Do I really Need a Triathlon Suit? Advice, Benefits & Considerations

Mar 08, 2024
triathlon suit

(Credit: Adobe Stock)

Triathlon suits for men and women alike are a great choice when it comes to performance apparel in the sport. It takes the guesswork out of your attire and is a valuable all-around piece of equipment. This article is going to teach you about the features and benefits of triathlon suits, and also some things you may want to consider before purchasing one.

What Is a Triathlon Suit?

A triathlon suit is a specialized piece of apparel designed for athletes that participate in, you guessed it, triathlon! It is a single garment that combines the elements of a swimsuit, cycling shorts, and running shorts into one versatile outfit. This is the go-to clothing option for professional triathletes and serious enthusiasts alike. 

What is the Point of a Tri Suit?

“Tri suits”, as they’re called for short, are engineered to streamline the transition between the swim, bike, and run legs of a triathlon, providing optimal performance and comfort across all three disciplines. Seconds count, even over the course of a long-distance race, and a great way to shave off time is by eliminating the need to change outfits in the transition stages of an event.

In the past (and still today, though mostly in beginner-intermediate level triathlons), you would see people changing from outfit to outfit as the event progresses, each with their own specialized use. However, as the sport evolved and athletes sought to gain a competitive edge, the need for specific gear became apparent—thus, the triathlon suit was born.

(Credit: Adobe Stock)

Triathlon Suit: Features + Benefits

This unique piece of sportswear has several performance capabilities built-in to make it one of the most functional and specialized sports-specific attire choices on the market today.

Versatility

The biggest benefit to wearing a triathlon suit is its competitive versatility. You don’t have to change at all between events, which saves not only time, but mental and physical energy, too. No more worrying about missing gear, tripping out of your wetsuit or exposing yourself through awkward clothing mishaps! It’s an all-in-one piece of kit that you only worry about once.

Hydrophobic

Swimming is always the first event in a triathlon, and it can be the most cumbersome in terms of apparel. What kind of swimsuit should you wear? Do you need a wetsuit? You don’t need either. Triathlon suits are tight-fitting and often lacquered with a water repellent coating to help you glide effortlessly through the water. Make your way to land and hop right to the bike!

Padding

The cycling leg of a triathlon is usually the longest, and it can be punishing on the body (especially the backside). Triathlon suits often have padding in key areas like the saddle region to provide cushioning and support. This integrated feature helps to reduce fatigue and discomfort for the rider, consequently improving mental focus and performance. 

Quick-Drying

Triathlon suits are made of moisture-wicking materials that are resistant to absorbing water and quick-to-dry, all at the same time. Whether it’s water from the swim or perspiration built up on the bike and run, a triathlon suit is breathable, and will help keep you dry and comfortable throughout the race (regardless of its distance or duration).

Aerodynamic

Triathlon suits provide a snug fit with compression technology that helps to support one’s muscles and improve blood circulation. It also contributes to the aerodynamic design as a whole, which has been engineered with mesh paneling, strategically placed seams, and spandex-like fabrics that reduce drag to keep you flying on the bike and disinhibited throughout the run.

(Credit: Adobe Stock)

Drawbacks of Triathlon Suits

There are many positives associated with the triathlon suit, however, like anything, there are some drawbacks to consider, as well. Keep these things in mind when you’re deciding whether to go out and buy one for your training and competition.

Cost

The initial cost of a triathlon suit can easily stretch into the $300+ range. There are, of course, various tiers of quality available—everything from the budget-friendly Amazon options to name brand professional models to choose from. Either way, triathlon already involves a lot of expensive equipment, another upfront purchase might not be what you’re looking for.

Limited Use

While the triathlon suit is extremely versatile in the world of triathlon, it is not so versatile outside of it. It won’t serve many purposes while engaging in other athletic activities; it’s truly a specialized piece, largely reserved for competition or brick-type training. This might be a deterrent if you participate in a variety of sports that all need their own kind of equipment.

Fit

Triathlon suits are designed to be form-fitting, and consequently may not accommodate all body types or personal preferences. Poorly fitting tri suits can cause discomfort and restrict movement. To that, if you’re looking to change your body composition in the near future (through weight loss or muscle gain), it might be worthwhile to wait until you’re at your desired shape and size.

Necessity

If you’re just starting out, a triathlon suit should not be the first thing on your priority list. There’s so much to learn and put into practice when it comes to training, technique and recovery. A tri suit is great, but it’s not what is going to make the difference, especially in the beginning. A normal swimsuit and athletic gear is more than sufficient for your first year or two in the sport.

Train & Compete Pain-Free With Dynamic Triathlete

If you’re looking for a world class training companion to help you become more flexible, stronger, and pain-free, look no further than Dynamic Triathlete! Our comprehensive app and online platform is available to you 24/7 with hundreds of high quality follow-along routines. Try us today by signing up for a 7-day free trial

Written by Eric Lister – Certified Personal Trainer & Corrective Exercise Specialist

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