Huub Archimedes II men's wetsuit.

Huub Archimedes II men’s wetsuit, available in 3:5 or 4:4 buoyancy

Searching for the perfect wetsuit this year? Huub Wetsuits, originally a small start-up from the UK, is the latest brand to make waves in the wetsuit market. Top triathletes Caroline Steffen, the Brownlee brothers and Dave Scott are Huub’s most well-known ambassadors. TMC received three of the brand’s best wetsuits and has been testing them out for a full review later this summer. Here are our first impressions.

Huub Toussaint, one of the world’s most renowned swim scientists, heads the team of wetsuit industry leaders behind Huub. The brand has combined decades of research and experience to create suits that pay attention to every last detail. They’ve dedicated themselves exclusively to the wetsuit market and have created products good enough for the best in the sport as well as the 85% of all triathletes without a swim background.

Huub's Axena wetsuit. Photo: Claire Duncan

Huub’s Axena wetsuit in 3:3 and 3:5 buoyancy.

Our first look at the wetsuits revealed some details we hadn’t before — for example, different buoyancy options for the same models. Huub explains that this gives each swimmer a more customized fit based on their individual swimming ability. For newer swimmers, an option like the 3:5 gives you five millimetres of thickness on the legs to help keep them up in the water. For an experienced swimmer with good body alignment in the water, the 3:3 (or with the Archimedes, 4:4) delivers even thickness across the whole suit and is designed for you. Huub says that with the right suit, triathletes can reduce drag in the water by a significant 30%.

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Axena wetsuit’s calf panel.

To maximize this buoyancy, Huub has forgone the industry’s traditional neoprene in favour of lighter, new materials with increased buoyancy and specified levels of stretch. We’re interested to see the durability of this material in comparison to other neoprene suits.

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With both the Axena and Huub’s top end suit, the Archimedes, the coloured squares on the bicep calves are special releases. These patches are without any rubber coating to give the muscles extra room to expand without restriction. The bicep release is constructed to help the catch phase of the stroke by reducing arm fatigue and improving the athlete’s best elbow position. While many triathletes find this area of a suit to be binding and uncomfortable, the calf panels keep it feeling comfortable for the duration of the swim and aid in taking it off in transition.

Huub has several wetsuit models including the Atom, a kid’s suit. Two models — the Axena (honouring Caroline Steffen’s nickname, Xena) and the Atana — are female-specific suits. We have samples of both suits and can tell that Huub has put extra effort into creating women’s suits that aren’t just a sculpted version of the men’s model. Offered in special thickness ratios, the Axena and Atana take into account that women’s bodies are naturally less muscle-dense than men’s. Women also generally have less leg sinking in the water. According to Huub, these suits’ unique buoyancy options allow more efficient kicking and body positioning.

We compared the sizes of the suits to other brands we had in the office and found that the Huub suits appear to fit slightly smaller. Huub provides a sizing chart on their website, which is a necessary tool if you’re thinking about ordering one of their suits online.