Since both skin and double lined suits have advantages and disadvantages, ION created another new wetsuit category which is called ’Hybrid’ to benefit from both neoprene types where needed.
If you find mostly bare black neoprene on the outside it is called a skin neoprene suit.
Because the Neoprene foam itself is very soft and vulnerable the neoprene is enhanced by a surface embossing, which improves robustness and tearing strength as it makes the surface denser. But obviously this process also reduces the stretch properties.
The advantage compared to double lined neoprene is the less evaporative heat loss caused by the wind-chill factor.
The other category of wetsuits is called double lined. Instead of using skin neoprene on the outside a thin jersey layer is laminated on the neoprene sheets. It protects the neoprene foam against ripping and makes it more robust than skin neoprene.
Furthermore it is more elastic compared to skin neoprene, as it is not embossed on the surface. And for some the increased style factor by adding colour and nice graphics is also important.
The downside though is a higher evaporative heat loss when the wet jersey surface is exposed to the wind.
Therefore the Hybrid suits basically combine panels of both constructions to achieve a unique combination: with skin Neoprene panels in the body areas with the most heat loss (waist, bunch, legs and especially back - because wind mostly comes from behind) and double lined panels at arms, sides and calves for best freedom of movement and the additional double lined panels at the shins for best protection against abrasion. This results in a fantastic performance in terms of warmth, comfort and stretch exactly where you need it.