Another important fact when it comes to keeping you warm inside a wetsuit is the stitching that is used. There are lots of different techniques to wetsuit stitching, and they all have one thing in common, keeping the water out. Below is a list of all the types of binding and stitching you might come across in your search for the perfect wetsuit.
Over lock stitch
Over lock stitching is the least effective and will be found in very cheap wetsuits, although this stitching is strong it is very uncomfortable due to the way it sticks out and pushes into your skin. This sewing technique is also impractical because it punctures the neoprene and water flushes in which doesn’t equal a warm wetsuit.
Flat lock stitch
Flat lock stitching is similar to over lock stitching, the difference being that the stitches are on the outside which solves the problem of uncomfortable over lock stitching sticking into you. However due to the stitching being on the outside this exposes holes to the elements which makes the neoprene tear and this results in water flushing through the suit.
Blind stitching is the primary stitching for very warm wetsuits such as steamers. This is because if the wetsuit it sewn together with blind stitching it is virtually waterproof.
Blind stitch & glued
The technique in blind stitching and gluing is the neoprene is glued together before stitching begins. The stitching is done with a curved needle which never full penetrates the neoprene which means no holes, and no water flushing through the wetsuit! This technique is the most common in good wetsuits today because it provides flexibility, warmth and durability. However the downside is that the glue will not last as long as the neoprene and will eventually start to crack, however proper wetsuit care will prolong your wetsuit for as long as possible.
Blind stitch, glued & spot taped
By taping the main points of pressure on the wetsuit, you can stop the stitches from opening. The best way of doing this is by looking to where a group of stitches have come loose together. Because taping does stop the suit from being able move freely it can stop flexibility.
Double blind stitch & glued
Double blind stitching and gluing can increase the strength and durability of a wetsuit, however because there are two sets of stitching it can mean there are double the amount of holes, and if they happen to line up, water can flush through the wetsuit.
Blind stitch, glued & fully taped
Blind stitching, gluing and fully taping is a time consuming process and which results in an expensive price tag. Basically the concept is they cover all the stitches with an adhesive tape which is applied with glue at a high temperature, this then seals the wetsuit making it waterproof.
Blind stitch, glued & fully taped with neoprene tape
Neoprene tape means that you don’t lose any flexibility that is often associated with the other type of tape used. However this type of binding is generally quite rare.
Liquid taping used to only be found in the high end wetsuits however due to the effectiveness of this technique it has trickled down to middle range, intermediate wetsuits. It is basically a special liquid rubber which is used to seal the neoprene when sewing the wetsuit together. This rubber increases the strength and durability of the wetsuit and stops any water leaking into the suit. The best thing to look for is double blind stitching as well as liquid taping.