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Tri Suits Buying Guide: Making the Right Decision

Taking part in a competition like a triathlon requires months of rigorous training and tons of effort in order to be ready for such a race. Other than the conditioning and stamina needed, clothing also plays an important role on this kind of competition. There is a broad range of triathlon clothing available and one of the most popular choices among them is the tri suit.

Pearl iZUMi Men's Select Pursuit Tri Suit
Pearl iZUMi Men's Select Pursuit Tri Suit
88% Nylon / 12% Lycra Elastane
UPF 50+
Easy access envelope pocket
Quick-dry chamois
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TYR Sport Men's Sport Competitor Trisuit
TYR Sport Men's Sport Competitor Trisuit
80% Polyester / 20% Spandex
UPF50+
10-Inch Locking zipper
Competitor AMP Pad
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Castelli Men's Free Sanremo Sleeveless Tri Suit
Castelli Men's Free Sanremo Sleeveless Tri Suit
SpeedFreak ventilated race fabric on front of upper portion
Full length zipper
FreeAero 2 hydro- and aero-optimized pockets
KISS Tri multi density seat pad
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Synergy Men's Triathlon Trisuit
Synergy Men's Triathlon Trisuit
2 mesh pockets
3/4 Adjustable zipper
Large armholes
Semi-compression in the legs
NeoGel pad with anti-microbial fleece
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2XU Men's G:2 Compression Tri Suit
2XU Men's G:2 Compression Tri Suit
65% Nylon / 35% Lycra
Super strong 15D/CK fabric
Zoned compression
3 rear pockets
Elite LD Chamois
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SLS3 Mens Triathlon Tri Race Suit 1 Pocket Skinsuit Trisuit
SLS3 Mens Triathlon Tri Race Suit 1 Pocket Skinsuit Trisuit
Multi density Triathlon pad
Back pocket (8" x 5.5")
Mesh shoulder panels
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Pearl iZUMi Men's Elite Pursuit Tri Speed Suit
Pearl iZUMi Men's Elite Pursuit Tri Speed Suit
80% Nylon / 12% Lycra Spandex / 8% polyester
UPF 50+
Elite transfer In-R-Cool fabric
15 inch zipper
Two back easy access envelope pockets
Tri quick-dry chamois
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Orca Men's Core Tri Race Suit
Orca Men's Core Tri Race Suit
Aquaglide fabric with Orca Enduro Water repellent coating
Two rear covered pockets centered across the lower back
6mm Italian Tri-Support chamois
Vapour side panels
Soft Mesh back panel
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2XU Men's Performance Tri Suit
2XU Men's Performance Tri Suit
80% Nylon / 20% Elastane
Quick drying SBR LITE
Ergonomic paneling
3 rear pockets
Long Distance Chamois
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Sugoi Men's RPM Tri Suit
Sugoi Men's RPM Tri Suit
85% Nylon / 15% Spandex
Mesh panel inserts
Flat seams
Front zip for extra ventilation
Pocket with hydrodynamic construction
More Information

Tri Suit Basics

One of most recommended subs for a swimsuit during the race is the tri suit. The clothing is a one-piece suit designed to be worn for the duration of the entire competition. Tri suits are made in a way that they can wick water off from the body and at the same time, minimize the required transition periods during the race.

The clothing is also equipped with a padded chamois for the cycling segment of the race and it may also include pockets to carry sustenance like gels and energy bars. They are made from breathable, water and sweat wicking material and typically designed as a shirt and shorts combo. They can also be worn under a wetsuit during the swimming segment of the race.

There are plenty of tri suits selections out there and each year clothing brands present newer, more advanced options than the models of the previous year. For newbies on the triathlon trail, getting a proper tri suit does not mean you have to spend plenty of bucks for it—there are some reasonably-priced numbers which can get the job done out there. When looking for one though, you have to understand that it is crucial to assess what you’re getting for a more expensive investment.

Appropriate gear can have a great effect on participating beginners and professionals alike. Here are a few factors one has to think through while shopping for a tri suit.

  • Budget

Newbies often consider the price aspect when looking for a suit that will fit their needs. If you are a beginner in the competition, you will need a solid model that will make you endure both training and the competition itself. However, you do not have to actually splurge to comply with your needs.

One tried-and-true rule to follow is to remember that those costly models are built for comfort, speed and a wider variety of movement thus if you are on the hunt for a basic, straightforward suit than you won’t have to break the bank. These kinds of models are designed in a way that they will make you participate in the activity and let you have a taste of things to come.

  • Speed and comfort

If you are scanning the shops for a suit that will provide the speed and comfort that you are after, then you must invest in a model with first-rate, flexible material. This kind of suit was designed for flexibility, effectivity and performance.

However, you have to keep in mind that there are certain rules regarding materials used in several model suits. Tri suits with buoyant or rubberized materials are not in with most triathlon rules but there are also several tricks used by some brands in a roundabout way to produce that much-needed buoyant quality in their suits. One such material is a water repellent coating like PTFE or Teflon.

Teflon drastically minimizes the capability of a material to soak up water, which results into air bubbles attaching itself beneath the wearer, therefore providing buoyancy.

  • Appropriate fit

Fit is important in every piece of clothing, not just for everyday wear, especially if you’re going to involve yourself in a strenuous athletic competition. A properly fitting suit will not only provide comfort in your part, but it will also make participating on the race a breeze.

When testing out new suits, be certain that those babies are not loose and the suit fits you right between the shoulders and the crotch. Tri suits are mostly preferred by athletes because of the shorter leg, which allows for a speedier removal. Keep in mind to check out the collar/neck and sleeves too; they must be tight enough that the water will not flow inside the suit.

Suits that let water get inside produces more weight for the triathlete to bear as he or she swims and because of this, will make the athlete slow down. For optimal speed, one should reduce the quantity of water that gets inside the suit. In addition, athletes should also take note of the arm and shoulder reach of a suit to ensure limitless swimming strokes.

In terms of triathlon gear, manufacturers have been studying the effects of improved aerodynamics in terms of clothing for such competitions. Designers have made suits with fewer seams and materials with a looser feel have been dropped in favor of more flexible material.

If the suit has gaps and is quite loose, this might result into chafing. Furthermore, a tri suit that is loose in mint condition will become slacker in due time.

The perfect model will be built with purposefully positioned compression surrounding the core and the hips. This will provide hold and also backs up the position of your core to amplify hip drive and minimize exhaustion while swimming.

Athletes should also remember that superior-quality materials will keep their form better and in turn, will provide longer-lasting benefits for the wearer.

  • Drying off

Once triathletes come out of the water to finish the swimming segment, they get on with the cycling segment of the race. Speed is a critical factor of a triathlon that is why triathletes do not need a suit that will drag them down. A wet tri suit that soaks up too much water will limit free movement and augment more effort on the wearer’s part while cycling.

First-rate models with good water repellent properties produce a wicking action that takes away moisture out of the skin and lets it evaporate. This minimizes the material from sticking to the skin and lets the wearer move naturally, without restrictions.

  • Padding

The padding or chamois of a tri suit should not be too thick since it can add more weight, however it should also provide enough support and division from the bike saddle. There are various kinds of padding on suits available from thick buoy pads to thinner bands designed from polyester fleece.

Several models are equipped with a trip pad or chamois and it is typically stitched into the crotch part of the suit where the wearer’s body joins with the bike saddle. If you are conscious of things being too obvious down there, there are also models available wherein the seat pads are more subtly-designed so it won’t be too noticeable during the running or swimming segment. A lot of chamois paddings are particularly built for men or women’s bodies to offer gender specific ease and support.

  • Body temperature management

This factor is also important, especially in terms of clothing considerations like fabric and zippers. Acquire a suit with both front and back zippers but if you only want a model with a back zipper, better affix a flexible cord to the end part of the zip so you can grasp for it when it’s time for you to unfasten things.

If you want a model with a front zipper only though, keep in mind that there are some race organizers who are not too keen with a naked, exposed torso so better know the rules first before purchasing one.

Models with water-repelling or hydrophobic material assist in maintaining the wearer’s maximum body temperature in both warm and chilly conditions. On events with hot weather conditions, it enables evaporation which takes away the heat from the athlete’s body while in cold settings, the material helps in drawing cold moisture out of the body, which minimizes the quantity of energy one is required to stay snug and warm.

  • Pockets

Shorter triathlons won’t require participants to lug around additional gear or sustenance but longer competitions might require some. Steer clear of models with big, roomy pockets since these can produce drag and this will also urge the wearer to carry more gear or food. Look for models with small pockets situated at the side or the back of the top or on the leg parts of the shorts.

Training for the Triathlon

During training for the race, the athlete must train wearing the same clothing he or she will be wearing to the competition itself. This is important since one has to be sure that everything fits just right, or that the athlete is indeed comfortable in his or her gear while in motion.

This is also true in terms of the athlete’s diet or food intake; the athlete should take in the same amount of the same energy bars, gels or drinks over the course of the training.

Training is in fact a great way to test out various brands. It makes athletes find out what kind of suit not only fits their body, but their whole regimen as well.

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