Whether you're getting into triathlon or open-water swimming, a quality wetsuit is an important piece of gear to help you get the most out of your sport. How? Here are a few benefits of investing in a good swimming wetsuit:
- Swimming wetsuits are designed with smooth-gliding neoprene which helps minimize drag in the water.
- Depending on the thickness, most wetsuits provide a thermal regulating barrier that can keep you warmer in cold waters.
- The neoprene also adds floatation to the wetsuit, helping improve buoyancy and allowing swimmers to stay streamlined easier.
- Triathlon wetsuits in particular are designed with specific cuffs and zipper systems for easy removal.
- Some swimming wetsuits have displaced paneling designs with greater thickness in the sides, torso, and upper thighs to encourage natural rotation during a freestyle stroke.
Depending on how well-crafted a wetsuit is - both in terms of material quality and engineering - the price tag will range dramatically between one hundred to one thousand dollars for a suit. The spectrum of quality is vast, so it's smart to stick with a trusted brand, like the recommendations below.
Best Triathlon Wetsuits & Brand Names
If you're in the market, here are a few high-quality, triathlon-friendly swimming wetsuits to consider. See more swimming wetsuit options by visiting BetterTriathlete.com, the photo credit for this post.
1. Zone3 Vanquish Swimming Wetsuit
The Zone3 Vanquish is a proper swimming wetsuit for serious swimmers and triathletes who want one of the fastest options to give them a competitive edge. Made with ultra-thin 0.3mm Yamamoto BRS SCS neoprene, the Vanquish is very flexible, and lightweight, but is also surprisingly buoyant, allowing athletes to easily cut through the water.
For triathlon, the Vanquish is also designed with "Pro Speed Cuffs" from Zone3 which enables easy removal when going from swimming to cycling in the first transition. Designed to maximize speed and reduces excess fatigue to stay streamlined, the SCS nano-coating helps to reduce drag and increases efficiency, providing a fantastic design for triathletes. And despite being relatively thin compared to most swimming wetsuits, the Zone3 Vanquish is fairly warm and protective.
2. Blueseventy Reaction Swimming Wetsuit
Like most swimming wetsuits from Blueseventy, the Reaction model was recently upgraded with a slightly thinner neoprene around the upper body and shoulders. This provides greater mobility for freestyle swimming. Blueseventy also designed the torso with displaced neoprene thickness paneling to facilitate natural body rotation and improved buoyancy.
3. TYR Hurricane Cat 1 Swim Wetsuit
As a more affordable option, the TYR Hurricane Cat 1 is a popular swimming wetsuit in the triathlon space. It's crafted with high-quality neoprene and is well-reviewed for its highly-comfortable fit around the neck and shoulders, allowing swimmers to move more freely with less restriction.
The Hurricane Cat 1 from TYR is very buoyant, which makes it an awesome option for beginners looking for a little extra lift in the water. In turn, it's also a fantastic option in colder temperatures by providing ample thermal protection and keeping you warm. For triathlon and quick removal, the zippered back closure makes it a breeze to remove.
4. ORCA APEX Flex Swimming Wetsuit
The ORCA APEX Flex is an elite-caliber swimming wetsuit that's tailored for optimal speed, flexibility of movement, and exceptional comfort for long-distance swimming. Its neoprene thickness is only 0.5mm and is made with Yamamoto 40 technology. This material is some of the best for open-water swimmers and triathletes who obsess about every angle of performance.
Additionally, the neoprene is layered with a comfortable wetsuit lining that has a titanium coating for better thermal regulation. So while thin, the ORCA APEX Flex does not compromise on warmth. It's not a cheap option, but it is one that will last many great years in some of the most competitive environments. See more at ORCA.com.
5. ROKA Maverick Pro II Triathlon Wetsuit
The ROKA Maverick Pro II is an upgraded version of the Maverick line from ROKA that's specifically designed for competitive triathletes and open-water swimmers. As one of ROKA's fastest and most comfortable swimming wetsuits, it's manufactured with high-end Yamamoto neoprene and slipstream SCS nano-coating.
The Maverick Pro II delivers more buoyancy compared to its older versions and offers the best in streamlined body position. It's also made with several freestyle-specific features that are patented technologies from ROKA, such as the RS2™ buoyancy profile that encourages natural body rotation and its ARMS-UP™ technology that provides unrestricted shoulder mobility.
Related Triathlon Reading
For related triathlon reading, see Better Triathlete's recent cycling posts on:
Stay tuned for more sports gear reviews from the Smarter Shopper blog.