The Best Triathlon Gear Reviewed & Tested

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Detailed discussion an analysis of the best triathlon gear road tested in 2016. Great for expert and novice athletes alike. See more here!

A lot of runners are tempted to give triathlons a shot, and it only makes sense considering a third of the event is running. Brush up on your cycling and hone that swimming technique and voila! There you are a triathlete. Triathlons can be ultra competitive, or they can be relaxed and fun, it just depends on your motives. They are a great way to challenge yourself however, and a highly recommended excuse to cross train.

Our Top Pick

SLS3 Triathlon Shorts

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Let’s start with the basics, what to wear. Probably the first thing you’ll want on your shopping list is a nice pair of “tri-shorts”. Shorts designed to perform well at each stage of the competition, and the SLS3’s are a great place to start. These are a nicely padded full-coverage pair of shorts that protect your muscles and offer padding for the bike but don’t constrict you while swimming. Comfortable and durable, it’s hard to go wrong here.
Pros
  • Made from a nylon/spandex mix these are lightweight shorts
  • Smooth seams, zero irritation
  • Fabric is quick drying, imperative for triathlons
  • Reasonably priced
  • Well calibrated elastic in the waist
Cons
  • This particular style is only available in black

TYR Sport Special Ops 2.0 Polarized Swimming Goggle

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Often times race organizers will provide participants with a swim cap, so you likely won’t need to worry there. You will however want to make sure you’ve got a good pair of goggles. The TYR Sport Special Ops are a professional grade pair of goggles designed that give you wide peripheral vision, a snug fit and polarized protection. They also have fog-resistant lenses so your odds of going blind mid-race are slim-to-none.
Pros
  • Well manufactured, good quality
  • Medium range pricing, good ratio
  • Include a Durafit gasket
  • Anti-fog lenses
  • Wide peripheral view
Cons
  • They run a bit large

T Mat Pro Transition Mat

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Often times triathlons are won or lost in the transitions points between each singular event. When it comes to this critical point in the race the T Mat Pro Transition Mat has your back. This is a small but efficient mat that can make removing your goggles and strapping on your cycling shoes a breeze. It’s fully customizable and comes in a lot of different colors, making it easy to locate in a transition space.
Pros
  • Small, lightweight, easy to travel with
  • Bright and customizable
  • Easy to wash, stain resistant
Cons
  • Smaller than some expected

Louis Garneau TRI Belt

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Don’t screw around with safety pins or the like, spend a few bucks and get a nice race belt. These small accessories are quite handy. The Tri Belt from Louis Garneau allows you to keep your race number on you in a comfortable way and it also has quick access to nutrition on the go. This lightweight and adjustable belt has three convenient gel pockets to make sure you don’t bonk.
Pros
  • Comfortable adjustable, one size fits all
  • Convenient gel package access
  • Provides alternative to safety pins
Cons
  • One size fits all, not ideal for every body type

Tifosi Podium Shield Sunglasses

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Taking care of your eyes out of the water is equally as important as in the water when it comes to tri-racing. The Podium Shield glasses for Tifosi are our pick due to their mechanical (yet comfortable) fit and wide range peripheral vision. Rubberized elements are strategically placed along the frame of these glasses making them stick to your face but they do not rub in an uncomfortable way. Throw in 100% UV protective coating plus a medium range price point and you’ve got yourself a steal.
Pros
  • Rimless, full UV protection
  • Featherweight
  • Fit snugly, but don’t rub or cause friction
  • Interchangeable lenses
Cons
  • Non-polarized

Garmin Forerunner 910XT GPS-Enabled Sport Watch

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This is by no means a requirement, but having a watch with some basic functionality can go a long ways toward better performance in a tri. With the Garmin Forerunner on your wrist you can assess in real times a number of different metrics that will help your overall race strategy. Such as: time (obviously), heart rate or elevation with a fancy barometric altimeter. Bottom line this is a great watch for tri usage and it’s fun to play with!
Pros
  • GPS-enabled
  • Can be taken in the water
  • 20 hour battery life, good for longer races
  • Great for tracking distance, pace, & heart rate
Cons
  • The price is high, as expected for a product like this

Scott T2 Palani 2.0 Running Shoe

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Lastly we have your kicks. The Palani 2.0 running shoe from Scott is a solid choice when it coming to Triathlon specific gear. There are many things to like about these trainers but a couple features that stuck out to us are: a drainage system that is built into the midsole to avoid water build up and pull loops located on each heel for a quick transition. Energetic, well cushioned, and responsive, these are one of your best bets when it comes to triathlon footwear.
Pros
  • Synthetic/mesh hybrid design for maximum temperature control
  • HydroShield technology, repels water efficiently
  • Handy heel loops
  • High quality construction, durable
Cons
  • Only one color choice

The thing is though, a triathlon requires quite a bit more gear and preparation than running does. You’ve gotta factor swimming in, plus a good bike and associated accoutrements. There is no way for us to cover everything in a single post, so we won’t try. Tri-related cycling gear it a topic(s) in and of itself. Rather what you’ll find here is a few highlighted products (mostly accessories and clothing) we’ve found to be particularly useful when it comes to each aspect for the the triathlon.

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