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What Is a Triathlon Suit & How to Choose One

   May 21st, 2018   Posted In: Articles, How-To   Tags:

Maybe you’ve wondered what is a triathlon suit and how exactly do you choose one? You’re not the only one who’s asked or thought this, so to ease your curious mind, we’re breaking it all down and answering things like what is a triathlon wetsuit and how do you pick one?

What Is a Triathlon Suit?

The obvious answer to this is that triathlon wetsuits are designed specifically for swimming events, but there’s more to this wetsuit that you may or may not realize. A triathlon suit features flexible buoyant neoprene panels built for comfort and performance. Wetsuits for surfing, diving, etc. do not have buoyant panels, but triathlon suits do which is why triathletes specifically get a tri suit for swimming or for swimming competitions. The buoyancy in tri suits helps you float, but you should be mindful of thickness. The thicker the suit, the less lightweight you are in the water.

Ever wonder why the exterior of a triathlon wetsuit looks so smooth? That’s because the exterior of the suit is primarily made with smooth skin neoprene which helps swimmers glide through the water (which is a plus when it comes to swimming events). The neoprene in triathlon wetsuits also provides warmth. Wearing just a swim suit in 60-some degree water temps does not make the event or the swimming experience very enjoyable. Other than buoyancy, triathletes choose to wear a tri wetsuit because it will keep them warmer while swimming. Which will ultimately help with performance.

Now that you can answer the question of ‘what is a triathlon suit?’, it’s time to learn how to choose one!

How to Choose a Triathlon Suit

Choosing a triathlon suit can be tricky business but just follow these few steps on how to choose the right tri suit.

  • Sleeve length. Triathlon wetsuits come in different sleeve lengths and it’s all up to personal preference. Long-sleeve suits provide full-body protection and warmth. Meanwhile sleeveless wetsuits (also known as long john) don’t have arm coverage but this style offers a great range of motion for paddling.
  • Tightness. How tight should a triathlon wetsuit be? Well, you don’t want something that’s super baggy nor do you want something constricting. A baggy wetsuit allows for water to flush in which will definitely slow you down. A too-tight wetsuit will prevent you from comfort or movement. You should be able to comfortably move your arms and legs and be able to breathe. Think of it as a snug fit.
  • Buoyancy factor. We classify buoyancy as superior, better and good. Obviously superior buoyancy will be in the more top-of-the-line wetsuits while good is found in the wallet-friendly tri suits and better buoyancy is in the mid price range.
  • Price. Higher end triathlon suits like the men’s blueseventy HELIX wetsuit have more performance features like VO2 chest panels for extreme buoyancy as well as L.I.F.T. panels on the back of the legs and seamless panels for serious flexibility but come at a much higher cost. More budget-friendly suits like the men’s NeoSport SPRINT fullsuit have less high-end features but are still made with buoyancy panels and 100% stretch neoprene. Just like sleeve length, price is also a personal preference.
  • Brand. Brands like blueseventy and even NeoSport offer a quality selection of triathlon suits and accessories. Again, it’s up to you as to which triathlon wetsuit brand you want to wear.

And if you’re not into the business of wanting to fully purchase a tri suit, there’s always the option of a triathlon wetsuit rental. Need additional help? Reach out to us either via live chat, email (service@wetsuitwearhouse.com) or pick up the phone and call 866-906-7848.

Lauren (LoLo) has been turning words into blog posts for Wetsuit Wearhouse since 2014. She learned to surf for the first time ever in Costa Rica but she gravitates more towards SUP. When she's not scouring the web for travel deals, you can find her either hiking, running, gardening, tending to her animals, or reading a good book outside on a beautiful day.

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