Buell: We Tested Dane Reynolds’ Subdivision 4 Mil - Stab Mag

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Understated. Sophisticated. Subdivision by Dane Reynolds. Photo: Danica Taylor

Buell: We Tested Dane Reynolds’ Subdivision 4 Mil

Plus a women’s suit that made our tester second-guess everything she ever knew.

hardware // Dec 9, 2020
Words by Michael Ciaramella
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Buell is a brand that isn’t afraid to push the boundaries — of art, design, or the number of surfers on their team (seriously, it’s nearing 500). Founded by Ryan Buell, who used to make the Hotline superhero suits for Barney & co., the brand’s ethos is fun first, figure out the details later. 

When Buell partnered with Dane Reynolds to create their Subdivision line, it was surprising. Mainly because Dane is famously understated in his style, and the idea of him wearing a colorful or graphic-based suit was difficult to conceive. 

But then, it also made perfect sense. Buell doesn’t believe in red tape, so anything Dane wanted to do, he could achieve it without having to jump through a thousand corporate hoops. 

Skip ahead a few months, and Dane x Buell’s Subdivision brand released its first run of suits in winter 2020 — a slick, mostly black design, available in 2mm, 3mm, or 4mm, with limited branding. We included the 4mm iteration in our test and it’s nearly made our Best Wetsuits 2021 final. Nearly.

Then we have the women’s suit. When we started testing, Cori (our female surfer) said she’d never even considered getting a Buell suit. Then she tried it on, and, well…

Watch the full test here.


You might not surf like Dane. But at least you can suit up like him. Photo: Danica Taylor

Men’s submission: Subdivision DR1 4 mm ($289.95)

Mikey says: If Dane Reynolds puts his name on something, you know a lot of thought and care has gone into it. On the other hand, my Buell suit from last year had quite a few flaws, so I wasn’t sure how this Subdivision suit would come out. In the end, I was happily surprised by a pure 4 mil that looked good, felt light and maneuverable, and kept me fairly warm.

DR certified neoprene for your best DR off-the-top impersonation. Results may cause sudden ego death. Photo: Danica Taylor

Pro: Dane made it.
Con: Slight flushing in the legs and neck.

Comfort: 44
Warmth: 40
Total: 84

Chilly mornings or sunset sessions. Buell’s RB2 4/3 has you covered. Photo: Danica Taylor

Women’s Submission: RB2 4/3 ($243.95)

Cori says: Having never seen much of Buell out in the water myself, I was skeptical of their general seaworthiness. However, after a single session in the RB2 4/3mm, I got it: supreme comfort and serious warmth. My only real complaint would have to be in the chest-zip design, which can be difficult to pull over the head, and yet, despite its snugness, seemed to let in water when paddling. Otherwise, this suit is a strong choice to contend with chilly winter mornings or sunset sessions anywhere the water dips below 60ºF.

Keeps you comfy, so you can focus on more important things like cross-stepping the plank. Photo: Danica Taylor

Pro: Fits like a glove.
Con: A little on the bulkier side.

Comfort: 48
Warmth: 45
Total: 93 (Finalist — watch the full test here to see if it wins!)


Men’s submission: RB2 3mm Super Bootie ($66.95)

Mikey says: These provide an incredible level or feel against your board. They weren’t the warmest, but I suppose that comes with the increased sensitivity. I also liked the little graphic on the top, kinda cute.

Warmth: 42
Performance: 46
Total: 88

Women’s submission: RB2 3mm Super Bootie ($66.95)

Cori says: If you’re looking for a warm, reliable surf boot that boasts “ninja-grade traction” while maintaining board-feel, look no further than the Buell 3MM Super Bootie. All in all, this boot has everything needed to keep your toes from going numb while in pursuit of waves, including adjustable stabilizer straps for the perfect fit and a hidden split-toe design to prevent the dreaded leash tangle. There isn’t much to criticize about these, other than that you might get a chill from the slightly creepy skeleton-eye graphics looking up from each foot.

Warmth: 46
Performance: 49
Total: 95

The innards of a Buell wetty includes, but is not limited to, happy knees (pronounced “happiness”). Photo: Danica Taylor


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