In today’s triathlon wetsuit market there are so many suits to choose from that it can be difficult figuring out which suit is best for your specific needs. Here are some basic tips to help you narrow down the search for the perfect wetsuit.
First determine your needs: are you racing a long swim, a short swim, a cold water swim, a warm water swim but still need some extra warmth, will you be using the suit for other water activities, will you be using it for training, are you a serious racer or is this your first race and maybe your only race, and what is your budget?
If you are doing mainly long, cold water swims, you will definitely want to consider a long sleeve suit. Long sleeve suits are usually faster, more buoyant and have more insulation.
If you are doing mainly long, warm water swims, you should consider a sleeveless suit. If you are doing short, warm swims and may want to use your suit for other water activities, then a Quick John wetsuit is a great option.
Once you have narrowed it down to the right kind of suit, it is time to sort through the different brands and levels of suits.
You don’t have to pay $300, $400, even $500 to find a good quality suit. Here is what you want to look for:
- A good reputable brand with good reviews, a great track record and a strong warranty.
- You want a suit that only uses smoothskin neoprene
- You want 5mm chest and leg panels for maximum buoyancy
- You want 3mm in the lower legs and back for added flexibility
- You want 1.5mm in the arms, under the arms and in the shoulder panels for maximum flexibility
- If you can get an internal zipper, good power panel and a low mock neck then you are doing great!
- If you are an elite racer, you will be looking for a few upgrades like Aerodome material in the float panel for even greater buoyancy, silicone strips for maximizing the grip panel efficiency, chest panels that are balanced for elite performance by allowing for more flexibility and “pushing the T” positioning.
- If you are more of a beginner or an age grouper NOT looking for 10 – 30 seconds on your competition, then you still want to make sure you get a quality suit.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. What size, brand, model would be best? Your triathlon customer service representative can help you choose the best suit for you, at the right price for you.
- Once you’ve found the perfect suit, get out there and have some fun!