The Tri suit is arguably the most important piece of equipment needed to complete a triathlon! It’s the one piece of kit that stays with you throughout the whole race, it acts as a swimsuit, cycle shorts and run kit.
So, what makes a good tri-suit in a competitive market, what should you look for when considering what Tri Suit is right for you?
As the tri suit is designed to be worn in all 3 disciplines, in the swim, on the bike and on the run it needs to work equally for each leg of the race. A triathlon suit is designed to be lightweight, breathable, and quick drying so you can easily and comfortably transition between one leg and the next.
There are many options of brands and styles available on the market today, from cheaper entry level suits to the most technical suits combining the latest fabrics and technology. Which one is right for you? That will depend on your budget, race length and your own personal goals.
Design & Functionality
Lots of kit on the racecourse today can look very similar at first glance, however they can perform very differently.
The design of the suit is super important, the sleeve length, chamois thickness, leg fabric, pockets for storage all play a part in the comfort and functionality of the suit.
Pockets are super handy and these can be on the legs of the suit, at the back and in the case of the new Fusion suit at the front stomach area, a new design that makes the suit streamlined and as aerodynamic as possible for cycling.
Chamois thickness should be just enough for comfort on the bike where bike legs can last 5 hours+ and also low profile enough that you don’t notice it on the run.
The leg fabric is important too, look for fabrics that are quick drying or even better water repellent. The aim is to lock everything in so there is no movement and therefore minimizes the risk of chafing.
Zipper length is a consideration, whether you prefer a full separating zip or a zip that can be half undone. Most tri suits have a front zip so you can unzip somewhat for extra comfort on the run.
Fit & Comfort
All brands are different in sizing so make sure to check the brands size chart and reach out to their customer service if using an online store to check the best sizing option for you. Take measurements, the key ones are height, weight, chest, hips. For us, Fusion offers a tall option in their new Tempo suit which can make fitting of the suit even more comfortable for some, one size doesn’t fit all!
The key is to choose the suit that’s right and comfortable for you. Getting this right can deliver a positive experience on race day, an uncomfortable, poorly fitting suit can impact your race in many ways. It’s often a long day and your suit shouldn’t hold you back on achieving your goals, whether it’s a PB or seeking that elusive World Champs qualification!
A Tri Suit should be comfortable with no irritation, chafing or riding up that distracts you, you should be able to focus completely on your performance.
Fits snugly but not restrictive allowing for free movement, once on make sure you can turn the arms over easily. There should be no rubbing or chafing or restriction of movement.
Do a few squats to make sure it feels comfortable, it should feel snug yet not restrictive.
Speed & Aerodynamics
Technology and fabrics have come along way, the high standard of triathlon suits available today is aiding athletes to set new records, times are getting faster! A well-fitted one-piece Tri Suit will be more aerodynamic than wearing a two piece.
Well known brands producing the best tri suits will invest in the time and technology to test the suits performance and aerodynamics by wind tunnel testing, velodrome track testing and in races during the development stage of the suit. The most aero gains will be on the bike leg so making sure your suit reduces drag and maximizes your performance should be important.
Some Tri Suits are developed and tested with some of the best pro triathletes ensuring the suit is as fast as possible. This process involves testing different fabrics, sleeve lengths, pocket placement and overall suit design.
Fusion’s latest suit Tempo! Tri suit was developed with both Sam Laidlaw current Ironman World Champion and Magnus Ditlev, Challenge Roth Champion, a testimony to how fast the suit can be, both having career best seasons and setting bike records in the Tempo! suit in 2023.
Today there is more focus on sun protection especially in the full Ironman distance when races times are 9 hours + having a Tri Suit that offers protection in the heat and sun can make a huge difference over the longer distance.
Most technical fabrics offer some level of sun protection, sleeve length should be considered too a sleeved Tri Suits provides more sun protection than a sleeveless suit, which might not be so important on a shorter distance triathlon.
The cooling properties of a suit should be a factor too, some fabrics can help you stay cool and avoid overheating.
For instance, Fusion use SuperWhite technology in all their Tri Suits, the fabric is woven from ceramic threads with a titanium core, which protects against UV rays while keeping heat out. The material actively cools when wet, preventing rising body temperature with a UV +50.