Triathlon Wetsuits – Tips for Buying

Manufacturers websites of triathlon wetsuits each claim to use some unique technology or other which will help you glide in the water and slash minutes off your swim time.

There are 5 main factors in choosing which triathlon wetsuit to buy:

Price:  Most manufacturers have different models in 3 price ranges – under £150, £150-£300 and £300+.  Before you decide which wetsuit is for you, you need to decide how much you can afford to spend.

Style:  There are a couple different styles of suits, as well as different options for features.  You can get either a full wetsuit with sleeves or a long john style wetsuit that is sleeveless.  The full wetsuit is best for colder waters, while the long john style suit is easier to get on and off during the transitions.

Stretch:  You also need to figure out how much stretch you want in your wetsuit. You can get these suits with linings that have two, four or six way stretch.  More stretch means more flexibility and movement in the water, but you will pay more for your wetsuit.

Buoyancy:  More expensive wetsuits usually also come with larger buoyancy panels.  You can get suits with buoyancy panels that cover just the chest, the chest to the thighs, or the chest to the ankles.

Thickness:  Some manufacturers opt for the 2mm thickness, going towards producing a suit that weighs less and subsequently feels lighter to the user, and is more flexible.

Other manufacturers go with the thicker rubber, up to 5mm thick, following the rule of thumb that shows that the thicker the rubber used, the more buoyant the suit will be and, ultimately, even though it weighs more, will save the user more energy.

You may find that certain suits can use thinner material in different areas that are less susceptible to heat loss or areas that may be hampered by inflexibility and suit bulkiness.

In addition to these 5 factors, the fit of the wetsuit is the most important consideration.  If the suit doesn’t fit well, you will either be uncomfortable, create extra drag on each stroke, or suffer a combination of the two.

The zippers and seams should not rub or chafe.  If they are uncomfortable now, the pain will certainly intensify as you race.

Remember, you have to get out of your suit quickly.   Races can hinge on seconds wasted, or gained, in transition.

Good luck


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