Patagonia Releases New Neoprene-Free Wetsuits With More Stretch

Focusing on stretch, comfort and wearability, Patagonia’s new line of Yulex wetsuits blends performance and environmental responsibility.

After nearly five years of development, today Patagonia released their newly designed line of neoprene-free Yulex fullsuits.

In an effort to boost flexibility, comfort and performance, the wetsuits are reportedly 20% more stretchy while also being 5% lighter than their previous suits. Paying special attention to the shoulder area, they’ve also updated the interior lining of the suit for additional wearability.

“These suits were designed with performance, simplicity, repairability, and recyclability as the focus,” reads a statement from Patagonia.

Another big update in Patagonia’s newest fleet of suits is that they’ve also been designed to be easier to repair. And when suit’s finally worn out, they are able to be recycled into other products.

“Patagonia’s onsite wetsuit repair and design teams compared notes, removed seams from high tension zones and modified the most commonly repaired areas,” explains the company. “All Patagonia wetsuits can be repaired in Ventura, California, and when it is at the end of its life, it can now be recycled into new Patagonia wetsuits and packs.”

What Is Yulex?

Patagonia has partnered with Yulex to create a plant-based rubber from the guayule tree. Grown in Guatemala, this “biorubber” is considered a renewable non-food crop and can be grown without pesticides and requires little water, ultimately making it an environmentally clearer product than the traditional neoprene that is used in most wetsuits.

Hoping to get other brands on board, Patagonia and Yulex have made the eco-tech available to the rest of the surf industry. To date, Billabong, needessentials, Seea, Finisterre and SRFACE have all adopted it in one form or another.

And when it comes to the tapping on the seams, in 2016 Patagonia moved to rubber tape from hevea trees to cutdown on CO₂ emissions. They also partnered with the Forest Stewardship Council to ensure that the rubber they were sourcing came from plantations that preserve biodiversity and ecological integrity. They also use a water-based glue for a cleaner manufacturing process.