The Best Tri Suits to Take You Through Each Journey of A Triathlon
You love running, but lately, you’ve had a desire to become a triple threat. If you’re thinking about adding a triathlon to your list of accomplishments, you’re going to need the proper gear.
This guide will help you find the best tri suits on the market, so you’ll be able to pick one that suits your needs perfectly.
Quick Look: Our Top Picks
What Is a Tri Suit?
If you’re still in the early stages of weighing whether or not to participate in a triathlon, you may not know what a tri suit is. It’s one outfit you can wear throughout the whole triathlon.
While some athletes opt to change into different clothes for each leg of their journey, others don’t want to take that long at the transitions between swimming, biking, and running.
After spending months on your training, you don’t want to lose precious minutes changing from one outfit to the next while you’re competing. You can save the costume changes for Beyonce -- finding a quality tri suit will eliminate the need to stress over your wardrobe for each part of the triathlon.
While they may not be the most flattering outfits in the world and you’ll never wear them outside of training and competition day, you should still spring for one. Tri suits are your best bet at finding an all-around outfit that can stand up to the rigors of biking, swimming, and running.
What Should I Look For in a Tri Suit?
There are several factors you’ll have to think about before splurging on a tri suit. Here are some of the key things you should consider.
Size: You’ll need to carefully calculate your size before you buy a tri suit. Some brands run much smaller than others do, even though the size may be identical on the tag. You don’t want something that’s so tight that you’ll feel uncomfortable for the hours it takes you to complete your triathlon, but you don’t want anything too baggy either.
Do you want a one piece or a two piece: You can get them either way, and there is no right or wrong selection. You should go with whatever makes you feel the most comfortable.
How strong the leg grips are: You’ll want leg grips that stay in place while you’re training and competing.
Chafing: Your triathlon will take you hours to complete. That’s far too long to put up with chafing, so you’ll need to choose fabrics and stitching carefully. Look for flat stitches because those won’t be as irritating.
Quick dry: You’re going to be spending a lot of time in the water, so you’ll want to find something that dries quickly after the swimming portion of your triathlon. You’ll feel more comfortable and you’ll be able to concentrate better on what you’re doing.
Do you want sleeves: Again, this comes down to personal preference, but you’ll have to decide that before you buy a suit. Some athletes like the added sun protection of having short sleeves on their tri suits so their shoulders won’t be exposed to the sun.
Breathability: That swim you take won’t be enough to keep you cool for your whole triathlon. You’ll need a suit that allows air to circulate to help keep you from feeling overheated.
Pockets: If you want pockets to keep your fuel in, you’ll have to make sure they are large enough for your needs. You’ll also want to check out how the pockets close to ensure that your fuel won’t fall out during your activities.
Pad: You’re going to be on your bike for a long time during your triathlon. You’ll want to make sure you have plenty of padding in your suit to make that leg of the journey as comfortable as it can be.
The zipper: You can get suits that have back zips or front zips, although front zips are far more common. The easiest one for you to do by yourself is obviously the front zip, so if you don’t have someone who’ll be around for your training and competition, you’ll want to go that route. You may also want the suit to have a zip guard so you don’t zip your skin in the process.
Compression: If your suit offers compression, you may find your muscles less sore and fatigued.
Looks: You aren’t looking for a tri suit because you think they look cool. Some will make you look like a comic book villain or hero, but other suits aren’t quite so cartoonish-looking.
Sun protection: Since you’ll be spending a lot of time outside as you train for your competition and on race day, you’ll want to consider how much sun protection your suit offers you. If you’re worried about your skin being damaged by the sun while you’re trying to exercise for your health, you can look for a suit that offers a high UPF rating.
The 5 Best Tri Suits
This suit is sleeveless and is a mix of black and bright colors to ensure that you’ll be highly visible in the water and on the road. It’s made of nylon and spandex.
It has mesh shoulder insets, which means you’ll get a little extra ventilation to keep you cool.
You’ll get some compression with this suit as well.
The back pocket has two openings, so you won’t have to fiddle with the pocket for too long in an attempt to grab your fuel.
The suit zips in the front, which is nice for when your race gets too hot or you want to get out of your suit in a hurry.
You’ll get nice foam-cushioned padding with this suit, which should help cut down on chafing and discomfort when bicycling. The padding is thin enough that it won’t be weighed down during the swim portion.
You won’t get zipper rash because the suit has inside coverage to protect you from the zipper rubbing against your body.
The sizes run small, so you’ll want to be aware of that if you buy this suit.
Some runners have had the zippers on these suits break during their training or on race day.
This men’s tri suit comes in three different colors, with a solid black lower half and a brightly-colored torso area. That will help with visibility when you’re in the water.
The pad is made with anti-microbial fleece.
You’ll get semi-compression in the leg area, which won’t be too restrictive or tight.
The leg gripper will stop the leg area from rolling or riding up.
It has flat-lock stitches, so you’ll reduce your risk of chafing.
The big armholes will also cut back on chafing.
You’ll have two mesh pockets in the back to store your fuel.
It repels water while you’re swimming, so you won’t feel so waterlogged when you get out.
This suit is breathable, so while you’re cycling and running, you’ll be able to stay cool.
The zipper is long enough that you’ll easily be able to get in and out of your suit.
This suit has a UPF rating of 50 plus, which athletes who want to minimize their sun exposure should appreciate.
The zipper doesn’t have a guard, so your skin may feel raw where the zipper rests on it.
The pockets in the back don’t zip, so you have to be careful about what you’re carrying in there.
You’ll get three colors to choose from with this tri suit, including two bright options for those who want to be noticed during their performance, as well as a plain black for those who want a more understated look.
This suit has dual hip holster pockets that will allow you to store any energy chews or gels you bring along with you.
The fabric dries quickly for added comfort.
It doesn’t come with a built-in bra, which means you’ll be able to use your favorite one instead of making do with what’s already there.
The legs have a good grip, so you shouldn’t have any ride-up issues.
The seams are designed to avoid chafing issues.
The pads are comfortable for biking without being too bulky.
It has a front zipper, so it’s easy to put on and take off.
There isn’t a size chart to go by.
The material is a little thinner than many other tri suits, which some women won’t find very flattering.
These suits fit like a second skin. If you find yourself between sizes, you should definitely size up because these are so form fitting.
This suit has a sizeable back pocket that measures 6” by 5”, so you’ll be able to stuff a lot of nutrition packs in there.
The zipper is located in the front and you can leave it partially unzipped during races for extra ventilation.
These suits offer some compression and the fabric stretches in every direction, ensuring a comfortable fit.
The pads use foam cushioning and won’t cause chafing during your bike ride portion.
The pads are slim enough that they won’t feel heavy after the swim portion of the race.
The short sleeves will give your shoulders extra protection from the sun.
Breathable mesh panels give more air circulation, so you’ll feel cooler as you race.
The material has issues with fraying, especially if you add a hydration belt on your waist.
The sleeves are shorter than some athletes may prefer, especially if they have broad shoulders.
If you’re a woman who is tired of only having two or three color choices when it comes to tri suits, you may want to check out this suit, which gives you eight color options.
It offers moisture-wicking which means you’ll stay dry, even when you’re sweating hard.
It offers just enough compression to be helpful, without making you feel like you’re wearing Spanx while you’re trying to run, bike, and swim.
This suit is antibacterial and breathable.
It has a comfort zipper, so you shouldn’t have any issues with your skin feeling raw from rubbing against the zipper.
It has a front zipper.
It has two back pockets for your fuel.
The suit has a band at the thigh to help it stay in place.
It has flatlock seams to help reduce chafing.
It has reflective material on the front, back, and bottom, so you’ll have extra visibility.
This suit has a UPF rating of 50, so it’ll offer great protection from the sun.
This brand is pricier than many other tri suits for women.
Depending on which color you order, the top is a bit sheer.
And the Winner Is …
The best tri suits will depend on your gender -- for women, our favorite is the Louis Garneau Pro Carbon suit and for men, we’d go with the SLS3 tri suit with sleeves.
The Louis Garneau suit gets a great UPF rating and that’s something you should pay attention to when you’re an athlete who spends a lot of time in the sun. The two back pockets for fuel and the comfort zipper are nice touches on this suit.
The sleeves on the SLS3 tri suit also offer good protection from the sun. The back pocket is large enough to meet your fuel needs.
The pads on this suit are nice too, as is the affordable price.