The Best Triathlon Gear Reviewed & Tested
An in-depth analysis of the best triathlon gear road tested in 2018. Great for expert and novice athletes alike.
Many runners see a triathlon as the ultimate challenges of their abilities. When preparing for a triathlon it is important to consider that running is only a third of the total challenge. Training through both cycling and swimming will not only allow you to properly prepare for the triathlon itself but also as an endurance builder, which will help strengthen your running abilities on the whole.
Here we have a variety of gear, for your consideration, that we at Runnerclick believe are essential for a proper triathlon kit. Further in the article we also have triathlon participation guidelines to help you properly prepare.
- Zoot Ali'i 16
- Garmin Forerunner 910XT
- 20 hour battery life
- Tifosi Podium Shield
- Snug yet comfortable fit
13 Best Pieces of Triathlon Gear
Zoot Ali'i 16 Race Shoe – 2017
Available for both Ladies and Men.
When your entering into a challenging race you want a shoe that can take on anything and this shoe is the one for the job.
Comfort, stability, protection and great traction from a middle light weight high performing shoe.
Read on and see why this is the shoe for you to use when you're in a tough competitive race.
This shoe can be worn minus socks "barefoot running style" and it’s still comfortable, I like the molded 3d heel-counter which provides very good support for the heel and it’s nice to use the integrated heel-pull-tab for quick transitions, very useful during a triathlon race.
For the midsole, enjoy the injected –ZVA, for a fast feeling and an extra soft ride. Working in conjunction for total comfort and stability and ensuring a adjustable secure FIT we really can appreciate the engineered shoe tech, Barefit ( internal liner), the Ultrafit Upper and the excellent Boa Closure-System, everything we need and want cleverly built into a high performing shoe.
Runners will like the very comfortable Fit effects from the seamless shoe construction, the shoe is a top performer for any type of race, regardless of the distance or pace, note the practical heel through to toe offset at 8mm and the shoe weight of 8.5 ounces.
Feel the benefits from high performance Z-bound-TM which is a smart dual density tech configured into the toe through to the heel giving extra heel cushion during heel strike and rebound for your mid foot strike.
A solid durable outsole constructed from carbon tread provides excellent traction and works nicely to provide consistent stable ground contact.
The moisture wicking capability is excellent; the upper is constructed from durable foot hugging mesh and ensures your foot receives constant effective cooling with a superb drainage capability. The reaction to sweat is really good as fast as the foot produces it, the mesh system works to disperse and keep your foot comfortable and dry.
Through the Upper-Boa-Closure-System the wearer gets a foot hugging secure fit, the “on the fly” shoe tech is excellent for shoe adjustments for racing.
The price is really reasonable when you factor in that you get a quality shoe with high durability, comfort and performance.
Barefit shoe tech.
Upper-Boa-Closure-System for comfort.
Great Wick Factor.
Some runners suggested the shoe could be a little lighter.
Hoka One One Clifton 4
The Hoka One One Clifton 4 are very comfortable with an exceptional amount of padding. They also have an extremely small break in time, mean wearers have little to no discomfort when you put them on right out of the box. Despite being well cushioned shoes the Clifton 4’s are also extremely supportive, some even taking issue with the firmness of the sole but most praising it,
The shoes may look bulky but most wearers assure the skeptical that the Clifton 4’s are lightweight and feel as though you are wearing nothing at all.
When in consideration of the price of running shoes, you can pick up the Hoka One One Clifton 4’s for a pretty reasonable price. The Clifton 4’s are also a very durable shoe which means the investment will be for not only a quality running shoe but for a long lasting one.
- Helps prevent/relieve pain
- Extremely comfortable
- Good arch support
- Increased durability from previous models
- Short break in period
- Great for long distance
- May be too firm
Garmin Forerunner 910XT GPS-Enabled Sport Watch
When you enter into a high endurance competition it makes sense to monitor your heart rate for any warning signs and you can do it with this very handy watch
Naturally most competitions are dead lined to a finish time or you yourself want to set such a deadline, carrying this watch will make sure you are keeping to your target time.
Knowing your current elevation is always useful and the barometric feature built into the watch will keep you updated regarding your weather environment.
The watch is light and straps on securely and though not a total essential as far as triathlon kits is concerned, it is very useful to have along for the trip.
Not expensive when you consider you get a durable multi functional watch which will last for many years.
- Can be taken in the water
- 20 hour battery life, good for longer races
- Great for tracking distance, pace, & heart rate
- The price is high, as expected for a product like this
Tifosi Podium Shield Sunglasses
The Podium Shield glasses for Tifosi are our pick due to their mechanical (yet comfortable) fit and wide range peripheral vision.
The glasses look stylish and they are, they are also durable and strong, if you drop them they should not break or crack.
Throw in 100% UV protective coating plus a medium range price point and you’ve got yourself a steal.
These are the glasses which will perform for you during your triathlon race and they can be worn for just about every sporting activity and socially.
A nice investment, stylish and functional.
- Rimless, full UV protection
- Fit snugly, but don’t rub or cause friction
- Interchangeable lenses
Louis Garneau TRI Belt
These small accessories are quite handy.
This lightweight and adjustable belt has three convenient gel pockets to make sure you don’t bonk.
Very affordable and it's a must to invest in a belt like this.
- Comfortable adjustable, one size fits all
- Convenient gel package access
- Provides alternative to safety pins
- One size fits all, not ideal for every body type
T Mat Pro Transition Mat
Quickly spread it on the ground while you change over your competition kit from swimming to cycling, don't get confused and distracted, this mat will serve your fast needs at that critical moment.
Very lightweight and durable and its offered in a nice range of appealing colors.
Though its for transition purposes so it wont be an in your face part of kit with you right through the race, it is a very important piece of your needed arsenal.
Not expensive and a good investment.
- Small, lightweight, easy to travel with
- Bright and customizable
- Easy to wash, stain resistant
- Smaller than some expected
TYR Sport Special Ops 2.0 Polarized Swimming Goggle
You will however want to make sure you’ve got a good pair of goggles. Read on here to see why you should choose the TYR Sports 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.
These are durable and can take a few knocks without them breaking, if they get knocked of from you by a low hanging branch the chances that they are fine will be high.
The lenses have good scratch resistant qualities which means that you can enjoy them without scratch marks across the lens.
Wear them and enjoy a secure feeling in knowing that when you put them on they do stay in place.
They are secure so you wont get water seepage problems from them and we all know how annoying it is to be blinded and slowed up by water in the eyes during a fast paced race.
A nice price, well worth the investment
- Well manufactured, good quality
- Medium range pricing, good ratio
- Include a Durafit gasket
- Anti-fog lenses
- Wide peripheral view
- They run a bit large
SLS3 Triathlon Shorts
Probably the first thing you’ll want on your shopping list is a nice pair of “tri-shorts”.
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.
The durability level for these shorts is highly impressive, they are light and comfortable, they give plenty of room for flexibility.
They are only offered in a solid black color and I feel this states that they are reliable, solid great performing shorts.
A must have for you kit.
These wont break the bank, a really worthwhile buy and they will last for a very long time.
- 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
- This particular style is only available in black
Giant Trinity Advanced Pro 2 Bike.
The Giant Trinity Advanced Pro 2
When we compete in the Triathlon we take on a giant challenge and that’s when we should consider using a Giant bike, it has all the top notch features which we want.
When racing, the right choice of bike is just like our need for a top quality running shoe.
You get a storage and hydration system integrated into the bike, smooth aerodynamic tubing, a discrete set of brakes. Advanced Pro 2 follows in the successful footsteps of Pro 1 with the same great features and reliable advanced technology.
In the same way that we need a high performing running shoe, we place the same requirements on our choice of bike.
Discreetly built into the front of the bike we see the Aero-Vault system , engineered into the frame, the storage-hydration system actually improves the aero-dynamics, the rider has access to 450 ml of liquid in a small container or 700 ml if you use the large version. You can also carry 290 ml of food in the tube storage system.
This means that you can carry all the nutrition that you will need, easy to access, very securely stored at the front of the bike and with zero impact on the dynamics of the bike.
The tubular frame is light, robust and durable while retaining an eye pleasing sleek design, the gear system has flawless smooth change over so you won’t be fidgeting or distracted, keeping you in full control the tempo, an excellent brake system has been aerodynamically built into the bike, giving minimal resistance to air flow.
Next time you enter into a triathlon race, choose the best kit and this is the ride which will serve you and work with you.
Other comparative bikes available via Amazon for those who want to enter the Ironman triathlon race the Flat Black W/Green Accents – Ultegra, or the VeloVie Veloce 500 Carbon Triathlon/TT Bicycle available in the USA and Canada and for UK racers the 5800 11S Racing Bicycle.
The price is right when investing in an outstanding bike which will perform to very high standards.
Light tube frame.
Durable and robust.
Some riders have suggested that the bike could come in more sizes than large, medium or small to accommodate people outside of the standard size range.
BELL OVERDRIVE CYCLING HELMET
This model comes in two color combinations and offers stylish functional features.
The shell is constructed from the trusted EPS shell which is durable poly-carbonate, so you get serious protection during an impact but this helmet gives even more defense via the Swedish tech known as MIPS which translates over to a protective defense covering impact from multiple directions, cushioned through an inner basket.
The basket can rotate and this diffuses rotational shock waves.
A very impressive array of well-structured vents are built into the helmet to ensure a consistent flow of air and I like the FloatFit built in tech which lets me quickly and easily adjust the helmet for a secure fit.
The design of this helmet results from inspirational more costlier models produced by Bells, this really is a good investment, well worth buying.
Lacks some up market features.
VENTILA SL CYCLING JERSEY
A nice light weight jersey ideal for quickly putting on and offering all the features you need for comfort and protection, especially if your racing in the fall season. Easy to pack and carry ( its very light) and offered in a nice range of color combinations.
The Jersey offers the body flexibility as and when required.
The qualities of the AirFit fabric are all about high performance, a construction from jacquard which ensure a good flow of circulating air to further enhance moisture wicking and engineered into the shirt is the unique sun protective tech via UPF-SPF50.
The mesh system from AirFit has four way stretch capabilities and is presented as a knitted fabric with semi-opaque qualities.
The moisture wicking capabilities built into the top are strategically placed to ensure maximum evacuation of moisture along with maximum ventilation.
A very good price, a Jersey is a must have part of the kit and the budget for this top is really affordable.
Easy to pack and carry.
Good moisture wicking.
Some Triathletes prefer a Jersey with more tech built into it.
Wahoo ELEMNT GPS Bike Computer
The bike computer is easy to set up and comparable with many different devices and apps, including your phone where it can alert you of calls and messages.
The device has an extremely long battery life and a bright crisp display. The bright display is useful during the day, making it easy to view even with glare, but at night can make vision difficult.
The ELEMNT bike computer is not a small investment but it is an investment that will pay off in the long run. Not only is it incredibly useful but Wahoo is always updating it to improve the software. As a bonus you will never have to pay for maps, which is a common financial drawback of other bike computers.
- Good battery life
- Track calls and messages
- Compatiable with a lot of other equipment
- Useable with a companion app
- Turn by turn navigation
- Easy set up and use
- Crisp clean screen
- Out in front mount is useful
- Wide range of customization
- Elevation/ grade tracking accuracy has come into question
- Display is very bright, which may be an issue at night
TYR Blackhawk Racing Polarized Googles
The Blackhawk goggles are polarized to minimize glare, which can be a tremendous problem when swimming, coming from above as well as reflecting off the water's surface.
The Blackhawk racing goggles are pricier than most goggles without a doubt, but their wearers speak highly of their worth, so much so that the price seems quite worth it.
- Polarization works well
- Tight seal
- Snug but comfortable fit
The thing is though, a triathlon requires quite a bit more gear and preparation than running does, this combination is your kit. You’ve gotta factor swimming in, plus a good bike and associated accouterments. 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.
Here is a quick check list for your full Triathlon kit.
2. Tri Clothing
4. Swim Cap
7. Running Shoes
12. Flat Repair Kit
13. Running Hat
14. Race Number Belt
Our Criteria for assessing the best choices of kit for triathletes
Our criteria had to have a focus while keeping in mind the wide choices of kit used by triathletes. Our focus was that you are entering a very challenging race and that you are probably entering with the aim to be “the winner” or at the least, in the top group of finishers.
Our first focus was to consider “value for money” being a triathlete requires investing in a broad range of products because you are covering swimming, cycling and running, this is not only three times the expenditure but it involves buying sports products which are often designed with the Triathlon in mind.
When we say value, we considered that for high performing kit you want reliability and high performance.
This means the brand names have invested research time and looked at creating a more specific product and this can often cost more.
Therefore, can the brand provide quality, durability, good performance, and feature innovative technology while staying within a lower affordable budget range.
The race factor was very important when we reviewed the different types of kit for triathlon, during a race there is no time for delay caused by kit which either fails to perform or does not hold true to the performances that it should be providing as this will result in delay and impact on your performance. If your entering the race with the intention to try and win, we made sure we looked at kit which will be reliable.
Importantly we stayed true to assessing the quality, the performance and reliability, durability and user friendly, comfort, weight, functionality and can the product genuinely meet the demands placed upon it by triathlon?
If your thinking of competing in Triathlon your first consideration is which type of Race?
DISTANCE RANGES FOR TRIATHLON RACES IN MILES, CHOOSE THE RACE FOR YOU.
The distance is in miles.
The Events. Swimming. Cycling. Running.
The Mini Tri ( or Sprint)
The Half – Ironman
How Did Triathlon Start?
The ancient Greeks held sporting competitions which involved different sports activities combined together. However, these were not in the order of swimming, cycling and running, bikes were none existent back in those days.
Looking at the USA we can see a definite move towards combining three sports together in order to name it as one competitive sport.
In the early 1970s the Track Club in San Diego wanted to create an event more challenging than running hard track.
In 1974 on the 25th of September the club decided to sponsor a competitive event which covered an km cycle race, a 500 meter swimming race followed by a ten kilometer run.
It was clearly a very popular success which was repeated regularly and in 1989 the event was awarded Olympic status as an event and the first triathlon took place at the Sydney games, Australia.
Around 1989 the ITU – International Union for triathlon was set up in France at the city of Avignon, they introduced a 1,500 water event, a grueling 40 kilometer bike ride followed by a fast 10 kilometer run, these requirements were set to mirror Olympic level sports.
The feature of triathlon is that there is not a break between the three sports as part of the challenge is the rapid transition from one challenging sport straight into the next sport. This requires a high stamina level for athletes and very strong endurance ability.
Nowadays there are four variations for the competition ( as shown in the above chart) so people joining this sport can start at an easier level and work up towards the Ironman level.
For the Olympics they competitors start with a shorter swim just a distance of one and a half kilometers, followed by a tough forty kilometer bike ride and capped off with a tiring ten kilometer run, this combination would test the endurance and stamina of the fittest of people.
Triathlon continues to grow more popular every year and this is testament to how fit many of the population want to become, the question we can ask ourselves is somebody somewhere thinking of creating a sporting event which will be even more challenging?
Q: I am super fit is there any sporting event I can try other than Triathlon to challenge me?
A:There are a large variety of events both near and abroad, obstacle courses, tough mudders, and long distance running orienteering, although the latter is more common in Europe. All of these are very different events compared to a triathlon and research and proper kit planning is recommended.
Q: Why bother wearing swimming caps in the Triathlon swim?
A: Swimming caps are about more than keeping your hair dry, they give water dynamic flow over the head, allowing you to use less energy so you save energy for the rest of the competition.
Q: Should we take a first aid kit with us during a triathlon competition?
A: Many do but its more streamlined than what you find in first aid boxes, you can take an antiseptic gel, barrier cream, sunburn cream, perhaps a few small band aid.
Q: Competitors whom spend a lot of money on a bike get an unfair advantage in the triathlon race, do you agree?
A:While an expensive bike can be said to have a technological edge over more affordable bike, the biking section is only one third of the race. Determination and the skills you have developed can still make the difference between win or lose.
Q: Which running shorts are best for Triathlon?
A: You need to choose a pair which are durable and comfortable enough for swimming, cycling and running, it’s best to read runnerclick reviews and keep track of your best choices.
Q: Is it possible to get badly injured during a triathlon competition?
A: Yes it is, the competition tests your stamina and durability in very trying conditions, to enter you must make sure that you are physically up to the challenge.
Here are a few good sources:
- Best Triathlon Bike: How To Choose Yours Wisely, Triathlon training information, ,
- Beginner's Triathlon Gear List: No Need to Break the Bank, Fitness publication, ,
- How to Set Up Your Triathlon Transition Area, Fitness & Training publication, ,
- Triathlon Gear Guide: Essential Triathlon Gear, Race Bike Products, ,