Top 2017 Tech Suits Compared: The Expert Review
TOP 2017 TECH SUITS REVIEWED (all prices subject to change at any time)
2017 Men's Stitched Technical Suits - Jump to Reviews | Visit Category Page
Arena ST 2.0 - Gangloff Review | Product Page
FINIS Hydrospeed 2 - Gangloff Review | Product Page
HUUB Stitched Jammer - Gangloff Review | Product Page
Jaked J11 Water Zero - Gangloff Review | Product Page
Speedo Aquablade - Gangloff Review | Product Page
TYR Thresher - Gangloff Review | Product Page
2017 Women's Stitched Technical Suits - Jump to Reviews | Visit Category Page
Arena ST 2.0 - Stupp Review | Product Page
FINIS Hydrospeed 2 - Stupp Review | Product Page
HUUB Stitched Kneeskin - Stupp Review | Product Page
Jaked J11 Water Zero - Stupp Review | Product Page
Speedo Powerplus - Stupp Review | Product Page
TYR Thresher - Stupp Review | Product Page
I am glad to be back reviewing another group of suits for SwimOutlet.com this year – my fifth year of reviews! Most of you will recognize many of the manufacturers in this 2017 review and there may be a new suit or two that you have never seen before. As I have said previously, it is always better to have more companies offering top suits, because that means there are more options for you, the consumer.
This year’s review is a bit different from previous Tech Suit reviews because we are testing suits at a lower price point in the under $150 category and focusing on stitched suits. While these suits are not the ‘Lamborghinis’ of tech suits, I was pleasantly surprised at their performance. Most of the materials used in these suits have higher amount of nylon/polyamide, which gives them a little more stretch. Additionally, most of the panels of the suits are stitched rather than bonded or taped which makes the suit slightly less hydrodynamic.
Like previous reviews, I will have three main talking points about each suit broken into the following categories: 1) Size/Fit; 2) Materials; 3) Performance.
For those that have followed this suit review for the past couple of years you may notice something or someone is a little larger than he was before. For the past three months, I have been working hard in the weight room (I needed some new training goals) and I have actually gained about 10-15 pounds since my last review. I was a little nervous when receiving the suits (mostly size 28) that they would not fit correctly, but I was pleasantly surprised when putting them on because even though I gained a little bulk my suit size stayed the same.
Lastly, it is probably clear from past reviews that I generally prefer a highly compressive suit. The make-up of most of these suits does not allow for high compression. I think the manufacturers understand this and are catering to those that are looking for more comfort in a tech suit at a lower price point. When I list ‘lacks compression’ in the ‘cons’ section, I do not think it is a manufacturing mistake rather a design decision that is different from my personal preference. Here we go in alphabetical order with our 2017 Tech Suits under $150.
ARENA POWERSKIN ST 2.0 ($100)
Much like TYR, I have worn and reviewed many Arena suits over the years. They have consistently been some of the best performing suits on the market and I was excited to try the Arena Powerskin ST 2.0 as the next generation ST given the popularity of the original.
The ST 2.0 went on very well. Like several others in this review, this suit does not have the highest levels of compression, but it has great coverage. When swimming, all four strokes felt great in this suit. I did not feel any pulling around the leg holes or sliding around the hips. When adjusting the suit after initially putting it on, the suit stayed in place and had enough elasticity to move with my body as I swam
This suit is made of 71% nylon and 29% elastane. Like the others of this make up, it lacked some compression, but that is to be expected for the suits at this price point – especially when you’ve spent your career in highly compressive jammers like I have.
I liked the way this suit felt in the water. Like the others, it moved well through the four strokes without any additional pulling or moving of the suit.
Pros: Comfortable & great coverage
Cons: Lacks compression
FINIS has put out many great training products but has invested a lot in the last couple of years into their tech suit line. Read my review before purchasing, the sizing is a little different from the other suits reviewed here.
After speaking with one of the representatives at FINIS, he mentioned that the best way to choose my size is to use my practice suit size. For me, I wear a size 32 or 34 for a practice suit and a size 28 for my racing suit size, so I wore a size 34 for this review. I think I could have worn a size 32 but the 34 fit very well. This suit has good compression. The fabric within each panel stretches out quite a bit but because there are multiple panels that have been stitched together, the overall compression is higher than it would be if there were less panels. In this case, multiple panels gives better compression. This suit is a little short, so understand that it will hit a little higher on the thigh and a little lower on the hips.
This suit is made of 73% Nylon and 27% Spandex. Like I said in the previous section the fact that there are multiple panels, gives the elastic material more compression, because the smaller panels have less overall elasticity than if it was made with one large panel.
This suit performed well in the water. Of the suits reviewed, this is one of the more compressive suits but is a little short for me.
Pros: Decent compression, liked the paneling
Cons: Short & difficult to find the perfect size. Only available in black.
HUUB STITCHED JAMMER ($92.30)
HUUB is a brand that is completely new to me and I am guessing you as well. Typically known for their wet suits and sponsorship of triathlon athletes like the Rio men’s gold medalist Alistair Brownlee, HUUB has decide to dip their toes in the competition pool with this Stitched Jammer.
Of the suits in this review, this suit design more closely resembles some of the higher price point suits. Putting it on was more difficult because the material did not stretch quite as much and they had minimalist stitching compared to some of the other suits with bigger seams that you are used to seeing. The liner of this suit fits like a typical brief and was stitched to the inseam of the outer liner. When I spread my legs apart, I popped the stitch out and the liner was no longer attached. While I was scared I ripped the suit, it was not necessarily a problem because I was able to pull the outside shell up to be in contact with the liner. Luckily, when the stitch popped it did not damage the outer shell.
This suit looks to have the same makeup of the others in this review at 70% Nylon/30% Spandex but it feels a little more like a higher price point suit. It seem like this fabric was woven together tighter than the others. It has a thinner and more ‘papery’ feel to it – quite an impression for a brand looking to make a good first impression.
The fabric felt closer to a higher price point suit but there were a few product issues with the liner attaching to the outer shell in the crotch – so take a close look at that. Overall, this was a good suit.
Pros: Thinner tighter woven materials that make it feel like a high price point tech suit.
Cons: Possible durability issue with the liner and outer shell and it’s thin material that gives it that elite feel.
Jaked is a brand from Italy and I really enjoyed reviewing their last suit. I am glad to see that Jaked is making the investment in staying in the U.S. market because they put together some great products and SwimOutlet.com is one of their biggest retailers stateside.
Often times when a foreign manufacturer comes to a new market, the sizing is slightly different. That is the case with Jaked suits. Like my last review when I tested the pricier JKeel, I went down to a size 26 for the J11. This suit had some of the highest compression of the suits reviewed here, which is a plus in my book. That is due partially to the size being smaller, but also because the suit is cut tighter. The only part of the suit that felt a little too tight was around the leg holes. When I moved around in the water, the suit would slide down off my hips because the leg holes did not have any ‘give’ in them. As with many tech suits I have tested, when trying this suit a second time, it fit much better after it had formed to my body more. I really liked that aspect.
This suit is made of 80% polyamide and 20% elastane. Like most of the suits in this review, this suit has a lot of elasticity, but is comfortable to the touch. My criticism of the suit is more about the cut and less about the materials. I would put the materials of this suit on par with the others reviewed here so all around a quality job from the folks at Jaked.
It has some good compression and is comfortable. The leg holes were a little too tight for my body.
Pros: High compression for the lower price point suits
Cons: Leg holes a little tight – could it be my bulkier frame?
Many of you will remember the classic Speedo Aquablade – it’s been around for a while. I certainly had a few of them and swam very fast in those suits during my career. It was fun opening the box for the new Aquablade and seeing some of those same design features of the lines in this suit. I was excited to get in the pool with it because it seemed like an old familiar friend.
Like many other versions of Speedo suits, this suit fit very well. I had no problem getting into the suit and it had full coverage everywhere. This suit was the least compressive suit in this review, but I never felt like I had any extra material or drag as I was going through the water so the feel itself is spot on. The suit moved great with each stroke.
The liner of this suit is made of 90% polyester and 10% spandex. The outer shell of the suit is made of 80% polyester and 20% Lycra spandex. The make-up of this material makes the suit very soft and has a lot of elasticity. This is one of the most comfortable suits to wear in this review hands-down. There’s a lot to be said for that. Its subtle stripes are meant to create a channeling effect for less drag.
The Aquablade suit is an extremely comfortable suit that can be worn during a long weekend competition. When testing, I always felt like the suit was connected to me and moved well with my body. I prefer having higher levels of compression in a tech suit, but for those looking for an affordable and comfortable suit from a great brand like Speedo, this may be for you.
Pros: Took me back to one of my favorite suits of all time; comfortable
Cons: Lacks compression
I have worn many TYR suits in the past and have really enjoyed most of them. I was particularly excited with this suit because when I took it out of the box it reminded me of the suit I wore in 2004 at the Athens Olympics when TYR previously sponsored me (I promise to be unbiased). You will notice the different colored stitching that was part of the design features of my 2004 Olympic suit so it was a nice throwback to old times!
This suit went on easily and had great coverage everywhere. When I got in the pool, the suit moved well with my body through all of the strokes. The only downside is the lack of compression. As you know, I like my suits tight for high performance but a suit like this is not designed for that type of compression. I would feel great about having to wear this for a long meet or an open water swim. Or maybe I could have sized down but it the sizing seemed just right for me.
This suit is made of 71% nylon and 29% Lycra spandex. This make up give the suit a lot of elasticity and feels soft on your skin. A nice blend.
This suit was comfortable and moved well with my body as I went through all four strokes. As a matter of personal preference, I like more compression, but this is a very comfortable suit.
Pros: Great coverage & moves well.
Cons: Lacks compression for the size that I tried.
In this year’s tech suit review we will take a look at a completely different category of racing suits. The 2017 review will focus on tech suits that cost no more than $150 and are all stitched suits. Meaning they are not made with high-tech machine bonded seams, they are simply stitching one fabric to another. It’s an important distinction and it dramatically lowers the price.
All of the suits in the 2017 review are made of less technical fabric when compared to the high-end suits we saw for the 2016 Olympic year. The beauty of this year’s review is we are reminded that there is a tech suit out there for everyone. Whether you are just starting your competitive swimming career as an age group swimmer, or you are jumping in a local masters meet for fun, or you don’t want to break the bank in the beginning of the Olympic quad, you have options! The suits I tested allow all types, young and old, green or professional-level swimmers the opportunity to wear a tech suit.
The pros of the under-$150 tech suit are many. For one you are spending much less money for a racing suit! High-end tech suits are an expense that many families and swimmers cannot afford, so having the ability to spend significantly less money while getting a quality racing suit is a win-win. They can also be pretty comfortable since they don’t lock in your muscles quite like the elite suits. At the same time, these tech suits will make you faster in the pool because they cover more skin, are made of lighter weight fabrics compared to a training suit and they still provide significant compression for your muscles while racing.
There are cons of the under-$150 suit. Simply put, you will most likely never see one of these suits in a World Championship final because they don’t have all of the high-tech features that you get when you pay three times more for a suit. Advanced technologies such as engineered-fitting, laser cut fabrics and silver woven materials will not be found in these suits.
The 2017 tech suits we reviewed have several things in common. Most do not take 15 minutes plus to put on, they generally fit a bit looser due to having less compressive fabrics and the overall sizing of these suits is more generic, because the engineered fitting of elite suits is very expensive. There are pros and cons to the 2017 tech suits just like every other year, the most important thing to remember is that it is the athlete doing the work and not the suit performing magic in the water. Now, let’s dive into the six different stitched suits of 2017 in alphabetical order.
ARENA POWERSKIN ST 2.0 ($140)
I was excited to try on this next generation Powerskin, one of Arena’s most popular suits of all time. The Arena Powerskin ST 2.0 fits very similarly to the Speedo Powerplus due to its long-legged, high-necked nature. Both of these suits are double lined with fabric throughout the chest, torso, glutes and hamstrings giving you extra durable tech suit. The downside to these predominately nylon based tech suits is that they fit more loosely for those of us used to the high-compression elite suits. Again, I would suggest going down at least one size in the ST 2.0 if you’re looking for compression in order to get a more-fitted racing suit.
The Powerskin ST 2.0 is made with terrific high-quality hydrophobic coating that showed bubbles immediately forming on the surface of the suit when I jumped in the water. This means that the suit was repelling the water, not absorbing it, thereby making me more hydrodynamic in the pool. Unfortunately, the Arena ST 2.0 is stitched together with some pretty thick, bulky seams. These are not ideal for slipping through the water seamlessly. They are rather minimal on the chest and torso of the suit, but are more pronounced throughout the lower body and legs. I’d love to see them make a small update to the stitching for future seasons but I’m guessing they’ve also done this for durability.
The Powerkin ST 2.0 performed really well in the pool. I felt quite a bit of compression throughout my hips, glutes and legs, which was perfect for dolphin kicking underwater off of each wall and racing all four strokes. Had the suit been a size smaller, I would have felt extra compression throughout the chest and upper body, as well. A tighter-fitting suit would have helped me to feel more secure diving in the water at full speed and not having some water rush in.
Pros: Compression throughout the hips, glutes and legs was ideal for this price point.
Cons: Thick bulky seams in some areas and lack of compression throughout the chest left me wanting just a bit more.
The Hydrospeed 2 is definitely a smaller and tighter fitting suit, I would suggest going up two sizes from your normal race suit size – quite a change from many of the wear test suits where we can go down a size. It is a shorter suit, meaning the legs sit at about the midway point on my quads, where most of the other tech suits in this review went down to almost my knees. The Hydrospeed 2 is tight around the quads, which is good for compression but it is especially tight in the bottom seam. The suit is tight across the back but well-fitting, throughout the chest and torso. The Hydrospeed 2 is the perfect fit for a more petite athlete.
The Hydrospeed 2 has an interesting mix of fabrics. There are several mesh nylon panels throughout the suit combined with double-lined spandex sections that cover the torso and glutes. The mesh panels are almost completely see-thru and they run vertical from the chest to the quad on the sides of the suit. There is also a mesh panel that runs across the top of the chest near the neckline. However, unlike the Jaked, none of the see-thru sections of the Hydrospeed 2 made me feel overexposed. While these panels allow for extra flexibility and movement in the pool they also allow water to flow in and out of the suit. Unfortunately, the water seemed to pool and get trapped in the butt area of the suit.
I immediately noticed an excellent sheen on the Hydrospeed 2 when I dove in the pool. It has excellent water repellent qualities. The Hydrospeed 2 allows for great movement and flexibility while swimming, making it a great option for long distance swimmers. This suit is optimal for any athlete who normally feels constricted or uncomfortable in a super compressive tech suit.
Pros: With its panel construction, this is the perfect alternative for any swimmer who feels constricted in tech suits.
?Cons: The suit lacks structure and high tech compressive qualities.
HUUB STITCHED KNEESKIN ($97.50)
The HUUB Stitched Kneeskin is definitely the most difficult tech suit to put on compared to the rest of the suits I tested this year. It is a very tight fitting suit due to the lightweight, paper-thin material. It definitely takes a bit more time, patience and care. You have to be very mindful not to rip the material when you tug it up and over your hips. I’m used to this with the elite tech suits but those without this experience should really be cautious. The HUUB Kneeskin fits well with its long legs and mid-cut fit on the back. The downside to the HUUB Kneeskin fit is that it doesn’t fully cover the chest. It has a much more narrow cut in the upper body and would not be good for any swimmers who are looking for extra chest support. The size 28 was a perfect fit for me and this suit is true to size.
The HUUB Stitched Kneeskin reminds me a lot of the old school paper suits that you used to see on the pool deck in the mid 90’s. The Kneeskin material is made of 30% elastane (spandex), which gives it the extra compressive feeling throughout the core, hips and legs. The fabric was treated with a high-quality water repellant giving it an immediate screen when I jumped in the pool. Unfortunately because the material is more delicate and thin, it doesn’t appear to be the most durable tech suit I tested this year.
The HUUB Kneeskin was one of the most compressive tech suits of the 2017 bunch – especially impressive given its light material. It is the perfect suit for sprinters and breaststroke specialists who need extra core and leg compression throughout their race. Because the HUUB Kneeskin has a narrow cut in the chest, it felt too loose while I was swimming at top speed. Unfortunately I had some water slip in through the top and sides of the suit after I dove in the water. This suit helped me to feel hydrodynamic and fast after multiple wears because of the extra compressive elastane material and hydrophobic treatment.
Pros: Lightweight, paper-thin material gives great full body compression. True to size fit!
Cons: Take heed when putting the HUUB on with long fingernails or hasty fingers, this suit could easily tear. Unsure of its durability.
The Jaked J11 fit is middle of the road, meaning the leg length is not too short and not too long, while the back of the suit sits a bit higher, but not at an uncomfortable height. It has a nice snug fit especially around the hips and waist, giving you the sensation of extra suction and lift while in the water. The size 26 fit me perfectly, which is normally a size too small for me. Like several of these suits in the review, I would suggest going down at least one size in this suit for an optimal fit.
The J11 is made primarily of polyamide and is unlike the other tech suits in the review that utilize mainly nylon or Lycra in their fabrics. The polyamide material has a more silky feel to the touch and a glossier look on the body, but unfortunately it was completely see-through in some parts of the suit. The transparent material made me feel uncomfortable standing on the pool deck, especially in the sunlight – so this could really be an issue for some folks.
The J11 has a minimalistic shoulder strap design, which is great for race performances. The construction of the shoulder and backstrap along with the silky polyamide material made for the perfect tech suit combination for long distance races. The Jaked J11 fuller coverage fit throughout the back of the suit and the suctioned waist and hips in the front helped me to feel more efficient and hydrodynamic in the water. The more material we have covering our skin the faster we can slip through the water and swim more effortlessly – so I was really happy with the performance qualities of the J11.
Pros: Comfortable suit material & overall fit throughout the body.
Cons: The see-through sections of the suit are a deal breaker for me personally but if you are wearing a parka or robe right until race time, this might not be an issue.
Grade: B- (in large part due to its transparency issue)
The Speedo Powerplus fit my body type quite well. It is a great option for a tall athlete, because it sits high on the chest and has long legs. The Powerplus moulds really well to the body because of the combination of different fabrics woven throughout the shell and the lining of the suit. I would definitely suggest going down at least one size in this suit, because it didn't have quite the compression I had hoped for in my normal size.
The Powerplus is made up of a majority of nylon and polyester, which gives it the extra stretchy sensation in the pool. This suit is a great option for anyone who doesn’t want to struggle putting on a suit and for anyone who will be sitting on deck at length in between races. The Powerplus only has 21% Lycra in the shell and 10% Spandex in the lining, so it feels less compressive compared to some of the other 2017 tech suits I tested.
The best feature of the Powerplus is the shoulder strap! The bonded comfort straps sit securely on your shoulders and back, yet they give you the necessary flexibility for long races or meet sessions. Well done with that design! The suit performed well in the water because it molded to my body and helped me feel fast, yet comfortable, while racing. The Powerplus is the perfect suit for an IMer or Butterfly/Backstroke, who requires maximum shoulder mobility while racing.
Pros: The bonded comfort shoulder straps were ideal!
Cons: Not enough compression throughout this suit.
TYR THRESHER ($149.99)
The TYR Thresher was the best-fitting suit for my body type. It has long legs, full chest and torso coverage and a mid-back cut. The Thresher has very few seams, which also helps the suit to fit more securely around the waist, hips and legs. The only downside to this suit is the shoulder and backstop construction. The seams on the shoulder and back straps are not the most comfortable for long swim meet sessions. The Thresher back strap construction is a bit more substantial than the more modern minimalist designs you see on the other 2017 tech suits. The size fit me perfectly.
The Thresher is mainly comprised of Lycra spandex and nylon which gives it the most compressive fit of the 2017 bunch. Not surprisingly, it’s also among the most expensive of the group. The fabric is 29% Lycra and 71% nylon, this combination of materials helped me to feel extra compression throughout my core and lower body giving my muscles the desired support and lift while swimming. The suit not only feels super compressive, but also very durable due to the double layering throughout the entire torso. The Thresher is very water resistant -- it had water rushing off of the suit after multiple uses.
The TYR Thresher performed very well in the water because of its hydrophobic coating and compressive qualities. The Thresher is the perfect tech suit for anyone not wanting to break the bank, while getting great technology for less than $150. This suit was excellent for all four strokes, starts, turns and underwater kick outs. I think any stroke specialist would feel comfortable and fast in the Thresher.
Pros: Super compressive & durable fabric gives this suit the winning combo.
Cons: The low-tech, basic back strap construction.
View the 2016 Tech Suit Review hereEmail Address Invalid. Please enter an email address in the format: firstname.lastname@example.orgElise Snapp
2 years ago.Thank you for reviews! Which style do you think best for curvy figure- bigger thighs and butt than upper body?John C
2 years ago.I found the article very informative but I am still uncertain of the size of a tech suit for me. I am interested in a Speedo suit and I have many of their jammer style swimsuits. Usually a size 30 slips on easily and offers minimal compression. Their size 28 takes a little wriggling to get into and feels like there's good compression and leaves compression marks on my skin after removing it. The size 28 certainly isn't as difficult to get on as videos I've seen of elite swimmers getting into competition suits. My waist size varies between 32" to 33". Can you recommend a size for me. Although the people in the article trying on the suits mentioned the size of the suit they thought fit them best, it would have been useful for me if their waist, hip and thigh measurements were included in the article. Thanks.Tania
2 years ago.If you wear a Speedo LZR Elite Comfort strap, which suit is similar to this design?Sandy
2 years ago.I'm interested in getting a suit for my daughter who has been competing for 2 years now. I'm concerned about thin straps breaking since she pulls on the straps to readjust. Which suit has the thickest, stronger, reinforced stitching? It needs to be tough, my girl is rough on suit straps. Thank youKara Bornholdt
2 years ago.I'm a Mom of 4 swimmers one which is going to College. What suits hold up the best in a 3 day State meet? I'm looking at Mens and womens tech suits. I'm also on a budget 250.00 at the most.Waveyness
2 years ago.I swim in a masters program and compete, however I have not competed in a tech suit as yet, I'd like to try one in one of the larger multi-state meets.
Should I practice in the tech suit, or are they fragile enough that I should preserve them for competition?
Thank you,Margee Curran
2 years ago.I am a masters swimmer in her 50's & have competed since I was 8. Which female suit rates high on these 3: comfort, low price & performance?B church
2 years ago.As a master swimmer over 60 i find these suits very hard to get into. What suit from the above list would allow the master swimmer some compression without being worn out trying to put the suit on. Currently i am using a closed back suit .Juan Domecq
2 years ago.Is the Jaked J11 appropriate for a breaststroke?triath1
2 years ago.Finally, male suits essentially incorporate a brief into a jammer. The 'center line' stitching does not make sense. However, I still see the jammers as too restrictive at the leg openings. Is a 'smoother' transition, similar to that now incorporated in cycling shorts, not preferable?Trevor Pascullo
2 years ago.I am a high school swimmer, is there a difference in suits for 100m swimmers versus 200m swimmers? Would love to shave more time off my backstroke and fly.Add a Comment
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