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If you’re looking for the best wetsuit for beginner triathletes, you’ve come to the right place! For a long time, opting for a rental wetsuit was the most popular option for those novice to triathlons. This gear was often a costly investment, and hard for some to justify spending the money on something they’ll be using only occasionally. Fortunately, with the sport gaining popularity over the years, manufacturers have made purchasing a wetsuit of your own a much more feasible option.
Today you’ll find a market flooded with entry-level and affordable wetsuits for beginners. But how will you know the right one to buy? To make your shopping experience for a wetsuit simple and convenient, we’ve gathered a guide to help find the perfect option for your needs. Along with 5 of the best products on the market today, you'll also find key features to search for in a wetsuit as a beginner triathlete.
Here are some key features to search for when choosing the right wetsuit for you:
Buying Guide: Tips for Choosing a Triathlon Wetsuit
Often constructed to keep the user warm in cold water, wetsuits are a piece of safety equipment used by ocean lovers of all kinds. Important pieces of gear, wetsuits are designed to enhance a swimmer’s performance in the water by increasing the following factors:
While no wetsuit can keep your body entirely dry, this gear is often made of insulating materials like neoprene, and durable construction, to help retain heat and keep your body warm in cold water. They come in a variety of thicknesses to best suit the temperature of the water, and a variety of sizes for a snug fit.
Because of the materials used, wetsuits provide buoyancy in the water- giving you extra lift to stay afloat. This allows for smaller movements while swimming and the ability to better focus on the task at hand: moving through the water efficiently.
A quality wetsuit, especially for use in a triathlon, will streamline your body to enhance your hydrodynamics in the water. This will not only decrease time spent fighting the waves, but will also conserve energy for later on in the event.
If your body is spending less time fighting cold temperatures, drag, and your weight in the water, it will conserve more energy than it otherwise would. Because a triathlon features more than swimming, it’s important to conserve as much energy for later use as possible.
Here are several key features to search for when investing in a quality wetsuit for your first triathlon:
The best triathlon wetsuit available on the market will only work well if the fit to your body is snug and comfortable. Finding the correct size is important to maintaining warmth and energy on the water, as well as enhancing buoyancy and speed. Although most reputable companies will provide a sizing guide, there are going to be sizing discrepancies if you consider the brand and your particular needs.
To remedy time wasted while exchanging a product, take the time to research the brand you’re interested in purchasing from, and be particular about which you choose to invest in. If you have the opportunity, try the wetsuit on before purchasing it to get a true feel for the fit. Additionally, choose to work with a company who offers exchanges to find the best fit for your needs.
Aside from choosing between a full fit or sleeveless design, you’ll want to make sure that your wetsuit fits well to keep you safe and comfortable while competing in a triathlon. The proper fit will conserve energy during a triathlon, giving you more energy to compete at later events and better support your energy throughout the day. Additionally, a well-fit wetsuit will enhance speed and buoyancy in the water, which is ideal for triathlon competitors.
To find the best option for you, a wetsuit fit should:
- Be snug but not uncomfortable
- Be free from folds or excess material
- Allow for shoulder mobility
- Have a comfortable neckline
- Be snug around arms and legs to prevent water leakage
- Feature quality zippers for ease in use
The zippers should make taking the suit on and off quick and easy, and the neckline should be breathable and comfortable. You should have shoulder flexibility while wearing the wetsuit, and the arms and legs should fit snugly to prevent water from entering. This gear should be snug and comfortable, without restricting movement or circulation in the body. It’s important to take the time finding the best fit for your body to ensure your confidence at the competition.
Wetsuits are often designed using neoprene blends, each composed uniquely depending on the company. The construction often meets the requirements for different levels of triathletes, and is ‘hydrophobic’- or water repelling. These design features ensure the exterior of these suits move quickly and easily through the water, and that they fit the body tightly.
Additionally, the neoprene material offers buoyancy in the water. Different sections of the suit often feature different thicknesses- designed for warmth and ultimate float in the water. For example, many beginner triathlete wetsuits have 1.5 to 2 mm of material around the chest and arms, and 3 mm around the legs. The suits are designed this way to help support swimmers at the water surface in a more appropriate position for swimming.
Furthermore, wetsuit materials act as insulation in cold water to retain heat to the body.
The style of your wetsuit should reflect your needs in the water. Some wetsuit styles are better suited to your needs as a beginner triathlete than others, so take the time to understand your goals on the water before choosing which product is right for you.
You’ll need to choose between a full sleeved option, or a sleeveless version- each featuring their advantages and disadvantages. Long sleeved wetsuits provide more warmth and buoyancy in cold water, but are also more restricting to shoulders. Short sleeved styles are ideal for swimming in warm water without restriction, and with plenty of shoulder flexibility. Additionally, you’ll need to choose the leg length and thickness of the material.
The wetsuit you choose should be constructed using uniform seams that lay flat to your skin during use. Poorly made seams will reduce the longevity and durability of the wetsuit, as well as its ability to prevent water leakage and retain warmth.
Quality and durable wetsuits feature well produced and reinforced seams to increase the life of the gear, and ensure comfort and safety while wearing. Many experts recommend that the first thing you should look for when shopping for a triathlete wetsuit is the seam construction.
Zippers are a crucially important feature of the wetsuit you choose for your triathlon, and should be inspected carefully before purchase. Proper construction of zippers in the wetsuit is essential for a seamless fit, and to prevent water from leaking inside.
Additionally, a zipper that moves up and down freely along the track is a big benefit for ease in changing in and out of the suit. Without this security, a zipper without enough closure can come loose in strong waters, or even worse- break during use. This is why it’s important to inspect the zippers of the wetsuit you’re interested in purchasing to make sure they’ll withstand the elements of the environment you’ll be swimming in your triathlon.
Ideally, a wetsuit should make your swimming experience require less effort and more comfortable. For example, a wetsuit designed for cold-water is best suited for retaining heat and keeping the body warm in cool environments. On the other hand, a thin neoprene option in a sleeveless style will work to keep your body cool and flexible in warmer waters.
To make sure that you’re comfortable and safe in the water, opt for the appropriate wetsuit for your needs.
Best Wetsuits for Beginner Triathletes
1. Synergy Triathlon Men’s Trisuit
The Synergy Trisuit is a wetsuit designed to give you the ability to go everywhere and anywhere with minimal transition time. From swimming, to cycling, this wetsuit has the versatility to suit the needs of a beginner triathlete. It repels water, offering increased speed in the water, and it allows for optimal breathability during running and cycling for comfort and efficiency throughout the competition. .
This wetsuit is made from advanced semi-compression materials, including nylon spandex, to help you perform at your peak. It also allows for ultimate comfort and breathability while competing. Featuring plenty of shoulder and leg flexibility, and neoprene coverage where you need warmth most, this ¾ mm wetsuit provides just what you’ll need for warmer competitions. . Additionally, the advanced NeoGel pad with anti-microbial fleece will keep you comfortable during use while giving you the right support needed while cycling. This pad makes the wetsuit best suited for long distance races..
For such an intense sporting event, you’ll want a wetsuit which is both comfortable and flexible. After all, you’ll have enough to focus on during the event; the last thing you need is your wetsuit working against you.
This particular product was designed with your comfort in mind, featuring a ¾ adjustable zipper and large arm holes to prevent chafing. It’s highly rated and reviewed by many happy users, and a great option for your triathlon needs.
2. Pearl Izumi Women’s Select Pursuit Tri Suit
The Pearl Izumi trisuit is an ideal option for value, fit and durability. Not only does this well-designed wetsuit have a comfortable and flexible fit for use throughout the triathlon, but it’s durability and fit will give you one less thing to worry about while competing. . Ideally, your suit should have a snug but not constricting fit if you expect to move through the water with ease. Yes, your wetsuit fit should be tight, but not restricting movement or circulation. Make sure you’re able to breathe normally while wearing the gear, and get comfortable with it’s fit before the competition.
This particular wetsuit is designed using select-transfer dry fabric, which sets the benchmark for compression and moisture transfer. It also has flat lock seams which will provide you with superior abrasion resistance and prevent chafing. Additionally, this wetsuit construction features a 10” quality zipper to provide you with ventilation and security during use.
For added comfort, this product comes with a separate bra and top for the user, which makes it easy to wear and remove. These tri-suits come in a variety of designs from full-body, to pants and tops, and more.
3. SLS3 Triathlon Men’s FX Top
The timeless and quality design of the SLS3 top designed for men is ideal for triathlon beginners. Wetsuits come in a variety of designs and styles, but you’ll appreciate so much more about this wetsuit than the way it looks.
Functionality should be at the top of your priority list as a beginner triathlete, and the functional design of this wetsuit is sure to impress. The top is made of ultra lightweight nylon/spandex which wicks sweat away from the body, and ensures it evaporates quickly keeping you cool and dry. This product is ideal for racing and bike rides because it won’t hamper movement in or out of the water.
Because of the longer cut, this wetsuit will cover your lower back perfectly even in the aero position on the bike. It has a full-length zipper which will provide you with great ventilation and breathability. This will also make taking it on and off a breeze. Furthermore, the design features shoulder mesh pads which provide you with ventilation throughout the competition, and keep your body cool on the warmest days.
Featuring 3 back pockets, there is plenty of room to store snacks, valuables or anything else you may need on the go. This is especially important for beginners who need sustenance throughout a triathlon.
4. Zoot Wave 1 Wetsuit
The Zoot Wave 1 wetsuit is designed to be as flexible and comfortable as possible, which means that wearers don’t have to worry about feeling restricted during use. This is great for anyone who wants to have a full range of motion in arms and legs while swimming, and doesn’t want to sacrifice movement for style or protection.
Aside from the impressive flexibility and movement you’ll find with this wetsuit, it’s also made from 5 mm neoprene, which offers plenty of buoyancy in the water. This is great for those who tend to lose their form when they are tired, and for those who need additional support in the water to ensure that they stay afloat. This additional buoyancy helps to lift the legs for correct kicking position while swimming.
Designed with the help of cutting-edge technology, this wetsuit is not only efficient and attractive, but comfortable. The glue and blind stitching on the suit prevents any rubbing or chafing on skin, and also ensures that there isn’t any water leakage into the suit. Only quality YKK zippers are used in this model, which means that they will last for many adventures to come.
Thanks to the secure and snug double neck closure, you never have to worry about water entering the suit from around the neck. Additionally, the chest and thighs are covered with a super composite skin. This is an impressive and hydrodynamic coating that easily reduces friction so that you can glide effortlessly through the water while wearing the suit.
5. ORCA Men's S5 Full Sleeve
The full sleeve design of the ORCA wetsuit offers ultimate coverage and protection in the water without sacrificing speed or agility. This is thanks to the use of 2 mm neoprene on the arms and shoulders, which is durable and strong, but still offers great flexibility in the water. The use of this material allows for full range of motion while swimming, while also enhancing warmth and buoyancy in the water.
The leg panels are speed transition panels, which were added to the design to aid wearers in quickly taking off this suit. This allows for incredibly fast transition times, which is great for anyone, but especially useful for beginner triathletes. Additionally, the tight fit around the ankles and the wrists ensures that water doesn’t enter the suit from these locations.
Since there isn’t a front seam on this suit, you never have to worry about how flexible the suit is or whether or not you will be hindered when swimming through the water. The front of the suit boasts a yamamoto 39-cell neoprene that is 3 mm to 4 mm, designed to offer buoyancy and help wearers slip and move effortlessly through the water.
The back of the suit is equally as impressive and features 3 mm neoprene smooth skin. This design allows a reduction in any friction that you may experience when swimming. This also offers exceptional thermal protection, which is great for swimming in colder water when you’ll need more warmth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I wear a wetsuit for my first triathlon?
Open water swims require the use of a triathlon wetsuit, and are often mandatory. You have the choice between styles, from trisuits, to separate tops and shorts. You’ll also likely need a neoprene skull cap, swim shoes, and a pair of quality gloves, especially for cold water competitions.
The use of wetsuits and other swim gear is both for safety and comfort. Not only is it important to keep comfort a high priority throughout the day during a triathlon, but this gear also plays an important role in safety. Wetsuits enhance buoyancy in the water and increase hydrodynamics, making optimal conditions for efficient swimming. Additionally, for these reasons, wearing a wetsuit will help you to conserve energy- which becomes highly important during a triathlon.
What should a beginner wear for a triathlon?
During the competition, whether you’re advanced or a novice to triathlons, there are essential pieces of gear you’ll need to participate safely. Here is a list of gear you’ll need for your first triathlon:
- Quality wetsuit
- Swim Cap
- Swim Gloves
- Racing Belt
- Swim shoes
- Moisture-Wicking Socks
- Bike helmet
- Running Shoes
- Elastic Laces
How tight should a wetsuit be for swimming?
A proper wetsuit fit needs to be snug, but comfortable. It should fit tight around the neck, arms, and legs, without restricting movement or circulation. The fit of your wetsuit is crucial to your safety and comfort on the water, especially while competing in a triathlon. A good-fitting suit will help conserve your energy throughout the competition, and enhance your speed and buoyancy in the water.
A wetsuit should fit:
- snug and comfortably
- be free from folds or excess material
- allow for shoulder mobility
- comfortably around the neckline
- snug around the arms and legs to prevent leakage
- feature quality zippers for security and ease in use
What wetsuit should I buy for my first triathlon?
Wetsuits come in a variety of different styles, from sleeveless options, to full-sleeved versions. The style you choose should reflect your needs in the water, so take the time to understand your goals before choosing the right wetsuit for you. Long sleeved wetsuits offer warmth and buoyancy in the water, but can be more restricting to arms and shoulders. Short sleeved options, on the other hand, are ideal for swimming without shoulder restriction, but offer little protection and warmth for extremities.
Choosing the right wetsuit for your needs on the water is essential, especially when you’re a beginner triathlete ready to compete! Now it’s time to dive in and invest in the option that’s best for you. Of our top 5 wetsuits for triathlon beginners, the SLS3 Triathlon Men’s Top may best suit your needs in the competition. For a race where feeling hot and sweating is the order of the day, a wetsuit which provides you with ultimate ventilation is crucial for keeping comfortable and to prevent overheating. And this top gives you just that.
Firstly, the super light material used in the design wicks away sweat, and the shoulder mesh pads offer additional comfort. Furthermore, it features 3 pockets for easy storage and convenience. Choosing this suit will result in a comfortable racing experience, both in and out of the water.
Are you an athlete planning to compete as a beginner in a triathlon? Did this guide help you to decide which gear is right for you? We enjoy hearing from our readers- tell us about it in the comment section below!
Megan Jones is the lead author of Seaside Planet. She is an avid surfer, scuba diver, and travel enthusiast who takes any opportunity she can to spend time in the ocean. You can learn more about Meg and the rest of the editorial team here.