Not Your Average Swimwear — A Beginners Guide To Triathlon Suits

Shane Enriguez
3 min readNov 29, 2021

When you’re competing in a triathlon — swimming, biking, then running — what’s the ideal clothing?

For many first-time triathletes, the answer is a swimsuit, then clothes put on top for the other events.

Photo by Todd Quackenbush on Unsplash

That’s a fair solution to a difficult question — and probably the best homebrew answer available.

When every second counts though, the time it takes to change your clothes in the middle of a race can be a real downer.

Also if you’ve ever pulled dry clothes on over a dripping wet swimsuit, before competing in a cycle and footrace — you know it’s about the least comfortable way to wear clothing since wooden clogs.

That’s why the pros, or any serious competitors, wear tri-suits.

What Is A Tri-Suit?

Designed specifically for the three parts of a triathlon, a tri-suit is the faster, more comfortable solution to transitioning between events.

They come in one-piece suits as well as a vest and short combo, but most athletes will tell you to stick with the one-piece.

For some events, a tri-suit will be all the clothing you need for the entire event.

If you’re swimming in a pool, you likely don’t need any other gear and can go straight from the water to your bike.

Photo by Paul Green on Unsplash

For events in open water, if you choose to wear a wetsuit, they can be worn over the tri-suit, and you’re ready to start pedalling the second you peel your wetsuit off.

What Are The Benefits Of Wearing A Tri-Suit?

As mentioned before, a tri-suit can help you shave off quite a bit of time just by being an all-event garment.

No more wasted seconds trying to pull on clothes over your wet swim gear.

They are also far, far more comfortable than any clothing worn over a wet swimsuit.

Because they’re designed for triathlons they also stretch in all the right places, are incredibly aerodynamic, and help to maintain your body temperature.

What Should You Look For In A Tri-Suit?

The first thing you want to look at is the fabric.

Your suit should be smooth and aerodynamic, but also very good at wicking moisture, and able to dry quickly.

Make sure you have a nice tight fit, too, or all the aerodynamic bonus of your shiny new suit will be wasted.

Sleeveless or sleeved will depend on your personal preference — though I’m a fan of sleeves myself.

Your Suit — Your Style

Tri-suits are surprisingly affordable, considering the amount of technical work involved in their creation.

So it’s worth it getting a good one, and the best suits generally include customization.

That means your suit can be covered in logos of your design, with colors and patterns you choose — not just something off the shelf.

One other thing you may want to watch for is a crash replacement guarantee.

Not many suppliers offer them, but if you can get a suit with a guarantee — you should.

It’s a real shame when someone rips up their brand new gear in a crash, unless it’s from a manufacturer that will replace it at no charge.

Once you’ve got your new suit, you’ll notice instantly that you’re saving time when you’d otherwise be changing.

More importantly, though, you’re going to be a lot more comfortable — and that will make it easier to perform your best.

Good luck, and Godspeed.