As you know, triathlon is one of our greatest endurance tests with the events of swimming, cycling and running pushing us on to achieve breakthrough results.
There are several aspects triathletes have to give their attention to so that they can give their best performance and wearing the equipment that best suits their needs and purpose is a key part of that process. Investment in the right pair of triathlon shorts is essential so that you can cover those triathlon distances with ease.
Of course, your choice of triathlon shorts will play an important role considering you are likely to wear them for every leg of the race, so it is important to make sure that they provide some form of benefit or advantage in the legs of the race that you really need it.
We hope that this guide helps you to choose the right pair of triathlon shorts for you.
Best Triathlon Shorts for Men
1. ROKA Generation II Elite Aero Triathlon Shorts
ROKA is back with its second generation of Elite Aero Triathlon Shorts, which have been tested in the Wind Tunnel and upgraded based on feedback from the first generation.
ROKA lives up to its reputation and has created a pair of shorts that are more breathable and comfortable than the last pair.
ROKA designed the shorts to have the best balance between aerodynamics, function and comfort no matter what distance you’re going.
The shorts are supposed to have a compressive fit for races, high shape retention to last for seasons to come, all with its most updated aerodynamic technology.
Before putting it on the market, ROKA tested the shorts in a wind tunnel, on the road, and even in open water.
These shorts are thin and comfortable enough for you to wear under your wetsuit or swimskin and won’t create drag when it’s wet.
ROKA’s Full Coldback technology guarantees your body and core temperature will regulate throughout the race or a training ride.
Finally, the shorts have no-sew premium knit fabric to get rid of the sausage leg effect and still has the best compression.
Here are a few of the specific updates:
Premium Schoeller Eschler carbon gives the shorts thermoregulation and abdominal support.
The new fabric has fewer seam lines than the first version of these shorts which gives it a more comfortable fit and performance.
The discreet yet supportive chamois moves with you without compromising comfort.
Fit and Performance
The shorts should fit tightly and compress your muscles without restricting your movement. You also should feel comfortable getting on and off a wetsuit with these shorts on. The last thing you want is for your shorts to come off with your wetsuit.
Many people who have worn them like the thermoregulation feature, which helps them keep cool and helps their endurance for longer races and training sessions.
Overall, I’d recommend these pair of shorts to any triathlete who wants to step their game up this season. Or, are ready to become more serious about the sport and want a higher quality brand to rely on for seasons to come.
2. De Soto Forza Tri Shorts
The De Soto Forza Triathlon shorts have four pockets and have the patented Mobius Comfort Compression leg bands, which makes it one of the best shorts for triathletes
The band leg bands and four pockets make it ideal for ultra and Ironman distance triathletes.
Of course, if you race and train for shorter distances you can wear them!
The extra pockets give you more space to store your nutrition for those last miles on the course. And, the Mobius Comfort Compression leg bands might help you push yourself to the finish line when you’re almost out of energy.
Other features of the triathlon shorts include:
• 1” lower rise than other models by De Soto so the shorts should sit right below your hip bones.
• 4mm Clasico Integrated Pad which is designed to give you comfort on the bike and feel as though there is nothing there on the run.
• Seamless inner thigh design to reduce chafing and increase durability.
• Forza Compressor material to support muscles and might help reduce soreness.
• 3” Mobius Comfort Compression leg bands designed to keep your shorts from moving without restricting your movement.
• Four pockets, two on the outer thigh, made of Forza Compressor material to store your nutrition during training or racing. The designers created the pockets so that they won’t create drag even if they’re empty.
• Elastic waistband and drawstring for those with tiny waists.
Performance and Fit
The shorts should fit “like a glove” but not too restrictive. The material should be breathable and quick drying when you get out of the water, but durable to last for seasons to come.
The leg grippers should feel tight so your shorts won’t move but support your movement in the water, on the bike, and on the run.
In terms of seam length, it’s a personal choice. These shorts have a 10” seam if you fit in an XXL and an 8” seam for smaller sizes. If you prefer a shorter seam, a different model or brand might work better for you.
Keep in mind, longer seams protect you from sun and road burns!
Overall, I’d recommend these shorts to any triathlete. The reviews are all-around positive with very little negative reports.
If you’re competing in Olympic distance triathlons and up you might want these shorts for the extra storage space. Or, even if you do a lot of long-distance riding in the summer.
3. Castelli Free Tri Short
The Castelli Men’s Free Triathlons Shorts were designed so that you can excel in every discipline on race day or training day.
The Castelli designer team made these shorts with Castelli’s hydrophobic Instadry Speed fabric, which is supposed to help you glide through the water with minimal water absorption.
The nearly skin-tight fit creates great support for your hard-working muscles and is designed to be more aerodynamic to help you reach your personal records.
Castelli also added their distinct Kiss Tri chamois with multi-density foam. This special material has dual functions. First, it handles all cushioning duties. Second, it works best when you’re aerodynamically positioned on the bike.
The chamois pad was designed and specifically cut so that it won’t disturb your swim and run part of the race.
The shorts’ panels are sewn with flatlock stitching that lies right on your skin to prevent chafing.
Castelli’s Giro Air technology holds the shorts in place without restricting your movement and still supports your muscles during the race or training session.
I will not go into the specific tech specs of the triathlon shorts in this article, but if you’re curious you can check out the shorts on Competitive Cyclist.
Performance and Fit
Like the previous shorts, they should fit like a glove and not restrict your movement.
The shorts should move with you, no matter what part of the race you’re completing. You shouldn’t feel as though the chamois drags and creates a “diaper butt” for the rest of the race.
Most who have worn the shorts have positive things to say about them. The one drawback is the lack of a drawstring, which might make some feel uneasy about slipping in and out of a wetsuit with these shorts on.
I’d recommend these shorts to any level and distance triathlete who wants a pair of high-quality shorts. Be warned that the sizing does run small by a least one size. This brand might also be more suitable if you are a “petite” triathlete.
4. Sugoi RPM Triathlon Shorts
The Sugoi RPM Men’s Triathlon Shorts is created and designed with TriFlex fabric, Flat seams, and TriLite 3 Chamois.
It’s more practical features include an elastic waistband, drawstring, and easy access rear pockets for nutrition.
The TriFlex nylon and spandex fabric combination wicks away any moisture you might have accumulated during the swim to make your bike ride more comfortable.
While the waistband has integrated pockets in the rear for you to easily grab nutrition during the bike or run part of your triathlon. Or, if you need a quick slug of energy on one of your longer rides.
The flat seams sit right on your skin to reduce chafing, rubbing, and any chance the shorts might move while you’re on the bike or run.
The light and flexible TriLite 3 Chamois won’t retain much water from the swim, supports you on the bike, and won’t stop you from pushing through the run.
The Sugoi creative and design team kept the summer’s heat in mind while putting together these pair of shorts. The shorts have a UPF 50 rating to keep you safe from the sun during those blistering summer days. Just be sure to also apply sunscreen!
Performance and Fit
The shorts should fit like your cycling shorts, tight, compressive and supportive for the whole ride. Of course, triathlon shorts will have a less dense chamois pad than cycling ones.
You should be able to do all three sports well and without any discomfort and actually, feel supported throughout the entire race.
Many people have said they experienced fewer sunburns while wearing these shorts on race day over others. Those same people also applied sunscreen as well.
I’d recommend these shorts if this your first time buying triathlon shorts. They are very basic but will give you all the support you need for your triathlon or season of triathlons. After a few seasons, you can upgrade to a different brand once you know what muscle or group of muscles need more support. Or, if you become more focused with one distance of triathlons.
5. Pearl iZumi Elite Pursuit Triathlon Shorts
Doesn’t matter if you’re looking to buy your first pair of triathlon shorts or adding a new pair into your bag, Pearl iZumi Men’s Elite Pursuit Triathlon Shorts are a multi-purpose piece to add to your collection.
This might be your new go-to for training and racing gear with the shorts newly improved fabric design to increase compression and aerodynamics.
The shorts also feature:
- Elite Transfer In-R-Cool fabric is powered by coldback, which gives you one of the best cooling technologies and reflective sun protection.
- The Elite Transfer In-R-Cool also has LYCRA Sport compression which helps the piece retain its “out of the box” compression levels. It also makes the shorts a piece you can rely on for seasons to come.
- Merrow stitch design and construction to place the shorts comfortably on the skin.
- Elastic silicone leg gripper to help keep the shorts in place and from riding up during the bike or swim.
- Stretch drawstring to the optimal fit and comfort.
- “Envelope” back pocket to store all your nutrition needs.
- Quick dry chamois for comfort on the bike.
- The shorts are made of Nylon, Lycra, and Polyester for the side panels.
Fit and Performance
The fit should be compressive or form-fitting on you before you get in the water or begin a training session.
During a race, the shorts should move with you and keep you comfortable throughout the entire race, no matter the distance.
Like other triathlon shorts, you should be able to comfortably wear your wetsuit over the shorts without fear that they will come off with the wetsuit.
I’d recommend these shorts to anyone who wants a new pair in their gear bag for race day or training. There are few drawbacks to these shorts and have a good all-around fit, support, and compression.
If you’re accustomed to having pockets on the side of the shorts, you might have an adjustment period to go through.
6. Zoot Men’s Performance Tri Shorts
Zoot Sports checks most of the boxes you look for when choosing a triathlon shorts manufacturer, all aside from being founded by a winning triathlete. Still, that should not dissuade you from Zoot products as this brand is neck deep in the endurance sportswear market, and has been longer than most of the other companies reviewed as well. With a storied history that stretches back over 3 decades and originates at the same location as where the Iron Man triathlon started, Zoot understands what it takes to make a great pair of triathlon shorts and has even won our Editor’s Choice Best Performing men’s triathlon shorts.
Though this may be a bit of a departure from the norm, with the Zoot Performance triathlon shorts we begin our analysis not with the pad, which we will get to shortly, but with the materials. This is because the Zoot Performance has found a way to use the same materials as everyone else in a slightly different way to get superior performance. For instance, this pair of triathlon is made of nylon and lycra like most triathlon shorts, though the blend tends to run a bit heavier on the lycra end compared to the other triathlon shorts we reviewed. On top of that, the blend is then further reinforced with an Endura polyester and nylon blend that makes this pair of triathlon shorts both more durable as well as more moisture wicking.
Because the materials used for the Zoot Performance triathlon shorts are so much better than their competitors, it only seemed natural to focus on that first, but with that done, it makes just as much sense for us to return to the most important part of a pair of triathlon shorts: the pad. For the Zoot Performance triathlon shorts, the use of an Integra SBR 2D pad is nice as it is one of the higher performing pads on the market, but the difference between the best pad and the second best pad is a much smaller gap than the difference between the materials used for the Zoot Performance and the materials used for most of their competitors. Still, the Integra SBR 2D pad is a great feature as it is one of the few pads to provide the ideal performance for each leg of the race.
7. SLS3 Triathlon Men`s Tri Shorts
Out of all the companies on our list, SLS3 likely has one of the better claims to prestigious origins than most of the others. Though this company is fairly young, it was founded by 2 German professional triathletes and specializes exclusively in triathlon gear and equipment. This means that SLS3 understands the specific qualities that are important to triathletes. Since they are more about providing a good balance between price and performance, it only makes sense that they were our best all-around value men’s triathlon shorts.
This is by far one of the most important parts of a pair of triathlon shorts primarily due to the fact that for the leg it is meaningful, it is one of the most important parts of the triathlon shorts. However, for every other leg of the race, the pad is at best not even noticed and at worst can actually become a legitimate impediment to your race.
Thankfully the channel tri pad ensures that the bike leg does not unduly sit you with discomfort as it is designed to perform at peak functioning for each of the 3 different legs of the race. For the swim leg, the tri pad does not readily absorb water to slow you down or add drag, but it is designed to dry exceptionally quickly. On top of that, the pad itself is fairly light and not designed in a way that will chafe your thighs during the other legs of the race.
Outside of the tri pad, there is not too terribly much that stands out about the SLS3 FRT 2.0 triathlon shorts. That said, there is not really a whole lot to complain about in terms of actual performance during the race. A fair amount of this has to do with the materials and construction behind the SLS3 FRT 2.0 which never strays far from the course. For instance, this pair of triathlon shorts is made out of nylon and lycra to ensure good compression. The panels are even sewn with flatlock seams, though this does not seem to have positively affected the durability of these triathlon shorts. As such, these can best be understood as competition triathlon shorts, designed to be used sparingly and only for serious competitions, relying on a pair of less expensive and lower quality triathlon shorts for practice and training.
8. Synergy Men’s Tri Shorts
Synergy checks virtually all of the boxes you look for in a company that manufactures and sells triathlon gear and equipment. For one, this brand may only be a couple decades old, but it was founded in the early 1990s, right around the time that manufacturers started getting serious about making triathlon gear and equipment that was specialized to the sport rather than being adapted from other, more specialized gear and equipment hailing from different sports entirely. Because of this focus and history, Synergy has also managed to find a way to provide options for all budgets.
Considering it is the only quality of a pair of triathlon shorts that is distinct from the main body of the product, it only makes sense that the triathlon chamois would be one of the more important factors when considering a pair of triathlon shorts. That said, some companies actually go above and beyond, ensuring that they not only provide a triathlon chamois, but they provide one of the better chamois available. Synergy is a prime example of this with the inclusion of their NeoGel pad that performs better than most pads during the biking leg of the race while feeling like a second skin during the running leg.
At first blush, the materials of the Synergy Tri Distance triathlon shorts are not at all unexpected, a nylon base with a lycra blend to provide plenty of compression as well as provide plenty of mobility. However, not all triathlon shorts on our list featured additional processes done to the materials to further improve them. In this regard, the Synergy Tri Distance is definitely ahead of its competition as the only pair of men’s triathlon shorts we reviewed that featured an anti-microbial fleece weave. That said, this construction does carry with it unintended consequences, specifically that these shorts do not handle water well at all and neither does the NeoGel pad. As such, these triathlon shorts can only be said to be suitable if you either change them during the race or the swimming leg is the last leg of the course, which it almost never is.
9. Blueseventy Core Short
When it comes to high-end triathlon gear, few companies have as good of a reputation as Blueseventy, and with good reason: this company was one of the first to recognize a need for distinct triathlon gear and equipment and has been providing such for over 2 ½ decades. That said, Blueseventy should no longer be seen as exclusively a triathlon gear and equipment manufacturer as their focus has narrowed somewhat. That is why we have rated the Blueseventy Core as our best swimming men’s triathlon shorts.
There is no getting around the fact that these shorts were designed for the swimming leg of a triathlon as virtually every meaningful quality or feature is geared towards providing a benefit for that leg of the race. For instance, this is the only pair of triathlon shorts that we reviewed that was coated in SCS, a coating that is hydrophobic, repelling water and other moisture and is generally reserved for wetsuits. On top of the SCS coating, the Blueseventy Core triathlon shorts were also the only ones that we saw which featured special panels that were designed to aid in maintaining a proper swimming posture, another feature that is far more commonly found on wetsuits than triathlon shorts.
One of the great things about the Blueseventy Core triathlon shorts being designed for swimming more than biking or running is that they are inherently a bit more durable than most of the other pairs of triathlon shorts on our list. For instance, this pair of triathlon shorts features a 5/3 construction ration which means that the legs are 3 mm thick and the other sections of the Blueseventy Core triathlon shorts are 5 mm thick. On top of the thickness of this pair of triathlon shorts, this is also the only product that we reviewed which is made out of neoprene, which is technically a type of rubber. This material is great for swimming and is far more durable than most of the other materials used for triathlon shorts, but it may have some ventilation and breathability issues in comparison.
Best Triathlon Shorts for Women
1. Louis Garneau Pro 6 Carbon Triathlon Shorts
Come to your next race with the Louis Garneau Women’s Pro 6 Triathlon Shorts and you might have one of the best of the seasons. Or, on the stepping stone to another personal record.
The shorts are made with comfort being the number one priority. The designers really tried to design the shorts to maximize the comfort from the moment you step in and out of the water, to the bike, and to the final step you take across the finish line.
With endurance and comfort in mind, the shorts are made with Light Power, Carbon-X Mesh, and Pro + Lyrca fabrics. All the fabrics not only support your hard-working muscles throughout the race, but they also help maintain blood flow to fight exhaustion.
All the fabrics listed above quickly whisk away water and sweat away so you maintain a comfortable temperature throughout the entirety of the race.
Louis Garneau designed its chamois to absorb vibration on the bike and relieve pressure from the saddle all while allowing you full movement during the swim and run part of the triathlon.
The Tri Air chamois has a four-way stretch material that conforms to every curve that needs support and padding. The chamois also keeps you dry and evaporates instantly any water from the swim.
The shorts also have rear mesh pockets to store your nutrition and an elastic band to get the best fit possible in the shorts.
Fit and Performance
The shorts should feel snug on you no matter if you’re in the transition area getting set up or getting out of the water for the bike.
Even if you have a small waste, the adjustable drawstring will ensure your shorts won’t slip during a training session or race.
Many people who have bought the shorts say they have experienced little to no chafing and the shorts stay in place for the duration of the race or training day.
Ladies have reported having the best support on the bike and the chamois was well-designed with a woman in mind.
I’d recommend these as a back-up pair of shorts that you use on occasion or if you have to. There are mixed reviews and it can be a gamble whether they will work for you.
2. Lava Triathlon Shorts by Zone3
Zone3 designed their Women’s Lava Triathlon Shorts with an endurance and long-distance women triathletes in mind.
The design team backed their shorts with research and tests to make sure the shorts come at crossroads between performance and comfort.
The latest in the Lava collection comes with new fabrics and features to feel light-weight, comfortable, extremely breathable, and comfortable for any half or full Ironman you plan to do this season.
The premium fabrics are designed to give you the best compression, comfortability, and performance for your Ironman and half Ironmans.
The side panels have an ergonomic design and the support and comfort locations help regulate your body temperature throughout the whole race.
The chamois pad is made by Cytech, which is exceptionally high quality and is nearly vital for half and full Ironman distances.
Fit and Performance
The shorts should fit snug on your body and give you the utmost support and comfort for a long-distance ride, 112 miles and beyond.
The shorts should move with you and even with the advanced chamois padding, it should be supportive on your long ride and disappear on the run and not cause “diaper butt” from the swim.
I’d recommend these shorts for a one time use or a test run. There have been mixed reviews on the padding of the shorts. I highly recommend taking these for a swim and transition practice before committing to a half day’s race with them on.
3. MooMotion Womens Pivot Tri Short
Though history and reputation can be a great means of sussing a company out before looking at their products and marketing, there will always be upstarts who enter a market with new ideas or a better way of doing something and end up out showing the venerable and more prestigious brands they compete with. When it comes to triathlon gear and equipment, MooMotion certainly does not have the most storied history, but they do specialize in triathlon gear and equipment generally and women’s triathlon gear and equipment more specifically.
We once again divert from our regular course to present the materials of the MooMotion Pivot triathlon shorts which are truly distinct from the other brands on our list. This is the only pair of triathlon shorts that we reviewed which does not feature any sort of base fiber in the material blend. Instead, the MooMotion Pivot triathlon shorts use a blend of lycra and a proprietary lycra material into their Lycra SPORT fabric which provides by far the most compression out of any women’s triathlon shorts that we saw. This material composition also allows the MooMotion Pivot triathlon shorts to fit better than most of the other products that we reviewed, though it may seem tight-fitting at first. That said, the primary advantage of this composition is that it provides the wearer with the maximum amount of flexibility and range of motion that we saw on our list.
In a bit of a surprise, we will not be covering the pad of the MooMotion Pivot as it does not necessarily provide anything exceptional to the mix but nor does it hinder any leg of the race in any way. Instead, we are going to focus on the construction of this pair of triathlon shorts as it is definitely better than most of the other women’s triathlon shorts we saw. For instance, this is one of the only women’s triathlon shorts that we saw that featured multiple pockets, something that seems to have translated from women’s fashion design in general. Still, this pair of triathlon shorts comes with UPF 50+ protection to protect you from the sun and flatlock seams for superior durability.
4. TYR Sport Competitor Tri Compression Shorts
TYR is definitely a bit of a different kind of company on our list that found purchase in the triathlon gear and equipment market initially due to necessity but was able to properly pivot towards that market and maintain a position within. That said, it should be understood that TYR is not really a company designed to specialize in triathlon gear and equipment. Instead, this brand was founded by an Olympic swimming medalist who wanted to create a brand focused on providing the best swimwear around. In this regard, the TYR Competitor triathlon shorts are certainly unusual, but they do also present the best all-around value women’s triathlon shorts.
Considering that TYR is more of a swimwear brand as opposed to a specialized triathlon gear and equipment manufacturer, it only makes sense for them to be more willing to take risks when it comes to their triathlon gear and equipment. In regards to the TYR Competitor triathlon shorts, this experimentation has found its way in by replacing the nylon commonly found in triathlon shorts with polyester. Though this may seem a minor change, polyester actually has fairly different properties that are far more likely to make their presence known in an endurance sport like running triathlons. Polyester is not as durable as nylon, which is shown by the webbing not being that durable, but it is far more resistant to water and wicks moisture, in general, better than polyester does.
As you should expect by now, our attention on the TYR Competitor women’s triathlon shorts turns to the pad. This pair of triathlon shorts comes with the patented TYR competitor AMP pad which is designed explicitly to provide excellent performance at every leg of the race. For the biking leg, the Competitor AMP pad is made with advanced triple-density foam, so you do not have to worry about soreness and fatigue during the bike leg. The Competitor AMP pad also provides benefit to the other legs of the race as it is not known to absorb water or other moisture and features a design intended to prevent chafing or other distractions.
5. Canari Women’s Triathlon Shorts
Like some of the other companies on our list, Canari does not actually specialize in triathlon equipment and gear in either a general or specific sense. Instead, Canari is better known as a brand that specializes in high-end biking gear, though biking shorts were some of the most common to first be used in triathlons before manufacturers began making products designed explicitly for triathlons. Still, Canari has a strong reputation that stretches back almost 4 decades and even acknowledges their lack of specialized focus in their price.
Out of all the different women’s triathlon shorts, the majority of them seemed to go far a seamless design, or at least an attempt to minimize the number of seams. While that can work well enough, most of the higher end triathlon products, especially those that expect to see use in the swim leg, prefer to panel the different sections of the sportswear with the musculature of the body so as to provide a more anatomical range of motion. This also allows the manufacturer to tailor different panels to different purposes, though that is not a feature found on the Canari women’s triathlon shorts. That said, this design will not only provide a better range of motion than most of the other women’s triathlon shorts reviewed, it also allows the Canari triathlon shorts to offer a better fit than their competitors too.
Though it may seem like a less important factor to the outside, many of the triathlon products that are designed by professional triathletes often have a tendency to favor comfort over those triathlon products made entirely by corporations and scientists aiming to achieve some sort of quantifiable achievement. Professional triathletes, on the other hand, understand that you can only squeeze so much improvement out of a pair of shorts and instead seek to improve their mental outlook during the race by increasing their general comfort levels while racing, a tip that Canari seems to have picked up.
6. Betty Designs Pink Signature Triathlon Short
Want a piece that adds a bit of flair to your triathlon apparel?
These shorts might be what you’re looking for.
The newest shorts combine Betty Design’s signature and Pucciesque design with:
- BettyStyle Raceflow luxe fabric that shimmers with a quick dry technology.
- Sun protection up to SPF 50
- A yoga waistband to accommodate all sizes of triathletes.
- Compressive material that allows you to breathe while supporting your muscles and wicking away moisture from your body to make it seem like you never set foot in the water.
- Ergonomic patterns line your body’s curve, which reduces drag.
- Tri Chamois that is light-weight and antimicrobial.
Performance and Fit
The fit of these triathlon shorts should be similar to the others listed in this review.
However, the performance of these shorts isn’t up to par with many other brands out there.
The looks don’t match up.
The waistband often doesn’t last long and it only works for certain body types.
Don’t recommend this product at all unless you are going for “fashion over function”. The brand is trying to make triathlons trendy or fashionable, which it does an excellent job of. However, it doesn’t know how triathlons work or what a triathlete needs on race day.
Triathlon Shorts – Buyer’s Guide
When it comes to the materials of a pair of triathlon shorts, the materials may not be the most important thing to look at, but it is not far from it either. The materials of the triathlon shorts will ultimately determine some of the more important qualities like the durability, the breathability, and the fit.
All of these qualities are among the most important when it comes to choosing a pair of triathlon shorts, so while any of them individually may have greater or lesser priority, you will ultimately have to choose based on the material.
Polyester is actually a fairly uncommon material to find in triathlon shorts, primarily due to the fact that it is also the least durable material on our list. That is not to suggest that polyester is weak, but when you are putting a pair of triathlon shorts through the rigors of triathlon training, day in and day out, you generally want to make sure that your triathlon shorts can keep up with you.
On the other hand, polyester can actually make a fairly good material to use for triathlon shorts that you only ever wear during competition due to its natural ability to resist water. On top of that, polyester is naturally more resistant to UV radiation than some of the other materials, so you do not have to worry about the color fading nor the fibers breaking down from being exposed to so much sunlight.
Nylon is likely the second most common material used for triathlon shorts and for good reason. When it comes to the blend ratio, the stiffer fiber generally tends to be used greater than 2 to 1 to lycra, which is almost always the pairing fiber.
As such, this material needs to be able to stand up to the punishing effects of training or running a triathlon. Nylon is by far the most durable material on our list, outside of neoprene, but it also comes with a fair number of additional benefits too.
While it is not hydrophobic and is actually the least water resistant material reviewed, nylon is still far more water-resistant than any other natural fiber. On top of that, nylon is less likely to irritate those with skin condition because it is a smoother fiber.
Lycra is another name for spandex and it is one of the few materials that will be found in virtually every pair of triathlon shorts, unless they are explicitly designed and intended for the swimming leg of the triathlon.
The reason that lycra is included as part of the material blend for pretty much every pair of triathlon shorts is that it provides far more flexibility while still being able to retain its original shape.
This allows spandex to stretch over the body, providing a much better fit without unduly restricting the wearer who is generally expecting to compete in some form of physical sport or activity. While lycra does not have any kind of hydrophobic qualities of its own, it is not known for absorbing water or other moisture either, making it a great material for all legs of the race.
Neoprene is by far the least common material used for triathlon shorts for a number of reasons, though arguably the biggest reason is that this material does not perform quite as well for the running and biking legs of the race, though it is by no means a terrible materials to use for those legs, simply it is not the best material and comes with some distinct drawbacks in those legs of the race. By far the most concerning quality regarding neoprene is that it is by far the least breathable material that we reviewed, though this could technically be considered a benefit depending on the type of race you are running, especially if it happens to be in colder waters. Still, few racers will be improved with hotter triathlon shorts worn during the running and biking legs of the race. On the other hand, neoprene is the material most commonly used for wetsuits which makes it an ideal material for the swimming leg of a triathlon.
This is by far the most important “part” of a pair of triathlon shorts primarily because it is one of the few actual parts. Aside from potential paneling the triathlon shorts off, there are few ways to part out a pair of triathlon shorts. In this regard, the chamois is not only incredibly important but fairly unique for triathlon shorts
. Still, there are a few primary qualities about a chamois that are important to ensure meet personal standards. Because a triathlon’s different legs require such variance in performance, the best chamois can be both difficult to design and invaluable during the race. Keep in mind that the pad itself is primarily used for the biking leg of the race, so its primary function during the racing and swimming legs of the race is to simply not interfere.