Is Neoprene Warm For Winter? (5mm vs 2mm vs Wool)

You will be acting like a pirate when the temperatures drop down to colder levels. You will be saying shiver me timbers if you are not wearing the right material to keep yourself warm. Then you will be seen racing off to the nearest clothing store to find something to keep your body warm.

Is neoprene warm for winter? If you live in geographical regions that get extreme cold temperatures, you may not have as good of luck staying warm with neoprene. The 2mm thickness is good for temperatures between 62 and 68 degrees F and the 5 mm works best in temperatures between 43 and 52 degrees F.

To find out more about wearing neoprene in the winter, just continue to read our article. It gives you the heads up on wearing this material when the temperatures do get a little colder. Neoprene may be better as insulation than a primary winter fabric.

Does Neoprene Keep You Warm in The Winter?


According to some personal testimonies, neoprene seems to be the perfect material to use when the temperatures dip down low. The rubber made fabric is supposed to be good at keeping the wind away from your body, the cold outside of your clothing and your hands stay functioning because the cold doesn't reach them either.

One person described it as wearing a suit of armor and that concept is backed up by another personal testimony where neoprene keeps you nice and hot when the weather is warm. So yes, you can say that neoprene can keep you warm in the winter.

It is not a breathable fabric as it is made of rubber. That rubber acts like a barrier, think the wall of a house, between you and the cold. Some neoprene fabrics are rating to withstand -30 degree F temperatures.

If you wear neoprene gloves, make sure to have liners so the material doesn't chafe your skin and it may be a good idea to add in some hand warmers just in case.

Is 5mm Neoprene Warm?

This is a good thickness if you are going to go scuba diving in cooler waters. It is thick, a little breathable and when enhanced by poly-chloroprene it is even better. What makes neoprene a warm fabric to wear when underwater is that it can trap a thin layer of water next to your skin.

Then as you swim and move about, that thin layer of water is heated by your body temperature keeping you a little bit warmer while under the water. For clothing, neoprene is not a breathable fabric.

To make it breathable, you need to put little holes in the fabric. But if you do that, you lose your insulating protection. Cold air will get through those little holes and chill your body very quickly.

This 5mm fabric is good at insulating as, like wool and other fabrics, the thicker it is the more insulation you get. You stay warmer in 5mm neoprene than you would in 2mm fabric.

If you chill easily, go for the thicker fabric to make sure your body stays warm when the temperature outside tries to cool you down.

Is 2mm Neoprene Warm?


The concept of warmth is a little like Einstein’s theory of relativity. It is a matter of when you feel cold. If you feel cold at 65 degrees F and others do not, then 2mm will be the perfect thickness for you.

This thickness of the material is rated for temperatures between 62 and 68 degrees F. You can put on a nice neoprene 2mm jacket and warm up very quickly, especially if that jacket has a good liner to it.

Then if you want to go out in colder weather and do not have a 5mm or 7mm thick neoprene clothing item, you can always layer the fabric to get the warming benefits neoprene offers.

The wind is always a factor and with this material not very breathable, wind chill should not affect you. We say should not because not everyone has the same result as others have. In a comparison with 5 mm, the 2mm does not stand a chance to keep you as warm as that thickness does.

Which is Warmer Neoprene or Thinsulate?

First off, neoprene is a material that is made for those situations where waterproofing and good insulating powers are very needed. It isn't made to be that flexible or breathable although some people claim otherwise.

Thinsulate is warmer than neoprene and it breathes a lot better than that fabric does. Because people need insulation in cold weather, Thinsulate is used in hats, clothing, and other items you wear and when you do not need to keep the water away.

Neoprene is most often used in wet suits, gloves, and boots where keeping the water out is very important. This is a vital application as water tends to cool people off and make them uncomfortable when they are working.

Thinsulate is a woven material only and that makes it water-resistant only. Neoprene wins this comparison. The name of Thinsulate tells you that it is not going to be bulky, allowing you more freedom of movement than neoprene can offer.

The purpose of both fabrics is what dictates the level of warmth you will receive. If you do not want to move that much when the temperature drops, then neoprene may be the best option for you. But if you need to move like normal, then you can stay warmer with Thinsulate and move at the same time. The application will tell you where neoprene is warmer than Thinsulate and when it is not.

Is Neoprene Warmer Than Wool?


Unfortunately, neoprene is not on the lists that keep you the warmest when the cold temperatures have arrived in your region. The first fabric on those lists is usually wool, but there are some very good reasons for this result.

First, wool is a fabric that is perfect for colder temperatures when woven correctly. Coarse wool is not good for winter conditions making certain neoprene fabrics better than that wool option.

Finer woven wool like Merino is nice and warm but it is not as warm as cashmere, angora, and qiviut wool options. These wool items should be warmer to wear than neoprene especially if they are made from sheep, lamb, alpaca, or camel hair.

Each of those wool varieties will have their own levels of warmth so the competition may be close between the two fabrics. But neoprene fabrics also have their own levels of warmth, depending on their thickness. So you may find some neoprene options a lot colder than wool options.

Do your research to see which works best for you. But keep in mind that neoprene is made more for water associated activities and not for regular daily winter wear. It also may not make you look very well either, at least not as good as wool can.

Are Neoprene Boots Warm?

They can be as this is one of the main purposes neoprene is used for. When you walk in winter, you are often faced with stepping through melted ice water or slush and if you are not wearing neoprene boots, your feet will get wet and very cold.

Neoprene is waterproof, thus when you wear a pair of neoprene boots out in the snow, your feet should be warmer because the water and cold were kept away from them. In warmer weather, neoprene should keep your feet toasty warm, especially if you are fishing in a nice cool river or stream where you wade out a little way from the shore.

Since the fabric is not perforated your feet should stay drier and warmer longer. If you get perforated neoprene then do not expect much warmth from those boots or any water protection.

As a backup plan, you can put on some neoprene socks which will give you an added layer of protection. This works well if you live in those regions where the temperatures get below -30 degrees F. These may work better than wool socks when it comes time to hike the mountain tops.

Check them out and see if they will work for you as your results will depend on your different physical activities and how cold it is in your area.

Do Neoprene Gloves Keep You Warm?


Yes, they can and this is another application for neoprene. Gloves made from this material help keep the wind and chill away from your fingers and lets you work as you need to work. The only drawback is that neoprene gloves may be too bulky for some situations.

They are good if you go scuba diving as they help keep the water away from your hands. Plus, they should be strong enough to endure your clutching at sharp rocks you want to get over or around while you are underwater.

One good aspect of neoprene material is that it does not degrade as quickly as regular rubber does. That means your neoprene gloves should be with you for a long time under normal use and circumstances.

One drawback is that they make you sweat a lot if you use neoprene gloves when climbing up mountainsides. This is regular mountain climbing and not hiking. Your hands will be warm, but under those conditions, any glove made from any fabric would keep your hands warm.

It will depend on the thickness of the neoprene used in your gloves and the type of activity you are going to do. Your hands should stay warm when you are wearing neoprene when all conditions are met.

What Thickness Wetsuit Do I Need?

This will depend a lot on the temperature of the water you are going exploring in. For water temperatures above 72 degrees F, it doesn’t matter what thickness you have as you should stay relatively warm in those waters.

For water temperatures ranging between 65 and 75 degrees F, you can get away with wearing .5 mm to 2/1 mm thickness. Then for those waters 62 to 68 degrees F., 2mm to 3/2 mm is sufficient.

Next, those waters that get a little chillier, 58 to 63 degrees F., you would need 3/2 to 4/3 mm thickness. There are still more ratings to go. Water that is as low as 52 to 58 degrees F., the thickness of your wet suit should be between 4/3 to 5/4/3/ mm.

Next, if you scuba dive in waters that are 43 and 52 degrees F., 5/4 to 5/4/3 is what you want to wear. Finally, for waters below 42 degrees F., you will want a wet suit that is 6/5 mm or thicker in order to endure the water.

If you are still not sure which thickness of wet suit to wear, talk to a diving pro and get their opinion for the waters in their area. Getting professional advice is always a good thing as that is another layer of protection keeping you safe from the cold waters.

How To Pick The Right Neoprene Fabric To Wear

Water temperature is just one of the many criteria used to determine which neoprene fabric to use on a cold day or a day in the water. Other criteria include the following:

  • Air Temperature
  • Wind Speed
  • Your Sensitivity to Getting Cold
  • Activity Level / Rigor

The third item on that list is very important. Not everyone stays warm at the same levels and what works for one person may not work for you. Don’t be shy when it comes time to purchase a neoprene wet suit or a clothing item. Make sure the salesperson knows you get cold very easily.

Some Final Words

Neoprene is good for keeping you warm under the right conditions. The items you will find neoprene used the most are gloves, boots, waders, and wet suits.

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