When you encounter one or more #fursuiters or you are thinking about owning a #fursuit yourself, you may be unaware of the various types & styles of #fursuits that exist today, as well as the various logistics involved in buying, owning & wearing one.
The most important logistics that will be impacted are as follows:
- Fursuit cost.
- Time needed to make the fursuit.
- The amount of maintenance the fursuit will need.
- How much heat the fursuit will retain, which will the wearer.
- Other aspects that affect how comfortable the fursuit is while wearing it.
As to describing the type and style of a fursuit, several basic factors are used:
- How complete is the fursuit, or level of fursuit completion.
- Common fursuit styles.
- Leg styles.
Level of Fursuit Completion
Fursuiters use a set of terms to describe how “complete” a fursuit is. Essentially, this is another way of saying how much does the fursuit cover the person wearing it.
First, not all worn fursuits have the same level of completion. To make it easy to describe how complete a fursuit is, furries & fursuiters devised jargon terms that that explain how a complete a fursuit is.
💁♂️ The more complete a fursuit is, the more the fursuit covers the wearer’s body.
To best explain how complete a fursuit is is by defining which parts the fursuit includes. The typical parts of a fursuit are generally described as follows:
- Head: the part that generally completely covers the fursuiter’s head and neck.
- Handpaws: essentially furry gloves (or mittens) designed to resemble an animal’s front paws, often including thin pads on the palm side (depending upon the species).
- Feetpaws: essentially furry shoes that often go up & over the ankle with soles that often have pads matching the color of the pads used on the hand paws.
- Tail: worn on the back of the fursuiter’s waist.
- Bodysuit: typically covering the fursuiter’s legs, arms and torso. (Might be 2-piece.)
In the absence of a bodysuit, the following parts may be present instead:
- Sleeves: typically covering the arms from the wrists upwards to above the elbows or all the way up to the shoulders.
- Furry Pants: worn as pants.
Basic Fursuit Types
Using the various fursuit parts, here are the four main types of fursuits based on level of completion:
Logistics of the Basic Fursuit Types
Now, the logistics of the four basic fursuit types can be shown in the next table:
Essentially, the more body coverage, the more expensive the fursuit will be, the longer it will take to make, the more maintenance it will require and the hotter it will be to wear. Also, the more body coverage, the less comfortable it will be.
Common Fursuit Styles
Beyond the level of completion of a fursuit, there are various fursuit styles. Here, we will mention four common ones:
- Toony: toony fursuits are probably the most common of all fursuits. They are cartoonish in appearance; hence, the nickname: toony. They are highly distinguishable due to their typically over-sized facial features (such as eyes, ears and muzzle), as well as big handpaws and exaggerated smiles. Also, they tend to be extremely colorful, using very bright colors not typically seen on real animals.
- Realistic: far less common that toony suits and unlike them, realistic fursuits are far more anatomically correct with the goal being to create a more true animal appearance. To do this, none of the parts are exaggerated as with toony suits, including the coloring, which is far more likely to resemble the coloring of an actual animal.
- Semi-Realistic: semi-realistic fursuits are a hybridization of toony and realistic fursuits. An example might be a very realistic wolf head that has oversized toony eyes.
- Kemono: these are similar to toony suits, except that they are inspired by Japanese anime. A distinguishing feature of a kemono fursuit is that it typically has a much shorter muzzle than a regular toony suit.
Logistically, the biggest difference between the various styles is going to be cost. Toony fursuits are going to be least expensive overall. Realistic fursuits are more expensive due to the increased amount of work to create realistic animal markings, which may include air-brushing. Semi-realistic fursuits will likely be about the same price overall as a realistic one, but possibly be more expensive. In this group, kemono fursuits are the most expensive because there aren’t many makers that produce them.
Leg style refers to the appearance of the legs. The two most common styles are as follows:
- Plantigrade: plantigrade refers to a style of anatomy of the limbs used for walking; specifically, one where the soles of the feet are used to carry the weight. Humans, bears, and rabbits are some examples of animals that have plantigrade legs.
- Digitigrade: digitigrade refers to a style of anatomy of the limbs used for walking; specifically, where the weight is placed on the digits and not on the heels. Felines, canines and most other mammals are digitigrade.
This diagram shows the difference between plantigrade and digitigrade legs:
For fursuiting, to create a digitigrade appearance in the legs, additional padding is used in the front of the thighs, as well as the back of the shins. Logistically, this means that digitigrade legs are both more expensive and less comfortable than plantigrade legs.
⚠️ Fursuiters with digitigrade legs are more likely to waddle as they walk depending upon how much additional padding is in the legs to achieve the desired appearance.
Two far less common leg styles that we’ll mention here are the following:
- Unguligrade: unguligrade refers to a style of anatomy of the walking limbs; specifically, where the animal stands and walks using the tips of its toes that have formed into hooves. Animals that are unguligrade include horses and deer.
- Quadruped: as the name implies, this refers to a very small number of fursuiters who have created characters that walk on four legs. Quadruped fursuits are also called “quad suits” for short.
And, if you haven’t guessed it by now, logistically, both the unguligrade and quadruped legs are more costly than digitigrade legs. Also, both are far more uncomfortable; especially quadruped. As for cost, a quadruped suit may cost $6000. Unsurprisingly, they are rather rare.
An example of a “specialty fursuit” would be a “plush suit”, which is designed to make the wearer look like a stuffed animal. Naturally, these are much more expensive than typical fursuits due to the increased labor and materials required. Also, who ever wears one is going to become even hotter due to the additional padding to create the plush appearance. Plush suit handpaws don’t have fingers, which makes it incredibly difficult to use your hands to pick things up or do anything. Also, logistically speaking, it takes a lot longer for a maker to create a plush suit because much more time and labor is involved.
We want to thank Stormi Folf, who’s recent video about fursuit styles inspired this blog post. You can view his original video here: