups, but those who dislike them can easily remove them. Pockets: Swim shorts that come with zippered side or rear pockets or inside mesh pockets let you store a car key, lip balm or other small essentials while doing sports such as paddling or kitesurfing. 

Swimsuit strap styles: The straps on women’s swimsuits can be fashionable, but for active sports the function is essential. When choosing a suit, keep in mind that wider straps are often more comfortable than narrower ones and usually provide better support.

Adjustable straps: Adjustable straps allow you to loosen or tighten the straps to fit your specific body and come in handy when straps loosen with use.

Back closure: Bathing suit tops with back closures can make tops easier to put on and remove, especially when the fabric is wet.

Racerback / crisscross: These strap styles allow for a g oodrange of arm and shoulder movement while maintaining a secure fit.

Halter: The straps on halters tie around your neck and are a good support choice for those with larger busts (though be aware that they can also cause some discomfort around the neck).

Swimsuit Fit

Swimsuit strap styles: The straps on women’s swimsuits can be fashionable, but for active sports the function is essential. When choosing a suit, keep in mind that wider straps are often more comfortable than narrower ones and usually provide better support.

Adjustable straps: Adjustable straps allow you to loosen or tighten the straps to fit your specific body and come in handy when straps loosen with use.

Back closure: Bathing suit tops with back closures can make tops easier to put on and remove, especially when the fabric is wet.

Racerback / crisscross: These strap styles allow for a good range of arm and shoulder movement while maintaining a secure fit.

Halter: The straps on halters tie around your neck and are a good support choice for those with larger busts (though be aware that they can also cause some discomfort around the neck).

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