In our piece on beginner triathlon gear we recommended some lower cost items for starting out, but if you have a few races under your belt and want to take your gear to the next level, it might be time to get a bona fide triathlon suit.
Why a Triathlon Suit?
A one piece triathlon suit is skin-tight, limits drag in the water and is aqua-phobic (water rolls off it). It offers some padding in the rear (though less padding than bike shorts) to make things more comfortable on the bike leg of the race . A tri-suit can be worn for all three events, eliminating the need to change your clothes at transitions (a towel change can be difficult in the best of circumstances). Note that a tri-suit is not a wetsuit, and if you are racing in colder water, you will still need to rent or buy a wetsuit to wear over your tri-suit during the swim.
What to Consider
Your triathlon suit should be snug, though it shouldn’t be so tight that it impedes your movement. Seams should be flat and limit ebrasion, and the suit should offer adequate ventilation. The ideal is that the suit is comfortable, breathable and does not catch air or pockets of water during the race. Speaking of pockets, your suit should have a few that are easily accessible during the race so that you can stash food, but oriented such that food won’t fall out as you are racing. Rear pading, or chamois, should be adequate but should not retain water.
A Few Triathlon Suit Options
French triathlete Pierre Dorez and his brother Fred founded Zerod in 2006, and their suits are loved by many hardcore racers. The O-suit has “Water Wear Weapon” fabric that doesn’t absorb any water and has just enough chamois to protect your rear without making it feel like you are in a diaper.
Tyr Women’s Competitor Front Zipper Tri-suit
American tri and swimwear company Tyr also has a solid line of suits, like the Women’s Competitor Front Zipper Tri-suit, which offers a front locking zipper, SPF 50 protection, and silicon-beaded leg grippers to keep the suit in place.
Sugoi Turbo Tri-suit
Sugoi is a Canadian company that manufactures a variety of products for endurance athletes. The Sugoi Turbo Tri-suit is a solid suit that has a front locking zipper and flat seams for reduced chaffing. It is also has “zone construction” which simply means that certain areas are made of a mesh, offering greater ventilation.
Don’t Forget to Consider the Two Piece Option…
Some triathletes prefer a two piece suit consisting of Tri-shorts and a top. A big selling point to the two-piece option is the ease of bathroom breaks, something to consider if exercise (or nerves) make you a frequent resident of port-a-potties during races.
We hope this article was helpful, please leave a comment below if you think we’ve missed anything that would help other triathletes.