Can neoprene be cut?

I recently ordered a full wet suit, which I love…except for the tight neck. (I don’t even wear turtlenecks!) Although I’m sure it takes some getting used to, I don’t think I will. I tried turning it down and taping it with duct tape–which worked, but the tape was rather scratchy. Could I simply cut the neck off (without damaging the rest of it or causing something to ravel out)? Or is there something I could stitch it with that won’t tear holes? Better yet, any way to just stretch the daggone thing? Thanks.

You could cut the neck with scissors,
and it probably will not unravel. You can get a little can of neoprene cement to stabilize the edge of the cut.

I think paddlers turn their heads more than scuba divers, so not having someting chafing your neck will be a good thing. But try to trim conservatively so that you do not make it easier for water to slosh down around your chest.

Hold Off On That…
What kind of wetsuit?

The neck should be snug, not tight. If you cut the neck, you lose a lot of protection because you will get more water infiltration in a swim. The more water flushing through, the faster you will get cold. Then you would end up having to double with a drytop or semi drytop which should also have a snug neck to minimize seepage.

It may be a matter of time to get use to the neck. If you are getting a rash, it may be that you have an allergy to neo (as some folks have this along with that to latex). One way to deal with chafing, is to rub silicone grease around your neck. The silicone grease will minimize rashes and not damage the neo (as would vasoline/petrol based jelly).


It cuts OK with scissors…
…and won’t unravel. I would cut sleeves off of a top when I just needed a vest to keep my torso warm.

Like they said you may get more water intrusion.

scissors work great for cutting
neoprene. I have made alterations to some of my wetsuits and am glad I did. You might have to apply some glue, like Goop or Melco heat tape to any seams that you cut into. Neoprene is very easy to work with and there is no reason to live with something that isn’t comfortable.

OK, thanks everyone!
I appreciate your help! SuzyQ

Give the suit a chance first.
The first time someone tries on a well fitting wet suit they usually think Oh My God this thing is tight and uncomfortable. In cold water you will be vrey glad you have a tight fitting neck that keeps the water out. A few things to try: wear a rash guard under the suit. This helps a lot with a neck that digs in a bit. Especially in fatter folks. Does the neck still feel tight when the suit is wet and you have worn it for 15-20 minutes? Wetsuits stretch quite a bit when wet. If you wear the suit for 5 or six times in the water and still feels too tight and everywhere else is fine then go ahead and alter, but wetsuits stretch and mold themselves to your body, after ten or twelve wearings they fit quite a bit more comfortably.

I took off a bit on a neoprene hood
that I had

a cut here

a cut there

pretty soon the whole thing was ruined

a total loss


chalk it up to experience

SuzyQ! Hold everything!!!
I’m guessing from your name that you never had to get used to wearing a neck tie every day. Well I wear a neck tie everyday even when I’m outside in 100 degree heat. You get used to it over time! I have to wear a neck tie as a required part of the uniform for my profession.

You are wearing a wet suit to protect you from the cold water. Snug seals arounf the neck keep cold water out and keep you much warmer! Please Wear it for ten hours before you alter it. Wetsuits stretch a lot initially. After that if you cannot stand it then use the scissors and cut away. If you are in a surfing town, local tailors will know how to do this.

If you have chafing of your neck silicone grease or anyhydrous lanolin might help. And any kind of lotion helps afterwards. Still your skin will adjust to the tight collar over time.

akin to cutting the neck gasket off a drytop or drysuit. Yeah, it’s more “comfortable” but defeats the purpose. Might as well go without. :wink:


I’ll try to refrain
from cutting it, based on what everyone has said. (Thank you.) The inability to get used to it–or ANYTHING snug on my neck–stems from my having been violently attacked–and choked–a number of years ago. I simply cannot stand to have anything around my neck. (I hadn’t realized that the collar would come up so high; I’ve worn wet suits in the past, but they were Farmer-John type.)

As The Water Cools…
try swimming around with the suit. You’ll feel some flushthrough (hopefully minimal) and will appreciate less of it, if possible.

As far as I am concerned, FJ neowear is basically warm water wear. Even my shortie, 1 mm, wetsuit provides better protection than 3 mm FJ. Simply because it’s a better fit and the snug neck minimizes that massive flushthrough in FJ wear (through arms, neck, zipper).


I only wear wetsuits these days (despite having two drysuits) because these are better suited to my needs – year round surf paddling, mostly on a rocky break.