What are Salopettes? …and How are They Different From Sailing Trousers?


Salopettes (sa·lo·pettes)

PLURAL NOUN – A one-piece garment similar to overalls, with a front flap and shoulder straps.  A full sleeveless top, worn for skiing, sailing, etc.

ORIGIN 1970s: from french salopette in the same sense + -s by analogy with such words as trousers.

onesieMusto MPX Gore-Tex Race Salopette


So, Salopettes are French for Trousers?  

If that’s it, why are they different?  Lets have a closer look. (Editor’s Note: For the sake of comparison we’re going to focus on offshore quality Trousers, but both foul weather gear styles come in various weights and levels of durability).

With their athletic fit and higher cut, Salopettes are an excellent choice for the active sailor, whether buoy racing, day sailing and the occasional overnight.

Salopettes offer total core coverage providing warmth and comfort and can be used as a standalone piece of kit when the elements are mild.

They often come in a three layer laminate fabric that provides full waterproof protection and superior breathability while keeping the weight to a minimum.

Starting at the top, the shoulders incorporate wide stretch panels which prevent them from slipping off, and allow for ease of movement but  because of this they also restrict height adjustment so length/fit here will be most important.
Other differentiating features on some models are a waterproof zipper and up to one external pocket to hold the bare essentials.  With minimal fit adjustment points, the only true adjustment to be made are at the waist and ankle.

Let’s review: Salopette’s ARE: Minimalistic, lightweight, flexible, breathable and comfortable, consider it a sleeveless, footless, waterproof onesie for adults!


Trousers (trou-sers)

PLURAL NOUN – An outer garment covering the body from the waist to the ankles, with a separate part for each leg.

Early 17th century: from archaic trouse (singular), from Irish triús and Scottish Gaelictriubhas (see trews), on the pattern of drawers .

Musto MPX Gore Tex TrousersFoul Weather Gear Trousers, also commonly referred to as bibs, are a fuller fit and lower cut with  narrow shoulder straps and numerous adjustment points.  Kind of like your denim overalls.

Height  adjustment here is less as important with the adjustable Velcro shoulder straps  to customize fit. Other features of  trousers include hand warmer pockets under the chest, as well as thigh pockets to store your goodies.

The zipper is typically NOT waterproof but has a taller internal gusset to prevent penetration, which makes them ideal for longer passages or offshore adventures.  The extra features on trousers usually make them a bit heavier and less breathable then their counterpart, the Salopette.


APS is the World Leader in Outfitting Sailors.  Shop our:
– Buoy Racing Salopettes

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