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What is Neoprene Rubber?


The term "neoprene rubber" is redundant because neoprene is a type of synthetic rubber. It was developed in the 1930s and since then has been incorporated into many products that are common in everyday life, such as wetsuits and protective gear. Neoprene has a variety of properties that make it quite useful, including being abrasion-resistant, chemical-resistant, waterproof, somewhat stretchable and buoyant.

One of the most common uses of neoprene rubber is for wetsuits. It also is used to make protective gloves and similar articles because it is resistant to many chemicals and oils. Neoprene's resistance to abrasion is why it is commonly used to make protective covers, such as those designed to help protect cellphones or laptop computers. It also is lightweight, which is advantageous in most of its uses.

Neoprene Wetsuits

Neoprene rubber knee brace.
Neoprene rubber knee brace.

In wetsuits, the neoprene traps water between the wetsuit and the wearer's skin. Body heat warms the water against the skin, which works to reduce heat loss from the body. This allows the wearer to comfortably stay in colder water for a longer time. Neoprene rubber also can be quite buoyant in the water. Many types of sports enthusiasts use neoprene wetsuits, including scuba divers, surfers and windsurfers.

Surfer wearing a neoprene rubber wetsuit.
Surfer wearing a neoprene rubber wetsuit.

Neoprene wetsuits come in a variety of thicknesses. Very thin wetsuits that are about one-16th of an inch (about 1.6 mm) are used to prevent abrasions and sunburns in tropical water. Thicker neoprene wetsuits, such as those that are 0.25 inches (about 6.4 mm) thick, are more insulating and are used in cold water. Although the black, head-to-toe wetsuits commonly seen on television are the images that many people have of neoprene wetsuits, they now come in many colors, lengths and styles.

Other Applications

Many commercially available wetsuits are made of neoprene rubber.
Many commercially available wetsuits are made of neoprene rubber.

Among the many other personal uses for neoprene are the making of products such as seat covers, ankle or knee braces, remote controls and paintball armor. Neoprene does not contain latex, but many products that are advertised as neoprene, such as gloves, braces and other items worn on the body, actually have a latex base that is covered by neoprene. These products sometimes will affect people who are allergic to latex.

Industrial Uses

There also are many industrial applications for neoprene rubber. Certain types of neoprene rubber are used in conveyor belts, hoses and seals. It also is often used in protective coverings for wiring and cables.

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Discussion Comments


This article isn't entirely accurate. There are different types of neoprene available, some are made from natural rubber and some made from synthetic rubber. The neoprene made from natural rubber will contain the latex protein that people can be allergic too. There are other issues with allergies relating to the materials used on the neoprene. A wet suit or knee brace can have materials like a nylon laminate on either side of the neoprene, and that glue that is used could also contain natural rubber.


happy to see such a great use of neoprene i would like to share Neoprene was known as an oil-resistant substitute for natural rubber. It is produced by free-radical polymerization of 2-chlorobutadine. Even if we use neoprene for our seat covers they don't heat up so much in direct sunlight and can resist moisture. It is non-flammable and they can protect us from friction.


I am allergic to latex and also found out that the neoprene knee brace also makes me break out in hives and itching all over. I tried an old t-shirt that I cut to fit around my knee, but when it comes in contact with my other leg or other areas I get the bad rash. Is there something else I can use?


I work for a company that does a lot of silkscreening and am asked if we can screen on a neoprene case used to cover the mack book, ipad,etc. What ink will hold up well on this material?


Does anyone know where I can find a static coefficient of friction for neoprene and aluminum?


Thanks for posting this article. I thought that washing would help, but the smell is still there and it gets on my skin.


What is the temperature (heat) resistance property of Neoprene, Can I use the Neoprene strips for sealing on a radiator where the hood/housing temperature is around 150 deg C?


Can you get neoprene condoms?


does neoprene contain colophony?


Is neoprene impact resistant, and can it be used to make a tough and durable mask?


How expensive is neoprene exactly?


Neoprene is somewhat resistant to flame and burns a green color.


I am allergic to latex, but have recently had chemical testing done attributing my allergy to a Thiuram mix (which includes products made of natural rubber, butyl rubber, nitrile and neoprene)and Carba mix (which includes rubber and latex materials). I was told to check everything you wear or use (even food containers) and just "don't use what you react to."


If I use neoprene as a cover for my laptop, could it catch on fire? I keep my laptop plugged in all night.


I am a +2 student I want to know why there is no hydrogen bonding in neoprene even if Cl is present.


i have never shown any latex allergy, but i did develop an allergy to neoprene. I get the most amazing, itchy, oozy rash whenever i am in contact with neoprene.


Is neoprene a good material for camera case? Please advise. thanks.


what happens when i burn neoprene?


Skyprene Y30 equivalent in Baypren - Any Name ?

How can the odor of CR e reduced/eliminated?


what is the benefit of using neoprene over rubber for rollers on a pipe support system? Is it price or quality? What is longer lasting?


is TPR and neoprene can be glue?


does neoprene have thermal resistance property?


Are neoprene and EDPM rubber considered the same thing?


I am confused, does neoprene contain latex??


I purchased a neoprene hose for my air compressor. It is located in the basement & the hose smells awful! Will the smell ever go away?


what is the benefit of using neoprene for gasket purposes in the piping system?


Yes. I just bought two hand & wrist supports and woke up with hives all over that area. I am allergic to latex. Does it contain that in its product or could this be something new for me? I need them for sleeping at night. That is why I wear them. Please get back to me. Wore them two nights in a row and both nights had the same reaction.




I am selling neoprene rubber reusable lunch totes, made by NYBuilt, as a fundraiser for my school. After reading this article, though, I am nervous because we are a LATEX FREE school. Would kids having these lunch totes cause a reaction in kids with latex allergies even if they don't touch it? I know that sometimes the "powder" that comes out of latex can effect the air quality for allergic kids. Does anyone know about this?


Are there types of neoprene such as those used for vibration mounts, that are not Prop65 compliant?


I find that soaking the neoprene after every use helps to reduce the smell, if you leave it in fresh water for an hour or two then you should be able to sort it out.


What type of ink pen can I use to permanently write on neoprene? I have golf club covers and sometimes they get wet.


I would like to know how safe is this material. I recently purchased a pair of shorts to help with exercise and weight loss and I can hardly stand the smell. It is such a horrible smell and it makes me nauseated. I thought that washing would help, but the smell is still there and it gets on my skin. Is this safe?


I am a nurse with Latex Allergy. I came into contact with neoprene as a nurse and had a reaction to it. Bad one. I contacted the company and talked to their nurse who told me they had other nurses who were reacting to latex were reacting to it when I called to ask if the product contained latex in it.


Would this be suitable for a sealing washer for Keel bolts?


My mother is allergic to latex and also has a very allergic reaction to Neoprene, making it impossible to wear the braces on the market for knees, ankles, elbows etc.


Could you do an iron on transfer onto neoprene or would the heat melt it?


I, too, am highly allergic to latex, and I have no adverse reactions to Neoprene whatsoever.


If I am higly alergic to latex, do you thing that I would react to neoprene? I would appreciate hearing from you. [email address removed] Thanks deeply for your help!

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    • Neoprene rubber knee brace.
      Neoprene rubber knee brace.
    • Surfer wearing a neoprene rubber wetsuit.
      Surfer wearing a neoprene rubber wetsuit.
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      Many commercially available wetsuits are made of neoprene rubber.
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      Remote controls may be made with neoprene rubber.
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      Neoprene rubber may be used to make protective gloves.