Looking to conquer your next triathlon? It all starts with the right gear. And when it comes to triathlon success, nothing matters more than the suit you choose.
In this article, we’ll guide you through the maze of options, pinpointing the best tri suits that not only match your needs but also elevate your performance.
You’ll discover the pros and cons of one-piece and two-piece suits, innovative fabric technologies, and top-notch brands in the industry. So whether you’re a triathlon veteran or a newbie, buckle up for a deep dive into the world of tri suits – your key to a faster, smoother, and more confident race experience. Don’t let subpar gear hold you back; it’s time to unlock your full potential.
Best and Most Comfortable Tri Suits in 2023
Best Triathlon Suits for Men:
- ROKA Elite Gen II Aero Triathlon Suit
- De Soto Riviera Flisuit
- 2XU Compression Full Zip Tri Suit
- Castelli Free Sanremo Trisuit
- Pearl iZumi Elite Triathlon Speed Suit
- HUUB DS Long Course
- Zoot LTD Aero Tri Suit
- Zoot Ultra Short Sleeve Aero Triathlon Suit
- Louis Garneau Pro Carbon Triathlon Suit
- Synergy Tri Suit
- SLS3 Triathlon Tri Suit
- TYR Competitor Triathlon Suit
- Zone3 Activate Plus Trisuit
- Sugoi RPM Triathlon Suit
- Trisuit For Women by Betty Designs
- Orca Core Tri Race Suit
- Pearl iZUMi Select Pursuit
Best Triathlon Suit for Men
1. ROKA Elite Gen II Aero Triathlon Suit
ROKA designed their Elite Aero trisuit at the crossroad where function, aerodynamics, and comfort meet, no matter what distance you race.
The trisuit is versatile and fits all sizes of triathletes and even has “tall” sizes available.
Upgraded from its older model, this one has no-sew premium knit fabric to make those “sausage” legs disappear while retaining its high compression rate.
Additionally, the elastic interface, low profile foam chamois is nearly seamless, moves with you, and avoids the uncomfortable feeling.
The front of the suit features:
- An aerodynamic sleeve with minimized seam construction so your arms won’t look like hotdogs.
- The top-line YKK breakaway zipper for flexibility during the swim, easier bathroom breaks for a long race.
- The front panel is made with Premium Schoeller Eschler carbon to help regulate your outside body temperature.
- The legs have a “clean” compression with silicone print to get rid of the “sausage leg” effect.
The back of the suit features:
- An aerodynamic mesh panel to reduce seams and help regulate your body temperature. ROKA’s Aero Mesh + Coldback materials help keeps you cool on hot race days.
- Two pockets to hold your nutrition on the bike and run.
- Elastic interface and low-profile density chamois moves with you without compromising comfort for your longer races.
- Silicone printing on the leg openings so your legs won’t look like sausages. More practically, the silicone prevents the fabric from riding up as you transition from one leg of the race to the other.
On land, the trisuit should slip on and feel as though you’re in a swimming technical suit with a little bit of padding for the bike.
During a race or practice, the suit should move with you and seamlessly transition with you as you go from swimming to biking to running. All while giving you support where you need it and keeping you aerodynamic on the bike.
Best Triathlon Suit for Beginners
Overall, I’d recommend this trisuit as the best triathlon suit for beginners, especially to those who are training and regularly competing in Olympic distance and Half- and full Ironman triathlons. The sleeves will help keep you safe from the sun if you’re sensitive to it, and the easy bathroom access will save you time.
2. De Soto Sport Riviera Flisuit
Though De Soto Sport may not be the oldest company we came across, it’s founding 2 ½ decades ago does coincide with the upswing in manufacturers getting serious about producing triathlon gear that was specially tailored towards the specific needs and challenges that an athlete faces during a triathlon race as opposed to some other type of competition.
De Soto Sport was and still is definitely a big part of that shift in market approach and the Riviera Trisuit is a prime example of this philosophy in action.
One of the biggest changes made to triathlon gear since the sport began to have access to specialized products is that the materials will differ from section to section with the explicit purpose of providing the desired benefit that is either more applicable in that part of the suit or fills a need in otherwise unused panels.
In this regard, the De Soto Riviera goes above and beyond in its quest to provide the most advanced and effective men’s tri suit. For instance, the bulk of the tri suit is made out of a nylon and lycra blend, which is a fairly common material blend to use in a tri suit.
However, the De Soto Riviera also makes exceptions for certain compression panels as well as some of the ventilation panels. This choice alone provides a wide variety of benefits.
Of course, using high-quality materials is only half of what makes a great men’s tri suit or not, especially since the subtle changes to a tri suit’s design can have a significant impact in how the tri suit actually performs in the field.
One of the best design features that the De Soto included was the use of a design that provides UVB 90 protection which is the most protection from the sun that we saw.
On top of that, while the De Soto is not actually intended to be used in substitute of a wetsuit, it does come with Liftfoil buoyancy panels to provide additional assistance during the swim leg of the triathlon.
If you are a racer that carries a lot of consumable or backup gear, the De Soto also comes with the most pockets out of any tri suit we reviewed with 5 in total.
3. 2XU Aero Tri Suit
The 2XU tri suit is made for those who want to go the distance and need support where it’s needed and comfort when they feel fatigued.
The compressive materials will help the body’s recovery and may reduce the build of lactic acid.
Although this is a full-body compression suit, it does have breathability. It wasn’t easy to do this without compromising the compressive materials.
But, 2XU figured it out. For one, the suit has UV blocking materials integrated with its compressive materials. This keeps your skin protected and lets your body breathe as it completes the race.
Secondly, the suit was finished with a filament polyester coating, which is supposed to lower your body’s temperature while exercising.
If it’s raining or you’re sweating a lot the suit has moisture-wicking technology that will prevent pools of moisture from accumulating.
Some may ask: Is this suit comfortable to wear?
Triathletes who have bought the suit swear that it is comfortable to wear and helps prevent injuries and muscle fatigue. The suit also has some Lycra Spandex, elastane, and high filament polyester, which feel comfortable to wear and move in.
You can look at the comfort of the suit as both preventative for post-workout with the benefits it provides during the workouts. For example, as discussed earlier, the suit protects your skin from UVA sun rays. This would help your comfort both during and after the workout out.
The suit is extremely durable and triathletes who have bought it have used it for several years before they need to buy a new one.
4. Castelli Free Sanremo Trisuit
The Castelli Free Sanremo short sleeve trisuit is a good choice if you’re trying to improve your time and performance on the bike.
The designers made this trisuit so that you’ll fly through the course with comfort. The suit allows you and your body to breathe and also be aerodynamic.
To make this suit one of the best, the hydrophobic SpeedFreak material keeps the suit from dragging in the water and has minimal water absorption.
Although the sleeves come down to your elbows, there is elastic in the shoulders to help you swim naturally. During the bike, the elbow-length sleeves will help you stay aerodynamic.
Castelli’s Kiss Tri feature, designed the seat pad so that it is comfortable on the bike, but won’t be noticed during the run and swim.
If you’re worried about the zipper or the suit slipping, Castelli designed the suit with the highly rated YKK Camlock zipper and Giro Air elastics to keep the trisuit in place around your legs.
The suit should fit very tightly so you won’t have to worry about any wardrobe mishaps, but with enough comfort and flexibility so that you can move naturally and not cramp up.
During a triathlon, the suit should feel comfortable and let you perform your best for that day. If you feel like the suit is dragging, you might need a smaller size or go with a different brand and model.
If you’re doing a long-distance triathlon, the trisuit has two hip pockets and two hydro and aero-optimized pockets, where you can store nutrition. And, patented by Castelli’s Sanremo innovation, the front design allows for easy bathroom breaks.
I’d recommend this trisuit to beginner level triathletes who want a suit to help them become stronger triathletes. I’d also suggest triathletes who race once or twice a summer to use this suit. Once you become more invested in the sport, I’d recommend “upgrading” to a different tri suit. By then, you’ll know yourself better and what you need during a race.
5. Pearl iZumi Elite Triathlon Speed Suit
Pearl iZumi designed its Elite Triathlon Speed Suit as a one-piece short-sleeved piece to uphold windy days on the road and win over the competition.
The newest version comes with the newest aerodynamic fabrics to help you breeze through the bike portion of the triathlon.
Similar to other trisuits, Pearl iZumi provides its suits with UPF 50+ sun protection so you have one less thing to worry about on race day.
This trisuit features:
- Elite Transfer In-R-Cool material helps keep you cool during a sunny bike and run and even had reflective technology to help keep your body sunburn free.
- Elite Transfer In-R-Cool material also has lyrca that helps the trisuit retain its compressive material. This might save you money on buying new trisuits.
- Elite Transfer Aero fabric is placed in all the right spots to make you the most aerodynamic in the pack.
- Merrow stitching helps keep the trisuit close to the body which would help reduce chafing or have no chafing problems at all.
- The Chamois pad that dries quickly from the swim, provides comfort on the bike, and “disappears” on the run.
On land, the trisuit should be easy to get on and off and let you have natural movement, no matter what discipline you’re training for that day.
During a race, the trisuit should be a supportive piece that is barely noticeable.
I’d recommend this trisuit to beginner to mid-level triathletes. This is a suit that you can rely on for a couple season either in competition on for a ride in the summer evenings or an open water practice.
Pearl iZumi is a reputable brand that would be a great option if you’re looking to get the most out of your dollar.
6. HUUB DS Long Course – Best Tri Suit for Ironman
The HUUB DS Long Course was designed with the help of Ironman Dave Scott, who is a six-time world champion. It was created with aerodynamics, comfort, and breathability for long course races.
Compared to the previous HUUB DS long course tri suits, this one is more aerodynamic. But doesn’t compromise the comfort and breathability.
The tri suit is made with the most current Italian fabrics, which are very soft. It also wicks away moisture quickly so that salt crystals won’t appear on your suit. And, after the swim, you’ll feel dry on the bike and won’t get chilly from head or cross winds.
The suit has mesh panels and the sides and back for breathability and it lets air escape. Huub’s Coldblack technology helps regulate your body temperature.
This would help as you transition disciplines and keep you feeling strong over the course of a six or twelve-hour race. This technology also ensures that you get at least 30 UPF protection no matter what color you order your suit in.
And finally, for safety, the fabric is heat-reflective so you won’t get overheated during your race.
How is this suit “fast”?
Compared to older versions, this one has aerodynamic sleeves and rear nutrition pockets.
The chamois was specifically made for long-distance triathletes. And the chamois doesn’t get in the way of your movement on the bike. The suit and chamois allow for an open hip position, which is more comfortable and efficient for long rides in the saddle.
I recommend this suit to anyone who wants one that will keep them cool and comfortable during a long race. And, if you need a suit that doesn’t restrain your leg and hip movement throughout the race.
7. Zoot LTD Aero Tri Suit
The Zoot tri suit is made so that you feel comfortable on race day. You’ve already done all the work and now all you need to do is rely on your purposeful workouts and coaching sessions to get to the finish line.
The tri suit is made with aero cut sleeves to keep you aerodynamic on the bike and the Italian fabric wicks away the moisture to keep you comfortable and dry. And, finally, the SBR 2D pad gives you support where you need it and comfort in other places.
The tri suit has a vento 4-way stretch mesh that gives your body room to breathe and move during the race. And, it’s one of the “tricks” to help wick away moisture from the tri suit.
The Cam Lock Zipper lets you vent the tri suit on really warm race days so you can stay comfortable and cool through the whole race. And, if you feel as though the suit is too compressive the zipper helps relieve some “panic” you might feel.
Like the Kiwawi, this suit also has many options to store your nutrition and energy bars and gels. All of this is quickly accessed and is useful if you have limited room on your bike. And, there is even a bigger pocket to put a sponge or ice pack there for really warm races.
The seam line stitch construction and carbon tri-chamois are designed to lie right next to your skin. This ensures that your suit won’t bunch or chafe your skin.
The leg gripper is made from Italian materials which keep it breathable with a secure compression that will keep the shorts from riding up during your ride.
For sizing, it’s always a good idea to put comfort before aerodynamics. You definitely don’t want to end up with a suit that is too constrictive or makes you feel as though you can’t breathe when you get nervous. So it’s best to size up if you don’t want a very tight suit or if you’re between sizes, just go ahead and size up.
Triathletes who have bought this suit like it because it is compressive and has pockets for all their nutrition and even an ice pack.
The sizing is easier to navigate compared to other brands. Most have had success when buying online. Although, most will order two sizes and send back the one that doesn’t fit.
I highly recommend this tri suit to those who regularly race sprint and olympic-distance races. This suit will let your body move freely and provide support to your muscles to get through the final stretches. And, the compressive material will help your muscles recover such as hamstrings and quadriceps.
8. Zoot Ultra Short Sleeve Aero Triathlon Suit
Zoot Men’s Ultra Short Sleeve Aero triathlon suit is making new waves in the triathlon community.
And it well deserves the on-looking.
Zoot designed the suit with Carbon fabric in its Ultra Short Sleeve Aero Triathlon Race suit to help you stay aerodynamic in the water.
The carbon material also helps reduce heat on your body during the triathlon and even help regulate your outside body temperature.
This trisuit truly has one of the most sophisticated designs out there.
To add to the suit’s uniqueness the chamois provides comfort without the drag during your bike and run portion of the triathlon.
Additionally, the trisuit helps you stay cool and healthy during the summer with its UPF 50+ level of sun protection.
On a practical level, the suit also provides four pockets for nutrition on the bike and run if you start running low on energy.
Only found with this trisuit, its Italian gripper gives you a comfortable yet compressive feel and fits on your legs. This might help you retain your energy and comfort during the bike portion of the race.
The Italian gripper also has a reflective strip on the arm, which helps you stay visible during your practice rides and the compressive material hugs your bicep perfectly.
Worried about chafing?
Zoot uses SeamLink stitching so that there’s little to no movement and minimizes chafing while giving your legs flexibility.
On land, the suit should feel like a glove and move with you, but still feel supportive.
During a triathlon, the suit might help your muscles and energy level stay fresh from one leg to the other. You might be able to perform even better with a super light yet supportive trisuit.
Overall, I’d highly recommend this product to triathletes who are in their third or fourth season or those who want to be more competitive in the sport. It’s a big investment to buy a trisuit with carbon material.
9. Louis Garneau Pro Carbon Triathlon Suit
The Louis Garneau Pro Carbon triathlon sleeve-less triathlon suit will match its comfort and performance with its many features.
The suit comes with five different materials all specialized to help different parts of your body for comfort and performance.
- The CB Carb Slick is a moisture-wicking material that not only helps you dry off faster, but also might help prevent bacterial infections or chafing.
- The Light Power is also a moisture-wicking material with the added compressive material, which might help you be more aerodynamic in the water and on the bike.
- The Carbon-X Mesh is also a compressive material with the breathability feature, which might help you move more naturally.
- The Tri-Rev material is both a supportive and compressive material.
- The Pro + Lycra Fiber is a support material that might help your body recover from one leg of the triathlon to the other.
The trisuit also was designed with different features that will not only help with your overall performance but also comfort during and possibly after the triathlon.
Louis Garneau’s Coldblack upper body feature helps reflect the sun’s rays during the bike and run portion of the triathlon. You might walk away from the competition with one less sunburn, even if you’re wearing dark clothing.
Louis Garneau designed the shoulder area with its Laser-cut design, which might help you stay more aerodynamic in the water and give you more arm movement.
Louis Garneau also remembered to design the suit so that minimal chafing occurred with its Micro-Activ and Flatlock seams.
On land, the suit should fit your body very snug without constricting your movement. You should be able to “easily” get a wetsuit on before the start of the race.
10. Synergy Tri Suit – Best Budget Tri Suit
When you are looking for a company that makes triathlon gear and equipment, there are few whose background reads off like a veritable wishlist than Synergy’s.
For one, this brand was founded right around the time that triathlon equipment and gear was beginning to be taken seriously as its own niche, and Synergy has been pushing the boundaries of the market ever since.
Of course, this makes perfect sense when you consider that not only does this brand specialize exclusively in triathlon gear and equipment, it has been repurposed as a high-end brand for over a decade.
One of the biggest things that the Synergy Triathlon Tri Suit tried to get right was understanding that, as a type of long-distance endurance race, it is vitally important for everything about your experience to be as comfortable as can be expected considering the circumstances.
For instance, while this is certainly not the only men’s tri suit we saw that was sleeveless or featured a large neck opening, it has certainly paid more attention to how they affect your comfort than most of their competitors with molded, non-chafing openings and liners.
On top of that, the tri chamois is made of NeoGel with the explicit purpose of not only feeling light during the run and swim but to provide additional support during the biking leg.
Beyond the comfort of the tri suit, Synergy also understands that with as difficult as a triathlon is on its own, there is no need for the tri suit to increase that difficulty in any way. As such, this tri suit has a woven anti-microbial fleece to prevent any hygiene issues when transferring from one leg of the triathlon to another.
On top of that, the Synergy Triathlon Tri Suit comes with aqua panels that are designed to provide a touch of buoyancy during the swim leg of the race. If you need additional ventilation, the tri suit’s ¾ zipper closure allows you to open it partly without issue.
11. SLS3 Mens Triathlon Tri Suit CMX
Like many of the other brands on our list, SLS3 is a brand that specializes explicitly in equipment and gear for triathletes.
That said, SLS3 is a bit of a latecomer when considering it has only been in existence for a little under 2 decades.
The thing that gives SLS3 a bit of an edge is that the founders themselves are triathletes, so not only does the brand put all of its focus into triathlon equipment, the company’s entire raison d’etre is driven by direct experience with the product.
The fact that SLS3 can also achieve this while still being one of the least expensive brands on the market is only icing on the cake.
When talking about legs in regard to the SLS3 CMX tri suit, we are not necessarily referring to the anatomical openings of the tri suit though those do have qualities worth mentioning.
Instead, legs in this context are meant to refer to the different legs of the race that the SLS3 CMX can assist or otherwise perform well during.
This tri suit ultimately allows you to wear a single suit for every leg of the race, which is a huge advantage if you are not already doing this considering you do not have to worry about changing gear for different legs of the race.
That said, this tri suit does have a tendency to run thin compared to others, so it is likely not the best tri suit to wear in a colder race.
Beyond the fact that this tri suit was designed to be worn during every leg of the race, it also checks all of the expected boxes from a competition-worthy tri suit.
One example of this is the material composition which uses a nylon and lycra blend, though the back of the tri suit is woven into a mesh material to provide additional ventilation during the running and biking legs of the triathlon.
If you need more ventilation, the SLS3 CMX tri suit features a ¾ zipper closure giving you the ability to open the tri suit during the appropriate legs of the race.
If you are of the mind to carry various resources with you while you race, the SLS3 CMX also comes with 4 pockets, which is more than most others provide.
1. TYR Competitor Triathlon Suit
The TYR Competitor Triathlon suit has graduated compression for the best fit along with circulation and muscle performance.
All to help you perform your best throughout the entire triathlon.
Are you looking for a suit that will give you a little more edge?
TYR might be your brand.
While this featured suit is its Competitor model, for a compressive fit, it also offers the same suit with carbon materials for an extremely tight fit.
TYR’s Competitor trisuit features:
- Competitor Mesh that is soft on your skin while allowing you full body movement. It’s also a breathable material to help keep you cool.
- Competitor Women’s AMP Pad is one of the most advanced technologies for trisuits. The triple density foam helps absorb weight while you’re in aero.
- Competitor Woven is an ultra-lite, high-stretch, fast drying, and protects you from UPF 50+ rays. This material would help you move more freely and keep you safe on a sunny race day.
- Compression Web material is designed to help your muscles stay fresh as possible throughout the whole race. If you have problems with blood flow and circulation, and muscle vibration, then the suit might alleviate those problems. All while you race in a sleek trisuit.
- Flip Lock and Zipper is placed in the front for easy access for those race bathroom breaks and locks into position when you need it closed and secure.
- Pocket Storage is perfectly placed on the trisuit for easy access if you need nutrition for either the bike or run leg of the triathlon.
- Free Finish Leg Gripper feature is designed to reduce leg restrictions and acts as an anti-slip.
On land, you should be able to get the suit on with little to no help and feel snug on your body.
During a race, you should feel as though the trisuit is a supportive second skin.
I’d recommend this trisuit to beginner triathletes or those who do not race very often. It’s great as a “starter” trisuit, but I’d suggest getting something more durable if you become more serious about the sport or have the means to race often.
2. Zone3 Activate Plus Trisuit
Zone3 created their Activate trisuit with the intention to be a staple for your triathlon arsenal.
Based on first impressions, the trisuit is stylish, supportive, and breathable. The suit even has a built-in bra for those who need it.
Zone3 tries to combine style with high performance and style so you can get the most for your money.
This trisuit features:
- The graphic side panel to add a little personality to your race day kit and make you stand out as you pass a crowd.
- Lycra Sport fabric is supposed to complement the printed panels so you can have support with a flashy design.
- The eTri-Lite pad is designed specifically for women in triathlons. It’s small and purposely placed. The multiple thickness technologies reduce water absorption and provide comfort on the bike.
- Inner Built-In Bra is there for those who need it or does not want to wear additional clothes on race day.
- Elastic Technology increases comfort without decreasing the support and snugness of the suit. The seams are sewn so that chafing is reduced a minimal rubbing occurs during either practice or race day.
- Storage pocket with an elastic band placed on the back of the suit for nutrition access during the bike or run.
- Silicone UFO leg grippers are on the inside knee of the suit to prevent the suit from moving during the entire race.
- Front zipper with zip protection for extra ventilation during the race. The zipper comes with an inner lining to reduce any discomfort from the zipper.
On land, the suit should fit nicely with added support from the built-in bra.
During a race or practice, you should be able to perform as you normally do with extra support from the suit.
I would not recommend this trisuit because it’s not practically built. The extra features such as the built-in bra, while a nice touch, do more “harm” than “good”. You might be better off wearing an extremely tight trisuit without a bra or wear one that doesn’t absorb water.
3. Sugoi RPM Triathlon Suit
The Sugoi RPM Women’s triathlon suit has a slick design to complement its performance skill, which might be your perfect tool for practice or race day.
Sugoi’s women’s trisuit is home to the TriLite 2 chamois, which is the most up-to-date chamois on the market.
The trisuit also has a “molded” center channel with a low profile and wicking material to complement the TriLite 2 chamois.
The trisuit also features:
- Flat seams to ensure your comfort along with a low profile.
- Zone construction with a mesh panel for breathability.
- Front zipper for extra ventilation.
- Hydrodynamic fuel pockets to reduce drag in the water.
- Tightest fit called “Pro-Fit”.
- The trisuit is designed with Triflex and Vector Stretch materials to keep it snug on your body and allow you to move freely.
On land, the trisuit should fit you nicely and be relatively easy to get on compared to your wetsuit.
During a race or even practice, the trisuit should feel tight on your body without constricting your movement or causing chafing or other irritations.
4. Trisuit For Women by Betty Designs
Betty Designs may be a bit confusing of a brand name considering there is no “Betty,” but one thing is for certain: this company which seeks to blend the performance of professional endurance sportswear with the highest senses of fashion is equally effective on both counts.
That said, it should be understood that Betty Designs does not focus exclusively on triathlon tri suits nor does it specialize in triathlon exclusive gear more generally. Still, all of the gear made fills a niche within the triathlon’s different legs and is of exceptionally high-quality.
Much like with our editor’s choice men’s tri suit winner, we consider the Betty Designs tri suit to be so well-performing in a large part due to the choices of materials used and the highly specialized use of different materials for different benefits.
For instance, the side panels are made out of Betty Designs patented ReactorMesh which simultaneously wicks moisture and sweat off of your body while it provides additional ventilation.
On top of that, the Acqua Zero Lite fabric used for the main body panels features a hydrophobic effect to both prevent water from getting in during the swim leg as well as wick sweat and moisture away during the other legs.
Another area where Betty Designs aims to provide some specialization for women is in the bodice in that they do not include a built-in bra.
While this feature may be seen as convenient to some racers, it saves little weight and does not work for everyone equally. As such, its absence provides you the freedom to choose whichever support works best for you.
On top of that, this women’s tri suit also comes with UPF 50+ protection, which while not the best we have seen, is still fairly good all things considered. Finally, this tri suit uses a tri chamois that is specifically engineered to be worn by a woman so that the bike saddle is as comfortable as can be.
5. Orca Women’s Core Tri Race Suit – Best Women’s Full-Race Tri Suit
When considering the background of a company Orca provides arguably one of the most ideal you could potentially conceive.
For instance, it was founded in almost 3 decades prior and was made not only to cater to the emerging professional triathlon market but the female professional triathlon market more particularly.
On top of that, Orca was founded by a winning triathlete whose sole purpose was to make the best triathlon gear possible-though their effectiveness in the water has definitely geared the brand a bit more towards that specialization.
As mentioned prior, the Orca Core, and virtually all of their products, almost seem intentionally focused towards its ability to work as well in water as it does out of the water.
That said, it should be understood that, while Orca may lean into their strength an appropriate degree, the company ensures that they do not ignore or overlook its functions in the running or biking leg of the triathlon.
Still, the AquaStretch fabric used in the Orca Core construction does an excellent job of both providing additional ventilation and breathability as well as wicking off sweat and moisture while providing a hydrophobic layer of Enduro coating for cutting through the water.
As another brand based on the ideas that professional triathletes suggest for improving triathlon gear and equipment, it should not be that surprising that Orca places a strong focus on comfort since so many brands based primarily on squeezing every bit of performance out of the tri suit exclude comfort as a secondary byproduct.
One of the biggest benefits to this effect is the inclusion of a Tri-Support Chamois which was specifically designed for a female wearer and provides a great deal of enduring support during the biking leg without any undue distraction or chafing during the run or swim legs of the race.
6. Pearl iZUMi Select Pursuit
Out of all the brands on our list, none of them has as storied nor as unique a history as the Pearl iZUMi company.
This is by far the oldest company with almost 7 decades of experience behind them, though not all of that experience was in making triathlon equipment and gear.
Instead, like many other top brands, Pearl iZUMi first gained notoriety by making a more specialized product for a more established sport in this instance, biking.
That said, Pearl iZUMi has shifted effortlessly from their previous focus and now offers one of the best triathlon tri suits at by far one of the best prices that we have seen.
Even though Pearl iZUMi may have shifted to a triathlon exclusive manufacturing company does mean that they decided to simply throw everything they knew out the window.
In fact, though the swimming leg generally presents the most issues to a tri suit, the biking and the running legs of the race are actually far more similar than they are different, especially compared to the swimming leg, and one of the main qualities both legs of the race require is breathability.
In order to keep your body temperature down during the endurance race, the Pearl iZUMi Select makes it a point to use quick-drying fabrics and materials throughout the tri suit’s construction.
Beyond the various strides made in favor of the land-based legs of the triathlon, the Pearl iZUMi Select is still an all-around solid tri suit suitable for almost any setting outside of race set in colder climes. For one, this tri suit is made of nylon and lycra so it will provide a durable fit that also stretches to add compression to your muscles-though this tri suit does have a tendency to run a bit on the small side.
Still, the flatlock seams ensure that you do not have to worry about the durability of this tri suit, while the envelope pocket provides a convenient place to carry something without having to worry about it adding to your drag.
Best Tri Suits – Buyer’s Guide
The name tri suit is a shortened form of triathlon suits and they refer to the suits worn by athletes who participate in the triathlon events.
These suits have become technologically more and more advanced as the years have gone by and they are available for both men and women. Triathlon events require a great amount of endurance and tri suits have to be perfectly designed keeping the events and the athletes’ needs in mind.
There are three events in the triathlon – cycling, running and swimming and the athletes competing have to be in peak condition as well as wear tri suits that allow them to perform to their best capabilities.
What to Look for in a Tri Suit
Tri suits are designed out of lycra material which is thin so that it offers the least resistance while the athlete is going through all the three different events. Tri suits should not be confused with wet suits which are designed specially for swimmers, though they tend to look a bit like wetsuits.
You don’t have to be too particular when you are buying a tri suit. It should be light, it should fit well and it should look good on you. You might want to wear it later to go out cycling, swimming or running.
If you are not a professional, look at the more reasonably-priced entry-level tri suits. Most tri suits last for years so you don’t need to worry on that score. You might want to look at reputed brands to make sure you get well manufactured and well designed tri suits.
Tri suits, as we said, are light weight and made of lycra so they dry quickly and they do not weigh you down. That’s the whole idea of tri suits – to cover you and yet not slow you down in any way.
Even the lower priced tri suits look good and very often, they do not look too different from the more expensive, professional ones. There are tri suits that you can buy for men, for women and even for kids.
The technologically advanced material that is used in designing these tri suits makes them dry faster and they very often come with a chamois pad at the bottom which does not slow you down when you run but provides a comfortable seat when you are cycling.
Make sure the tri suits you choose feel light and breathable and test the zip to ensure that it is easy to use.
The main thing tri suits should offer you is comfort. Some tri suits come with pockets designed in them so you can put something in. Most tri suits come with helmets to match so make sure that the helmets are comfortable too.
When it comes to the materials used for tri suits, the full list is far too long and idiosyncratic to include every single one.
That said, the majority of tri suits are actually made primarily out of a few different materials which are generally considered the standard, and only a proprietary blend is liable to be better. In this regard, all tri suits have a few qualities about them that are required for them to perform successfully.
All of the materials used in tri suits should be able to both stretch tight as a well as potentially provide some compression on top of the expected durability.
Polyester – When it comes to the primary fabrics used in the construction of tri suits, polyester is not really the most common, but it fills a particular niche in terms of its intended focus.
In this instance, you will want to favor a polyester blend with your tri suit as it is more naturally water resistant than the other materials on our list.
On the other hand, polyester does not really offer too terribly much in regards to the other materials. It is the least durable synthetic fiber used in tri suits, though it is not weak and will last as long as the stitches hold.
Still, polyester is not the most flexible material either, so it is not the ideal material for roughly 2 legs of a 3 leg race.
Nylon – Nylon is by far one of the more common synthetic fibers used in tri suits and should be considered one of the standards for a more generalized tri suit-outside of some type of proprietary fiber that was designed specifically to replace the sturdiness of nylon.
That said, nylon is not as naturally water resistant as polyester and will require more or thicker coatings to provide an equally hydrophobic effect.
On top of that, nylon is also prone to bleaching in the sun, so a tri suit made primarily out of nylon will need to be treated for UV protection-thankfully, the same protection that prevents the tri suit from suffering UV damage also protects the wearer as well.
In terms of durability, nylon is by far the most durable of the three primary fibers used for making tri suits.
Lycra – Lycra is the technical name for the material more commonly known as Spandex and it serves a vital role in tri suits. In fact, this is the only material on our list that will be found in literally every tri suit if for no other reason than because it is what provides the fit, compression, and elasticity of a tri suit.
That said, much like every other material commonly found in tri suits, there are always manufacturers who will develop proprietary blends and materials which are technically better than lycra at its role.
Still, the variety of qualities that can be altered either by altering the lycra itself or by changing its weave features allows this incredibly versatile material to find its way into virtually every tri suit on the market.
Outside of the materials used, the most important quality for determining how durable the tri suit will be is the stitching process.
It is important to remember that stitching, even into naturally water-resistant materials, is ultimately puncturing holes into the material.
Depending on how those holes are punched at the different seams will determine to a great deal how well the tri suit ultimately repels water.
In this case, the number of different types of stitching is far fewer in number than for wetsuits, and your best bet with material as thin and lightweight as those used for tri suits is a simple flatlock stitch which is more than sufficient for most tri suit needs.
When it comes to the construction of a tri suit, the important thing to remember is that different parts are best served by providing different benefits.
For instance, the sides of the tri suit are not a great place for any kind of addition as it could unduly cause issues with your arm swing, but it is a great place to put additional ventilation to help keep the warmest part of the torso a little bit cooler.
Similarly, if a tri suit is looking to provide some assistance when it comes to the swimming leg of the race, a manufacturer may add some type of panel that provides additional buoyancy to help you keep your form.
The important thing in this respect is to make sure that you get a tri suit which has panels that provide benefits catered to your strengths and weaknesses.
The padding of a tri suit may be a bit of a deceiving quality in that it in no way is meant to imply the same kind of padding that is associated with a wetsuit. Instead, the padding of a tri suit is far more similar in design to the padding of a pair of biking shorts.
That said, dedicated biking shorts can afford to completely sell out on the cushion for the saddle, whereas a tri suit must be able to transition quickly between the different types of legs of the race.
As such, a tri suit is far more liable to have incredibly focused applications of padding so as to not impede whatever other events it is not designed for.
Chamois – This is arguably the most important piece of padding that will be included in every tri suit, which is not a common distinction.
Some tri suits might have different types of pads that perform one function or another, but because every triathlon includes a biking leg of the race, there is without absence a chamois.
One thing to keep in mind about a chamois is that bigger is not necessarily better as the added weight and friction caused by a larger chamois is not worth the trade-off. Instead, manufacturers will opt to make a chamois that is far denser while still providing great cushioning.
While the original triathlon suits, which were simply more versatile running, biking, and wetsuits, did not see the need to include pockets for their particular sport, the very nature of a triathlon as an endurance-based sport almost necessitates the carrying of additional gear or supplies.
One of the most common things for nearly every racer to carry is some form of energy at some point during the race. That said, the type of gear that is liable to be found on serious triathletes will often transcend the mere snack, and there are plenty of manufacturers that cater to this type of racer.
One thing to keep in mind when examining the pockets is making sure that they are designed to prevent drag, or else you may end up losing more time in the swimming leg than you gain in either the running or biking legs.
Frequently Asked Questions: Triathlon Suits
What is the point of a tri suit?
The primary purpose of a tri suit is to streamline your gear and optimize your performance in each discipline of a triathlon. Tri suits are made from quick-drying, lightweight, and breathable materials that help regulate body temperature, reduce chafing, and provide support during swimming, cycling, and running. They also save time during transitions, allowing for a smoother race experience.
Do I really need a tri suit?
While a tri suit is not absolutely necessary, it is highly recommended for those serious about competing in triathlons. A tri suit is designed to provide comfort, functionality, and efficiency across all three disciplines, making it a valuable investment for improved performance and race experience.
Is a tri suit worth it?
Absolutely! A tri suit can make you at least 1-3 minutes faster in transitions, giving you a competitive edge in races. By streamlining your gear and eliminating the need to change clothes between events, you save valuable time and energy. In addition, tri suits are designed to provide optimal comfort and functionality for each discipline, which can greatly improve your overall performance.
Do tri suits make you faster?
Tri suits can contribute to a faster race time by improving efficiency during transitions and providing support and comfort throughout the race. Streamlined designs and advanced materials can also reduce drag in the water and on the bike, further enhancing your performance.
Is it hard to swim in a tri suit?
Swimming in a tri suit should not be difficult if the suit fits correctly and is designed for triathlon use. Tri suits are crafted to provide flexibility, buoyancy, and reduced drag during the swim portion of a race, helping to improve your swim performance.
Is it comfortable to run with a tri suit?
Yes, tri suits are specifically designed to ensure comfort during all three triathlon disciplines, including running. They are made from lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking materials that help keep you cool and dry. The chamois in a tri suit is typically thinner than that in cycling shorts, allowing for greater ease of movement while running without compromising comfort during the bike leg.
How long does a tri suit last?
The lifespan of a tri suit depends on factors such as usage, care, and the quality of the suit itself. With proper care and moderate usage, a high-quality tri suit can last several seasons. To prolong its life, always follow the manufacturer’s care instructions, avoid excessive exposure to chlorine, and store the suit properly when not in use.
Can I swim in my tri suit in a pool?
While you can technically swim in your tri suit in a pool, it’s important to note that exposure to chlorine can shorten the suit’s lifespan. If you choose to swim in your tri suit in a pool, rinse it thoroughly with fresh water immediately after use, and consider using a suit specifically designed for pool training to preserve your race suit.
Do you need a wetsuit if you have a tri suit?
A wetsuit and a tri suit serve different purposes. A wetsuit provides buoyancy and insulation in cold water, while a tri suit is designed for comfort and efficiency across all three disciplines. Depending on the water temperature and race regulations, you may need to wear a wetsuit over your tri suit for safety and performance reasons.
Do you wear underwear under a tri suit?
It is generally recommended not to wear underwear under a tri suit, as the suit is designed to provide support and reduce chafing without the need for additional layers. Wearing underwear could cause discomfort and chafing during the race.
Should I get a tri suit or swimskin?
Deciding between a tri suit and a swimskin ultimately depends on your specific needs and the type of race you’ll be participating in. A tri suit is an all-in-one piece of gear designed for swimming, cycling, and running, providing a versatile option for most triathlon events. Swimskins, on the other hand, are designed solely for the swim portion of the race and are meant to be worn over your tri suit or other racing apparel in non-wetsuit-legal events. They reduce drag and improve buoyancy, potentially increasing your swim speed.
If you participate in triathlons regularly and want a single piece of gear that covers all three disciplines, a tri suit is a better investment. However, if you’re looking to gain a competitive edge specifically during the swim leg and often race in warmer waters where wetsuits are not allowed, a swimskin might be a worthwhile addition to your triathlon wardrobe.
What to wear if you don’t have a tri suit?
If you don’t have a tri suit, you can still piece together a comfortable and functional race outfit using separate clothing items for each discipline. Here are some suggestions:
Swimming: Wear a well-fitted swimsuit, swim briefs, or jammers made from quick-drying and chlorine-resistant fabric. You can also opt for a wetsuit if the event allows it and the water temperature is cool.
Cycling: After swimming, change into moisture-wicking cycling shorts with a padded chamois for added comfort on the bike. Pair the shorts with a lightweight, breathable, and quick-drying cycling jersey or athletic shirt.
Running: If you’re already wearing cycling shorts, you can continue wearing them for the run or switch to running shorts with a built-in liner for added support. Pair your shorts with a moisture-wicking, breathable athletic shirt. Make sure your running shoes are properly fitted and comfortable for the race.
Keep in mind that while these clothing options will work in a pinch, a tri suit is specifically designed to provide optimal comfort, functionality, and transition speed for all three disciplines. Investing in a tri suit can significantly improve your overall race experience and performance.
In the end, there is not going to a single tri suit that is the best tri suit for all racers, especially if you have a particular strength or weakness in one leg or another. In this instance, you will likely want to find a tri suit that is designed to specifically accommodate your needs.