Gear Review - Head Swimrun Wetsuit

Andrew Wallace
18.06.19 02:30 PM Comment(s)

I didn't even know that Head - you know, the guys who make all the tennis gear - made wetsuits to until I started getting more and more interested in swimrunning and followed the European swimrunning groups - Head are prime sponsors in many of the events and make a range of swimrunning gear. I decided to invest in one last year, the Head Swimrun Rough Shorty.

Swimrunning wetsuit review
The Head Swimrun Shorty

First things first, the wetsuit looks really nice and is very well made with strong stitching and tough logos on nylon coated neoprene throughout.

Logos are not overly intrusive and there are no cheesy swim running 'taglines' that you tend to get on the cheaper wetsuits.

The whole wetsuit is nylon coated neoprene which makes it tough and abrasion resistant. Think of a surfing wetsuit compared to a triathlon wetsuit - the surface of a triathlon wetsuit is smooth neoprene and we'll get shredded on the first rock or bramble it comes into contact with. It will also wear through very very quickly if it rubs against another neoprene surface such as on the inner thigh.

The wetsuit material is very thin throughout, probably no more than 3 mm and the interior is very soft and comfortable against the skin. I actually prefer to run in this even if I'm not swimrunning! Although I must admit it does cause some looks.

It typically dries out within 10 minutes of running.

Other features include a very soft neck and double-sided zip, which prevents rubbing and allows you to get the wetsuit off very quickly.

The double zip also allows you to quickly 'decab' (without needing help from your partner) for the running legs of your swimrun route, if that's your thing.  However I did find this a bit of a problem because when both zips are down the wetsuit naturally wants to fall down to your ankles! Personally I prefer to keep the wetsuit up for the whole swimrun though, so this is not an issue.

Head swimrun wetsuit
Double sided zippers make getting the wetsuit on and off much easier

The arms of this shorty wetsuit extend to just below the elbow which can give a surprising boost in colder conditions. When it is hotter you can roll the sleeves up above the elbow.

There are no detachable arms on this wetsuit, but that's not to say you can't use them if you have any from other suits.

The legs extend down to just above the knee.

The front zipper has an integrated whistle in the zipper lanyard.

Useful features of swimrunning wetsuits
Front zipper with integrated whistle

There are also some useful nylon loops at the base of the zipper on the front and back, which can be used to tether your partner. If you prefer not to be tethered together then you can use them to attach your hand paddles or foldable water bottle.

Features of swimrunning wetsuits
Loop attachment anchors on front and rear

There are two internal pockets on either side of the front zipper, however in my opinion these are quite useless because once the wetsuit is on the snug fit means it's very difficult to get anything in those pockets anyway, especially as the pockets close with strong velcro.  Maybe these are preferred by some athletes though.

There is no external pocket on this model which is a shame, however I have hacked a basic mesh running belt together with a tough buckle and use this to carry my gels and other gear. I have also sewn on some webbing loops to the belt strap and can attach hand paddles if I'm using them.

Overall Rating

This is a really great wetsuit for the price (less than £200) and has lasted me a full season, into its second year and is not showing any signs of wear. 

The lack of an external pocket is unfortunate but frankly I find a running belt is a better bit of kit anyway as it can carry a bit more gear, can be swiveled to the front/back as needed, and no external pocket means nothing can get lost.

This wetsuit is really comfortable to run in and highly flexible for swimming, plus it looks pretty slick.

All in all I am very happy with this wetsuit and would strongly recommend it to anyone wanting to splash out on an entry level swimrunning wetsuit.