Home Gear The 5 Best Triathlon Wetsuits – A Definitive Guide for 2020

The 5 Best Triathlon Wetsuits – A Definitive Guide for 2020

by Joe Obringer

Selecting the best triathlon website can be confusing and overwhelming to the triathlon newbie. We review the top 5 triathlon wetsuits and top questions you should consider before buying a wetsuit.

You may think borrowing a surf wetsuit from your friend will be fine for a race, but actually having a fitting triathlon wetsuit would impact your triathlon performance strongly and make you more comfortable during the race. No matter you are the triathlon beginner, a poor or good swimmer, having a well fitted triathlon wetsuit assists your legs/chest/shoulders’ motion substantially. It also boosts your swimming speed and provides a greater buoyancy.

Top 5 Wetsuit Benefits

According to USAT Wetsuit guideline, if the temperature of the water is below 78 degrees, you are allowed to wear a triathlon wetsuit, even just a short distance race.

  • Thanks to its neoprene made from a rubber material, your body temperature is preserved to stay warm.
  • You do not have to consume much energy when wearing it.
  • Wearing it could enhance the swimming speed (10%). So, you have more time for transiting to a bike racing or running.
  • Decrease drag through the water.
  • Improve your swim thanks to its buoyancy features. By lifting up your head and leg higher than the water surface, you improve your ability to breath and increase your line of sight.

Obviously, you may not want to to invest in a wetsuit due to its high cost. It’s fine because you could rent it at many tri retailers.  Also, many open-water swim venues or swimming events allow you to try out a wide range of models for a quick swim. By this way, you could get what fits best before commit to buying.

Top 5 Best Triathlon Wetsuits

1. Best Overall Wetsuit – Neosport Triathlon 5/3mm Sleeveless (Price not available)

NeoSport Men's Triathlon Short Sleeveless Triathlon Wetsuit - 5mm Ultra Light Neoprene - Anatomical Fit, Superior Range of Motion and Competition Approved

If you’re looking for a triathlon wetsuit that improves buoyancy, range of motion, and decreases drag, this sleeveless joint wetsuit is the one. You’ll also will be impressed by its comfort and its skin-like material.

In addition to comfort, the suit provides extra buoyancy for your legs. It increases your stroke efficiency, plus gives you a better position in the water. It has a thick 5mm neoprene chest panel which maintains body heat and it’s arm seal prevents water penetrating into the wetsuit.

Pros

  • An impressive ultra-light neoprene material gives you a great feeling of softness and a snug fit.
  • The sleeveless wetsuit allows your forearm to move flexibly. As for 5MM neoprene on the chest panel, your body position in the water is properly regulated.
  • It reduces the water resistance and its 3MM back panel supports your range of motion.
  • A mid-calf leg opening decreases drag in the water.
  • Offers a bigger tooth zipper to easily zip up/down.
  • A bonus point is given for its adjustable neck collar.
  • A reasonable price which is around $100.

Cons

  • Some swimmers complain about its tight neckline.

2. Best Beginner Wetsuit – XTERRA Volt Full Suit 3/2mm ($149.00)

Xterra Wetsuits - Men's Volt Triathlon Wetsuit - Full Body Neoprene Wet Suit (3mm Thickness) (Small) | Designed for Open Water Swimming - Ironman & USAT Approved

This brilliant entry-level wetsuit is one of the triathletes’ favorites. It has a snug neckline which means there is no way the water could flush through it. Also, what makes it is well-known is the stretchy 3/2mm neoprene. With this wetsuit, a perfect combination of mobility and buoyancy is the main selling point.

Pros

  • Provides maximum flexibility thanks to its neoprene construction(3:2mm).
  • Its X-SLICE coat reduces water drag and help you swim faster.
  • Great applause for its eco-friendly neoprene which provides great buoyancy and flexibility.
  • A significant durability seam due to its double-blind stitching and three layers of glue.
  • Its 4D X_FLEX suit liner helps to retain its shape and fit. So, no need to worry about its durability.

Cons

  • Apart from few subjective complaints (etc. wrong size), there is no serious disappointment about it.

3. Best High Quality Wetsuit – Synergy Endorphin (Price not available)

Synergy Endorphin Men's Full Sleeve Triathlon Wetsuit (L2 19)

This triathlon wetsuit is specifically designed for both the newbie and the advanced. In fact, it’s is endorsed by many athletes and approved by Ironman.

Indeed, the Endorphin’s 5mm core buoyancy assists with buoyancy and reduces energy consumed when swimming. Meanwhile, its YKK zipper reduces drag and helps you move faster through the water. Many swimmers also appreciate it’s ultra-soft low-neck. Likewise, it’s 3mm back panel, 2mm arms and shoulders panels guarantee your wetsuit will be maintained in good form for a year.

Pros

  • Most of the swimmers appreciate a flexibility it brings as the same as the sleeveless.
  • The provided panels over the torso give you higher float on the water. So, it enhances an aerodynamic and lessens drag.
  • Offer a high-grade internal zipper could fight back a corrosion. Also, the zipper’s seam is hidden to give your back surface a graceful look.
  • Providing an adjustable Velcro closure at the neckline. Hence, you could custom it to fit snugly conveniently.
  • Your body heat is preserved thank to its soft inner liner. Also, it prevents chaffing at your elbows, knees or armpits.
  • Its heels are cut to deliver a greater transition between the different legs of the race.
  • A wide range of sizing (16 options) that is available for all shapes.

Cons

  • Not a suitable option if you are on a distance triathlon swimming race (10k).

4. Best Budget Wetsuit – Zoot Z Force ($169.99)

Zoot Sports Men's Z Force 1.0 Sl Wetzoot

One of the most important qualities of a triathlon wetsuit is it’s comfort during the swim. The Zoot Z Force offers great comfort and mobility during the swim (etc., restricted movement, reduced flexibility). The Zoot Z Force offers many great features like a reasonable neckline and well-craft blend of neoprene on legs and torso. Overall, the Zoot Z guarantees your performance efficiency, especially with its entry level price. That’s why this mid-range wetsuit is one of the best budget wetsuits on the market.

Pros

  • It’s SCS coated Yamamoto neoprene maintain your warmth in the water.
  • No more struggling with put on or take it off thanks to a back panel placed above the ankles.
  • You are provided a decent amount of buoyancy and restrictive -free panel shapes. By this way, your range of motion flexibility is enhanced, especially the shoulder areas.
  • It reduces drag through the water considerably. It means you could avoid any hindrance that affects your stroke movement.
  • With many listed great features, it offers a reasonable price.

Cons

  • It would be a bit heavier (4:3:5mm throughout) than other same range of wetsuit.

5. TYR Sport Hurricane Wetsuit (Price not available)

TYR Men's Hurricane Wetsuit Category 1, Black/White, Medium

The triathlon wetsuit reviews aim to encourage the experienced triathlon swimmer after having made a first impression with the newbie and progressing athletes successfully. Indeed, it’s neoprene thickness gives you a nice feeling and higher floatation in the water. Also, thanks to its impressive all-around buoyancy, you could kick flexible while moving your upper body freely.

As it helps you move through the water easily, you could swim faster and quickly transit to the bike racing, for instance. Besides, you easily put it on or take it off. By this way, you should not concern about a movement around the shoulder areas from these triathlon wetsuit reviews.

Pros

  • Your body temperature is preserved to be reasonably warm in the water thanks to it’ Yamamoto SCS material.
  • Providing a sufficient upper-body buoyancy thanks to an added 3mm panel on the chest. Whereas, its 4mm panels at hips and legs lift your lower body floating well.
  • Meanwhile, the arm panel is such a remarkable supple.
  • It is noticeable lightweight to wear during swimming.
  • Offering eye-catching colors for men (black/green) and women (black/cyan).
  • An amazing price-to-performance ratio ($164 at the current).

Cons

Its neck neoprene thickness (4mm) may make you sore after 1km stretch. However, it would be helpful to apply some lubricant on this place.

Frequently Asked Questions

Whats the Difference Between a Triathlon Wetsuit and other Wetsuits?

Now, you may wonder the differences between a triathlon wetsuit and a non-swimming wetsuit? In fact, it matters about how the wetsuit interacts with the water.

Usually, the non-swimming wetsuit (surfing, windsurfing, scuba diving, etc.) are know for its warmth and protection functions. By keeping the surrounding water close to your core body, the retained water is warmed up. However, you would feel heavy and slow when swimming with these kind of wetsuits.

Whereas a triathlon wetsuit has a unique and slick material called “hydrophobic” that would repel water and increase your speed through the water. This material is an exterior of your wetsuit’s neoprene. Importantly, this proprietary blend is designed varied from each manufacturers base on the certain of the athlete’s levels.

For example, the entry-level ‘s wetsuit has around 2mm around the chest/arms and 3mm of material around the legs. Its purpose is to support the triathletes floating in a right position.

Types of Triathlon Wetsuits

There are a long-sleeve, which gives you a full-body coverage, and a sleeveless/long john style which does not cover your arms. If you have the budget, you should buy both, otherwise, here are pros and cons to help you pick the right one.

Long-sleeve

Used for 50 – 75 degree water swimming temps.

Pros: As it has more rubber, it is more buoyant than other types. Surely, you would swim faster and easier because you could float higher in the water now. It reduces drag and boosts your swimming speed significantly.

Cons: Many athletes may overheat in this full suit in warmer water.

Sleeveless

You could wear it when the water temp is over 75 degree.

Pros: You make your entry and exit easily out of the sleeveless.

Cons: Water is flowing smoothly through your shoulder areas which result in a higher water’s force that drags you behind.

Notes:

Though the full suit reduces a real feel of water, many swimmers appreciate its speed increase function, lessen drag effect and floatation increase. Likewise, some others like the sleeveless because it brings them a great flexibility of motion. So, it all about your preference.

However, you need to look closer to its sizing. More specifically, the women’s triathlon wetsuit would have a wider hip area and less room in the crotch than the men’s.

How Should a Wetsuit Fit?

At first, you need to comprehend how to justify the triathlon wetsuit is the one for you. If it too tight, your movement is restricted and you will quickly become exhausted. On the other hand, the water will gush in and out and reduce your body heat if it too loose. Five criteria below could help you find out if the wetsuit fits well.

  • Your shoulder ‘s mobility could move freely and comfortably.
  • There is no excess material or folds.
  • When trying it on, you do not find it tighten your body.
  • Replace for the better snug neckline if it ties around your neck.
  • Not feel anything like it’s riding up in the crotch area.

What is Neoprene?

The swathes of neoprene are cut and bind varied from the manufacturers, make sure you test it out before purchasing.

  • Mesh neoprene: With one nylon usually laid on the chest and back panels, your triathlon wetsuit’s coat is powered to prevent you from suffering a wind chill.
  • Double lined neoprene: With this type, there would be two nylon lining on the inside and outside. It enhances to protect your body core from hypothermia. Apparently, you are given more safeguard when swimming in the low- temperature water.
  • Titanium lined neoprene: This type helps to improve your wetsuit’s thermal properties. It has been added to the majority of most current neoprene.

What Thickness Should I Get for my Wetsuit?

  • Less than 2mm: It is designed for the highly active athletes, especially in less thermal protection conditions like tropical environments (above 85 F).  Plus, with this neoprene thickness, you are granted a remarkable flexibility.
  • 3mm: You would want to this wetsuit thickness if you love to enjoy a high-energy activity in the summer. Indeed, it is designed for swimming in the water temp between 70-85F.
  • 3mm-5mm: This range of thickness is available for the round year activities, no matter you intend to swim in warm or cooler water (60-70 F). It provides a sufficient combination of neoprene thickness, you are given an warmth when underwater. However, it leads to less flexibility of your motion.

What Kind of Wetsuit Zipper Should I Get?

Does the wetsuit deliver a reasonable ease of exit? Could you dress on quickly? That explains why you need to consider the wetsuit zipper carefully.

  • Chest zip: You may get have trouble entering and exiting with this zip. However, it’s small position and entry could minimize water flowing through your wetsuit. Besides, it provides a consistent neckline seal which also prevents the water flushing through your neck. It’s more expensive than the back-zip suit.
  • Back zip: Back zip has been around for a long time, and you could easily get in and out of the wetsuit. It also requires less shoulder’s articulation motion.

Tips

To decide easily, you only need to follow your personal preference. If you favor the ease of access, then back zip would be a nice choice. Otherwise, go for the chest zip suit in case you appreciate how the water flushing is reduced.

What Are the Different Types of Wetsuit Seams?

  • Taped seams: A strong nylon cloth or tape is applied to join the seam and back up it’s waterproof. By this way, there is no water strap between you following the triathlon wetsuit reviews. However, due to a few holes left after stitching the wetsuit’s segments, the wetsuit’s insulation ability is reduced somehow. Regardless, this type of seam improves your wetsuit’s durability noticeably.
  • Glued & Blind Stitched: As for this type, it’s stitched seams are bind by glue to prevent water entering your wetsuit. Overall, it seems perfect for your range of motion flexibility. Also, you could wear it for a cold-water swimming.
  • Welded seams: Remarkably, there is no need to stitch to bind the wetsuit’s segments. Instead, they are bind by a combination of seam glue. It enhances your wetsuit’s strength and water tightness. And not only provides an extremely good flexibility and outstanding comfort but also this type of seam prevents water from penetrating to your wetsuit. Besides, you could feel relaxed as it is truly lightweight. Obviously, with many benefits offered, it’s price is relatively expensive among others on the market.
  • Flatlock stitched seams It is the most common steam stitching. It overlaps the neoprene panels by sewing them together with 6 threads and 4 needles. Evidently, your wetsuit is strengthened to be more durable and comfortable to wear. However, it would limit your motion’s flexibility. Also, some holes caused during the stitch may allow the cold water to move in your wetsuit. As a result, you should not wear it for the cold-water swimming.

How Much do Wetsuits Cost?

I’m sure you’re aware how pricey the wetsuit is. But to pick the right one with the right features hat correspond to the cost is hard. So, here are some facts you want to look over.

The entry-level long joint/sleeveless costs approximately $200.

The high-end suits cost at least $450.

As for the more expensive wetsuits, it provides more enhanced technical features to support you swimming faster. Also, an exterior coat could resist the water’s force. Hence, your body shape and forearms are well-positioned to “catch” the water. Moreover, the more you pay, the thinner wetsuit you get. That’s how you gain a greater movement and more delightful buoyancy.

3 Extra Tips you Should Keep in Mind when Choosing a Wetsuit

Warranty

Remember to consider how your wetsuit backed-up by the manufacturer. Look in to how long the warrant lasts and what kind of things it cover.

Importantly, you are able to preserve it according to triathlon wetsuit reviews for long-term used. Particularly, after exiting the water, you roll it from the ankles up into a tube and put in your bag. Seriously, remember to not fold it when it is wet. Also, when dry it at home, you need to hand it over a clothesline through its middle. By this way, you would not crumple it.

Features You Shouldn’t Worry About

As a matter of fact, you do not have to concern much about its aesthetic or additional features like more or fewer zippers, color panel, or neoprene’s extra. In fact, spend your time considering how the wetsuit fit you to determine whether it’s good for your swimming efficiency.
Also, almost all the shops would unhappily accept your return. So, make sure the purchased wetsuit is totally fit and make your swimming experience smoothly.

Questions You Need to Ask

Overall, you need to ask yourself beforehand about a proper fit intense, the construction, the warranty. Also, the triathlon wetsuit reviews clarify whether a top-end suit or an entry-level suit meet your needs. By drawing out all clear answers, you could make a reasonable purchase of triathlon-specific wetsuit.

Final word

When it comes to the best triathlon wetsuit, you should consider the full range of motion for your arms and legs, as well as buoyancy. Warmth and fit should also be your top priorities. As a matter of fact, picking between the full-sleeve or the sleeveless is just a matter of your preference. Have fun swimming!

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