The triathlon is one of the ultimate tests of human endurance, requiring contestants to swim up to ½ a mile and cycle 12.4 miles before finishing off with a 3.4-mile run.
To participate in this event, you need to be a strong all-around athlete capable of swimming, cycling and running.
The triathlon will take a lot of preparation to be ready for, but thankfully if you have a bike and access to a swimming pool, you can start that training today.
However, that doesn’t mean you won’t need some basic equipment, as well as a bicycle there are a few other items that could make your triathlon experience much easier.
For instance, many athletes will wear wetsuits during these events since they make transitioning from swimming to cycling much more expedient.
Wetsuits can help to maintain your body temperature and enable you to dry off faster, so you won’t be weighed down on your bike.
That said, not just any wetsuit will work for a triathlon. You want to buy one that will keep you warm and dry without hindering your movement.
It is also important that the suit is easy to remove during the transition from swimming to cycling, so it doesn’t negatively impact your time.
As such, we have compiled this list of the best wetsuits to wear during a triathlon and what makes them so great.
This wetsuit is doubled-lined to provide better buoyancy while in the water. This is very helpful for those who have never competed in a triathlon.
A more buoyant suit will support you in the water, so you won’t need to put in as much effort with each stroke.
As such, this is a great suit for anyone completely new to triathlon, as it will help to make the swimming section of the event much easier.
The outer layer is made from neoprene, while the inner lining is made from Orca’s own Infinity 2 fabric. This allows a full range of movement that won’t hold you back no matter what stroke you prefer to use.
The double lining is also very warm, so you won’t have to worry about getting cold during the transition between pool and bicycle.
Despite using two layers of fabric, this suit is very form-fitting, which will help to improve your aerodynamics in the water.
With this wetsuit, you can travel further and faster through the pool without spending as much effort.
- Double-lined for better insulation and buoyancy.
- The inner lining won’t restrict your movement in the water.
- SCS coating on neoprene rubber for improved water resistance.
Blueseventy has made their sprint wetsuit with all the features you could want when participating in a triathlon.
For one, it has a full-length zipper at the back, which is attached to a helpful lanyard. This makes it much easier to put the wetsuit on and, more importantly, take it off again when you jump out of the pool.
It is also made from thick neoprene, with the rubber on the sleeves being only 1.5 mm thick to ensure maximum flexibility.
This suit shouldn’t stop you from performing any of your strokes, no matter how complex. The rubber is thicker on the torso and legs to provide better insulation for the swimmer.
This suit is also designed to lift the lower body, contributing to better form and posture when in the pool.
Like the last suit we looked at, this design helps considerably with reducing drag to help the user travel smoothly through the water.
The whole suit is coated in super composite skin (SCS) to make the suit highly hydrophobic and great for gliding through the pool.
- SCS coating provides a hydrophobic layer to improve speed.
- The arms are made from thinner rubber for better flexibility.
- Super stretch material on the ankles for quicker transitions.
- A limited selection of sizes.
Also available at BlueSeventy
Quintana has made this suit with a special profile that makes it incredibly buoyant, which is perfect for triathlons.
The fabric hugs your body incredibly well, making you more aerodynamic so you can easily glide through the water.
Don’t be fooled; although this suit is very tight-fitting, it isn’t so tight that it restricts your swimming movement.
Everything on this wetsuit has been designed to maximize your speed and efficiency in the water. The panels are cut to precise dimensions, and the seams are strategically placed to reduce water resistance as much as possible.
The super stretchy neoprene rubber is also very easy to remove, which is great for speedy transitions.
This suit is available in three different sizes for both men and women, and a lot of care has been taken to ensure the best fit possible.
That said, some body types may find them more suitable than others. One issue is that the collar may be too loose for some swimmers, so check the measurement table carefully before selecting a size.
- Specially designed profile for improved buoyancy.
- Strategically placed seams increase water resistance.
- Tight-fitting, but won’t restrict your movement in the water.
- Available sizes may not fit all body types perfectly.
Also available at QuintanaRooTri
If you are working on a tight budget, this category 1 wetsuit from TYR may be just the thing you need.
It is surprisingly affordable yet still offers all the features you need to excel at a triathlon swimming section.
It is made from 100% neoprene, ensuring no water will get inside the suit while you are in the pool.
The panels on this suit are specially shaped and designed to maximize buoyancy and speed through the water.
As such, this is a good suit for beginners to triathlon, who need a wetsuit that will make the swimming section of the event a little easier.
It features a full-length zipper at the back, so you can get out of the wetsuit as quickly as possible during the transition.
One area where this product struggles is sizing. The sizes run slightly small, so you may need to buy a larger one than you think you need.
Furthermore, even with the right size suit, you may notice that some of your movement is limited while wearing it.
This shouldn’t be an issue for most basic strokes, but if you want to try more advanced techniques, you may find this suit a bit restrictive.
- Designed to improve aerodynamics in the water.
- Durable and built to last.
- Sizing runs small.
Also available at TYR
This is another great option for anyone looking for a high-quality wetsuit on a budget.
The Xterra Vortex is claimed to be the world’s fastest triathlon wetsuit, with strategically cut panels and seams that help to massively improve water resistance.
Underneath the neoprene outer layers, there is an X-flex liner that helps to keep you warm and buoyant at the same time.
Made from lime-stone-based neoprene 5 mm thick at the front, this wetsuit is durable and will last a long time.
It has much thinner rubber on the sleeves and under the arms to greatly improve mobility. This means that you can move as you normally would while staying dry and warm during the swimming section of your event.
Xterra promises to swap out your wetsuit for a new one if it doesn’t fit, ensuring you can find the perfect size. The inner lining is stretchy in all the right places to ensure you can get this suit on and off as quickly as possible.
As such, you won’t need to waste time when you get out of the pool, battling to remove your suit, so you can hop on your bike.
- X-flex lining helps to improve buoyancy.
- Very fast suit will help you glide through the water easily.
- The company allows you to return the suit if the sizing is inappropriate.
- The zipper is not the most durable.
Also available at XterraWetsuits
Synergy has made this suit suitable for all skill levels and appropriate for both ironman and triathlon events.
It has a very soft inner lining that is comfortable to wear without inhibiting the movement of your arms or legs. This lining is coupled with an outer shell made from multiple different thicknesses of neoprene for optimal buoyancy and speed.
The rubber is thickest on the front and back of the suit and thinnest on the arms and legs. This helps to enable a full range of movement while keeping you both warm and dry.
The seams have been chemically sealed to prevent water from getting in and make the suit much more aerodynamic.
The neck has a Velcro seal that allows you to get the perfect fit while wearing this suit.
Speaking of fit, this product comes in 19 different sizes, ensuring there is something for every swimmer.
The most sensitive areas on this suit are made with dual-layer smooth skin to prevent chafing while swimming.
- Buoyancy panels on the chest and back help you to stay afloat.
- Corrosion-proof zipper and chemically sealed seams.
- Smooth skin is used in sensitive areas to prevent chafing.
- No lanyard on zipping makes it difficult to zip up.
Also available at SynergyWetsuits
The triathlon isn’t an easy race, although owning a good wetsuit can help make the beginning much more manageable. There are many important factors to consider when buying the perfect wetsuit.
In this section, we will explain a few of these factors so you can find the product that best suits your individual needs.
Obviously, one of the most important things to consider when buying a wetsuit is finding one that offers the right fit. For it to do its job, a wetsuit needs to be very tight to hug your body and keep your body temperature up, even in cold water.
Many suits will come in various sizes for all body types; however, it can be hard to find a one-size-fits-all suit.
As such, looking out for products with slightly adjustable features, especially around the collar, is a good idea. Velcro collars can help secure your suit’s neck to prevent any water from getting inside.
Naturally, you don’t want your suit to be too tight; otherwise, it will severely restrict your movement while swimming.
This is why many wetsuits will have thinner panels of neoprene around the arms and legs, to make the material extra stretchy in these regions. This helps with all the movements you usually do while swimming in trunks.
Many suits will also have extra stretchy material on the wrists and ankles, which helps to make getting out of the suit much easier.
This is essential for Triathlon, where every second counts, and you will need to get out of your wetsuit to start the cycling portion of the race.
If you are worried about your arms being unable to move properly in a wetsuit, consider buying a sleeveless one.
These can offer many benefits of a wetsuit without the risk of inhibiting your arm movements during your stroke.
Buoyancy & Structural Support
A wetsuit won’t just help you stay dry while swimming, but if you get the right one, it can also help with your technique.
Some wetsuits will have an internal lining that helps to create a pocket of air between the two layers of the suit. This makes you more buoyant, which will help with staying horizontal in the water.
Suits that improve your buoyancy can be very helpful during triathlon events since you won’t need to expend as much effort to propel yourself forward.
As such, some suits will even come with special panels in the chest area to help further improve your buoyancy.
Structured panels help keep your body in the correct position, so you can swim with peak efficiency.
This will help you to reach faster speeds in the water, so you won’t have as much catching up to do during the bicycle and running parts of the race.
Most wetsuits are made from neoprene rubber, although you will see some coated with a special super composite skin (SCS) material. SCS is a hydrophobic coating, meaning that it repels water that it comes into contact with.
On a wetsuit, this will help you to further increase your speed through the water, so you can move as fast as possible. It is also important that your suit uses different thicknesses of rubber to ensure your body can move naturally.
You want the thickest rubber on the chest and back panels for insulation, while the thinner rubber should be on the arms and legs.
If you are concerned about chafing, look for a suit with an extra soft lining that won’t rub uncomfortably against your skin while moving.
It may be easy to forget, but the zip is one of the most essential parts of any wetsuit. Without it, you won’t be able to seal the suit properly, making it all but impossible to swim with it.
As such, you should look for a suit that has a durable zip since this is the most likely component to break.
Zips made from corrosion-resistant metals are a good idea, and it can also help to have a zip that comes with a lanyard.
Lanyards help you to reach the zip, even if it is located on your back, which makes getting in and out of the suit by yourself, much easier.
Frequently Asked Question
Do I Need A Wetsuit For Triathlon?
Many athletes will compete in triathlons in nothing but a tri-suit which is a two-piece suit made from very thin fabric.
However, many triathlons do allow the use of wetsuits for the swimming portion of the race. If the swimming section of your triathlon will be in very cold water, it is highly recommended to wear a wetsuit to prevent hypothermia.
When Was The First Triathlon?
The very first triathlon event was held in California in 1974. The race was held at Mission bay near San Diego.
Triathlons were inspired by French multi-event races, including swimming and running, or swimming and cycling.
These races date back to the 1920s, although other cultures may have had their own multipart sporting competitions beforehand.