What Size Swimsuit Should I Buy???

We get this question all the time so we thought it was time to address the million-dollar question - what size swimsuit should I buy?. Most families new to the world of aquatics (and some who aren’t new but it’s been a while!) don’t know how to size themselves or their children for a swimsuit. We suggest considering the following 3 factors when deciding what size suit to purchase: sport, practice vs. competition use, and athlete’s fit preference.


Depending on which aquatic sport you or your child participate in, the size of the swimsuit you purchase may vary.  For example, divers and synchronized swimmers tend to like their suits snug but not extra tight since they aren’t contact sports and don’t require a tight fit for speed.  Swimmers, on the other hand, tend to prefer a tighter fit so that there is less “drag” when swimming. In other words, less water can be scooped up by the suit, thus making the swimmer lighter in the water. Water polo players also tend to prefer a tighter fit to avoid having their suit grabbed by their opponent - less baggy suit, less to grab!

Practice vs. Competition

Even though each aquatic sport has a certain fit that works best for their sport, many athletes choose comfort over performance when it comes to their practice suit. Extra tight straps might be fine for a 50-meter race but when you’re swimming 2000+ meters a day, you may prefer a suit that fits snugly without too much pull on the shoulders. Wearing a “competition” size suit in practice may even lead to chafing in certain areas like under the arms on girls and at the leg opening on boys. Also, some swimmers prefer extra “drag” during practice so they purposefully wear a swimsuit (or even 2!) that is bigger so that they have to work harder and then feel faster when they switch to their competition suit for a race.

Athlete Preference 

Ultimately, you need to feel great in your swimsuit no matter what the performance requirements are. Often younger athletes are more self-conscious or not used to tight-fitting clothing and prefer a slightly looser fit. Our recommendation is to make sure your child is happy with the fit, as long as it’s not too loose! 

For girls, make sure that when you pull the shoulder straps up, you can’t stretch them to the top of their heads. For boys, make sure that the drawstring is able to keep the suit up around their waist and for jammers, make sure the leg opening isn’t gaping open.  

Experienced Parent Advice: If you want your younger child (7 years old or younger) to be able to take their own swimsuit on and off without help, they will need a swimsuit that is not too tight. Have them try putting it on themselves to be sure!

How To Measure for a Swimsuit

The best way to know if a swimsuit fits the way you want it to is to try it on!  At ZUMO we offer all our teams free size kits to use so that everyone can be sure what size they want by trying on the same style.  For those who are in a rush and don’t have time to get a fit kit or are purchasing from our ZUMO Collection, we have swimsuit size charts to help out.

Our ZUMO swimsuit sizing charts for kids are based on kids’ clothing sizes (4 years, 6 years, etc.) so that is a great place to start when fitting kids for their swimsuit.  The key measurement to pay attention to on the swimsuit sizing chart is the torso length for girls & women and the hip measurement for boys & men.  Not sure how to measure torso length for a swimsuit?  The torso measurement is taken by wrapping a soft measuring tape around the body starting at the mid-way point between the neck and the shoulder and passing the tape through the legs and back to the same point on the shoulder.  The tape should be snug but not tight. For the hip measurement, wrap the soft measuring tape around the body at the fullest part of the buttocks.

In conclusion, if you want to keep it easy, order from ZUMO so you get a free size kit with easy-to-size kids size charts. And if you don’t have time to use a sizing kit, use our handy tips on how to measure torso length and hip circumference so you can refer to our size charts