10 Best Tri Suits for Triathletes Compared

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A detailed rundown of the best tri suits for triathletes reviewed and compared in 2018. Great for experts and novices a like.

One of the joys (curses?) of a Triathlons is pushing your body to the limit and beyond. Seeing just how much you can squeeze out of your body and if you can hit the personal record or not can be a lot of fun. The last thing you want to have happen during a triathlon however is run into some small issue with your gear, be it bike, swimwear or shoes. These minor irritations can be the difference between a good race and at the risk of sounding a bit hyperbolic, a disaster.

Choosing gear wisely is always smart it just comes at slightly higher stakes in the tri realm. Tri suits are one of the staples of a triathlete, if you get nothing else right, getting a comfortable and high performance tri suit is important.

For beginners approaching their first triathlon you not even be aware what a tri suite is exactly. We’ll break it down: A “tri suit” is a piece of clothing designed to be worn by an athlete through the duration of an event. These suits come in different formats, a one-piece style and of course a two-piece style. Which you prefer comes down to what type of race you are doing and your personal preference. In either case, the material is stretchy, breathable and high performing. Also a common style for the tri suit is without sleeves.

There are quite a few different options out there when it comes to tri suits, so we’ve trawled the shelves and online marketplace to find the best picks.

Last Updated: February 2, 2018
By Brian Price:

In addition to some extra information regarding what to look for when shopping around, we have also added a great suit for women from Pear Izumi.

Castelli Sanremo
  • Castelli Sanremo
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • SpeedFreak ventilated fabric
  • Price: See Here
Synergy Trisuit
  • Synergy Trisuit
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Large armholes prevent chafing
  • Price: See Here
ZOOT Sports Racesuit
  • ZOOT Sports Racesuit
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Nutrition storage pockets
  • Price: See Here

10 Best Tri Suits for Triathletes

 


Castelli Men’s Free Sanremo Sleeveless

Experienced cyclists will likely recognize this brand, as Castelli is often associated with cycling. While Castelli’s foray into the tri market is relatively recent they’ve outdone themselves with the Sanremo Tri Suit. The suit is water-resistant, it features aerodynamically designed pockets (no extra drag!), provides UPF 16 protection from the sun and has and beautiful designed seat pad to keep you comfortable on the bike. Overall this suit ticks a lot of different boxes and is one of the most comfortable we’ve ever tried. If your tri’s tend to be heavy on the cycling this is probably one of your best bets. Plus, with a little bit of Italian style it’s almost impossible to go wrong.
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Comfort and Performance
This Tri Suit’s front portion is made of SpeedFreak race fabric. The back is composed of Velocity fabric, which will help improve your aerodynamics while biking. It has a full-length zipper on the back and aero-optimized pockets. The legs are secured with Giro Air elastic which offers a tight fit that is still comfortable. The whole suit has received a bacteriostatic treatment in order prevent infections and saddle sores.
Castelli’s “Sanremo” design is excellent. It allows for easy access for bathroom breaks and great airflow. This is not always true of one-piece Tri Suits and helps set this one above the rest. Don’t fear you’ll have to rip this one off when nature calls.
The KISS Tri Seat Pad will soften your seat on your bike but won’t impede you while running. This padding is a compromise. It really will seem to vanish during your run, but it might not provide enough cushion for you depending on your preferences. Some users think it’s just not enough padding for a full Iron Man triathlon.
This suit comes in yellow/black, white/red, and black/red. It’s got a classical tri suit look, with the Castelli label in big letters up the side.
Pros
  • Aero-optimized pockets don't create unwanted drag
  • The front is constructed with the ventilated SpeedFreak material
  • Arm holes are built to reduce chafing
  • The legs are secured  with Giro Air elastic, which provides a tight fit without being over-constrictive
Cons
  • May fit a bit looser than some others


TYR Men's Competitor Tri Suit

TYR makes clothing and accessories for athletes of all kinds, so it’s no shock that they offer a variety of triathlon gear. The Competitor tri suit is as innovative as the rest of their line, with cutting-edge technology and smart design meant to maximize performance and comfortable fit.
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Comfort and Performance

This tri suit is pretty easy to put on and take off. It uses a compression ebbing system to maximize blood flow for better performance. The leg grips won't slip, but they're also not too tight. The suit also has well-placed pockets, so you can easily refuel while you're on the move. The fabric dries quickly and is ultra-light while providing UPF 50 protection to help prevent sunburn and future skin issues.

You can lock the zipper into place to keep it where you want. However, it’s not subdued and can chafe. This tri suit has a pad that is helpful rather than hindering. It actually helps keep you cool. It won’t retain water or drag during a swim.

Some users have found that the top of the suit has a nice snug fit, but the bottom can be a bit baggier than they like. The size chart provided by TYR is generally right but there are definitely a number of people who haven’t had a lot of luck using it.
This suit only comes in black with blue piping and details. There is a silvery rubber pattern on the leg which may start to come off with time and use. It is a very futuristic looking tri suit.

Cost

This tri suit is available for a mid-level price.
Pros

• Excellent level of compression
• UPF 50 protection
• Futuristic look

Cons

• Zipper can chafe


Zoot Sports Women’s Ultra

Zoot’s tri suits are comfortable enough to wear during your post race pizza feast, with the added benefit of being more than race-ready.
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Comfort and Performance.

The Ultra Tri Racesuit is an excellent pick for the ladies and offers up a variety of appealing features. The Ultra Tri Racesuit is manufactured using Schoeller’s “coldblack” textile finish.

This does a tremendous amount to protect you from the sun with UPF 30 properties and the ability to resist heat buildup on the surface of the material.

This suit is also wrapped in ULTRAcarbon BIOwrap (to use manufacturer parlance) that provides graduated compression where you need it.

Add in a front chest located zipper and you pretty well have the full package.

Cost.

You get a lot of quality and performance for an affordable outlay of money.
Pros
  • Built-in bra features Dynamic Xposture supporting and separating cam
  • Easy on/off design
  • Coldblack technology reflects ultraviolet rays and dispels heat buildup
  • Wrap leg hem with reflective gripper detail
  • Hip mounted pockets
Cons
  • Some had issues with the leg hem causing irritation, Needs to be a perfect fit

SLS3 Triathlon

The SLS3 tri suit represents a dramatically different price demographic than the ORCA RS1, but differing prices don’t represent as big a dropoff in quality as you might imagine. The tri suit from SLS3 has a number of different things going for it. In no particular order: we found that the padding was excellent for cycling and running and that the super-light nylon/spandex blend from which it is comprised did an good job wicking away sweat.
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Comfort and Performance.

The classic all black design with a few details (blue or lime) gives off a no nonsense vibe.

Overall this suit hit all the essential points needed from a tri suit and it does so while maintaining a relatively economical price.

This suit is not designed to be worn in a chlorinated pool. This chemical destroys lycra over time — so if you train indoors, it’s something to consider.

Cost.
The price is right, very sound investment.
Pros
  • Flexible fabric stretches in four directions
  • Supports muscles well
  • Made of super-light nylon/spandex/lycra
  • Well cushioned pad provides chafe-free support on the bike
Cons
  • Sizing runs a bit small

Runbreeze Men’s Performance Triathlon Trisuit

RunBreeze is all about comfort for active athletes. They’re the company behind Runderwear and a number of running socks, all designed to enhance both performance and comfort. When they designed their Performance tri suit, they applied the same principles to makes a comfortable tri suit that will help will also help you out during your race.
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Comfort and Performance

This tri suit dries very quickly. It has a compression fit and will retain its shape well even after being used in chlorinated pools. It has three pockets on the back, but they’re designed so that you won’t feel any drag. This is a very comfortable suit overall, holding true to Runbreeze’s philosophy. Another benefit of this tri suit is that it is UV resistant, which will help prevent sunburns.

It has a zipper that goes down to the mid-chest. It’s not a low profile zipper, so it might rub a bit, but most users don’t notice it too much. The tri suit does have a tendency to rub in the area under the arms for some body types, though usually only after very long runs.

As with most tri suits, it fits tightly, but less so than some. Size up if you have doubts. Some men might feel exposed because the crotch area offers less support than many expect from a tri suit. Some users wear spandex or bike shorts to help with this issue.

The Performance tri suit has padding comparable to what you find on bike shorts. It drains very quickly and does not drag when swimming or running.

There aren’t any color options for this tri suit. It has a sleek black design with light blue piping for a subdued look.

Cost
This is a modestly priced tri suit. It is a very good budget option.
Pros

• Very comfortable
• Budget-friendly
• UV resistant

Cons

• Possible chafing issue under arms
• Zipper can start to rub

Pearl iZUMi Women's Select Pursuit

Women looking for a good tri suit will be very satisfied with this one. Pearl iZUMI has been producing clothes and shoes for cycling, mountain biking, and triathlons for decades. They’ve maintained a focus on quality materials and innovative design. This suit is no different.
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Comfort and Performance
This suit is designed with a separate bra for maximum support. It also makes it easier to take the tri suit on and off. It dries very quickly and will never feel heavy. Because it’s so lightweight, it can easily be worn under wetsuits and other layers. The fabric is designed to help your performances using compression. It holds up well after several uses and washings. The leg grippers are silicone, which is plenty tight and won’t move when you’re in a triathlon. Some users find that they are too tight.
The Select Pursuit tri suit generally fits very tightly. Again, it’s meant to help your performance through the use compression. It fits very true to size. Make sure you check your measurements with Pearl iZUMI’s chart before ordering.
This suit offers no padding for bike racing. The lack helps the suit remain very light and dry quickly, but some triathletes might prefer a tri suit that makes their bike seat a bit more comfortable.
The included bra is not a very high-quality sports bra. If you need or prefer a lot of support, you will probably want to swap it for another one. It doesn't have a liner, which some female triathletes prefer. Because the included bra isn't attached in any way to the tri suit, though, swapping it out doesn't require any work.
The Select Pursuit comes in a number of colors. You can get it in mint, blue, bright blue, pink, and a darker, slightly differently styled pink. Most colors are obvious but not dominant. Most of the suit will be black. The only exception if the darker pink, which only has black on the legs. Overall it looks sleek. This suit will be easy to pick out in a crowd, but not obnoxiously loud or ugly.
Pros

Dries quickly

Super lightweight

Cons

Runs a bit small

2XU Women's Active Tri Suit


For lady runners this suit is really nice.

Athletes, are always looking at ways for more aerodynamics especially during a competitive triathlon race.

This suit hugs your body shape, bringing meaning to streamlining, its durable, comfortable and the super streamlined fit, has nice compression,  discards any potential for material bunching, drifting waistbands, distracting fabrics flapping and leaver you free on focusing to become a winner.
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Comfort and Performance.

Ladies triathlon Suit is built from a subtle combination of fabrics with top mark moisture management properties resulting in smooth and durable aerodynamic surface, the design of the suit gives whole body support for all your hard working muscles.

During a race, every second is important, every second you lose, places you further back down the finish group, this suit is fitted and designed to help you keep up with and even ahead of the clock.

 While you ride a Triathlon cycle the suit eliminates any potential of you creating wind drag, you blend in with the aerodynamics of your bike.

Made from Project-X Chamois material which gives very good moisture control, you maintain a minimal profile while still having flexibility, importantly for you it is great to know that chaffing problems are minimalistic while cycling and running.

You can use the front zip to regulate your body temperature through controlling the amount of airflow which can flow into the suit.

For on the move energy food the suit has two pockets located at the back out of the way of airflow, the suit bonds to your body and will allow you to move naturally.

Offered in black with other colors combined and made from a combination of high performance comfortable synthetics.  

For the main suit body you get elastane at 66% and nylon at 20%, the discretely fitted ergonomic panels are a blend of elastane 34% and nylon 66%.

I highly recommend that you consider adding this suit to your triathlon kit, the manufacturer has high confidence in the durability of the suit and provides a full one gear warranty.

Cost.

Nice price for a durable, very comfortable and high performing triathlon Tri-suit.



Pros

Project-X Chamois

High performance comfortable synthetics

Great moisture control.

Very good aerodynamics.

Nice pocket system  for energy food.

Durable

 

Cons

Don't yank or overwork the zipper during transitions.

Castelli Free Sanremo Suit - Short Sleeve - Men's

We want more speed and so you must  consider the SpeedFreak fabric fitted with ventilation for the top part of the suit and for the shorts SpeedFabric-Instadry, this high performance clothing tech lets you slice your way through water and as soon as you jump onto your Tri bike the water is rapidly dispersed .

This suit has great fit and a combination of performing fabrics which could give you that extra edge of your competitors.
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Comfort and Performance.

Wear it as you swim, under a wet suit the fit stays perfect and if you swim in the suit the exceptional water dispelling qualities of the suit will dry you out rapidly when you race off on your Tri-bike, drying out is fast and you wont be distracted while the suit guides you through the air aerodynamically.

On the bike you up the dynamic benefits through this suit through its wind manipulative abilities, the seams are flat-lock giving comfortable secure overall structural integrity, any possibility of skin chaffing is really minimal due to the very popular tri-quality chamios, so you get a secure streamlined suit which allows for flexibility, this combination is perfect for swimming, riding and running.

Testing in a wind-tunnel on the "Velocity" mesh system built into the back of the suit has shown high performance aerodynamics working in conjunction with rapid wick capability, moisture on your skins passes up through the material and is dispersed and evaporated very quickly.

Transition times are minimal through the full front zipper system which can also be used for body temperature regulation.

A very innovative feature is the Tri-KISS Seat padding, this is built into the suit to provide supportive comfort, and cancel out major chaffing problems while on the saddle, the padded material is ultra thin and you wont be distracted by any noticeable feelings from it while you are running.

As with most Tri-suits, you get the strategically built in rear pockets in which you can carry your choice of energy foods.

A great durable, comfortable piece of triathlon kit and it comes with a full year warranty.

Cost.

The price level is reflected in the quality, fit, comfort and performance, a good investment.
Pros

Velocity Mesh.

Tri-quality chamios

Rapid Dry out qualities

SpeedFreak fabric

SpeedFabric-Instadry

Good anti skin chafe tech

Cons

Zip systems are great innovations but always be careful not to over exert the functionalities, controlled manipulation is best.

 

 2XU Project X Tri Suit - Men's

Welcome to the Sugoi ( Men's) RS - Tri Speedsuit, streamlined clothing tech especially for triathletes.

Focus on the challenges thrown at you during the race and stay confident that this suit will perform to your expectations.

Ultra-Aero-Fabric which means it's  a very innovative combination of fabrics giving very good support, protection from the sun and super fast drying capabilities.

Whatever the environment has in store for you, no matter how far your going this suit will be your reliable partner for ensuring and enhancing your performance.
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Comfort and Performance.

Starting with the sleeves, you get the technical and thoughtful implementation of Ultra-Aero fabric to ensure a streamlining effect and fit, you will cut through the air like a whip while all hems are secured through built in grippers which hold comfortably without creating a feel of being restricted or none flexible.

Too the back placed to ensure aerodynamic consistency, fitted hydrodynamic suit pockets ensure no air-flow drag factor.

Triple-Dense padding gives much appreciated comfort while totally reducing and bulky build up in the material and this is achieved through the popular tried and tested Tri-Lite Chamios.

As far as moisture management is concerned, no worries at all because the blended materials are well known to ensure quick dry out and comfort and this is achieved through a mix of 29% spandex blended with 71% nylon, moisture cannot retain a hold, it has to evaporate and to ensure this the suit is Dry-Rech C6 treated.

The full front zip system allows for super fast transition and the overall fit of the suit is comfortable and secure while still giving plenty of flexibility as and when required, the suit is durable and comes strongly recommended for tri-athletes, the maker gives a 30 day warranty.

Cost

The suit gives performance, comfort and durability and the price tag is affordable.
Pros

Ultra-Aero fabric

Effective streamlining

Durable and comfortable

Very good moisture control.

Cons

Take care during transitions, don't over tug the zip, work it comfortably.

   Louis Garneau Course LGneer Triathlon Skin Suit - Men's

Take into account the input into the creation of this suit from Alphamantis whom are well known for Aero engineering.

Louis Garneau state this model is an improvement on their previous version which was up there at the top for best suits for Triathlon. When a brand tests their products in a wind tunnel to produce the best possible aerodynamics to try and give you extra speed and performance, we need to give them serious credibility.

Read our "in-depth"  review and judge for yourself if this suit is going to become part of your Triathlon kit along with your best running shoes.
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Comfort and Performance.

Lets start with the claim, the suit saved around one second for each kilometer traveled when it was tested in a wind tunnel and this was a result of grabbing every available of watt energy given over through aerodynamic streamlining. Some of the best triathletes in the world make this their choice to wear, personally I say that the evidence has a lot of substantiation.

We want the same responsive performance as we expect from all our triathlon kit.

Leading Tri-athelets choose the LGneer Tri-skin suit because it comes up to perform at a standard required from them and provides rewarding advantages which are comparative for performance. The harder you work the better the suit performs and that really is a very nice trade-off.

The suit is what I call form-fit,  meaning that you put it on and it shapes itself comfortably to the contours of your body, you can move and do not feel your flexibility is slowed down.

Push yourself as hard as you can and comfort emanates from the core of the suit via the 5-Motion chamois inbuilt clothing technology.

The dense foam system with high memory characteristics engineered via "Beveled-Edge-Molding" serves so well to bring down suit performance inconsistencies. This results in high performance not only within the suit structure but very much so on the surface, the point of resistant contact with water or air flow, this could well result in a faster speed over distances.

The suit design incorporates 3D wing shapes which hold back pressure, preventing pinch and enhancing posture stability, if you sweat, multiple perforations prevent the sweat building up, moisture dispersion takes effect, the suit retains dryness and you wont get painful distracting skin irritation.

The fabrics used in making the suit are a blend of fabrics which improve aerodynamic performance, for those interested in this blending of innovative clothing tech you get, CB-Lazer Rev, CB Mondo-RF, Grid 70-Air and CB-M-2 all technically engineered into a conjunctive performance level.

Your blood flow is taken into account and enhanced through the strategic placing into the suit of different thickness compression zones, better blood circulation allows the use of more energy at a time when other competitors might be flagging, another benefit which can give you those vital faster performance seconds.

For protection from the sun we see the fabrics have been subjected to the coldblack treatment so that the dark paneling can reflect rather than absorb heat from the sun, this is very good protection from UV rays.

To top off the many innovative features, the full front zip system allows you to take control of your temperature level if you feel you are heating up too much, through adjusting the zip you can further regulate your temperature through controlling airflow into the suit.

You even get a discrete front panel for times when you might need to answer the call of nature and you also get rear pockets for carrying food or/and media devices.

The suit is impressive and a comfortable recommendation for all tri-athletes to try it out and there is a one year warranty.

Cost.

You may well pay more than you would for a standard suit but as we all know, the more you pay the more you get. The price is not so high as to be not affordable when you compare the cost to what you get in return.
Pros

Alphamantis and Louis Garneau Innovative clothing tech

Coldblack treatment

CB-Lazer Rev, CB Mondo-RF, Grid 70-Air and CB-M-2

3D wing shapes suit construction

LGneer Tri-skin suit design

5Motion chamois

Aerodynamics, durability, comfort, flexibility

Very good Dry Out ability.

Cons

Some athletes felt the investment though good, it's a little bit high.


Our Criteria for 10 Best Tri Suits for Triathletes

evaluation concept

We wanted the best for you as we understand how much you trust and rely upon runnerclick reviews.

Performance, durability, and cost comfort are the most important points which we reviewed.

When comparing the different tri suits we looked very closely at  fabrics, we wanted to know what beneficial properties were engineered into the fabrics for the purpose of enabling or even enhancing your personal performance?

We looked at Form Fit, to ascertain that though you get a snug fit, do you still get the needed flexibility for your body, especially while swimming, cycling and running?

Do the tri suit designs factor in the different conditions under which the suit performs for swimming, running and cycling? Running postures are very different from swimming and cycling, does the suit allow for this?

Moisture wicking and the ability to dispel large quantities of liquid were a very important factor, having swam in a suit, can you be comfortable knowing that it will rapidly dry out while you cycle and not hinder your performance?

Featuring very high was the aerodynamic performance of the suit, we found that designers had been ingenious, incorporating innovative thinking into the construction of suits to increase the aerodynamic qualities and give the contestants more speed, vital extra seconds which would clock up over long distances.

Carrying nutrition was very important, the triathlon events are grueling and the need to conveniently carry nutritious energy giving food is a must.

For comfort and protection we even looked at anti chaffing qualities built into the suit, protection from the sun and protection from friction.

We wanted to know how light and durable the suits are? When fitted with zip systems were the zip systems durable? We found as with all zip systems, they work great but the user must not over exert pressure when zipping as damage can occur, especially during a frantic fast transition moment.

Diagram of a seesaw showing benefit and cost

Cost was a factor and we found the cost theme remains constant, the more you pay the better you get.

 

Something Else To Think About

So there you have it, our top five best tri suits for triathletes. Above all else our advice would be to not settle until you’ve found one that fits perfectly, and we really do mean perfectly. The last thing you want is to hamstring yourself (in an already difficult task) with gear that doesn’t quite do it for you. For a little bit more information on Tri Suits versus Wetsuits read on.

 

Tri Suits versus Wetsuits

Image result for tri suitVersus Logo. VS Vector Letters Illustration. Competition Icon. Fight Symbol.Confident man with short hair wearing wetsuit. Kite surfer.

To some extent whether or not you go for a tri suit or a wet suit will be down to the the rules and regulations of the particular race you are competing in. But beyond that personal preference comes into play quite a bit.

 

 

Tri Suits: If you can get away with using one by all means go for it. The simplicity of not changing at all throughout the course of the race is a huge bonus. Then again in some situations you absolutely need a wetsuit and the benefit they entail. So just make sure know the conditions and rules well before and plan accordingly.

Wet Suits: A wetsuit is generally made from neoprene material,  is buoyant, and helps keep you warm. A tri suit is not buoyant at all. Wetsuits also come in different styles and variations, you want to get one that is geared for triathletes specially if possible.

If the triathlon you are participating in is in open water and that water is predicted to be at all cold, a wet suit is going to help. Wetsuits are also very beneficial to weaker swimmers. So if you’re just starting out or swimming isn’t your strongest point, there can be a real advantage to the wetsuit. Often times triathletes (by the nature of their training) don’t have tons of body fat, this can mean you get colder in the water faster than average so the wetsuit can provide additional benefit there.

The bottom line is know your conditions, know your body, understand the rules and from that point deciding whether to go for a tri suit or full wetsuit is relatively easy.

 

FAQ

Q: Are wet suits better than Tri suits?

A: This is fast becoming a hot topic as the performance of Tri suits continue to go up. There are now Tri suits which can be used for the swimming events and kept on for cycling and running. Are they better than wet suits? In the short term they perform equally well but could not perform a wet suit functions over very prolonged periods of time.

Q: In my last Triathlon event I had serious problems with skin chaffing (Read runnerclick), even though I thought I had purchased a good Tri suit, why?

A:  Research and read reviews, especially here on runnerclick, chase down a Tri suit which specifically states it has very good anti skin chaffing qualities.

Q: In my last competition, I swam, rode and ran and afterwards I had a skin infection? Read runnerclick review for help.

A: This might be for a variety of reasons however, it is a good idea to choose a Tri suit brand that has very good wick factor  capabilities and which has engineered anti bacterial qualities into the suit. The combination of swimming, sweating and heat along with friction on the skin can be a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

Q: I want to go for speed, how can I gain those extra seconds more to get ahead of my competitors?

A: Two key factors here for you. Choose a suit which allows you to transition very quickly and also has very good aerodynamic features.

Q: As crazy as it sounds, I lost valuable time answering the call of nature, why are Tri suits so tricky for this need?

A: It’s not crazy, a few Tri suit designers are very aware of this problem and have started to design suits with easy movable panels for that very purpose. Read runner click reviews to find your best choice.


 

Check out a few of our sources:

Sources

  1. Zone3, Choosing A Tri Suit – Things To Consider, Triathlon products,
  2. Active.com, Triathlon 101: Tri Suit or Wetsuit?, Fitness publication,
  3. Intelligent Triathlon Training, Triathlon Gear: Make The Right Choices, Triathlon Training Information,
  4. Triathlete.com, How To Choose The Right Wetsuit For You, Triathlon Information,
  5. TriGirl, What To Wear In Triathlon,
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