Triathlons are arguably one of the most difficult types of competition to compete in largely due to the fact that they require different types of endurance races to complete. Aside from the fact that these different events make triathlons one of the most grueling and challenging competitions around, it also necessitates the inclusion of numerous types of equipment for each leg of the race.
For the swimming leg of the race, likely the most important piece of equipment is the wetsuit. This is essentially a full or half bodysuit that is designed to allow you to move through the water quicker than normal while also keeping you “dry” and protecting you from frigid waters. Of course, finding the best triathlon wetsuits takes a bit of effort.
Figuring out which triathlon wetsuit is the best can be a difficult and confusing task. That is why we have put together a list of the 11 best triathlon wetsuits and highlighted what each one does best. Then we provide a helpful buyer’s guide, so you can find the right triathlon wetsuit that is best for you.
Best Triathlon Wetsuit in 2020
|ROKA Maverick Pro II (Top Pick)||1/5 mm||Full||Yamamoto #40 Cell Neoprene|
|Zone3 Vanquish (Editor's Choice)||1/5 mm||Full||Yamamoto #40 Cell Neoprene|
|Orca Alpha||1/5 mm||Full||Yamamoto #40 Cell Neoprene|
|De Soto T1 Wetsuit||1/5 mm||Full||Yamamoto #40 Cell Neoprene|
|TYR Hurricane Freak Nature||1/5 mm||Full||Yamamoto #40 Cell Neoprene|
|Blueseventy Thermal Reaction||2/5 mm||Full||Yamamoto #40 Cell Neoprene|
|Blueseventy Fusion||1.5/5 mm||Full||Yamamoto #39 Cell Neoprene|
|Zoot Wave 3||1.5/5 mm||Full||Yamamoto #39 Cell Neoprene|
|Zone 3 Aspire||1.5/5 mm||Full||Yamamoto #39 Cell Neoprene|
|XTERRA Vortex||1.5/5 mm||Full||Yamamoto #39 Cell Neoprene|
|ROKA Maverick Comp II (Best Buy)||1.5/5 mm||Full||Yamamoto #39 Cell Neoprene|
|ORCA S7 Wetsuit||1.5/5 mm||Full||Yamamoto #39 Cell Neoprene|
|Zoot Wave 1||1.5/5 mm||Full||Yamamoto #39 Cell Neoprene|
|TYR Hurricane Wetsuit CAT 1||1.5/5 mm||Full||Yamamoto #39 Cell Neoprene|
|XTERRA Men's Volt||1/3 mm||Sleeveless||Yamamoto Limestone Neoprene|
|Blueseventy Women's Helix (Editor’s Choice)||1/5 mm||Full||Yamamoto #40 Cell Neoprene|
|Synergy Endorphin Women's (Best Budget Choice)||2/5 mm||Full||Yamamoto #39 & #40 Cell Neoprene|
|Zoot Women's Wahine 1||2/5 mm||Sleeveless||Yamamoto #38|
|Orca Core Swim-Run||1.5/3 mm||Shorty||Yamamoto #39 Cell Neoprene|
|Orca Women's RS1 Swim-Run||1.5/9 mm||Shorty||Yamamoto #39|
|ROKA Viper Pro||1 mm||Swimskin (Speedsuit)||Stretch-woven textiles|
|TYR Sport Mens Torque Pro Swimskin||1 mm||Swimskin (Speedsuit)||Polyester/Spandex|
Best Performance Triathlon Wetsuits
1. ROKA Maverick Pro II Wetsuit
ROKA uses the best neoprene in the market called Yamamoto, which is limestone based. This type of neoprene has more stretch, retains its original shape easily, and has the optimal insulation to weight ration.
ROKA uses different types of Yamamoto neoprene throughout the suit so you have the best core-temperature and comfort along with speed in the water.
The other features of the wetsuit include:
- Quick release ankle panels: ROKA uses 2mm neoprene around the ankles which makes it easier for you to slip out of your wetsuit in T1.
- Super Composite Skin (SCS): Super Composite Skin is a Hydrophobic Nano Coating which reduces drag in the water and helps keep the suit durable for seasons to come.
- Independent Neck Suspension: The neck panel doesn’t have any seams so you can have natural movement of your neck during the swim. Without seams, you also reduce chafing.
- Flexible Liner Materials: Little known fact, ROKA makes their suits from the inside out. This means that the suit will work with your natural swim movement. You can expect the suit to stretch and support you for a comfortable swim. The liners also have a low absorption rate.
- Graduated Buoyancy Profile: ROKA moves the extra buoyancy, found in the chest area in other brands, to the legs, where you most need it. This puts you in a nearly perfect horizontal position in the water since your legs won’t sink.
- RS2 Centerline Buoyancy: ROKA’s patented Centerline Buoyancy concentrates all its buoyant material in the center of its suits. This means you’ll have more body rotation in the water.
- Arms Up Construction: Arms Up Construction is another patented ROKA feature. ROKA designed its suit while the model’s arms were above the head instead of at the sides. This means you’ll have more arm movement during the swim.
The wetsuit performs up to its hype. Many triathletes, even the ones who are good swimmers, say that the wetsuit actually helps them in the water. They say that the wetsuit is working with them and helps them complete the swim faster.
The new ankle design makes transition easier since the material is less thick than other places. With the right practice, you’ll be able to slip out of the suit when you’re in T1.
If you can look past the cost of the wetsuit, I’d highly recommend this wetsuit to serious triathletes. The benefits of this suit far outweigh the financial cost of it. ROKA did its job and created a wetsuit based on its past models and what triathletes need. If your wetsuit can save you a few seconds in T1, it’s worth it especially if you’re competing at a high level. A few seconds can be the difference between performing your best and breaking your personal record.
2. Zone3 Vanquish
Though it may not necessarily sit at the head of the class, Zone3 is no slouch when it comes to triathlon wetsuits. In fact, this brand is just as highly regarded as many of the other top brands, and this is likely in part due to the value that it provides. Specifically, Zone3 is fairly good about offering its consumers top-tier features at mid-tier products. As such, we ranked the Zone3 Vanquish our best all-around value men’s triathlon wetsuit.
Whereas some wetsuits make it a point to try and cover all bases and doing everything equally well-which is a fool’s errand-the Zone3 Vanquish knows exactly what it is about: speed. To this end, the Zone3 Vanquish has added numerous features all designed to help increase your speed. For instance, the Pro Speed Cuffs at the openings of your arms and legs allow for a rapid transition from legs of the race. It also provides a Cool Spot catch panel, so you can get the most out of every stroke.
Speaking of panels, this wetsuit has a fair number of impressive ones as well. For instance, this is one of the few wetsuits that we saw which features a single shoulder panel. This is important because it provides the wearer a more stable fit as well as a greater range of motion considering it does not have seams. This wetsuit also comes with two chest panels that each do something slightly different. First, the 5mm aerodome roll bar increases your buoyancy allowing you to maintain a proper swim posture. Then the 3mm chest panel increases flexibility to take deeper breaths and expand your chest.
3. ORCA Alpha Wetsuit
ORCA created its Alpha wetsuit specifically for those triathletes, who come from a swimming background. To start, the wetsuit has a reverse zipper system that doesn’t interfere with your stroke. This means you can concentrate on swimming and let the wetsuit take care of the rest.
Yamamoto is one of the main materials of the wetsuit, which makes it the most stretchable wetsuit available.
ORCA developed it 0.88 Free technology with Yamamoto to create one of the thinnest wetsuits. Even though the wetsuit might be the thinnest on the market, it still keeps you warm with its Titanium layer.
ORCA uses Yamamoto 44 with a 1.5mm thickness on its suit, which gives the suit its stretchiness and makes room for a smaller zipper system. A smaller zipper system gives your body more movement and improves the waterproofness.
To give you more speed, ORCA uses Nano Super Composite Skin (SCS) so the wetsuit won’t rub your skin while you swim. The legs are designed with Hydrolite Leg panels which let you have the full range of your legs during the swim. The FT1 technology is made of ribbed neoprene which helps your legs slide out of the wetsuit.
The new zipper system is reversed and is smaller. This feature prevents your wetsuit from opening. And, a smaller zipper doesn’t restrict your movement.
Finally, the buoyancy of ORCA’s Alpha wetsuit helps keep you in the best swimming position without compromising your technique.
Overall, I’d recommend this wetsuit to veteran triathletes and those who need a lot of flexibility in their wetsuits. The wetsuit also has new buoyancy compared to its earlier models, which may help you in the swim.
If you’re already a strong swimmer, this suit would allow you to have the most natural stroke in the water as if you weren’t wearing a wetsuit. You’ll still get all the support and thermal insulation from this suit as you would from a thicker suit.
4. De Soto T1 Wetsuit
De Soto created its T1 wetsuit as a two-piece instead of a one-piece wetsuit like other companies. A two-piece wetsuit helps you transition faster and makes shoulder fatigue and “torso-rubber stretch” disappear.
De Soto sells the top and bottoms separately so you’ll be sure to find the right fit no matter what.
The design team created the wetsuit so that it won’t limit your stroke with its lightweight zipper. This custom-made zipper is more flexible and makes it easy to transition to the bike.
Wetsuit Top Features
- The top is lined with 4-way stretch Nylon Lycra to reduce rubbing and chafing.
- 2mm neoprene for the body and arm part of the top.
- Lower neckline for a more comfortable swim.
- Patented BIO STROKE to put your arms in the optimal swimming position for a more efficient swim.
- YKK zipper that is small and lightweight to make T1 easier than before.
Wetsuit Bottom Features
- The wetsuit bottoms have enough buoyancy to float your hips without compromising your natural hip rotation and stroke.
- The bottoms main material is 5mm Green Goma #8 Rubber with Super Composite Skin to help keep you buoyant and speedy in the water.
- De Soto glues its seam and blind stitches them to make the bottoms more durable than the rubber it’s made with.
- The bottoms are cut about shin high to get the bottoms on and half more easily.
- Drawstring to get the right fit.
De Soto’s two-piece wetsuit performs just as well if not better than a “traditional” one-piece. Since the top and bottoms are separate, you’re almost guaranteed to find the right fit between the two of them.
Since your shoulders aren’t connected to your crotch like a one-piece wetsuit, you have more movement in your arms. And, you won’t have to worry if your torso is too long or short like you would for a one-piece wetsuit.
The top has a flexible zipper that is by far smaller and more lightweight than what you’ll find on a one-piece suit. It won’t bother your skin and you can easily get your wetsuit top off.
The bottoms have the perfect amount of buoyancy to help keep your body in a horizontal position. And, they even let you have your natural hip rotation during swimming.
I recommend this wetsuit if you consider yourself “odd shaped” and have a hard time finding the right fit in a one-piece wetsuit. Even if you have no problems fitting into a one-piece suit, you might like this wetsuit you struggle getting in and out of wetsuits.
Try it out, it might help you transition faster and fit your body better than any one-piece could.
5. TYR Hurricane Freak Nature
Of all the brands on our list, none of them are as well-respected, well-represented, or storied as TYR. With a history that stretches back over 4 decades, the brand originated from an attempt to improve on early Olympic wetsuits. The results have been fairly impressive, though it definitely means that the TYR company is not specialized in triathlon wetsuits. That is part of what makes it so surprising that it has captured our editor’s choice-and did so fairly easily.
When it comes to the swimming leg of a triathlon, there are few things a wetsuit can provide that are better than increasing your speed. Thankfully, the TYR Hurricane provides plenty of features just so you can shave minutes off of your personal best time. For one, this wetsuit has arguably the best catch panels as the V-GCP forearm panels drastically increase your stroke distance. Finally, this wetsuit comes with special speed wrap paneling at the legs, chest, and core. It is the speed wrap panels that are in large part responsible for the incredibly low drag of the Finally, this wetsuit comes with special speed wrap paneling at the legs, chest, and core. This wetsuit is also coated in super composite skin that allows it to have a ridiculously low drag coefficient of only 0.026.
Beyond the speed factor, another primary aspect that determines a great wetsuit is what kinds of panels it provides. For instance, the TYR Hurricane is one of the only wetsuits we saw that came with the range of motion panels. Whereas most wetsuits constrict around the shoulder, the TYR Hurricane is able to offer a greater range of motion with special shoulder panels. Continuing on, the TYR Hurricane also offers some of the best buoyancy we saw and accomplishes this by providing aerodome panels in 360-degrees around the wetsuit to help you maintain a proper swimming position.
6. Blueseventy Thermal Reaction – Best Triathlon Wetsuit for Cold Water
For those close to the sport, it might actually seem a bit odd that we would include the Blueseventy Thermal Reaction wetsuit on our list of the best men’s wetsuits considering the company makes it a particular point to focus on providing women wetsuits that meet their specific needs. Of course, Blueseventy is an all-around great brand, so it should not come as that much of a surprise.
Though there are actually a fair number of products that we saw and reviewed which are made to be worn during triathlons in warmer weather, this is arguably one of the best wetsuits you could buy for the opposite situation. This is because the Blueseventy Thermal comes with a number of features that increase its ability to insulate you. For instance, the Blueseventy Thermal has a thickness of 5/4 which makes it one of the thickest wetsuits we reviewed. On top of that, it has a zirconium thermal liner to further keep in your body heat.
When it comes to the Blueseventy Thermal Reaction, this wetsuit follows the trend of the other product the company makes with excellent and intuitive design features. For example, this is one of the handful of wetsuits we reviewed which comes with aqua-seal cuffs that will prevent water from getting in but also allow you to easily remove the suit when you finish. It also provides ribbed knee panels for a smoother kicking motion and quick-exit leg openings for even faster removal.
Best Value for Money Triathlon Wetsuits
1. BlueSeventy Fusion Wetsuit
BlueSeventy Fusion updated its 2018 Fusion model for better comfort and arm reach in the water. The new Fusion model has more buoyancy than its predecessor to help prevent your legs from sinking. The new suit helps you glide through the water with Super Composite Skin (SCS) coating.
You can expect the suit to fit the same and perform similarly to its older models.
However, before you decide to keep your old model, consider these pivotal features on the new one:
- 1.5mm neoprene on the upper chest and shoulder area of the wetsuit to give your arms more flexibility and comfort.
- The design team created the whole wetsuit with high-end Yamamoto neoprene for the most movement and comfort. To finish the wetsuit, the design team coated it with Super Composite Skin (SCS) to improve durability and speed in the water.
- Different neoprene thicknesses (3mm chest panels and 5mm core) help keep your body in a horizontal position.
- Blue Seventy’s Quick Exit Legs feature thin leg panels to help you transition faster.
- The legs have taped seams so you can cut the legs to a different length.
- The neckline is lower and thinner than other models which make swimming more comfortable and reduces chafing.
- The side panels are thin and help your hips rotate during the swim.
- The arms have Blue Seventy’s Aqua-Seal Cuffs, which keeps the water out of your suit. And, it helps you take off your wetsuit.
The wetsuit should feel very snug on land and once you get in the water, it loosens up. If it’s a good fit, you might need someone to help you zip-up the suit.
In the water, you should feel like your stroke is nearly effortless. The suit puts you in a nearly perfect position so you can focus on your hip rotation and arm movement.
The wetsuit’s reverse zipper makes it easier when you emerge from the water. Just reach back for the cord and pull up!
I recommend this model to anyone who needs more help with their leg position in the water. Even if the training doesn’t help you in time for a race, the wetsuit will make up for it. The different neoprene thickness gives you support and flexibility where you need it the most.
The suit’s taped internal seams help the wetsuit fit any body length since you can easily cut off what you don’t need. And, if you’re trying to be quicker in T1 the quick-exit legs technology makes it easier to get on the bike faster.
2. Zoot Wave 3 Wetsuit
The Zoot design team created its wetsuit to work with your body’s natural swim so that you can glide through the water. The suit’s buoyancy keeps your legs afloat without putting your body in an unbalanced position.
On top of helping you keep an optimal body position and technique, the wetsuit was created with wrist and ankle cut off patterns to ensure an easy transition to the bike.
The Zoot team really tried to create the best connection between your body and the water with its improved technology.
The Wave 3 Wetsuit has these features and special tech specs:
- AEROdome neoprene is placed in strategic spots on the wetsuit to keep the body high on the water with the best swimming position.
- The wetsuit is finished with a hydrodynamic coating called Super Composite Skin, which helps the suit to flow more efficiently through the water.
- AQUAlift buoyancy panels are placed in the lower abdomen and back to help raise your legs and put you in a more horizontal position in the water.
- Optimal Kick Design is Zoot’s special leg patterning that works with your legs’ natural curve and muscles. This helps increase efficiency, speed, and kick velocity. The pattern also prevents your legs from becoming tired during the swim.
- FLEXback has 100% broken knit Nylon in its design. This material is patterned throughout the back and shoulders. This gives your back, shoulder, and arms more flexibility during the swim. The inside of this pattern is made with BGX in a broken knit structure lining to give you the most movement.
- PROarm proprioception panel, made with ultra-thin hydrophobic stretch fabric to give you “stroke feedback” and helps correct your stroke while you practice in open water.
- DORSALflex zipper
The wetsuit should help your legs become stronger and more efficient with its special design and extra buoyancy to keep your legs from sinking. It should feel nearly effortless having a “perfect” stroke if you struggle with the swim.
If you have a good stroke, this wetsuit will enhance it even more and help you glide in the water. The extra buoyancy will help you from getting tired during a long swim practice or race.
I’d recommend this suit if you’re regularly competing or training in temperate to warm waters. The suit will work wonders and help you become a better swimmer and get through T1 faster.
However, because some of the material is thinner and made from swimsuit material, it lets in more water. This is the compromise when you buy a mid-level suit that is easy to get off. You’ll have to decide if this will bother you on the swim.
If you like the company, even though the wetsuit lets water seep in, you might need a smaller size, or upgrade to a different wetsuit or change brands.
3. Zone 3 Aspire Wetsuit
Overall, Zone 3 made its new wetsuit with more flexibility, buoyancy, and even better comfort than before.
If you were a fan of the Zone 3 and want to upgrade to a mid-level wetsuit, it might be worth budgeting for.
The special features of the suit include:
- Top-of-the-line Super Composite Skin Yamamoto fabrics to give you the best flexibility throughout the entire wetsuit.
- Aqua dynamic Super Composite Skin Nano finish coating on the wetsuit reduces drag in the water.
- Buoyant materials are limestone based rather than oil based which makes you stay on top of the water.
- High water retention to help keep you warm in even the coldest temperatures you may train and race in.
Many people who have bought and liked this wetsuit have praised it for being flexible in the arm and shoulder area. And, that even though the wetsuit is more buoyant than other mid-level suits, it doesn’t inhibit movement and is still easy to take on and off.
I’d recommend this wetsuit if you’re looking to upgrade from your entry-level wetsuit to mid-level. You’ll get your money’s worth with all the added features your hold suit did not have. If you’re still working on your swim stroke, this wetsuit might help you get through the swim faster and even make you a better swimmer.
4. XTERRA Vortex Wetsuit
The wetsuit is an all-around reliable suit you can use for training, racing, or just practicing your transitions. Made with more durable neoprene, the suit offers great speed, buoyancy and flexible movement in the water. And, it feels snug and comfortable to wear.
The wetsuit’s biggest features are its buoyancy and flexibility and durability.
XTERRA designed this wetsuit with a limestone based neoprene to maximize its thickness. The suit has 3mm of limestone on the back to give you more flexibility and 5mm on the front to keep you afloat.
The wetsuit has the least amount of neoprene (1.5mm) in the shoulder and arm area so you can swim naturally in the water.
Finally, XTERRA lined the inside of the suit with its X-FLEX LINER to help your T1 transition go smoother and faster.
Flexibility and Durability Feature
XTERRA made its wetsuit using only one type of neoprene to increase the lifespan of your wetsuit. You can rely on this wetsuit to get you through your first few seasons or more before you decide to upgrade.
XTERRA promises its flexibility and durability with its X-Max seal technology to make sure that the wetsuit retains its shape even after your thousandth swim. To ensure your wetsuit lasts for years the design team double stitches and triple glues its waterproof seams.
Triathletes who have used this wetsuit all rave that it really helps them in the water. It does enough to help them from sinking. And, the different neoprene thicknesses don’t interfere with the arm, hip, or back movement.
The legs are able to stay near the surface with little effort. And, kicking is easy since the wetsuit helps you propel farther.
I highly recommend this wetsuit if you’re looking for a higher-end mid-level wetsuit for your next triathlon season. It has high-quality materials and is constructed nicely and has a great price.
Since the suit is made with only one type of neoprene, the whole suit will last a long time. Instead of one part wearing out faster since it was made with a different quality of neoprene.
Although it might not have many features, this is a strong, “base” wetsuit to help you as you start to navigate and learn the ins and outs of the sport.
Best Triathlon Wetsuits for Beginners
1. ROKA Maverick Comp II Wetsuit
ROKA designed its entry-level suits so that it helps you become more comfortable in the water. This suit also gives you high-quality wetsuit technology and performance without breaking your budget.
The wetsuit has these features:
- Arms Up Construction: ROKA designs all its wetsuits with the model’s arms above their head to simulate swimmer’s position. This helps the designers create a suit with more arm movement than other brands.
- Centerline Buoyancy: ROKA’s patented buoyancy pattern helps you stay in the best swimming position the entire time you’re in the water. They place their buoyant material in the center of the body. This helps you have a natural hip rotation.
- Quick Release Panels: This added feature is especially beginner friendly! The openings at the ankles and wrists only have 2mm of neoprene to make transitioning to the bike easier.
The wetsuit should help you swim faster in the water with its high-end technology. What makes an entry level suit, is the price and some limited technologies.
For ROKA’s higher-end wetsuits, different types of neoprene are used throughout the wetsuit and are strategically placed.
In this one, it’s mainly designed with one durable neoprene to help get your feet wet in triathlons.
While this ROKA suit has nearly all the technologies as its higher-end wetsuit, I wouldn’t recommend it for entry-level triathletes. While you are getting the same ROKA technologies for a cheaper price, it might make more sense to just buy a higher-end wetsuit when you’re a few years into the sport. There isn’t a big difference between a higher-end and entry-level suit from ROKA. It’s unclear how this wetsuit will help you become a better swimmer.
2. ORCA s7 Wetsuit
ORCA made its s7 wetsuit for beginners. To help new triathletes, it added more buoyancy to this wetsuit so they can swim in the proper position. However, the buoyancy doesn’t sacrifice the triathlete’s swim stroke.
When you order an ORCA wetsuit, even an entry-level one, you still get some features of a high-end one.
This entry level suit has these high-end features:
- Super Composite Skin (SCS), found on most high-end wetsuits, coats this entry level one. It helps repel water and lets you glide through it
- The neck lining is made with non-chafing materials
- The suit has 2mm Yamamoto panels on the arms, shoulders, and forearms to allow for the most arm movement
You can expect this wetsuit to perform just as a higher-end one would: it helps keep you in a horizontal position, glide through the water, and of course warm in colder waters.
What makes this an entry-level wetsuit is the extra buoyant materials. This might be helpful if you really struggle to keep yourself in a horizontal position. You can complete the swim without completely tiring yourself out from not only swimming but dodging other people and objects in the water.
I recommend this product to beginner triathletes. It gives you the most for your money and with the added buoyancy, you can learn to swim better. Most veteran triathletes say if you practice with this suit, you’ll learn the feel of a proper swim position.
3. ZOOT Wave 1 Wetsuit
The wetsuit has GLIDEflex grooved panels to help you breathe easily during the swim. This might be helpful if you often start to panic in open water swims. You can be assured that the wetsuit won’t feel restrictive even when you begin to feel nervous or anxious.
ZOOT even gives its entry-level wetsuit a super composite finishing coat to help you glide through the water and repel any water that might cause drag.
This entry-level suit has extra buoyancy to its already buoyant AQUAlift technology for those who really struggle with the swim.
In a race, you should feel like your swim stroke, especially in your legs, has improved and that you’re going fast in the water. You can focus on moving your arms efficiently and save your leg muscles for the swim and run.
I recommend this wetsuit to any beginner triathlete who needs more swim practice. You can be sure that the wetsuit will put you in the correct swimming position so you won’t struggle through the first third of the triathlon.
Even if you’re a good swimmer, but panic in open water, this suit might be good for you. You won’t feel restricted in the chest area and can calm yourself down before the race.
4. TYR Hurricane CAT 1 Wetsuit
You can be sure that even if you buy the suit for your first season, it will last for years and even after you’ve upgraded. It’s made of the most durable materials and with slick skin neoprene, it will be comfortable to wear and swim in.
The TYR design team created this suit with speed wrap paneling to in the legs, chest, and abdomen so it’s super tight but comfortable on your skin.
To make transitions easier for newbies, the wetsuit has quick release ankle cuffs to help you get on the bike even faster.
Its final feature worth mentioning is its form-fitting wrist cuffs. These are designed to support your arm stroke and prevent water from seeping into your wetsuit.
I highly recommend this wetsuit to beginner triathletes who need a dependable suit to help get them through the first few triathlons seasons. Other entry-level brands might not last as long as TYR so you can even keep it after you upgrade as a back-up suit. Or, one to give to a new triathlete.
5. XTERRA Volt Wetsuit
XTERRA is certainly not the most popular or well-known brand on our list, but they are respected-even though they are also one of the youngest companies that we reviewed. This is in a large part due to the fact that the company specializes in niche bodysuits for various endurance based competitions. On top of that, they make it a point to keep up technologically without driving up the cost.
One thing that triathletes must constantly contend with in the swim leg of the race is whether they want the wetsuit to provide a greater range of motion or provide a tighter fit. For the XTERRA Volt, the company sought to provide a better range of motion-though they did not have to unduly sacrifice the fit. With a sleeveless design and a low-profile collar, this wetsuit provides the greatest unrestricted range of motion in the men’s category. Even better, this wetsuit uses GBS seams to keep everything in place.
One of the notable differences between the XTERRA Volt and many of the other wetsuits we reviewed is the panel construction. Specifically, the XTERRA Volt does not feature nearly the same level of panel customization as many of the other products we saw. That said, the XTERRA Volt does offer numerous layers to provide similar results. For instance, the X-SLICE coating acts much like a super composite skin would allowing the water to roll off of the XTERRA Volt. On top of that, the X-FLEX liner works to both prevent chafing and keep a tight fit.
Best Women’s Triathlon Wetsuit in 2019
1. Blueseventy Women’s Helix – Best Women’s Wetsuit for Triathlon
While technically Blueseventy makes products for both genders, it makes a particular point to cater to female consumers. In fact, they have even developed their own Femme Fit designs to ensure that women will feel comfortable in their wetsuits. While that is great enough already, it almost feels a little like overkill when the Blueseventy Helix provides easily the best performing triathlon wetsuit for women that we reviewed. That said, you will definitely have to pay for what you get.
Though panels are a continued theme on this list, the Blueseventy Helix goes above and beyond, making sure to provide specialized panels for virtually every part of the wetsuit. For instance, this wetsuit comes with Yamamoto aerodome panels to increase your buoyancy and make sure that your swimming form remains proper for faster speed and to conserve energy. Keeping in line with the company’s philosophy, the Blueseventy Helix also comes with body-fit panels to make sure that the wetsuit is comfortable.
This triathlon wetsuit has a 1 mm arm, so it’s really flexible. And then it has 5 mm from neck to knee. It has your chest expansion panel.
The Blueseventy Helix provides a number of features to increase your speed both in and out of the water. For instance, this wetsuit comes with quick-exit legs that allow you slip out of the wetsuit quickly and easily. On top of that, the arms have aqua-feel catch panels that increase your stroke speed and provide a better feel for the water. And of course, the Blueseventy Helix comes with super composite skin to repel the water away from you. Finally, this wetsuit features ribbed knees panels to improve flexibility and eliminate bunching.
This is the very speed, and when you put this on it feels like the perfect second skin.
2. Synergy Endorphin Women’s – Best Triathlon Wetsuit for Beginners
Not every woman has over $500 to spend on a triathlon wetsuit-especially if she is just beginning or simply training. That is where the Synergy Endorphin comes in handy since it is the lowest costing women’s triathlon wetsuit that we found. On top of that, this brand was actually in part started by a triathlete who wanted a custom wetsuit that would satisfy her particular needs. On top of that, the brand as a whole focuses almost exclusively on triathlon equipment.
When it comes to seams, few wetsuits-regardless type, style or brand-will truly be able to compete with the Synergy Endorphin when it comes to the quality and durability of the wetsuit’s seams. In fairness, this is largely because few wetsuits include as many types of seams in a single product. For instance, the seams are initially triple-stitched which makes this one of the few wetsuits to do so. On top of that, the seams are then chemically bonded and are reinforced with tape at pivotal junctures. Even the zipper is hidden within the seams to help reduce drag.
Once again, the various types of panels on a wetsuit are impressive. For starters, this wetsuit comes with both Yamamoto #39 and #40 neoprene. At the sides of the wetsuit, the Synergy Endorphin features AquaLift panels to help increase your buoyancy and keep your swimming form in the proper alignment. The HiFlex panels of the arms and legs allow for more flexibility on an already incredibly flexible wetsuit with a flexibility rating of 680 percent. Finally, the PowerMax forearm panels serve as excellent catch panels.
3. Zoot Women’s Wahine 1 – Best Women’s Sleeveless Triathlon Wetsuit
Of all the companies on our list, few have the pedigree and storied history of Zoot-though it is not necessarily the most popular brand. Instead, this company was founded over 3 decades ago in Kona, Hawaii-the home of the original Ironman Triathlon World Championships. As a company founded by a woman, this brand pays special attention to a woman’s needs and ensures the fit is better than most.
While the Zoot Wahine 1 has a wide variety of different panel types for different purposes-like most of the more reputable wetsuits-it also features panels that do not necessarily enhance your performance during the race but instead are meant to provide a more comfortable and secure fit. Specifically, this is one of the few wetsuits we reviewed which actually includes panels that are ergonomically designed to allow the Zoot Wahine 1 to fit a woman the way it should without overly compressing the chest. That said, it also features AQUAlift panels to increase your buoyancy, so you will consistently remain at the proper level.
Another aspect of the Zoot Wahine 1 that is great is the various features added to increase your swimming speed. For instance, this wetsuit comes with GLIDEflex panels that are intended to increase your hydrodynamics. When you couple this with the super composite skin coating, you have a great combination. Of course, the Zoot Wahine 1 is not yet finished as it also provides optimal kick design legs that allow you to get more out of each kick as well as keep them in their proper position while kicking.
Best Shorty Wetsuits for Swimrun
1. Orca Core Swim-Run
Orca is a fairly well-respected brand on our list and also has the advantage of specializing in triathlon equipment, so you can trust that the brand knows what it is doing. This also provides Orca the luxury of appealing to a wide variety of consumers by providing more styles of wetsuits. In this instance, Orca made it a point to provide a shorty wetsuit for those racers who prefer to have some freedom with their arms and legs.
Though ORca is ostensibly a brand built on the premise of providing the best triathlon equipment available, they still dabble in similar and related sporting equipment as well. In this case, the Orca Core is actually a swim-run wetsuit. This provides some benefits, but one of the more interesting features in that it has a built-in whistle. While this is a requirement for swim-run competitions, it actually still serves as an excellent safety device for triathletes-especially those who are new to the sport.
Aside from being both a swim-run wetsuit and a shorty style wetsuit, the Orca Core also comes with a couple other features that distinguish it in the design department when compared to its competitors. For instance, this wetsuit comes with a side, outer pocket. This allows you to carry your GPS or other gear with you inside your suit rather than trailing behind and increasing your drag. As a bonus, the short sleeves of the Orca Core can be removed altogether if you like and further increase this wetsuit’s range of motion.
2. Orca RS1 Swim-Run
Orca is another brand on our list that may not necessarily have quite as storied a history as some of the other companies on our list, but they have still consistently put out excellent quality wetsuits. In fact, this brand specializes explicitly in wetsuits and other gear for triathlons rather than simply being a swimming gear company. As such, it should come as little surprise that this topped our list as the best women’s all-around value triathlon wetsuit.
One of the best qualities about this wetsuit is various features that Orca included in order to ensure that you have the lowest drag possible. One of the features is actually fairly common but is part of a larger whole that ultimately allows this wetsuit to reduce drag more than most. First, the super composite skin found on many wetsuits ensures that the drag coefficient is incredibly low. On top of that, the HydroLite panels provide additional hydrophobic qualities, improving your hydrodynamics.
Unlike the standard wetsuits, the Orca RS1 is actually a Swim-Run suit which technically requires different qualities. As such, one of the biggest differences between this wetsuit and its competitors is the material. Rather than the various types of neoprene used for a traditional wetsuit, the Orca RS1 is made of nylon and lycra. This allows the Orca to remain lighter weight than most of its competitors while still providing a tight fit that is both durable and flexible. This is further reinforced by the inclusion of anti-abrasion DuraSkin on the rear of the suit.
Best Swimskins (Swim Speedsuits)
Further Reading: Triathlon Swimskins -- Buyer’s Guide
1. ROKA Viper Pro Swimskin – Best Performance Speedsuit
ROKA might be one of the more recent companies that we reviewed and it definitely had inauspicious origins, but it is still one of the best triathlon wetsuit manufacturers that we saw. It is also worth noting that this brand has been worn by world title-winning competitors and was featured in the 2016 Olympics. This specific wetsuit is the best swimskin that we saw.
The point of this particular wetsuit is not to compete with other traditional wetsuits but to instead fill a niche that they simply cannot. Specifically, this wetsuit was designed to be worn by triathletes who are competing in a race that features warmer water. Aside from the fact that this wetsuit does not feature the insulation of a traditional wetsuit, it also has a sleeveless design. On top of the sleeveless design, this wetsuit is not made out of neoprene or spandex like most of its competitors. Instead, this wetsuit features Italian woven fabrics that provide the perfect balance of compression and flexibility.
It is actually a bit surprising to find, but the ROKA has arguably the most durable seams out of any product that we reviewed this is especially surprising how reasonably priced it is. First, this wetsuit actually features two different types of seams to ensure that they are extra durable. First, this wetsuit uses blind stitches to provide a sleek design that helps reduce drag. Then the seams are bonded to make sure that they do not come undone. The leg exits are also bonded to prevent over-compression.
2. TYR Sport Torque Pro Swimskin
The spectacular wetsuit company TYR makes another appearance on our list and sweeps the competition by not only providing the best performing men’s triathlon wetsuit that we saw but by also doing the same in a separate category and taking the best men’s swimskin triathlon wetsuit as well. Even better, this wetsuit is able to replicate a fair number of a traditional wetsuit’s qualities.
When it comes to swimskins, there are a number of qualities that differentiate it from traditional wetsuits, but one of the ultimate goals is to provide a faster swim speed-faster than even your standard wetsuits provide. Thankfully, the TYR Torque Pro accomplishes this task with flying colors and the TYR company once again provides impressive results. In terms of water absorption, the TYR Torque Pro boasts a great 0.5% absorption rate. In terms of drag, it has a 0.021 drag coefficient which is one of the lowest we saw.
Beyond the actual specs of the TYR Torque Pro, this wetsuit also comes with a solid build design. First, it is sleeveless providing a better range of motion than some of the other wetsuits we reviewed. On top of that, this wetsuit will provide excellent hydrophobic qualities as it is made of polyester and lycra and also features a super composite skin coating. This wetsuit is also incredibly durable as it features welded seams which also help reduce your drag. Finally, the coil zipper keeps a tight closure that is also easy to undo.
Triathlon Wetsuit – Buyer’s Guide
This is one of the most important qualities of a triathlon wetsuit and will ultimately impact virtually all of the meaningful aspect of your triathlon wetsuit. However, there are plenty of different materials used in triathlon wetsuits and they are often used at different points or for different layers of the wetsuit. When judging these materials, there are generally 2 primary factors which you need to consider as well as a couple lesser ones. The major factors that you need to choose from are insulation and flexibility. That said, this usually becomes an either/or situation where the more insulated a wetsuit is, the less flexible it is and vice versa.
Laminated Neoprene -- Laminated neoprene is one of the more common and popular types of neoprene used for triathlon wetsuits. To be fair, a great deal of its commonality and popularity has to do with its price which is the lowest price out of all the different types of neoprene. That said, this is not a poor quality of material by any stretch of the imagination. This type of neoprene is actually made of the standard neoprene rubber foam which is then layered with either polyester or nylon. These layered fibers are then laminated onto the wetsuit. This provides the laminated neoprene wetsuit an additional level of durability and insulation but it does reduce the flexibility.
Insulated Neoprene -- Despite its name, this type of neoprene is not actually thicker or less flexible than laminated neoprene. In fact, this is one of the stretchier types of neoprene available. That is arguably one of its biggest selling points, but though the name may not be absolutely inferential, it is still quite intuitive. This is because insulated neoprene has is essentially made up of numerous panels. Within these panels are pockets of air that look a lot like bubbles from the surface. This air will then absorb your body heat and provide yet another layer of insulation. It should be noted that insulated neoprene is a fairly expensive type of neoprene, though it is not the most expensive. Regardless, this type of neoprene is arguably the best all-around as it is both incredibly stretchy and insulating.
“Skin” Neoprene -- This type of neoprene actual takes a completely different approach than either of the other types of neoprene. Essentially, instead of worrying about either insulation or flexibility, this type of neoprene is all about allowing you to swim faster in the water. This is because skin or glide neoprene is hydrophobic meaning it repels water. This feature is accomplished by taking laminated neoprene and simply not laminating the outer side of the wetsuit. Instead, the outer side of the wetsuit is coated with various types of materials depending on the manufacturer that prevents water absorption. This type of neoprene is more flexible than laminated neoprene-largely due to the absence of the second layer of lamination-but it is less flexible than insulated neoprene.
Lycra -- Lycra, or Spandex, is another material that is commonly used for wetsuits, though it has recently begun to lose favor with manufacturers who are switching over to neoprene instead. Still, lycra is actually a solid material for wetsuits-though there is also definitely a reason that manufacturers have begun switching over. For one, lycra is famously stretchy which provides ample range of motion for a swimmer. Because of this, wetsuits made of lycra can actually be smaller than the wearer and it will stretch around them. This allows lycra to provide the tightest fit out of any of the materials that we have examined. On top of that, lycra is less expensive than every kind of neoprene-though it offers poor insulation.
Polyester -- Polyester is not a material that is used for the primary layers of a wetsuit. Instead, this material is generally layered on top of or woven into a second material-generally a neoprene or lycra. Regardless, polyester still serves a number of important functions for wetsuits. For one, this is the most common material used for laminated wetsuits and is responsible for reinforcing the wetsuit’s durability. Part of the reason polyester is used for this purpose is that it is naturally water-resistant-though that will only last a short while once you begin swimming. Polyester is also often used as an inner layer to provide additional insulation as well as making it easier to put on the wetsuit.
Nylon -- Similar to polyester, nylon is another material that is not used as the primary material of a wetsuit. Instead, nylon actually ends up serving nearly the same function as polyester. That said, when a manufacturer chooses nylon over polyester, they generally do so to enhance specific qualities. This is because despite being somewhat similar, nylon and polyester actually have fairly different properties. For instance, nylon is actually stronger than polyester at comparable rating levels. Unfortunately, nylon does not provide the same level of water resistance not does it offer superior insulation to polyester. As such, nylon is used for an inner lining more than it is for an outer layer lamination.
Aside from the materials used in the construction of a triathlon wetsuit, the next most important quality is likely the seams. Though the material will determine the overall durability and flexibility of the wetsuit, the type of seams used will also play nearly as important a role for those functions as well. That said, the seams perform another function that is just as important and highly elevates this quality. Specifically, the seams are largely responsible for determining how watertight the wetsuit is. While you will, of course, use water as a lubricant and insulator, you want to keep the water that is outside of the suit outside of the suit.
Flatlock -- This is generally seen as one of the lower grades of triathlon wetsuit seam types. This is because a flatlock seam is made fairly similarly to seams used for other types of clothing. While this works out fine for most types of clothing, it has a tendency to work against a wetsuit’s specific setting. To wit, this type of seam is made by layering the ends of the neoprene panels and stitching them together. Because the stitching process inherently creates a multitude of tiny holes, flatlock seams are not nearly as watertight as many of the other kinds. As such, this type of seam is best reserved for wetsuits that will be used in waters where the temperature exceeds 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Glued and Blind Stitched -- Glued and blind stitched seams, or GBS seams, are some of the most watertight seams that a wetsuit can have. Though, this should not actually be too terribly surprising considering how much effort and reinforcement goes into this type of seam. As the name implies, the first stage of this type of seam involves taking two neoprene panels and gluing them together. Once the glue has set, the blind stitching begins which is where the needle only goes through a single side of the seam. Aside from the fact that this prevents a seam from being seen-hence the “blind” stitched connotation-it also makes this one of the more durable types of seams and greatly increases the water tightness of the glue.
Taped -- Taped seams are not truly like the other types of seams that we are reviewing in that they are not actually their own standalone type of seam. Instead, a taped seam will generally be applied to a flatlock or other type of seam. Also, despite the name, the taped seams do not actually rely on the, generally, modest adhesive on the tape itself. Instead, the tape is glued onto the seams. This provides the seam a great deal more durability. Taped seams can also help increase the water tightness of a wetsuit, though the difference is modest compared to some of the other types of seams available.
Liquid Sealed -- This type of seam will begin the true divergence from the standard type of seams applied to clothing. Instead, a liquid sealed seam will not use a needle at all and rely on synthetic materials to provide one of the most watertight seals that you can get with a wetsuit. Essentially, a liquid sealed seam uses a thin bead of liquid rubber to join 2 different neoprene plates together. This kind of seal, aside from being one of the most watertight available, is also incredibly flexible due to the elastic nature of the liquid rubber-though it is still firm enough to maintain its hold. That said, these seams are not as durable as some of the others.
Welded -- The final type of seams, welded or fused seams are actually fairly similar to a liquid sealed seam except the manufacturing process is a bit different even if the results actually end up pretty similar. For one, this type of seam uses far less rubber than liquid sealed seams. This provides welded seams with a much smaller profile where these seams will generally not be upraised from the neoprene like the liquid sealed seams will be. The result of this type of seam is that it is incredibly watertight while also providing a fair amount of flexibility. Still, much like with liquid sealed seams, a welded seam is unlikely to provide the same kind of durability that traditional seams do.
Though this is a list of the best triathlon wetsuits, it is important to note the distinction between the actual meaning of the term wetsuit and the common use of that term. For most people, the term wetsuit will apply to any high-end bodysuit that is intended to be worn while you are swimming or otherwise engaged in water activities. However, triathlons actually have specific rules determining when a true wetsuit is allowed and when you need a different type of suit. Regardless, every type of water suit serves a fairly similar purpose: allow you to swim faster.
Wetsuit -- This is the type of product you generally think of when you hear the term wetsuit-which makes sense. This type of suit will generally be made of neoprene and feature numerous layers as well as features to provide the wearer with varying degrees of insulation from the water’s chill. These suits are generally a bit thicker than the other type of water suit, but even these water suits come in varying thicknesses to better accommodate different water temperatures. These also generally happen to be the most expensive type of water suit.
Swimskin (Speedsuit) -- The second type of water suit is the swimskin which is actually fairly similar to a traditional wetsuit. The main difference between the 2 types of water suits is that a swimskin is not really designed to provide much, if any insulation, that being the case, it should not altogether be surprising that the swimskin is primarily used in triathlons for races where the water is warmer than 77 degrees Fahrenheit. While a swimskin may not have the insulation of a wetsuit, it should still feature all of the other qualities like body compression, a tight fit, water tightness, and excellent flexibility. It is also worth noting that a swimskin is generally less expensive than a wetsuit-though the highest-end models do not differ too much in terms of cost.
As we can see, there is no single product available that will be the best triathlon wetsuit for all competitors. Aside from the fact that the different triathletes have different personal preferences and areas that they need more assistance with than others, different triathlons may actually require you to use one type of wetsuit over another.
If money is no object and you simply need the best performing wetsuit that you can find we recommend the ROKA Maverick or Zone3 Vanquish for men and the Blueseventy Helix for women. Three of the wetsuits feature a large number of panels that are specially designed for their wearer, and both also provide an excellent drag coefficient to allow for faster, easier swimming.
For those who are going to be competing in warmer waters where triathlons do not allow true wetsuits, we recommend either the ROKA for women or the TYR Torque Pro for men. Aside from the fact that these two wetsuits are reasonably priced, they are not even true wetsuits. Instead, these two products are swimskins which is a rule regulated requirement for triathlons run in warmer waters.
Good luck buying a wetsuit for this triathlon season! Check out the brand’s return policy when buying online. Many, but not all, brands let you try on a suit at home and swim in it before you decide to keep it or not.