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  • Jan

    Elite Tech Suit Review


    Top Elite Tech Suits Reviewed

    Elite Women’s Tech Suits — Jump to Reviews | Shop Women's Tech Suits

    arena Carbon Core FX - Review | Shop: Open Back, Closed Back
    Mizuno GX-Sonic V MR & ST - Review | Shop: Sprinter, Multi-Racer
    arena Carbon Glide - ReviewShop
    Speedo LZR Pure Intent - Review | Shop: Open Back, Closed Back
    Speedo LZR Pure Valor - Review | Shop: Open Back, Closed Back
    TYR Venzo - Review | Shop: Open Back, Closed Back

    Elite Men’s Tech Suits — Jump to Reviews | Shop Men's Tech Suits

    arena Carbon Core FX - Review | Shop
    Mizuno GX-Sonic V MR & ST - Review | Shop: Sprinter, Multi-Racer
    arena Carbon Glide - Review | Shop
    Speedo LZR Pure Intent - Review | Shop: Jammer, High Waist Jammer
    Speedo LZR Pure Valor - Review | Shop: Jammer, High Waist Jammer
    TYR Venzo - Review | Shop: Jammer, High Waist Jammer





    Editor’s Introduction

    Welcome to the SwimOutlet Tech Suit Review. This year’s review is our eighth in the annual series and the first time ever we have had as many as three new reviewers, featuring an all-star cast of Olympians, NCAA Champions and World Championship medalists.

    Each of our reviewers provide independent, outside opinions and wear-test the suits on their own without SwimOutlet.com oversight. You can read more about our group of reviewers in our introductory blog post.

    • Julie Stupp (Los Angeles, CA) - Olympic Trials finalist & 8x Reviewer
    • Cammile Adams (Houston, TX) - 2016 Olympian, World Silver Medalist & First Review
    • John Shebat (Austin, TX) - NCAA Champion (Texas) & First Review
    • Dylan Carter (La Jolla, CA) - 2016 Olympian & First Review

    The Elite Tech Suit Review features several new tech suits and brings back some reviews from last year for the purpose of highlighting suits that will be prominent on deck at the 2021 Tokyo Games. 

    As with any purchasing decision, the SwimOutlet Tech Suit Review is just one resource for you to use along with things like product information pages, customer comments, sizing charts, feedback from your coaches and peers, and brand information.

    As in the past, we divide each suit review into three sections: 1) Size/Fit; 2) Materials; 3) Performance. And for the second year in a row, we are featuring scoring by category for each suit to help our readers better decipher different attributes of each suit. The comprehensive scoring system is the average of the two reviewers score in each category providing an easy to reference grading scale (1-5) for several attributes.

    The grading scale is:

    1.Unsatisfactory
    2.Satisfactory
    3.Good
    4.Very Good
    5.Outstanding


    The specific suit scoring categories are: Fit, Looks/Design, Comfort/Ease to Put on, Materials/Fabric, Compression, and Performance

    Reviewer’s Introduction

    By Julie Stupp, Olympic Trials Finalist & 8-time Reviewer

    It is officially an Olympic year and I can’t wait for swimming to dominate primetime TV. Tokyo 2021 is a mere six months away and new Olympic suits for this summer’s Games have been released! Fans, coaches and suit companies alike are excited to watch the events unfold, for the racing to begin and to see the athletes rise to the occasion.

    Luckily for you all, SwimOutlet.com got their hands on many of the suits you will see on NBC this summer and we got to test them out a bit early in La Jolla, CA and again in our home pools in January. There are quite a few new suits in 2020 and the technological advancements are going to make an immediate impact in the pool for those that like to wear those suit brands. This year’s tech suits are incredible and they all have very similar strengths, which simply means there is no bad choice when it comes to top-tier race suits. At the end of the day, the swimmer makes the suit, the suit simply enhances the swimmers abilities in the pool.

    Elite Tech Suit Trends

    There are three trends I found in almost every one of the new suits from this year’s review, along with some of the top selections from last year: a blend of materials, seam support, and technical taping. These three technologies are not necessarily new when it comes to tech suits, but many of the brands have found innovative ways the past two years to combine and use the techniques together to create fast suits. Blending compressive, textured and durable materials with thin or flexible fabric in a scientific pattern can make a good suit outstanding.

    Suit manufacturers spend hours studying the top swimmers movements in the pool and from the data draw conclusions on the best placement for taping and seams. The seams are placed in various directions and locations inside or outside the suit for more muscle support. It is an amazing way to create compression without cutting off circulation versus just adding tighter fabric to the suit. While taping supports major muscles and keeps lactic acid at bay while racing, it also helps to lift your body in the pool. The stretch and recoil effect from the tape is brilliant because as you flow through the water the tape stretches with your body and flexes when you’re not adding tension. These well-thought out technologies can immediately be felt in the pool.

    Increased Difficulties & Time to Put On

    Very similar to last year’s cons, added seams and taping means more time in the locker room changing. All top-tier suits have a lot of compression and combined with more seams and internal taping leads to a struggle when putting the suit on and taking it off. Most swimmers worry about the amount of time and energy the suit will take to put on, but now the suits also take more precision to get out of. It’s important to give yourself plenty of time as not to stress before a big race. But it’s also equally important to take it slow when getting out of the suit so you don’t rip it. I had one instance during wear-testing where a top suit just ripped along the taping for an eight-inch gash and there would have been no chance to salvage racing that day if it had been my only suit. The added technology makes the suits more durable in the pool, but also more delicate during changing because blending in thinner fabrics with more seams creates more opportunities for suits to tear -- especially with a few long fingernails or too forceful of a pull.

    Now let’s see what all of these 2021 Olympic suits have to offer!

    Elite Women’s Tech Suit Reviews

    by Cammile Adams and Julie Stupp with 2019 contribution from Ali Deloof

    Julie Stupp is doing her eighth review and has tested over 50 women’s tech suits in her eight years of wear-testing for SwimOutlet.com. She likes compressive suits that fit tight and snug. Cammile Adams is a 2012 and 2016 Olympian who focused on mid-distance events (200 Fly, 500 Free, 400 IM) during her elite career. She likes the suit to have some compression in the hips and back, but not too much, so she generally prefers less compressive options. For Cammile, comfortable straps are also key due to her longer races. Her familiarity of arena suits is especially in-depth since she was sponsored by arena until her retirement in 2016.

    arena Carbon Core FX 
    $485

    The successor to the popular Carbon Flex, reviewers really emphasized the Carbon Core’s updates to the taping and highlighted the suit’s impressive compression without making it impossible or too difficult to get on.

    Size/Fit

    Cammile Adams: I absolutely loved the Carbon Flex when I was still competing and this suit fits very similar - the fit should be true to size. For reference, I wore a size 30. The Carbon Core FX took me about 10-15 minutes to put on and it was fairly easy. This suit could be put on by yourself, but I would recommend getting help with the straps. This suit will fit snug around the hips and chest, but still with comfortable straps and offered upper body flexibility. I like a suit to help my hips and back rise to the surface of the water and the Carbon Core does just that for me. Be careful when putting on this suit, you might want to use gloves or baby powder to help with your knuckles rubbing against the fabric.

    Julie Stupp: The Carbon Core FX like many of its arena Carbon Series predecessors fits extremely tight around the legs, hips and core for ultimate compression. I tested out a size 28, but I would prefer a size 26 so if you are wavering between two sizes maybe go down a size if you are more slender. This tech suit will likely stretch out over time. I like to race in a VERY tight tech suit, so I found the 28 to be a tad too loose in the chest. Otherwise the Carbon Core FX fits really well, hugging my hips and legs while wrapping around and supporting my lats fully and completely covering my chest. The straps are thin and sit a bit wider on the shoulders allowing for plenty of movement in my arms and upper body while racing. The Carbon Core FX sits high on the chest and is long in the legs providing plenty of skin coverage to make you faster overall with the high-tech, high-compression arena fabric.

    Materials

    Cammile Adams: I personally like the simple coloring of the Carbon Core FX (I tested the black and gold color), so top scores for design! The material helps lift the hips to the top of the surface of the water. I felt that my hips were very high in this suit, which I love for butterfly. The Carbon Cage technology pulls horizontally and vertically to offer extra compression. The neck and chest of this suit also press against the skin easily, ensuring water does not get in through the top of the suit. I would recommend getting this suit wet before racing and pressing the neck/check of the suit against the skin. I felt very locked in place in the hips and body or torso. I also liked that this suit molds to your body, especially in the body and chest, the more times it is worn.

    Julie Stupp: Arena is well known for its super durable, high-tech fabric especially when it comes to the Carbon Series. The ultra-compressive material is what helps the brand stand apart and the Carbon Core FX is no different. The Carbon Core FX combines the tried and true Carbon Cage compression material that expands and contracts equally on all four sides with the double-lined interior of the suit for max torso compression and core support. While the hips and quads are single lined in the Carbon Cage allowing for flexible compression. The hamstrings and glutes in the Carbon Core FX are supported by a twin-tape construction that truly lifts the legs and allows for a higher body position in the water. The twin tape runs from the back of the knee all the way up the hamstring, across the glutes and wraps around the top of the hip connecting to the core. This tape lifts and powers up the entire back of the body, creating that extra snap every swimmer trains for in the kick.

    Performance

    Cammile Adams: The arena Carbon Core F is my favorite suit of the bunch! If you have worn the Carbon Flex, there are a couple differences. The Carbon Core has more range of motion in the chest and the duel taping down the back of the leg helps bring the hips and back to the surface of the water more so than the Flex. I felt it had the perfect amount of compression for me. Not too tight in the hips or shoulders, but still offered enough compression for just how I like it. I also liked the time it took to put on, I still had plenty of energy after putting the suit on, and the compression in the hips. This suit would be great for someone that likes compression in the torso and hips, but does not want the straps too tight - great for both a sprinter or mid-distance swimmer.

    Julie Stupp: The arena Carbon Core FX helped me to swim effortlessly in the pool. That’s the key. This high-tech suit has a very water resistant coating that repels water wear after wear. I had the right amount of compression throughout my legs for easy speed and I felt my hips riding high off of every wall because of the twin tape technology. My dolphin and breaststroke kicks were super powerful and I felt like the lactic acid was kept at bay over time due to the carbon core compression and taping combo. This suit is perfect for a sprinter or IM’er but is also a great all-around suit because it’s thick, durable, and compressive, yet technologically-advanced. The smart taping technique and an excellent fit truly set the Carbon Core FX apart.

    Overall

    Fit — 5
    Looks/Design — 4.5
    Comfort/Ease to Put on — 4.5
    Materials/Fabric — 4.5
    Compression — 5
    Performance — 5




    Mizuno GX-Sonic V 
    $510


    The Mizuno GX Sonic-V suit is offered in a sprinter (ST) and multi-racer (MR) for mid-distance and distance swimmers. The reviewers recommend trying this suit on at least once, even say twice, before wearing it in a race. The first time trying this suit on, allot yourself plenty of time and in air conditioning, if possible. For many years, Mizuno has been a top tier men’s tech suit and has lagged behind on the women’s side but reviewers say that “this year’s suit has broken the mold!”

    Size/Fit

    Cammile Adams: The Mizuno GX-Sonic V is very tight through the hips. I wore a size L in the sprinter version (suit comes in XS, S, M, L and XL). When trying this suit on for the first time, it almost felt too small. The Mizuno suit took me 35-40 minutes to get on the first time. Do your best not to get frustrated. The suit might appear that it is too small, but once it is on it is a nice and snug fit. The second time, it took me 20-25 minutes. I would recommend having a parent or friend help you put this suit on the first couple times. You will definitely need help with the straps. In full disclosure, I think I would have liked the multi-racer (MR) better since there would have been less compression in the hips, so definitely strongly consider the difference between the two options before buying. The Sonic V was very comfortable in the chest and straps once on. The straps appear to be very small but once on, they are not too tight in the shoulders. The hips are very tight and will be difficult to put on. Once on, they fit very snug. The compression is more than I personally like. However, the legs of the suit fit great and do not feel too tight down by the knees. 

    Julie Stupp: Mizuno as a female tech suit manufacturer keeps getting better and better and the Sonic-V is a compilation of many years of testing coming together perfectly. The Sonic V fit really well. I tried on a size L but would have preferred size Medium because of the fit in the chest. The Sonic V is also very, very hard to get on. It takes time, patience and small movements. Because the suit is so thick and durable it doesn’t move over the hips very far or very fast. Mizuno has greatly improved the fit and cut of their women’s suits. The suit has a nice high back cut that covers extra skin on the mid-back with compressive material. The Sonic V has a really low back strap construction that allows for full shoulder and back mobility while still supporting the lats and allowing complete arm rotation on either side. The suit sits high on the neck and long on the legs similar to the Carbon Core, making it a perfect cut for a sprinter or breaststroker.


    Materials

    Cammile Adams: I wore the navy blue color of the GX-Sonic V and really liked the look of it. Navy blue is the only color the suit is currently offered in. The logo (on the chest) of the sprint (ST) is a neon yellow logo, on the multi-racer (MR) is light blue. The Sonic Light Ribtex fabric makes up the majority of the GX-Sonic V. The material is very water repellant. The taping on the back of the legs felt like it helped keep my lower back and legs on the top of the water, which I really loved, especially for butterfly. I felt that my core and legs were well-connected with this suit.The material in the front of the legs feels buttery soft and extremely comfortable. The cross section in the body of the suit has a great amount of compression and I felt that it molded my body the more I wore it. That is why I would recommend wearing this suit 2-3 times before planning to race in it.

    Julie Stupp: The GX-Sonic V is constructed with several varieties of fabrics including a paper thin, an ultra-compressive, and a ribbed dual-layer material on the chest called the Sonic Light Ribtex. The thick, compressive material that supports the glutes, hamstrings and hips really allowed me to keep a high streamlined body position in the water. Conversely the paper thin material on the front of the hips and across the quads allowed for maximum flexibility and range. This combo of materials in the glutes, hips and legs helped to create the perfect blend of comfort and compression in the pool. The ribbed Sonic Light Ribtex material throughout the chest, core and torso coupled with the interior panels was the perfect amount of upper body compression. This was hands down the best part of the suit. The Sonic Light Ribtex material is the most comfortable compression I have found in upper body portion of a female tech suit in a long time. It supports movement and rotation, while also holding the core and ribcage together creating hydrodynamic body movements.


    Performance

    Cammile Adams: I liked the amount of compression in this suit everywhere except the hips. I just felt the hips were a little too tight for me. Again, I would have probably liked the multi-racer (MR) better since there is less compression and with the MR, I would have given one point higher scores on Comfort, Fit and Performance category. Overall, I think this suit would be a great fit for someone that is looking to wear a suit many times. The material of the suit is very-water repellent -- among the best of the bunch -- and thus keeps the swimmer in a horizontal body position throughout the swim. The suit does mold to your body which will make it a little easier to put on over time. I think the ST version would be good for someone that doesn’t look to wear it for longer than a 200, otherwise go MR.

    Julie Stupp: The Sonic V performed excellently in the pool. The high-tech compressive fabrics and ample interior taping helped me to feel extremely lifted, lightweight and high in the water across my entire body. The cross-section taping found inside the suit is called the Sonic Line Design X. This tape design wraps around the glutes and hamstrings creating a supported compression that helps you to feel streamlined while racing especially in and out of every turn. The GX-Sonic V is an amazing tech suit that would be super beneficial for shorter-distance breaststrokers, butterfliers and backstrokers because of the well thought-out details in the compression patterns that lift the core, hips, torso and legs. The suit is not only has a very durable blend of materials but also a high-tech hydrophobic coating that showed the water beading off the suit after multiple wear tests. For me, it was the best surprise of the 2020 tech suit bunch.

    Overall

    Fit — 4 (4.5 for the MR)
    Looks/Design — 4
    Comfort/Ease to Put on — 3 (3.5 for the MR)
    Materials/Fabric — 4.5
    Compression — 4.5
    Performance — 4 (4.5 for the MR)

     





    arena Carbon Glide 
    $550


    Reviewers suggested this suit for “distance events or someone who is newer to wearing a tech suit or even new to arena tech suits.” The the Carbon Glide has a little more compression than the Carbon Air2 but not as much as the new Carbon Core or the Carbon Flex that first launched on the market in 2015.


    Size/Fit

    Cammile Adams: The suit was very easy to put on and comfortable. I could do it by myself, but it’s always helpful to have someone assist with the straps even if you don’t absolutely need it. I wore a size 30 for reference. Again, I would say this suit fits true to size for arena sizing but you could consider trying on one size smaller than you originally would wear since this suit’s fabric has more stretch to it. This suit is very light and offers little drag while having much less compression. The first time putting this suit on, it took 10 minutes. The second time I put this suit on, it took under 5 minutes. The straps are very easy to put on and the legs/hips are not too tight. 

    Julie Stupp: The Carbon Glide is like a high-tech second skin. The suit suctions to your every curve but is super lightweight and breathable. This is the anti-carbon suit in a lot of ways because it provides the ultimate freedom of movement and minimal compression. Because of the ultra-thin material it is very easy to put on but when done so carelessly or in a hurry it could easily rip. The suit fits very well hugging my chest, rib cage and hips with a double layer of fabric for support with the same high-neck design, long leg cut and thin comfortable straps like the Carbon Core FX. I personally don’t love the way the suit looks on, because of the internal seams it looks and feels like you are wearing boy shorts underneath your tech suit. Others seem to love the design. Because the Carbon Glide is so lightweight, I would probably go down one size so it stays more compressive in the upper body over time.

    Materials

     

    Cammile Adams: In the Carbon Glide, I wore the ocean blue with red logo (an black, white and red on inside) color option. I liked the overall design of this suit. This suit also comes in black and gold, which is probably the color option I would prefer. The Carbon Glide has two fabrics on it. The top part and the behind of the suit was designed so that when water hits the suit, it pushes off at a faster rate. This makes the top part of the suit very comfortable and easy to wear for longer periods of time. The legs of the suit and the body of this suit are made of the light carbon fabric. So there is a little more compression there, but again, not as much as the Carbon Core. The fabric overall is very light and easy to move around in.

    Julie Stupp: The Carbon Glide blends three different materials to create a super comfortable compressive tech suit. The upper body is draped in a single layer of “hydroglide” material. This lightweight, paper thin material gives you the best body proprioception possible underwater. The internal lining and taping allows for a little more skin coverage and muscle wrapping. While the Carbon Cage material throughout the legs and hips gives you that compression the arena Carbon series is best known for. The way the Carbon Glide is constructed is super detail-oriented and completely endorses the freedom of movement. The Carbon Glide’s hydrophobic coating surprised me, I thought because it was such a thin material that it wouldn’t hold the water resistant qualities of a top tier tech suit but I was quickly proven wrong. Ultimately, the Carbon Glide has a blend of fabrics to support every type of swimmer’s needs, the flexibility, the compression and the muscle support. I would have liked to have felt more compression in the upper body where you notice that its a thin material and I initially scored it a "3" for compression but sizing down gives you a bit more, bumping it to a 4. 


    Performance

    Cammile Adams: Overall, I liked the arena Carbon Glide. This suit has less compression in comparison to the Carbon Core. The Carbon Glide also has a good amount of stretch, especially in the straps. However, I would say this suit is great for someone who doesn’t like a lot of compression, or is a distance swimmer who will have the suit on for longer periods of time. While the suit was easy to get on and comfortable for racing, I prefer to have more compression in my racing suits especially in the hips. It was a toss-up between a three and a four on compression score but I went with the four because I think it's still in the "very good" category and perfectly suits the kind of swimmer and demographic that would be looking at the Carbon Glide to begin with.

    Julie Stupp: The Carbon Glide is the perfect tech suit for a long distance swimmer or anyone who wants a better feel for the water while racing. I would also suggest this suit to any IM’er who doesn’t like a tight suit but wants the high tech, ultra-lightweight compression. My ability to move freely and completely sense where my body was at all times in the water was unlike any other tech suit in this year’s review, matched perhaps only by the LZR Pure Valor. The Carbon Glide allowed me to fully rotate throughout my core and torso without constricting my movement or tempo. And the blend of materials freed up my hips to undulate in both directions while kicking underwater. While the compression is more mid-range, I could feel the internal seams that wrapped around my chest, rib cage and core and helped me to create less drag and ultimately become more hydrodynamic in all four strokes.


    Overall 

    Fit — 4
    Looks/Design — 4
    Comfort/Ease to Put on — 5
    Materials/Fabric — 4.5
    Compression — 4
    Performance — 4





    Speedo LZR Pure Intent
    $330 - $550
    * 2019 Review *

    Speedo really “stepped up their game last year” wrote Julie and released not one but two new tech suits at the same time in preparation for the 2020 Games. Like many of the new suits, they customized the fit, fabric and technology for different types of athletes, but unlike the other manufacturers that define the suit based on racing type or material/construction, one reviewer liked the fact that Speedo gave them “more buzzwordy names LZR Pure Intent and LZR Pure Valor.”

    Size/Fit

    Julie Stupp: The two Speedo suits are differentiated by their level of compression. Pure Intent provides maximum compression, Pure Valor less - but they both share the same silhouette and fit characteristics, so this fit paragraph will be remarkably similar to my other Speedo review. The suit fits extremely well and comes in both open and closed back options. I tried on the size 28 in both back versions and it fit true to size. Speedo’s sizing has always been spot-on. Like the LZR Fastskin suits that came before it, the Pure Intent has the same great leg length, high-neck cut and ultra-comfortable precision straps. Speedo improved their precision straps by adding a high power elastic to increase flexibility, power return and make them a little easier to get on and off. It features a smaller profile shoulder and back strap construction that lines the back at a more natural angle cupping the lats, rather than cutting vertically across the back. Getting it on without too much struggle AND having max compression is a winning combo.

    Ali DeLoof: LZR Pure Intent is designed to be powerful, flexible, fast and have the most compression. When I tried on the suit, I was able to put it on without much struggle due to the flexibility panels. Because of the flexibility panels, you really have the option to size down one to ramp up the compression even more, so I wear-tested a 22. Speedo has designed flexible zones that allow for more freedom in the kick, better side range of motion for the rotational strokes like freestyle and backstroke. I really liked this part of the suit, as I was able to rotate my body well when I was swimming and the suit didn't feel too restrictive. One area that is more compressive for this suit is around the glutes, hamstrings and core. You will be able to feel the difference as you are getting this suit on; it is tighter around the hips and you need to take your time getting it on. The straps were very comfortable and created with more flexibility. They stretch a little more to make the ease of putting on the straps better. I still had to have a friend help me put the straps on and that is just fine. If you have ever worn the LZR Elite or LZR X, these straps were basically designed by combining the better features of the two suit straps. Overall, I thought this suit fit my body well and was compressive in the areas of my hips glutes, core and hamstrings, which I really liked.

    Material

    Julie Stupp: The Pure Intent features three different types of fabrics all working together to create the most compression without hindering movement. The textured fabric found on the chest, core, glutes and hamstrings aims to eliminate drag on the turbulent areas of the body. While the flexible zones only have one thin layer of fabric to allow for better range of motion and rotation. Lastly, the compressive dual layers found throughout the chest, core, glutes and hamstrings provide the ultimate compression to support the most dense muscle groups. In true Speedo heritage, you can tell this is a very-well constructed suit with a high-tech durable fabric.

    Ali DeLoof: The suit material is made of three different fabrics designed to reduce drag, while swimming and provide more compression as well as increase flexibility for rotational strokes of freestyle and backstroke. You will find that when you wear this suit that there are a few textured fabric zones in specific areas that Speedo has found to create the most drag while swimming. If you are holding the suit in front of you or wearing it you will see the textured zones on the glutes, back and sides under the rib cage. The suit feels soft, smooth and tough around the hips and flexible as you are putting the suit on. I didn't feel like I was going to rip it, as I was trying to get it on.


    Performance

    Julie Stupp: I love a compressive tech suit and the Pure Intent performed very well in the pool. The Pure Intent gave me the ultimate amount of compression especially in the closed back suit. This high powered compression coupled with the flexible zones allowed me the ability to rotate freely and get the most out of all four strokes. I also loved the flexible zones, because they made sipping air and expanding my lungs to the fullest before each underwater and stroke transition easy. I did find myself wanting a touch more leg compression.



    Ali DeLoof: I absolutely love this LZR design. I think the dual compression layers in the core, glutes and hamstrings helped my kick. As I moved through the water, I felt like my body was moving efficiently. I was able to push off the wall in a streamline and not worry about the suit filling up with water. The compression was great and comfortable enough that it didn't feel too tight. I felt like my core was very stable and with the new seams I was able to keep my whole body connected while I was swimming every stroke. The one thing I really liked was the flexible zones that allow for better range of motion. With these new zones I didn't feel like the suit was too tight around my core and back. I was able to rotate well for freestyle and backstroke. With the compression being a bit tighter around my hips, glutes and hamstrings, I was still able to do a great start off the block for freestyle and backstroke start. Something to consider is that you might want to size down in this suit with the new design since the flexibility panels have made it easier to put on. Compared to past LZR suits, I went down a size to make sure it fit my body better in the water and to feel the max compression.

    Overall

    Fit — 5    
    Looks/Design — 5
    Comfort/Ease to Put on — 4
    Materials/Fabric — 5
    Compression — 5
    Performance — 5

     


    Speedo LZR Pure Valor 
    $450


    Speedo’s less compressive suit is named the LZR Pure Valor and Speedo launched both at the same time last March 2019 so that you can differentiate the two types of suits right from the get-go. The LZR Pure Valor is the next iteration of the ever-popular LZR Elite 2. 


    Size/Fit


    Cammile Adams: The Speedo Pure Valor is a very comfortable suit and I really liked the simplicity of design in the all black color -- which is a bit of my personal preference in design. It was extremely easy to put on and Pure Valor fit great. I wore a size 28 for reference. This suit is very comfortable and has some compression, but not overly so. The straps are extremely comfortable. The suit molds well to the hips and chest. This suit took me 10 minutes to put on the first time and 5-8 minutes the second time. The Speedo Pure Valor also feels better and molds to the body with more wears like most of the elite suits tested.

    Julie Stupp: As I mentioned in the other Speedo review, the Pure Valor is designed for more flexibility, but it shares the same silhouette and fit characteristics and also comes in the open and closed back. Again, I tried the size 28 and it was the right size for me. Given that they are two different suits, it’s amazing how similar the fits are with Pure Valor featuring the same great leg length, high-neck cut and ultra-comfortable precision straps. The improvement on the straps is always a welcome change and I found their adjustments to be spot on. Speedo straps are really the best in the business and it shows here.

    Materials

    Cammile Adams: The material of this suit allows for flexible movement in the hips and core. It also forms nicely to the chest to ensure water does not enter the suit on the dive. This suit is very light, with only one layer of fabric and I would say this suit has more compression than the arena Carbon Glide but less than the arena Carbon Core, Mizuno and TYR. Personally, I would probably prefer a suit with a little more compression in the hips.

    Julie Stupp: Unlike the Pure Intent’s textured surface, the Pure Valor is completely smooth on the outside and is much more lightweight. It is constructed with mostly just one layer of durable fabric. It has several unassuming seams running on the inside of the suit for strength and compression around the hips and the legs. The moderate compression comes from the strategically-placed dual layered panels found only in the chest, core and glutes. I thought this chest and core paneling were really on-point.


    Performance

    Cammile Adams: I really liked that it was very easy to get on, I did not feel fatigued after putting this suit on. I liked that the straps were extremely comfortable and did not dig into the skin too much. I think this suit would be great for someone that swims multiple events in a session or someone that is new to tech suits. As I mentioned, a little more compression in the hip area for the type of races I competed in would be a preference, but I still really liked the Speedo LZR Pure Valor overall for what it’s trying to accomplish. 

    Julie Stupp: Even though I usually opt for max compression, the Pure Valor did not disappoint. The suit gave me the lift I needed in my hips to stay on top of the water with the bonded seams and glute compression combo. This suit is truly a new and improved LZR allowing me more flexion on and off the walls. Both suits really utilized their own unique blend of fabrics and differing seam strengths to help lift my hips and hold my body in place especially when I got tired. Originally, I would have loved to have seen something a bit more fun beyond the all black color but that was solved with the Phoenix Red and Green Glow colorways that debuted later in 2019. I look forward to what’s next for the Games!

    Overall

    Fit — 5
    Looks/Design — 4
    Comfort/Ease to Put on — 4.75
    Materials/Fabric — 5
    Compression — 4
    Performance — 4.5






    TYR Venzo 
    $384.99 - $549.99


    The TYR Venzo was introduced in late 2018 and was made available to customers early last year, so it’s been out on the market longest among these featured suits. The Venzo comes with their Endo Compression Cage and high-tech, durable fabric which are both high points for our group of reviewers, but reviewers note downsides as being “an expensive tech suit that definitely takes patience to put on.”

     


    Size/Fit 

    Cammile Adams: The TYR Venzo suit fits great in the chest, but it is very tight through the hips and straps. I wore a size 30 for reference. The straps felt ok once they were on, but very tight in the back and shoulders for the first and second wear. It took me 30-35 minutes to get this suit on the first time, and another 15-20 minutes the second time! This suit is not the easiest to get on due to its hip tightness. I would recommend having someone help you put this suit on. Once the suit is on, it is comfortable everywhere except the hips. For me personally, the hips were just a little too tight, but it might be a perfect fit for someone with more slender hips or a longer torso. The straps also dig into the shoulders a bit, so take that into consideration with the TYR Venzo. 

    Julie Stupp: The Venzo is the most innovative tech suit TYR has ever developed and one of the best-fitting, as well. The Venzo comes in an open or closed back style, but I only tested the closed back in size 28. The Venzo took me a solid 20 minutes to put on and a few minutes in the water to re-adjust and make sure the suit was in the right place. In the end, it was all worth it. The Venzo hugs the body extremely well thanks to TYR’s patent pending Endo Compression Cage tape design that wraps around the core, hips, glutes and legs not only keeping the suit in place while you race, but also helping to lift my body in the water. The Venzo also has some new super-comfortable shoulder straps called the X-finity straps. The X-finity straps are a bit wider to help disperse the strain put on the shoulders over time in the suit. They also only have one bonded seam on the back, so they don’t dig into your shoulders during long races if you get the sizing right. With a full range of sizes available, this is really important.

    Materials

    Cammile Adams:  I personally prefer more of a plain black suit or one color, so the cool X-Ray colorway is a pattern that I don’t usually wear. But overall, the design does look great on someone that enjoys a lot of pattern. The material of the TYR Venzo is quite thick and does not stretch, especially through the hips. The taping through the legs and core do offer plenty of structure and I felt that it did hold me in the suit quite well. The compression of the TYR Venzo is quite tight throughout the torso and the hips. The straps are also very tight and dig into the shoulders.

    Julie Stupp: The Venzo features two new highly-innovative fabrics that not only reduce drag but prevent water from permeating into the suit. The Frictionless Fiber construction was born out of hours of analyzing drag at a microscopic level. This smooth “frictionless” fiber is woven in such a way that the suit is designed to slip through the water with less drag. The second fabric feature on the Venzo is the Surface Lift Technology, which is a high-tech treatment that doesn’t allow water to permeate the fabric. Instead, the treated fabric creates a bubble layer once it’s wet and is designed to give the swimmer extra lift or buoyancy. The Venzo is super-compressive with the dual-layered fabric paneling the chest, core, hips and a section that wraps around the quads. The hamstrings only have a single layer of fabric to allow for more flexibility and range of motion. All in all, the Venzo fabric is extremely high-tech and very durable.



    Performance

    Cammile Adams: Overall, the TYR Venzo had a similar feel to the Mizuno for me except the fabric is a little thicker. I would also plan ample time in air conditioning to try this suit on. I like this suit for a 100 fly and I like that this suit is tighter and more compressed, but I think it would offer too much compression personally for anything longer than a 100. The thicker material would also be great if you are someone that rips suits often due to thin fabrics. 

    Julie Stupp: The Venzo helped me to perform effortlessly in the pool. I had what every swimmer wants, easy speed from start to finish due to the compressive fabric and the compression cage. The Seamless Exo Shell helped me to slip through the water and transition between strokes smoothly. The Venzo’s lack of outer seams made me feel extra hydrodynamic especially when I got tired. My hips felt supported and my body felt lifted in the Venzo most likely from a combination of the compression and high tech fabrics. The Venzo is no doubt a very high-tech suit that makes swimming fast much easier.

    Overall 

    Fit — 4.5
    Looks/Design — 4.5
    Comfort/Ease to Put on — 3.25
    Materials/Fabric — 4.5
    Compression — 4.5
    Performance — 4.5



    Elite Men’s Tech Suits Reviews

    by Dylan Carter & John Shebat with 2019 contributions from Mark Gangloff & Giles Smith

    arena Carbon Core FX
    $360

    This suit is an update to the Carbon Flex, which is a suit both reviewers were familiar with and one of Dylan’s “favorite suits to swim long course 100s in.” The Carbon Flex is a hugely-popular suit among top swimmers, and both John and Dylan were excited to get into the Carbon Core and see (and feel) what changes were made.


    Size/Fit 

    John Shebat: I hadn’t worn an arena tech suit since high school and was pleasantly surprised when I put this suit on. I wear a size 26 and although it was tight, it was also manageable. I felt comfortable in this suit in the 45 minutes of wear and never felt like my legs were losing circulation or getting tight. The strings in the front of the suit were a little too small [Editor's Note: John's suit was sample suit with a shorter pre-production drawstring], making it hard to tie the waist to my optimal preference. I do like to get my suit on 30 minutes before my swim and can get stressed if my suit takes too long to get on. The Carbon Core kept me at a low heart rate, as it showed no real challenge to get on. I love the fit of the suit and did not feel the strong urge to immediately take it off. If I were to wear a suit for an hour or two along with many races back to back, this would be my tech suit. 

    Dylan Carter: I wore a size 26, and I felt as though I might size up to race in the Carbon Core. The suit is very snug the first time you put it on, and I would personally suggest putting it on once before you compete in it, so you’re not surprised by a slightly tighter than expected suit 20 minutes before your big race. The point of tension on the glute/behind area is a little lower than the upper limit of the fabric, which is a little low for me personally, as it sits right at the top of my glute muscle. The suit definitely locks your muscles into place and prevents any rippling or shaking in the quads when pushing off the wall at full speed or entering the water off a dive. This tight fit made me feel really fast when hitting some full speed 25s off the blocks.

    Materials

    John Shebat: Arena has always been unique and a stand-out with the materials of their suits. It is built of carbon fibers that weave in and out, almost looking like many tiny squares that stretch in every direction. This allows for an even stretch without losing any sense of compression. The back of the suit is lined with double-taping that gives the swimmer more of a snap in and out of your turns without hindering any movements while swimming. This also allows more lifting on the back. I would love to see just a little more water repellency and lift in the hips.

    Dylan Carter: The Carbon Core FX provides the most lift out of any arena suit I have swam in before in my life. The material is very water repellent and buoyant. They have increased the amount of taping on this suit, which maximizes the hip lift. You can really feel this when your stroke begins to fatigue, where usually your hips would drop, you feel the Carbon Core lifting you and keeping you flat in the water. This is the perfect feel for the end of a long course 100m, when your legs are dying and you need that extra lift.

     


    Performance 

    John Shebat: This suit lived up to the big brand name of arena. It was a great all-around suit. Whether you swim the 100 freestyle or the 200 breaststroke this suit can work wonders for you. I was disappointed that, for me at least, the draw strings were too short. I was not able to pull the waist to completely fall flush to my skin and therefore had a little water seepage on starts and turns. The suit dried relatively quickly, showing that after a couple wears it is still water resistant. I felt a good amount of buoyancy in my hips during underwater dolphin kicking and great for body position.

    Dylan Carter: This suit is definitely aimed more towards sprinters, as the added compression can sacrifice blood flow. However, as a sprint suit, it performs excellently. Dive breakouts feel incredible, the combination of compression for the early/easy speed and the maximum buoyancy to help you finish the longer sprints make it an ideal suit for explosive racing, both short and long course. The biggest contrast between the Core FX and the Flex is the lift in the new suit. I was skeptical that arena could improve on such a great suit as the Flex, but I think that they absolutely have.

    Overall 

    Fit —  4
    Looks/Design — 5
    Comfort/Ease to Put on — 4
    Materials/Fabric — 4.75
    Compression — 4.5
    Performance — 4.5





    Mizuno GX-Sonic V 
    $380

    John first wore a Mizuno as a freshman in college, while Mizuno is the suit that Dylan has been wearing most regularly at present. Since then, John has always loved the entire Mizuno suit attributes - the material, fit and performance. Dylan meanwhile likes “the rigidity of the Mizuno suits.” The suit comes in a Sprinter and Multi Racer version. The Sprinter has more compression and construction, while the multi-racer has more mobility and flexion.




    Size/Fit

    John Shebat: I am 6’2” and weigh around 195 lbs. and I wear a size L. Mizuno is unique with their choice in sizing by offering a smaller variety of sizes (S-XL), but this does not steer me away from finding that perfect fit. There is not much wiggle room when it comes to flexibility. There is an improvement from the GX-Sonic IV, but I do still find it more uncomfortable to wear and sit around than other suits I have worn. I wear-tested the ST and this suit is not meant for the distance swimmer. I found it to be the hardest to put on out of the bunch, so I would give yourself plenty of time before your swim to slide this suit on. When talking about compression this suit is king. The suit is tight and it is meant to be. I recommend putting the suit on at home a couple days before racing or even swimming with it beforehand. I find that the second and third wear in this suit is ideal, because it is not as tight as the first time you wear it, but still acts brand new in water repellency and buoyancy. The strings were ideal in length and layout as it was perfect for tightening the waist to my preferred fit. 

    Dylan Carter: This Mizuno GX-Sonic V runs a tad smaller than previous Mizuno suits, which was ideal for me because I felt I was between sizes (M and L) on the previous suits. The L was exactly the right fit. Something I love about this suit is the amount of coverage you get from hip to knee. The GX-Sonic V has a very high waist and a low knee, covering the maximum amount of skin and holding rigidity to a big area. It was one of the toughest suits to put on for the first time and took around 20 mins, but the second time was about half that. This really showed how the suit molds to its owner after the first couple of wears. The tension in the suit is definitely highest around the bottom and hamstring area, and easier around the quads. This, combined with the top of the suit being so high, helped my legs stay fresh in the suit even after wearing it for 30 mins.

    Materials

    John Shebat: The Mizuno GX Sonic suits have shown to put the longest lasting suits on the market and they did it again with the GX-Sonic V. The suit is made of Sonic Light Ribtex with a built-in advanced water-repellent making it more water resistant than ever before. The double paneling on the back is thicker than your average suit and does not show a loss of life even with multiple wears. I noticed it had the most water-repellent material out of the suits tested. The material is most similar to the GX-Sonic III in regards to the thickness and durability. When getting in and out of the pool the suit did not submit in absorbing water making it great for back-to-back swims. It felt as if I were wearing a plastic suit that was not able to absorb water. The suit comes with a Sonic Line Design X taping. Cross line taping support specifically designed for full kick cycle assistance. The area of the highest tension lies at the hamstring. When fatigue sets in at the end of a race, this provides you with the hip/leg elevation you need to finish. The taping is most similar to the Sonic IV. 

    Dylan Carter: I was really impressed with the way the water rolled off this suit. After hopping out the water the suit was completely dry. The classic double layering of the back of the suit is back, which is a feature that I personally love. The back of the suit has very little give in the material, which flattened my butt really well.


    Performance

    John Shebat: When it comes to performance, there is no better suit than this one. What it lacks in comfort and fit the GX-Sonic V comes back ten fold in performance. I swim the 200 IM, 200 backstroke and 100 butterfly and this is my go to suit. It lasts for multiple meets giving me the best bang for my buck. You can actually feel a huge difference when you swim and what the suit can do for you. When your body gives out during a race the GX-Sonic V is there to save you. Making it easier to swim and glide by raising your body out and through the water. I find it great for breaststroke, as it helps your legs snap back together giving yourself that powerful finish to your kick. I recommend this suit to any non-distance swimmer, and I also think this suit will provide longevity and still perform at a high level over a good length of time due to its durable fabric.

    Dylan Carter: Without a doubt this is a top of the line suit, especially for sprinters. I love the feeling of the suit snapping my body into line off of a start or turn. The high waist offers great coverage and mobility making it a dream for dolphin kickers, and the tight area around the butt gives awesome lift when swimming butterfly. The suit gives a speedy feel without sacrificing blood flow, and feels quite durable as well. The body line assistance really shows when hitting some dive and glides with the GX-Sonic V on. Overall, the suit really helps the swimmer carry their speed off the wall for as long as possible, giving the wearer that sense of “easy speed.”


    Overall

    Fit — 4.5
    Looks/Design — 4.75
    Comfort/Ease to Put on — 3
    Materials/Fabric — 5
    Compression — 5
    Performance — 5




    arena Carbon Glide 
    $395

    Arena came back this year with a new addition to their line-up with the Carbon Glide, giving reviewers a suit with a bit less compression and more free motion in our legs and highlighted by its low drag. Dylan loved the looks and design of this suit and commented that “arena has delivered on the aesthetic once again.”



    Size/Fit

    John Shebat: Like the Carbon Core FX, this suit is comfortable. I could wear the Carbon Glide to the movies or even to bed. Having it on for more than an hour, I never once felt uncomfortable. It showed me a nice even compression throughout the entire suit, not putting too much stress on any muscle in particular. Being the more comfortable and least restrictive suit, I would love to wear this for a mile. With the waist strings being a little too short, I found it difficult to tie the waist to my ideal fit [Editor's Note: John's suit was a sample suit with a shorter, pre-production drawstring].

    Dylan Carter: I loved testing out this suit in a size 26. The suit fit true to size and offered an even compression throughout the suit. It sits just above the bum, and doesn’t constrict too much at the hip flexor, which is ideal for longer races (200+). The Carbon Glide was the easiest to put on of all the suits, and was the suit that I could wear longest before feeling like my legs were getting uncomfortable. Ideal for a call room situation at bigger meets, where you need to be suited 20 mins before the event.


    Materials

    John Shebat: We are back with the unique arena material! The Carbon Glide is made of two different fabrics. Their “hydroglide” fabric is new and is designed to reduce surface drag on the front face and center back of the suit. The Carbon Glide is extremely lightweight and very pliable. The suit does not restrict any movement of the body in and out of the water. The legs are made of a lightweight fabric with an extreme carbon cage for more compression. With single taping on the back, you are still given that lift in the back, but also providing the swimmer a more comfortable wear. I did not find the suit to be as water resistant as other wear-test suits, which might mean that it could have a shorter lifespan. 

    Dylan Carter: The Carbon Glide is actually made of two different materials, a more compressive section on the legs and a reflective material on the bum. This allows water to roll off the hips and give the feeling of swimming on top of the water. The material is not restrictive and is very comfortable in the start position and for both flip turns and open turns. The material stretched a bit after the first wear, but the suit felt just as fast as the first time I put it on.


    Performance

    John Shebat: On the performance side of the Carbon Glide, I did not get much out of it. I felt like the water-resistant material was lacking and did not give my body much lift. It may not be for people who weigh around 200lbs or need that quick performance aspect. On the first wear, I found the water-resistant material to live up to my expectations, but out of the water it seemed like the water held onto the suit rather than repelling off as much as I’d like for my taste but you have to remember that it’s the ONLY suit to score a perfect five in both Fit and Comfort/Ease to Put On categories among the test suits.

    Dylan Carter: This suit is definitely designed with middle distance swimmers in mind. You feel comfortable but quick. The compression of the quads and the comfort of the hips made it an ideal suit to swim 200 pace work in. The Carbon Glide felt fast without feeling restrictive, and kept my hips high while I fatigued. I love the feel of this suit and would recommend it for 200m and 400m swimmers, or 100m swimmers who like a more comfortable suit.


    Overall


    Fit — 5
    Looks/Design — 4
    Comfort/Ease to Put on — 5
    Materials/Fabric — 4
    Compression — 3.75
    Performance — 4



    Speedo LZR Pure Intent
    $228 - $380

    2019 Review

    Speedo designed this suit to be powerful, flexible and fast. This suit has new fabric, a new panel construction, and new finishes. The suit debuted in March 2019 and “represents the largest evolution of a Speedo suit that I have seen in a long time” said Mark Gangloff, who was both an Olympic swimmer and a 7-time SwimOutlet tech suit reviewer from 2013-2019. Said Gangloff: “This suit is thicker and has more form when holding it up. Basically, it has a firmer shell to it.”



    Size/Fit

    Mark Gangloff: I always get a little nervous putting on a suit that I have never tried on before and the fact that this one has a little firmer feel to it made me question whether or not I should have sized up. But this suit went on without a problem and it felt great. As usual, I chose the high-waisted option and the suit hit just above the knee and above my hips - exactly where I like it to go. As expected, the compression was higher than the Speed’s other suit, the Pure Valor, which is more flexible. My only small critique of the fit of this suit is I could not tighten down the drawstring as much as I would have liked, which can likely be attributed to my bigger bum.

    Giles Smith: Like the top Speedo race suits before it, the Pure Intent comes in a regular- waisted or high-waisted suit for swimmers who want additional coverage. Speedo has made many fast tech suits over the years, but I had felt in the past that the LZR Elite and LZR Elite 2 gave me an average amount of compression in the quads when I raced. The Pure Intent I tested was a high waisted size 26, and the increase in compression throughout the suit was very noticeable compared to the Elites.


    Materials

    Mark Gangloff: Like I said above, the paneling on this suit is different from other Speedo suits. The breakdown of fabric per panel is as follows: Panel #1 73% Nylon/27% Spandex, Panel #2 66% Nylon/34% Spandex, and the Textured Fabric 66% Nylon/34% Spandex. These materials form the shell of this suit, which is the best feature and highlight of the suit. I loved the rigidity of this suit and I like the amount of compression throughout the legs and hips.

    Giles Smith: The back of the suit has a different texture than the front and is layered with textured fabric zones that help with extra compression and minimizing drag over your glutes, back and hamstrings, but still provide a high-level of mobility while swimming. I would prefer if the jammer could have fit my body a tad looser around my hips, but the Speedo suit made me feel fast in the water, on top of helping my body position during the 50’s pace.





    Performance

    Mark Gangloff: Since I was not able to pull the drawstring as tight as I wanted, there were a few times when I pushed off the wall and a few drops of water seeped in. This slight issue during wear-testing may have been the particular sample suit I received or my big bum. With that said, the suit still did an amazing job. I was shocked by how far I was able to glide when diving in and pushing off the walls. One of my tests is to do a single breaststroke pull out and see how far it takes me. With good suits, I can do a full 25 yards and I hit that standard without a problem in the Speedo Pure Intent. Bottom line: even with that slight water drip, it was one of the best suits of the group!

    Giles Smith: The Speedo Pure Intent performed very well during a quick test set of fast 50’s freestyle. I could immediately feel my hips and hamstrings elevating to the surface of the water while kicking. Given the compression, it was easy to put on and very comfortable. In a longer swim meet where I could swim multiple events in a session this suit would not have an issue with fatiguing or restricting the circulation of my thighs. All in all, Speedo’s new Pure Intent made me feel powerful, connected and explosive during my day wear testing it. I was able to maintain an efficient body line while swimming freestyle and dolphin kicking.


    Overall

    Fit — 4.5
    Looks/Design — 4.5
    Comfort/Ease to Put on — 4.5
    Materials/Fabric — 5
    Compression — 4.5
    Performance — 5





    Speedo LZR Pure Valor
    $330 - $365


    With the Speedo Pure Valor, the suit designers asked a simple question, how could they evolve the LZR Elite 2? Pulling the suit out of the packaging, “this suit feels very similar to the LZR Elite 2,” wrote one reviewer. With this suit, compared to the Pure Intent, they wanted to give swimmers the option of a suit with moderate compression. “I think they hit their mark on that,” said Mark Gangloff after his wear-test in February 2019.


    Size/Fit

    Mark Gangloff: Speedo is offering this suit both in regular and high waisted options and, as usual, I went with the high waisted. Having worn a size 28 in many Speedo suits, I knew that this was the right one for me. Something I will say about the silhouette of any Speedo suit is that you will see consistency in sizing across different types of Speedo suits. All Speedo size 28s fit the same and that’s a testament to Speedo’s engineering and fit-testing. Putting it on was not hard and overall the suit gives moderate compression.

    Giles Smith: This suit was among the most comfortable of the bunch and easy to put on - with clearly less compression then the Speedo Pure Intent. You can be in this suit for a long time and feel good -- and that’s not something you can say about all these top of the line tech suits. Speedo Pure Valor is not restrictive in anyway. 

    Material

    Mark Gangloff: This suit fabric is made up of 65% Nylon and 35% Spandex. Those that have worn a Speedo suit over the past few years will know what this material feels like. It is extremely light and has a good amount of stretch in it. You can comfortably sit in this suit for long swim meet sessions thanks to its material.

    Giles Smith: This material felt very similar to the Speedo LZR Elite models - no need to reinvent the wheel of one of the all-time best-selling suits. It was a smooth breathable fabric. I personally prefer to have a fabric with more compression in my racing suit, but I’m a sprinter, and for those who swim longer races or multiple strokes this is a great blend of material.




    Performance

    Mark Gangloff: Anyone would feel confident wearing this suit at a championship competition. I typically like a suit with a little more compression, but this suit was not designed for that and it has its own place. With that said, I would still feel 100% confident about this suit providing elite performance and it is certainly an upgrade from the LZR Elite 2. Bottom line: this suit performed very well, especially taking into consideration that it scored a perfect five in the Comfort/Ease to Put on category.

    Giles Smith: This suit definitely flows well in the water and that’s one the best things you can say about any suit. I was able to feel some compression on my legs, but certainly not nearly as much as the Pure Intent, which I would recommend over the Valor for those that love to feel their muscles locked into place.


    Overall

    Fit — 4.5
    Looks/Design — 4.5
    Comfort/Ease to Put on — 5
    Materials/Fabric — 4
    Compression — 3.5
    Performance — 4.5




    TYR Venzo
    $265.00-$379.99

    *2019 Review*


    There are a few key features in the TYR Venzo that have made it a popular suit for those wanting maximum compression since it launched in early 2019: 1) Frictionless Fiber Constructions; 2) Surface Lift Technology; 3) Endo Compression Cage; and 4) Seamless Exo Shell.



    Size/Fit

    Mark Gangloff: I wore a size 28 for the testing of this suit and I would say this suit fits true to size. I was able to wear both the high waisted and low waisted suits and like I have said many times before, the high waisted suit gives me better coverage. I would say this suit has very good compression without being restrictive. I never felt compromised when moving through each stroke. Leaving the wall and diving in the water both felt great. I was able to hold my body line for a long time on both of those types of efforts which for me is a marker of a great suit.

    Giles Smith: For the TYR Venzo my size was a 27. When I popped on the Venzo, I immediately noticed how much suit coverage you get from the jammer. The bottom of the jammer extended extremely far and almost reaches the top of my knees, which gives swimmers an explosive feel especially when diving off the blocks. I did not have any issue with the Venzo fit other than for me it was hard for me to get the suit on my body, but once the suit is secure, it is not too tight and feels very comfortable, while also giving me a connected-core-feeling along with having very high compression in a technical suit.


    Materials

    Mark Gangloff: The fabric of this suit is made of 70% Nylon and 30% Lycra Spandex. My understanding of the Frictionless Fiber is that TYR looked at the fibers on a microscopic level to find the smoothest fibers they could in the construction of this suit. What you will notice when picking up this suit is that it is thick. Throughout the suit, there is a lining and an exterior shell to the suit. This adds to the support you feel when you get in the suit. The taping on the interior of the suit wraps around the hips in two directions, one around the front of the quad and the other around the back of the hamstring. They call this taping and inner fabric the Endo Compression Cage. Like the FINIS suit, this allows for more comfort because a side seam or taping can cause some irritation around the IT band and knee. Lastly TYR’s Surface Lift Technology is the coating on the suit that prevents the suit from absorbing water.

    Giles Smith: The Venzo focuses on buoyancy and features a Seamless Exo Shell which works to streamline the body and means no outside seams. The Venzo also keeps the lower half of my body elevated and is very tight without restricting my kick when I swim. The Venzo’s core compression cage has an inner fabric taping, which connects the obliques, abdominals and quadriceps. The level of compression in the legs is similar to other technical suits in the review, but the core compression in the Venzo is what separates this suit from previous TYR models.



    Performance


    Mark Gangloff: I think it is very telling that athletes like Katie Ledecky and Simone Manual both chose TYR for the upcoming 2020 Games. Both of these superstars likely had the pick of suit brands that wanted to work with them and I am sure the Venzo was a part of their decision-making process. As an athlete, yes, you want a sponsorship that brings financial support, but you also need to know that you are swimming in an amazing suit. Bottom line: this is a FAST suit. The compression and comfort combination gives you the confidence that you are wearing an elite tech suit. This suit is higher on the price range but performs like it, so for some of you it will be worth it.

    Giles Smith: The Venzo performed well for me. The suit is smooth to the touch and reduces friction with the water and sprinters and short distance swimmers will also notice a nice glide when pushing off their walls. I thought the extra inch or so of suit length feels great while racing for it was compressive in the right spots, especially in the lower section of my quadriceps. I felt like once I got the suit on I could stay in the jammer for a good bit of time, which you can’t always say about a suit that offers this level of compression.


    Overall

    Fit — 5
    Looks/Design — 4.5
    Comfort/Ease to Put on — 4
    Materials/Fabric — 5
    Compression — 5
    Performance — 5





















    Top 2019 Tech Suits Reviewed

    2019 Men’s Technical Suits — Jump to Reviews | Visit Category Page

    Speedo LZR Pure Intent - Review | Product Page
    Speedo LZR Pure Valor - Review | Product Page
    FINIS Rival 2.0 - Review | Product Page
    TYR Venzo - Review | Product Page
    Mizuno GX-Sonic III MR & ST - Review | Product Page
    arena Carbon Air2 - Review | Product Page

    2019 Women’s Technical Suit Reviews — Jump to Reviews | Visit Category Page

    Speedo LZR Pure Intent - Review | Product Page
    Speedo LZR Pure Valor - Review | Product Page
    TYR Venzo - Review | Product Page
    Mizuno GX Sonic-III - Review | Product Page
    FINIS Rival 2.0 - Review | Product Page
    arena Carbon Air2 - Review | Product Page
    Funkita Apex Storm - Review | In-stock in April


    Editor’s Introduction

    Welcome to the 2019 SwimOutlet.com Tech Suit Review. This year’s review is our seventh in the annual series and our biggest review ever. For the first time, we are featuring four reviewers with the addition of world champion Ali DeLoof and Pan Am Games gold medalist, Giles Smith.

    Each of our reviewers provide independent, outside opinions and wear-test the suits on their own without brand or SwimOutlet.com involvement. You can read more about our reviewers on the SwimOutlet Blog.

    Mark Gangloff (Columbia, MO) Two-time Gold Medalist & 7-time Reviewer
    Julie Stupp (Los Angeles, CA) Olympic Trials finalist & 6-time Reviewer
    Ali DeLoof (San Diego, CA)  U.S. National team & first time Reviewer
    Giles Smith (Phoenix, AZ)  2015 Pan Am Games Gold & first-time Reviewer

    For the first time also, we are introducing category scoring for each review to help our readers better decipher different characteristics of each suit. The 2019 crop of suits are the suits that will be worn in Tokyo 2021 and that makes this is a particularly special review. As with any purchasing decision, the 2019 SwimOutlet.com Tech Suit Review is just one resource for you to use along with things like product information pages, customer comments, sizing charts, feedback from your coaches and peers, and brand information.

    As in past reviews, we divide each one into three sections: 1) Size/Fit; 2) Materials; 3) Performance. But this year the review is followed by a comprehensive scoring system using an easy to reference grading scale (1-5) for several different suit features.

    The specific suit features are: a) Fit; b) Looks/Design: c) Comfort/Ease to Put on; d) Materials/Fabric; e) Compression; f) Performance

    The grading scale is:
    1.     Unsatisfactory
    2.     Satisfactory
    3.     Good
    4.     Very Good
    5.     Outstanding


    2019 Men’s Tech Suit Reviews
    By Mark Gangloff with additional reviews from Giles Smith

    Let’s start with a little history on how we have gotten to the 2019 Tech Suit Review. This is my seventh year of doing tech suit reviews and so far I have tried on more than 50 suits. Over the years, Julie Stupp and I have tested both the best suits that manufacturers have to offer and suits at lower price points that are more budget-friendly. The suits I have worn have varied in fabric quality and construction with all of them priced according to the amount of research and development and fabrics put into each suit.

    This year is exciting because Julie and I have two additional athletes that are joining the review, Giles Smith and Ali DeLoof. Our goal for this review is to provide you, the swimmer, and consumer, various perspectives on what we look for when trying suits on. As you read through these reviews, try to match your personal preferences with that of the reviewer describing the suits. This will ensure you are purchasing a suit that fit your specific needs. Every swimmer is different and values various aspects of what they want in a tech suit on their own scale.

    As an Olympian, I always place a large premium on training and performance the year before the Olympics, because it is as important as the Olympic year itself. This is a time when athletes are doing the work that needs to be done in order to be successful the following summer. This 12- to 18-month window is the foundation that sets one up for success at the Olympic Games.

    Suit manufacturers operate in the same way. Suit brands are already putting in the work to create the best suits possible for in success in Tokyo 2021. In some cases, these suits will be the exact suits you see at the Olympics. In other cases, these brands will make minor adjustments to their suits, but the majority of improvements for the top of the line suits have already been made and are incorporated in this year’s suits. These brands are focused on Tokyo and that fact makes this year’s tech suit review so exciting!

    Before starting, I want to remind you of my preference -- along with Giles Smith -- for highly-compressive suits. This means the entirety of the suit uniformly compresses down the muscles for an overall tightness throughout the suit. Most of the time this compression will not limit the amount of movement the body needs to have in order to complete each component of each stroke. After having tried on each of the suits, I can say each brand has placed an emphasis on this compression, which is not surprising considering these are top of the line suits from each brand. There are two suits in the review that do not put a sole focus on compression, but after speaking to each brand, this was by design. This is to make sure those that don’t want as much compression still get an elite suit with different design features.

    Before we get started here are a few things to keep in mind when reading my thoughts: 1.) I weigh 210 lbs (Mark) and I am ‘full-framed’ from the waist down. I like a high waisted suit because of it, to make sure all my ‘curves’ are covered; 2.) I like compression. This means the suit is tight everywhere and is difficult to get on. I prefer this, not for comfort but for performance, and if you feel uncomfortable in tight suits, select one with less compression especially if you might be wearing the suit for any long swim meet sessions; 3.) Know yourself or your athlete’s preferences.

    Read this review with some understanding of what you are looking for in a tech suit. This will make our comments just a supplement to all the other research you are doing to make your tech suit purchase.

     

    Speedo Pure Intent - $380
    Size 28 - Mark
    Size 26 - Giles

    Speedo has designed this suit to be powerful, flexible and fast. This suit has new fabric, a new panel construction, and new finishes. For me, this suit represents the largest evolution of a Speedo suit that I have seen in a long time, both as an elite swimmer and a reviewer. Pulling this suit out of the packaging got me very excited. Like some of the other tech suits reviewed here, this suit is thicker and has more form when holding it up. Basically, it has a firmer shell to it. This is something I like, and I was excited to try it out.

    Size/Fit

    Mark Gangloff: I always get a little nervous putting on a suit that I have never tried on before and the fact that this one has a little firmer feel to it made me question whether or not I should have sized up. But this suit went on without a problem and it felt great. As usual, I chose the high waisted option and the suit hit just above the knee and above my hips - exactly where I like it to go. As expected, the compression was higher than the Speed’s other suit, the Pure Valor, which is more flexible. My only small critique of the fit of this suit is I could not tighten down the drawstring as much as I would have liked, which can likely be attributed to my bigger bum.

    Giles Smith: Like the top Speedo race suits before it, the Pure Intent comes in a regular waisted or high waisted suit for swimmers who want additional coverage. Speedo has made many fast tech suits over the years, but I had felt in the past that the LZR Elite and LZR Elite 2 gave me an average amount of compression in the quads when I raced. The Pure Intent I tested was a high waisted size 26 and the increase in compression throughout the suit was very noticeable compared to the Elites.

    Materials

    Mark Gangloff: Like I said above, the paneling on this suit is different from other Speedo suits. The breakdown of fabric per panel is as follows: Panel #1 73% Nylon/27% Spandex, Panel #2 66% Nylon/34% Spandex, and the Textured Fabric 66% Nylon/34% Spandex. These materials form the shell of this suit, which is the best feature and highlight of the suit. I loved the rigidity of this suit and I like the amount of compression throughout the legs and hips.

    Giles Smith: The back of the suit has a different texture than the front and is layered with textured fabric zones that help with extra compression and minimizing drag over your glutes, back and hamstrings, but still provide a high-level of mobility while swimming. I would prefer if the jammer could have fit my body a tad looser around my hips, but the Speedo suit made me feel fast in the water, on top of helping my body position during the 50’s pace.

    Performance

    Mark Gangloff: Since I was not able to pull the drawstring as tight as I wanted, there were a few times when I pushed off the wall and a few drops of water seeped in. This slight issue during wear-testing may have been the particular sample suit I received or my big bum. With that said, the suit still did an amazing job. I was shocked by how far I was able to glide when diving in and pushing off the walls. One of my tests is to do a single breaststroke pull out and see how far it takes me. With good suits, I can do a full 25 yards and I hit that standard without a problem in the Speedo Pure Intent. Bottom line: even with that slight water drip, it was one of the best suits of the group!

    Giles Smith: The Speedo Pure Intent performed very well during a quick test set of fast 50’s freestyle. I could immediately feel my hips and hamstrings elevating to the surface of the water while kicking. Given the compression, it was easy to put on and very comfortable. In a longer swim meet where I could swim multiple events in a session this suit would not have an issue with fatiguing or restricting the circulation of my thighs. All in all, Speedo’s new Pure Intent made me feel powerful, connected and explosive during my day wear testing it. I was able to maintain an efficient body line while swimming freestyle and dolphin kicking.

    Summary

    Fit — 4.5
    Looks/Design — 4.5
    Comfort/Ease to Put on — 4.5
    Materials/Fabric — 5
    Compression — 4.5
    Performance — 5

     

    Speedo Pure Valor - $330
    Size 28 - Mark
    Size 26 - Giles

    Speedo did a great job keeping these two suit launches under wraps over the past few months. With the Speedo Pure Valor, the suit designers asked a simple question, how could they evolve the LZR Elite 2? Pulling the suit out of the packaging, this suit feels very similar to the LZR Elite 2. With this suit, compared to the Pure Intent, they wanted to give swimmers the option of a suit with moderate compression. I think they hit their mark on that.

    Size/Fit

    Mark Gangloff: Speedo is offering this suit both in regular and high waisted options and, as usual, I went with the high waisted. Having worn a size 28 in many Speedo suits I knew that this was the right one for me. Something I will say about the silhouette of any Speedo suit is that you will see consistency in sizing across different types of Speedo suits. All Speedo size 28s fit the same and that’s a testament to Speedo’s engineering and fit-testing. Putting it on was not hard and overall the suit gives moderate compression.

    Giles Smith: This suit was among the most comfortable of the bunch and easy to put on - with clearly less compression then the Speedo Pure Intent. You can be in this suit for a long time and feel good -- and that’s not something you can say about all these top of the line tech suits. Speedo Pure Valor is not restrictive in anyway. 

    Material

    Mark Gangloff: This suit fabric is made up of 65% Nylon and 35% Spandex. Those that have worn a Speedo suit over the past few years will know what this material feels like. It is extremely light and has a good amount of stretch in it. You can comfortably sit in this suit for long swim meet sessions thanks to its material.

    Giles Smith: This material felt very similar to the Speedo LZR Elite models - no need to reinvent the wheel of one of the all-time best-selling suits. It was a smooth breathable fabric. I personally prefer to have a fabric with more compression in my racing suit, but I’m a sprinter, and for those who swim longer races or multiple strokes this is a great blend of material. 

    Performance

    Mark Gangloff: Anyone would feel confident wearing this suit at a championship competition. I typically like a suit with a little more compression, but this suit was not designed for that and it has its own place. With that said, I would still feel 100% confident about this suit providing elite performance and it is certainly an upgrade from the LZR Elite 2. Bottom line: this suit performed very well, especially since it scored the only perfect five in the Comfort/Ease to Put on category among the men’s suits.

    Giles Smith: This suit definitely flows well in the water and that’s one the best things you can say about any suit. I was able to feel some compression on my legs, but certainly not nearly as much as the Pure Intent, which I would recommend over the Valor for those that love to feel their muscles locked into place.

    Summary

    Fit — 4.5
    Looks/Design — 4.5
    Comfort/Ease to Put on — 5
    Materials/Fabric — 4
    Compression — 3.5
    Performance — 4.5


    FINIS Rival 2.0 - $399.99
    Size 28 - Mark & Giles

    FINIS has made some great strides in the last few years on its racing suits. For the Rival 2.0, FINIS worked hard with Anthony Ervin, Olivia Smoliga, James Guy and other athletes to focus on the best design features to put into this suit. After speaking with FINIS representatives, they highlighted that they went through many feedback and fit sessions before finalizing the Rival 2.0. For anyone that wore the original FINIS Rival, the main difference for the 2.0 version is the improvement in the placement of the seams and taping.

    Size/Fit

    Mark Gangloff: I would say that this size 28 fits true to size. Putting the suit on was a little difficult the first time, which is typical. Subsequent times putting the suit on was much easier. This suit hit me right above the knee and I was able to pull it up above my hips, which I like. This is not the highest waisted suit of the review, but if you like a high waisted suit you will like this one. FINIS highlights that in this suit every seam has a purpose. They added seaming on the back of the legs giving it additional compression and lift. After wearing this, I would agree the seams did their job. My hips felt high and my butt and hamstrings felt compressed. The front and inside of the thigh are comprised of just a single fabric, which is comfortable and allows for a good range of motion especially when doing breaststroke kick.

    Giles Smith: Prior to trying on the Rival 2.0, I haven’t had much experience racing in a FINIS tech suit. However, once I slipped it on, I immediately noticed that it is very compressive in the front of the legs, as well in the back of legs with its double layers. It is a very high-quality made suit and the double layers on the back of the suit was something that I really liked about the fit. When I was first putting on the Rival 2.0, I thought that it wouldn’t properly fit my leg as the leg holes were a little too tight for my body, but the movable fabric was able to easily stretch to fit my thighs and hips comfortably while still maintaining a compressive skin tight feel. For me, I found the elastic that is near the bottom of the quads a little too tight if I had to stay in the suit for a long period of time due to the width of my thighs being relatively large. This might not be an issue for another swimmer depending how the elastic fits their thighs, but a solution might be to go up a size or roll over the elastic between races.

    Materials

    Mark Gangloff: This suit is made of 44% Elastane, 41% Polyamide, 15% Polyester. This fabric is put together in a weaving method that is 'multi-stretch' (stretching in all directions). This gives the suit good compression. Additionally, it allows the fabric to be very tough. I was able to pull on this material very hard and I never felt like this fabric or seams were going to rip. This helped give me a lot of peace of mind because if I were racing that day, I could trust that I would not rip my suit.

    Giles Smith: The Rival 2.0 is thick but lightweight, and features shield tech fabric, which allows the suit to be able to stretch to fit the athlete, while also giving a tight compressive fit near the hips. The back of suit has two layers which adds to the ability of this suit to keep an athlete’s hamstrings and glutes sitting high in the water. Around the core, the elastic that is near the top of the jammer really keeps my core locked in, which feels great while I was swimming butterfly, backstroke and freestyle.

    Performance

    Mark Gangloff: After initially putting this suit on, I thought it was a good suit but the second trial for me was better. It is typical for a suit to fit better the second time and this was true for this suit. I felt like it molded well to my body and moved with it as I move through all the strokes. Bottom Line: any athlete looking for high performance can trust this suit. You can tell FINIS has put some serious R&D into this suit, which may be why the price tag is so high.

    Giles Smith: I felt fast when I did a few race pace turns as the suit feels very compressive, but also moves with the body without restricting range of motion in all of the strokes. Overall, FINIS has put on emphasis on compression when creating the Rival 2.0, which I highly value when selecting a tech suit to race in at the highest level. The suit is very compressive yet mobile and when racing, gives me the feeling of high body position in the water. The suit performed well in my testing and the texture of the suit made me feel like I was able to cut through the water.

    Summary

    Fit — 5
    Looks/Design — 4.5
    Comfort/Ease to Put on — 4
    Materials/Fabric — 4
    Compression — 4.5
    Performance — 4.5



    TYR Venzo - $379.99
    Size 28 - Mark
    Size 27 - Giles

    There has been some buzz around the pool deck since the launch of the TYR Venzo back in October. Personally, I heard great things about the compression and thickness of the suit. Just over a month ago, the suit became available to the public. A few features that they are highlighting about this suit are: 1) Frictionless Fiber Constructions; 2) Surface Lift Technology; 3) Endo Compression Cage; and 4) Seamless Exo Shell.

    Size/Fit

    Mark Gangloff: I wore a size 28 for the testing of this suit and I would say this suit fits true to size. I was able to wear both the high waisted and low waisted suits and like I have said many times before, the high waisted suit gives me better coverage. I would say this suit has very good compression without being restricting. I never felt compromised when moving through each stroke. Leaving the wall and diving in the water both felt great. I was able to hold my body line for a long time on both of those types of efforts which for me is a marker of a great suit.

    Giles Smith: For the TYR Venzo my size was a 27. When I popped on the Venzo, I immediately noticed how much suit coverage you get from the jammer. The bottom of jammer extended extremely far and almost reaches the top of my knees, which gives swimmers an explosive feel especially when diving off the blocks. I did not have any issue with the Venzo fit other than for me it was hard for me to get the suit on my body, but once the suit is secure, it is not too tight and feels very comfortable, while also giving me a connected-core-feeling along with having very high compression in a technical suit.

    Materials

    Mark Gangloff: The fabric of this suit is made of 70% Nylon and 30% Lycra Spandex. My understanding of the Frictionless Fiber is that TYR looked at the fibers on a microscopic level to find the smoothest fibers they could in the construction of this suit. What you will notice when picking up this suit is that it is thick. Throughout the suit, there is a lining and an exterior shell to the suit. This adds to the support you feel when you get in the suit. The taping on the interior of the suit wraps around the hips in two directions, one around the front of the quad and the other around the back the hamstring. They call this taping and inner fabric the Endo Compression Cage. Like the FINIS suit, this allows for more comfort because a side seam or taping can cause some irritation around the IT band and knee. Lastly TYR’s Surface Lift Technology is the coating on the suit that prevents the suit from absorbing water.

    Giles Smith: The Venzo focuses on buoyancy and features a Seamless Exo Shell which works to streamline the body and means no outside seams. The Venzo also keeps the lower half of my body elevated and is very tight without restricting my kick when I swim. The Venzo’s core compression cage has an inner fabric taping, which connects the obliques, abdominals and quadriceps. The level of compression in the legs is similar to other technical suits in the review, but the core compression in the Venzo is what separates this suit from previous TYR models.

    Performance

    Mark Gangloff: I think it is very telling that athletes like Katie Ledecky and Simone Manual both chose TYR leading into 2020. Both of these superstars likely had the pick of suit brands that wanted to work with them and I am sure the Venzo was a part of their decision-making process. As an athlete, yes, you want a sponsorship that brings financial support, but you also need to know that you are swimming in an amazing suit. Bottom line: this is a FAST suit. The compression and comfort combination gives you the confidence that you are wearing an elite tech suit. This suit is higher on the price range but performs like it, so for some of you it will be worth it.

    Giles Smith: The Venzo performed well for me. The suit is smooth to the touch and reduces friction with the water and sprinters and short distance swimmers will also notice a nice glide when pushing off their walls. I thought the extra inch or so of suit length feels great while racing for it was compressive in the right spots, especially in the lower section of my quadriceps. I felt like once I got the suit on I could stay in the jammer for a good bit of time which you can’t always say about a suit that offers this level of compression.

    Summary

    Fit — 5
    Looks/Design — 4.5
    Comfort/Ease to Put on — 4
    Materials/Fabric — 5
    Compression — 5
    Performance — 5



    Mizuno GX-Sonic III MR & ST - $350.00
    Size L - Mark
    Size XL - Giles

    I was so excited when speaking to SwimOutlet and they let me know that SwimOutlet was selected as Mizuno’s first swim retailer in the U.S. I wore my first Mizuno suit in 2010 and I was blown away about how tight this suit fit, but how good it made me feel in the water. Mizuno was also the first brand that I wore that was high waisted. I think Mizuno has been a leader in how a men’s suit silhouette should be formed. With all of that said, it has been a long time since I wore a Mizuno suit and other leading brands have made great strides in their designs, so I was excited to see what the GX-Sonic III had to offer. A few highlights of the Sonic Line Design: 1) holds the torso in place; 2) it supports and lifts the hamstrings; and 3) it controls the kicking depth.

    Size/Fit

    Mark Gangloff: For this suit, I wore a Large because I knew it would be tight. If you wear a size 26, you can probably wear a size Medium. This suit is tight, very tight and for me that is okay. What is interesting about this suit is that it has more fabric than the other suits, but less stretch in the fabric itself. The best way I can describe it would be to say, the ‘shell' of this suit is larger, but has less give in it. You may be thinking, “does that limit my movement” and the answer is not really. The thing about a suit with this design is that once it is in place it feels great, but putting it on is a chore. You really have to inch this suit up a little at a time and there will be some moments when you don't think this suit will get over your hips. Just remember, all good things are worth the effort. Once over your hips, you have to continue to inch it up until the crotch is in place and then you are set to go. This suit is high waisted and will flatten out your butt and hamstrings a lot. It almost feels too rigid in the back, but once you push off the wall you know why it fits that way.

    Giles Smith: The GX Sonic-III Multi Racer (MR) is very different from your conventional tech suit. The first difference is Mizuno does not size their suits in a numerical values, but in actual sizes XS through XL. The brand does have a sizing chart on SwimOutlet’s website and I would make sure to reference that. For me, I fit into an XL in the GX Sonic-III MR. I tried on the high waisted suit, which has become a trend for some athletes that like to have more coverage in their suit. I am a fan of the core compression as well as the hamstring compression offered by the GX Sonic-III. The suit fits tight and fits very well. For me, if I were swimming multiple events over a long session, I might have to take the suit off as it compresses the body so well. Having a body type with a lot of bulk in the lower body, I might tighten up over a very long session, so just be aware of that if you are someone who has larger quads.

    Materials

    Mark Gangloff: This suit has different panels made of slightly different fabric compositions. They are: Lining: 66% Nylon, 34% Spandex; Shell Body: 67% Nylon, 33% Spandex; Shell Lining: 66% Nylon, 34% Spandex. The multi-colored portion of the suit has less horizontal stretch and more vertical stretch, which give you a tight feeling in your hamstrings. This also makes it difficult to put it on. The dark blue front panel has more give and allows for more freedom to move through the strokes.

    Giles Smith: Mizuno has made the GX Sonic-III with two layers, so the suit will feel thicker than a conventional technical suit, but the thickness does not weigh a swimmer down in anyway. The material also is very efficient in repelling water off of itself and it does not trap water inside the suit while you are swimming. The thick double layered fabric fits a swimmer quite tight if sized properly. 

    Performance

    Mark Gangloff: This suit is not that comfortable to put on, but when you dive in and push off the wall, you feel why it is designed the way it is. This is a suit designed for performance. I always use diving in and pushing off as a reference because a good suit will allow you to glide longer than normal. If you can just hold a position and be traveling faster, then your swimming will be faster. This suit provides those exact things. You also feel like your hips ride high in the water when you are swimming. This suit hits in the middle price range of the suits offered in this review which to me is a good deal.

    Giles Smith: During my wear testing, it felt like the jammer offers up-kick support, which for butterfly and freestyle is very helpful especially at the end of a race.  While swimming and doing underwaters, this suit makes my body feel like it is one connected and powerful unit. Worth noting, I really loved this suit when I was fatiguing. Overall the Mizuno GX Sonic-III MR is a very good suit featuring great compression, while allowing swimmers to feel very powerful and keeping the core together with excellent buoyancy.

    Summary

    Fit — 4  
    Looks/Design — 4.5
    Comfort/Ease to Put on — 4
    Materials/Fabric — 5
    Compression — 5
    Performance — 5



    arena Carbon Air2 - $300
    Size 28 - Mark & Giles

    Arena has done it again! They have expanded and evolved their Carbon series. What I like about this brand is they are constantly getting feedback and making their suits better. After speaking to arena product team, they informed us that this Carbon Air2 is not designed to be highly-compressive and is supposed to be an upgrade to the original Carbon Air suit. This suit is designed to feel like and allow you the freedom to move throughout your strokes. For higher compression, check out the other suits in the Carbon Series.

    Size/Fit

    Mark Gangloff: I wore a size 28 for this testing and I would say that this suit runs true to arena sizing (in the range of a ‘normal’ 28, while skewing a tad small). As with any difference between brands, whether that is swimsuits or jeans, arena has always fit me about a half-size smaller than other brands. This has never bothered me before and I knew that was probably the case with this suit. Luckily, this suit still fit me very well. The silhouette of this suit is not as high waisted as some of the others in this review, but still has good coverage. This makes it one of the more comfortable arena suits that I have worn. For some this is a positive. For me, I prefer high-waisted. My one small critique of this suit is the drawstring was a little short and the seam between the legs is tight, knocking down its comfort score a point for my taste.

    Giles Smith: The first thing you notice when you put on the Carbon Air2 jammer is how lightweight the suit is. It is extremely lightweight and very pliable. In terms of sizing, the Air2 fits similar to the other Carbon suits that I have worn. The jammer features a good level of compression without the too-tight-feeling some may have while they race in a tech suit. The added freedom in the suit is great for swimmers who swim multiple events in one session as the suit is not too restrictive to cut off circulation during a long meet.

    Materials

    Mark Gangloff: This suit is made of 65% Nylon, 34% Elastane, 1% Carbon Fiber. This makeup gives the suit more stretch. In comparison to other arena suits I have worn, this fabric feels lighter and stretchier. The other feature of the fabrics used in this suit is the fact that the only place this suit has double fabric is in the crotch and hips. The leg panels are a single panel, giving you a lot of comfort and movement when moving through the strokes.

    Giles Smith: The Carbon Air2 is extremely lightweight and very pliable. The suit is comprised from one piece of fabric, which makes the suit have comfort and does not restrict the body in any movement, in addition since the suit does not have multiple seams it absorbs very little water. The three panels in the inner lining of the suit helps to allow movement and flexibility in all four strokes. I felt a good bit of speed while pushing off walls and doing several turns, while also not having any issues with the suit feeling too tight due to the flexible fabric.

    Performance

    Mark Gangloff: I think this suit achieved all of the design features that they were going for. One of the things that helped the performance and comfort of this suit is the elimination of the seam that runs down the outside of the leg. Often times a seam on the outside of the leg can rub and irritate the IT band and I see the elimination of this side seam as a very good upgrade from the original air. Bottom Line: this suit performed extremely well and the last thing to consider is that this suit is the easiest on your bank account. $300 for this suit is a good price!

    Giles Smith: Overall, I enjoyed wear-testing the Carbon Air2. It differs from some of arena’s previous suits such as the Carbon Flex, which is a terrific suit, but for my body type took me a long time to put on due the tightness of the suit. Personally, I have been a fan of arena’s tech suits over my racing career and the Carbon Air2 is another great suit that will be used by many of the sport’s elite during the college season, as well as this upcoming long course season. To sum up, I thought the Carbon Air2 is a lightweight good quality jammer that allows swimmers to be comfortable by not being too tight. If you are an athlete that must be in a suit for a long period of time, this is the perfect suit for you - and you can’t beat the price.

    Summary

    Fit — 4  
    Looks/Design — 5
    Comfort/Ease to Put on — 4
    Materials/Fabric — 5
    Compression — 4.5
    Performance — 4.5


    2019 Women’s Tech Suit Reviews
    By Julie Stupp with additional reviews from Ali DeLoof

    Tokyo 2021 is just around the corner! Swimmers, coaches and suit companies alike are starting to feel the pressure, excitement and competition build. As most fans begin to eye the Summer Games, the manufacturers have long been preparing for the release of their new technical suits for 2019 and even 2020. Many painstaking hours of research and development must take place for these suits to be perfect and competition-ready. This year’s tech suits are phenomenal and reflect small changes of technological advancement while holding steadfast in the tried and true foundations of fast swimming technology of the past. For the first time in seven years, Mark and I were lucky enough to have two current National Team members join us in reviewing the latest tech suit launches.

    Some trends I noticed this year on the women’s side included the three C’s for 2019: compression, customization and closed back suits. Compression is back. Brands we spoke with went back to the basics of power, speed and fit after a year or two off from top compression suit launches. They came to the same conclusion that more compression equals more speed. This influx of compression was achieved in several ways including added seams, thicker fabrics and strategically-placed panels. While every brand chose a different methodology, the outcome was overwhelmingly positive.

    Another trend we seem to see year after year is increased fabric technology. I never ceased to be amazed with the advancements and cutting-edge ways that manufacturers improve the fabrics and materials that make up a tech suit. These high-tech fabrics led to many brands creating stroke or race-specific suits, like suits for sprinters and different suits for IM or multi-race athletes. Lastly, closed back suits are IN this year. More than half of the tech suits I tested had closed back options, which allows for more athletes to buy a suit specifically for their stroke or race specialties.

    The flip side to all this is with compression and closed back suits also comes struggle. Added compression, more suit material on a closed back suit and extra seams pose the issue of more time prepping and putting on a suit. Now that you have the option of a closed back style, you have to plan ahead and get into the locker room a little sooner before a race. You’ll want to leave plenty of time to not only get the suit on, but a little extra time to rest and recover from that process so you feel fresh before your race. Many of the manufacturers have improved the durability and strength of their straps, which also means they are a bit harder to get on and off. You may need to enlist the help of a friend. More fabric on a tech suit could mean more opportunities for suits to stretch out after several races and there are a few suits in this bunch that won’t last quite as long as others.


    Speedo LZR Pure Intent - $550
    Size 28 - Julie
    Size 22 - Ali

    Speedo really stepped up their game in 2019 and released not one but two new tech suits at the same time. Like many of the brands this year, they customized the fit, fabric and technology for different types of athletes, but unlike the other manufacturers they don’t define the suit based on racing type and gave them rather more buzzwordy names LZR Pure Intent and LZR Pure Valor.

    Size/Fit

    Julie Stupp: The two Speedo suits are differentiated by their level of compression. Pure Intent provides maximum compression, Pure Valor less - but they both share the same silhouette and fit characteristics, so this fit paragraph will be remarkably similar to my other Speedo review. The suit fits extremely well and comes in both open and closed back options. I tried on the size 28 in both back versions and it fit true to size. Speedo’s sizing has always been spot-on. Like the LZR Fastskin suits that came before it, the Pure Intent has the same great leg length, high-neck cut and ultra-comfortable precision straps. Speedo improved their precision straps by adding a high power elastic to increase flexibility, power return and make them a little easier to get on and off. It features a smaller profile shoulder and back strap construction that lines the back at a more natural angle cupping the lats, rather than cutting vertically across the back. Getting it on without too much struggle AND having max compression is a winning combo.

    Ali DeLoof: LZR Pure Intent is designed to be powerful, flexible, fast and have the most compression. When I tried on the suit, I was able to put it on without much struggle due to the flexibility panels. Because of the flexibility panels, you really have the option to size down one to ramp up the compression even more, so I wear-tested a 22. Speedo has designed flexible zones that allow for more freedom in the kick, better side range of motion for the rotational strokes like freestyle and backstroke. I really liked this part of the suit, as I was able to rotate my body well when I was swimming and the suit didn't feel too restrictive. One area that is more compressive for this suit is around the glutes, hamstrings and core. You will be able to feel the difference as you are getting this suit on; it is tighter around the hips and you need to take your time getting it on. The straps were very comfortable and created with more flexibility. They stretch a little more to make the ease of putting on the straps better. I still had to have a friend help me put the straps on and that is just fine. If you have ever worn the LZR Elite or LZR X, these straps were basically designed by combining the better features of the two suit straps. Overall, I thought this suit fit my body well and was compressive in the areas of my hips glutes, core and hamstrings, which I really liked.

    Material

    Julie Stupp: The Pure Intent features three different types of fabrics all working together to create the most compression without hindering movement. The textured fabric found on the chest, core, glutes and hamstrings aims to eliminate drag on the turbulent areas of the body. While the flexible zones only have one thin layer of fabric to allow for better range of motion and rotation. Lastly, the compressive dual layers found throughout the chest, core, glutes and hamstrings provide the ultimate compression to support the most dense muscle groups. In true Speedo heritage, you can tell this is a very-well constructed suit with a high-tech durable fabric.

    Ali DeLoof: The suit material is made of three different fabrics designed to reduce drag, while swimming and provide more compression as well as increase flexibility for rotational strokes of freestyle and backstroke. You will find that when you wear this suit that there are a few textured fabric zones in specific areas that Speedo has found to create the most drag while swimming. If you are holding the suit in front of you or wearing it you will see the textured zones on the glutes, back and sides under the rib cage. The suit feels soft, smooth and tough around the hips and flexible as you are putting the suit on. I didn't feel like I was going to rip it, as I was trying to get it on.

    Performance

    Julie Stupp: I love a compressive tech suit and the Pure Intent performed very well in the pool. The Pure Intent gave me the ultimate amount of compression especially in the closed back suit. This high powered compression coupled with the flexible zones allowed me the ability to rotate freely and get the most out of all four strokes. I also loved the flexible zones, because they made sipping air and expanding my lungs to the fullest before each underwater and stroke transition easy. I did find myself wanting a touch more leg compression.

    Ali DeLoof: I absolutely love the new LZR design. I think the dual compression layers in the core, glutes and hamstrings helped my kick. As I moved through the water, I felt like my body was moving efficiently. I was able to push off the wall in a streamline and not worry about the suit filling up with water. The compression was great and comfortable enough that it didn't feel too tight. I felt like my core was very stable and with the new seams I was able to keep my whole body connected while I was swimming every stroke. The one thing I really liked was the flexible zones that allow for better range of motion. With these new zones I didn't feel like the suit was too tight around my core and back. I was able to rotate well for freestyle and backstroke. With the compression being a bit tighter around my hips, glutes and hamstrings, I was still able to do a great start off the block for freestyle and backstroke start. Something to consider is that you might want to size down in this suit with the new design since the flexibility panels have made it easier to put on. Compared to past LZR suits, I went down a size to make sure it fit my body better in the water and to feel the max compression.

    Summary

    Fit — 5    
    Looks/Design — 5
    Comfort/Ease to Put on — 4
    Materials/Fabric — 5
    Compression — 5
    Performance — 5

     

    Speedo LZR Pure Valor - $450
    Size 28 - Julie
    Size 22 - Ali

    Speedo’s less compressive suit is named the LZR Pure Valor and I like the fact that they launched both at the same time, so that you can differentiate the two types of suits right from the get-go. The LZR Pure Valor is the next iteration of the ever-popular LZR Elite 2.

    Size/Fit

    Julie Stupp: As I mentioned in the other Speedo review, the Pure Valor is designed for more flexibility, but it shares the same silhouette and fit characteristics and also comes in the open and closed back. Again, I tried the size 28 and it was the right size for me. Given that they are two different suits, it’s amazing how similar the fits are with Pure Valor featuring the same great leg length, high-neck cut and ultra-comfortable precision straps. The improvement on the straps is always a welcome change and I found their adjustments to be spot on. Speedo straps are really the best in the business and it shows here.

    Ali DeLoof: The Pure Valor is thinner and extremely comfortable. This suit is very lightweight with moderate compression. It is a tight suit, but not extremely tight. One thing that I did notice about the closed back suit is that Speedo has eliminated the water bubble on the back that would sometimes form as I was swimming in the closed back. The seam in the back is closer to your back and almost forms to the curvature. Overall, this suit is comfortable when I wore it.

    Material

    Julie Stupp: Unlike the Pure Intent’s textured surface, the Pure Valor is completely smooth on the outside and is much more lightweight. It is constructed with mostly just one layer of durable fabric. It has several unassuming seams running on the inside of the suit for strength and compression around the hips and the legs. The moderate compression comes from the strategically-placed dual layered panels found only in the chest, core and glutes. I thought this chest and core paneling were really on-point.

    Ali DeLoof: This suit material feels like the LZR Elite 2, but is much more sleek. I would say it is extremely flexible throughout and very comfortable for a swimmer who has to swim a lot of races. The fabric around the core and glutes is a dual layer that helps with core stability to help give you more power as you are swimming. There is a compressive inner leg seam that gives you more muscle support in your swimming.

    Performance

    Julie Stupp: Even though I usually opt for max compression, the Pure Valor did not disappoint. The suit gave me the lift I needed in my hips to stay on top of the water with the bonded seams and glute compression combo. This suit is truly a new and improved LZR allowing me more flexion on and off the walls. Both suits really utilized their own unique blend of fabrics and differing seam strengths to help lift my hips and hold my body in place especially when I got tired. I just would have loved to have a seen something a bit more fun in terms of color and design - but maybe that’s in the pipeline.

    Ali DeLoof: I absolutely loved wearing this closed back LZR Pure Valor. I noticed the back of the suit had a seam that almost conformed to my spine and as I was swimming I didn't notice any water filling up in the back. My main concern about closed back suits is a bubble of water forming on my back as I swim - there was no such feeling with the Pure Valor. If you were a big fan of the LZR Elite 2, you will love this racing suit with the new added features. This suit fills an important gap because it has moderate compression and support to help give you more range of movement while swimming. Overall, I felt like I was high on the water and moving efficiently as I was swimming each of the four strokes. As I pushed off the wall on my flipturn, I felt like I was able to glide much further too. I needed to go down a size to make sure it fit my body better in the water and to feel the compression of the suit, so you may want to consider that although it should still run very similar to your Elite 2 sizing.

    Summary

    Fit — 5
    Looks/Design — 4
    Comfort/Ease to Put on — 4.5
    Materials/Fabric — 5
    Compression — 4.5
    Performance — 5



    TYR Venzo - $549.50
    Size 28 - Julie
    Size 25 - Ali

    The TYR Venzo was introduced last fall and was made available to customers in January getting a slight jump on some of its competition that you are reading about here. The Venzo comes with their Endo Compression Cage and high-tech, durable fabric which are both phenomenal, but it’s also a very expensive tech suit that definitely takes patience to put on.

    Size/Fit

    Julie Stupp: The Venzo is the most innovative tech suit TYR has ever developed and one of the best fitting, as well. The Venzo comes in an open or closed back style, but I only tested the closed back in size 28. The Venzo took me a solid 20 minutes to put on and a few minutes in the water to re-adjust and make sure the suit was in the right place. In the end, it was all worth it. The Venzo hugs the body extremely well thanks to TYR’s new patent pending Endo Compression Cage tape design that wraps around the core, hips, glutes and legs not only keeping the suit in place while you race, but also helping to lift my body in the water. The Venzo also has some new super-comfortable shoulder straps called the X-finity straps. The X-finity straps are a bit wider to help disperse the strain put on the shoulders over time in the suit. They also only have one bonded seam on the back, so they don’t dig into your shoulders during long races.

    Ali DeLoof: The TYR Venzo open back suit in size 26 that I wear-tested fit very well. This suit definitely has the most compression and hugged my body well. It is compressive around the hips, quads, glutes and core. There are seams inside the suit around the glutes and inner thighs, as well as on the top of the quads that felt compressive on my legs. I like that you cannot see the seams from the outside of the suit and creates a sleek look while wearing the suit. Overall, the suit fit well and was compressive on my body. The X-finity straps of the suit were easy and flexible to get on myself, but they felt tight on my shoulders, as most racing suits do. It wasn't too bothersome, but if you are someone that doesn't like the straps pressing down much on your shoulders you might not like that feeling.

    Material

    Julie Stupp: The Venzo features two new highly-innovative fabrics that not only reduce drag but prevent water from permeating into the suit. The Frictionless Fiber construction was born out of hours of analyzing drag at a microscopic level. This smooth “frictionless” fiber is woven in such a way that the suit is designed to slip through the water with less drag. The second fabric feature on the Venzo is the Surface Lift Technology, which is a high-tech treatment that doesn’t allow water to permeate the fabric. Instead, the treated fabric creates a bubble layer once it’s wet and is designed to give the swimmer extra lift or buoyancy. The Venzo is super compressive with the dual-layered fabric paneling the chest, core, hips and a section that wraps around the quads. The hamstrings only have a single layer of fabric to allow for more flexibility and range of motion. All in all the Venzo fabric is extremely high-tech and very durable.

    Ali DeLoof: The fabric of the TYR Venzo feels thicker and is a frictionless fiber construction. TYR points out that they analyzed drag in the water from a microscopic perspective during the R&D process. The fabric is a smooth fiber threaded into a frictionless durable fabric. While just holding it, you can tell it is a thicker more durable material that is very strong when you put it on. I was not worried about ripping during the process. The Endo Compression Cage are seams and taping that are designed to be compressive and flexible throughout the core, as well as quads to help swimmers efficiently move through the water to increase distance per stroke.

    Performance

    Julie Stupp: The Venzo helped me to perform effortlessly in the pool. I had what every swimmer wants, easy speed from start to finish due to the compressive fabric and the compression cage. The Seamless Exo Shell helped me to slip through the water and transition between strokes smoothly. The Venzo’s lack of outer seams made me feel extra hydrodynamic especially when I got tired. My hips felt supported and my body felt lifted in the Venzo most likely from a combination of the compression and high tech fabrics. The Venzo is no doubt a very high-tech suit that makes swimming fast much easier.

    Ali DeLoof: As I was testing the TYR Venzo, I liked how compressive it felt on my body even before I entered the water. It felt like it was going to enhance my swimming, as I prefer to wear more compressive suits. First, I pushed off the wall in a streamline and felt no water enter around my chest or bubble anywhere, which can be a concern of mine with racing suits. I felt the Endo Compression Cage was compressive enough to the point that it wasn't too restrictive on my body. I then swam all four strokes to feel how my body position was in the water. I felt a high body position on the water and that I was moving through the water efficiently with little to no drag. The only concern I had with the suit was the straps, which were a little tight so I would be interested to wear it for a couple events during a meet to see how my shoulders would feel. Also, I think that I probably could have pulled the suit up higher on my chest and back to get rid of this tightness. I really enjoyed swimming in the TYR Venzo and think that if you are looking for a suit with the most compression, this could be your go-to suit.

    Summary

    Fit — 5 
    Looks/Design — 5
    Comfort/Ease to Put on — 3.5
    Materials/Fabric — 5
    Compression — 5
    Performance — 5



    Mizuno GX Sonic-III - $480
    Size Medium - Julie
    Size Small - Ali

    I am so excited to see that Mizuno is finally breaking into the U.S. market and creating suits that specifically fit American athletes. It has been a staple on the international swim stage, visible atop many podiums for quite some time and is now available in the U.S. at SwimOutlet. Mizuno was very methodical when it came to creating the GX Sonic-III tech suit, spending countless hours analyzing how the body moves in the water and what’s needed for each discipline. After their in-depth research and development they ultimately released not one, but two options for swimmers, the Sprinter (ST) and Multi Racer (MR). The Sprinter suit was designed to have more compression and for short, speed races like the 100 fly, 100 back, and 100 free. The Multi Racer suit was designed for more of the longer distances such as the 200 fly, 200 free, 200 individual medleys and breastrokers. The Mizuno team shared that the Multi Racer suit provides hip flotation, more mobility on the hips and is not as compressive on the body as the Sprinter.

    Size/Fit

    Julie Stupp: I tested the Multi Racer and absolutely loved the fit. The suits come in sizes extra small (XS) through extra large (XL) and I tested both the small and medium, ultimately choosing the medium as a better fit for me. This suit is ultra-compressive and very high-tech. The GX Sonic-III sits mid-neck, mid-back and mid-thigh, perfect for a wide range of body types.

    Ali DeLoof: I was able to try the Mizuno Sprinter (ST) suit, which was perfect for the events that I race. I swim the 100 backstroke and 100 freestyle and I tend to like suits that have more compression around my core and feel snug on my body. I like this feeling because I know that no water will fill up the suit during my pushes off the wall, starts, turns and while I am swimming. The ST was constructed with more taping along the back so it is more compressive on the hamstrings and hips. Getting the suit on took a little while, to get it over my hips because of the compression in that area. It took a little patience and stopping to take breaks. Once I got it on, it was so worth it. I noticed that the straps were a bit thinner and did not feel the pressure of suit straps. The back and sides of the suit were lower than I am used to, but I felt like this was very comfortable. Because the straps on this suit sit a little lower on the back it helps to keep any pressure off your lats while you are racing, as they have found this is where you get the most fatigue. Overall, the sprinter suit was compressive in my hips, core, butt and chest, but it did not feel like it was restricting my blood flow.

    Material

    Julie Stupp: The GX Sonic-III uses a proprietary blend of fabrics to create a super-compressive, yet highly-mobile tech suit. The Sonic Ribtex fabric is thick, durable and comfortable swim after swim. This Sonic Ribtex fabric and dual-layered paneling is found in the chest, core, glutes and hamstrings for ultimate compression and flotation. On the flip side, the frontal hips and quads have just a single fabric layer for increased blood flow and mobility throughout the race. The GX Sonic-III also features a high-tech water resistant treatment that showed water dripping off of the suit after several wear tests.

    Ali DeLoof: This suit fabric is a Sonic Ribtex that is sewn differently than previous suits. Mizuno designed this suit to provide better hip flotation with a polyurethane blend material within it. The material of the suit has different ridges that offer more hip floatation based on the way the material functions. The front material of the suit is a one layer fabric, which offers more mobility along with compression throughout the core. The back has two layers that wraps around the front where your hips sit and follows to the back of your hamstrings. There is more taping along the back that offers more compression on the hamstrings to create more lift, as well as help keep your body and hips in a longer line throughout the race. So it will feel like there is not much mobility in the back from your hips and as it wraps around your back, bum and hamstrings - but the idea is to help you at the end of a race. Overall, I felt there was compression in areas of my chest, hips, hamstrings and butt that provided more lift on the water and with that I did not feel like I was sinking when I was swimming fast. I felt the difference in my body line and felt more efficient as I was moving through the water.

    Performance

    Julie Stupp: The GX Sonic’s intelligent design and high-tech fabric blend helped me to not only feel really fast in the water but most importantly lifted throughout my swims. My hips were completely free to move, yet fully supported from the surrounding muscles being double paneled. The Sonic Line seams on the inside of the suit are very sturdy and really snapped me into place on the breakouts and stroke transitions. The thick compressive paneling throughout the core and over the hamstrings helped me to keep my lines in all four strokes even when I fatigued. This suit is a very welcome addition to the tech suit lineup and, for me, hands down the best overall compression of the 2019 suits. I only wish they had a closed back option.

    Ali DeLoof: The Mizuno ST performed really well in the pool. I felt compression throughout my chest, core, ribs, hips and around my hamstrings. Also, I was able to feel my hips were higher on the water, as I was swimming freestyle and backstroke. I tested out how the suit felt pushing off the wall and into a glide to feel if any water would bubble in the suit and there was no sign of water getting into the suit. Next, I tried swimming all the strokes at an easy speed and moved into race speed. I felt the suit was compressive in my chest and hips, so I was able to stay up on top of the water. Again, no water felt like it was getting into the suit and I could feel that I was moving through the water efficiently and with a good body line. With the compression around the hips and hamstrings, I was curious to try some starts and turns. When I practiced the starts and turns I was able to easily do them without the suit feeling extremely restrictive at the hips. This suit also was not extremely tight on my hamstrings/quads where I slide my legs through. Sometimes I feel like suits can be too tight around the quads and my legs end up being sore from the suit, but this suit gets that leg balance right.

    Summary

    Fit — 5
    Looks/Design — 5
    Comfort/Ease to Put on — 4
    Materials/Fabric — 5
    Compression — 5
    Performance — 5



    FINIS Rival 2.0 - $469.99
    Size 28 - Julie
    Size 24 - Ali

    The Rival 2.0 has several key improvements that have made its fabric one of the best on the market today. The improved compression throughout the suit, especially in the chest, was something I was really hoping to see differently from last year’s Rival and the FINIS product folks hit the mark there.

    Size/Fit

    Julie Stupp: The FINIS Rival 2.0 fit me extremely well due to a combination of the seams and the thick durable fabric that stays put. This suit takes over 20 minutes to put on and it’s probably the biggest critique, but once it is in place it feels really good and is worth the effort. The FINIS Rival 2.0 has a high neck and long leg cut that ensures the most amount of skin is covered with fabric as possible. The thin shoulder straps are great on deck because they don’t dig into your muscles, but are super tough to get on and off by yourself. You will definitely need a friend to help you in the locker room. Overall, the fit-testing that FINIS performed paid off because this suit fit my body type perfectly and will most certainly fit the masses as well.

    Ali DeLoof: The Finis Rival 2.0 fit well when I put this suit on. I loved the double-layer fabric for a good feel of compression in the suit throughout the chest, core, hips and legs of the suit. When putting it on the first time, I found it tight to pull over my hips as any racing suit should feel and then I just had to ask for help putting on the straps and they were too tight to put on myself. After I received help for the straps they did not feel extremely tight on my shoulders and I was happy to know this. I think that because I am a smaller chested female athlete that I probably could go down a size for this suit because I did feel like it felt comfortable without being too restrictive. I also like when my suits are a bit tighter on me. Overall, the size and fit of this suit was very comfortable and with the double layer fabric felt compressive enough in the water while I was swimming.

    Material

    Julie Stupp: The Rival 2.0 features a “Shield Tech Fabric” to improve the suits durability and use over time. This suit is ultra-durable yet has multi-directional stretch due to the fabric’s specific weave pattern. The Shield Tech material also allows for a small amount of water to stay on the surface of the suit, helping you to slip through the water easier with less resistance. After all the testing, I found this to be the most durable fabric of all of the 2019 tech suits.

    Ali DeLoof: The material of the FINIS Rival 2.0 is a “Shield Tech Fabric” weave method that is designed to make the suit tough and flexible. When designing the suit, FINIS wanted swimmers to feel confident when putting on the suit to know that they wouldn't have to worry about it ripping. I noticed just holding the suit and feeling the fabric that it was a tough suit and I was not really worried it was going to rip. It was flexible enough and tight enough to put on. The fabric is designed to retain a small amount of water on the surface of it. FINIS says their research shows  that that when you have water gliding on the surface of the fabric, it is faster in the water rather than the suit directly rubbing against the water. The fabric is multi-directional stretch so it stretches in many ways and designed for flexibility. I really liked the fabric because it felt tough, while also being flexible and comfortable to wear. There are many seams throughout the suit that create core compression around the ribs and chest. The seams on the back help roll your hamstrings and engage your quads to help create lift for your hips and ultimately give you a better body position in the water. I noticed that FINIS took the time to pay attention to many of the details in compression, core stability and help improve lift in body position in the water.

    Performance

    Julie Stupp: The Rival 2.0’s inner structure is what made me feel super-fast and locked in, in the water. The dual layering and seam design not only dramatically improved the suits overall compression but helped me to feel like I was floating on top of the water. The Rival 2.0 features several seams across the core and hips and inner seams throughout the suit as well, these combined created the perfect amount of compression. The single layer of material found on the inner thighs helped me to feel flexible on the starts, turns and especially while swimming breaststroke making this a great suit for IMer’s as well as sprinters. My hips were definitely lifted and the Rival 2.0 didn’t lose any of its form or compression after multiple wear tests, this suit is durable!

    Ali DeLoof: Overall performance of the FINIS Rival 2.0 was very good. I liked hearing that comfort was a big factor in the design, while thinking about ways to enhance core and chest compression. When I tested the suit, I first tried pushing off the wall and gliding in streamline. There was a bit of water that felt like it parachuted as I pushed off the wall, but I think that would have been solved with a smaller size because my chest is a bit smaller. I was able to move through the water comfortably testing out all the strokes. It was very interesting to feel the lift in my hips on the surface of the water, as I was swimming freestyle. If you are looking for a suit that is durable with a good combo of flexible, comfortable, and compression this is a good all-around choice.

    Summary

    Fit — 5
    Looks/Design — 4.5
    Comfort/Ease to Put on — 3.5
    Materials/Fabric — 5
    Compression — 4.5
    Performance — 5



    arena Carbon Air2 - $425
    Size 28 - Julie
    Size 26 - Ali

    Arena has been in the tech suit game since the beginning and always has high-quality fabrics, cuts and well-fitting suits; the Carbon Air2 is no different. Arena’s Carbon fabric technology never fails to disappoint and I was excited to see some of the awesome improvements on this next iteration of the original lightweight arena Carbon Air that has became quite popular over the past few years.

    Size/Fit

    Julie Stupp: I tested a size 28 open back and it fit me really well, but I would suggest going down one size for anyone looking for extra compression. The Carbon Air2 is easy to slip on and to get into place due to the ONE technology, which means that the suit is cut from one single piece of Carbon Air2 fabric and eliminates extra seams. The only downside to the Carbon Air2 fit is a poorly placed seam that runs down the back of the suit creating an uncomfortable crotch design for my taste. The suit sits mid-way down my legs and has an extremely comfortable, yet durable shoulder strap design.

    Ali DeLoof: The size and fit of the arena Carbon Air2 was very comfortable. The fabric is light and thin. If you are a younger swimmer or a masters swimmer who isn't looking for much compression in your suit but rather for comfort, then this suit would be for you. Also, this suit was extremely easy to put on. The only thing I did not like about this suit was that there was a seam in the crotch area that was somewhat uncomfortable.

    Material

    Julie Stupp: This lightweight, electric blue, second skin fabric is not only extremely bright, stylish and comfortable, but it also molds perfectly to your body. The same Carbon Air fabric is used in the Carbon Air 2 which features carbon bands that wrap horizontally around the body, giving an overall compression that’s not quite as substantial as the Carbon Ultra but more moderate and flexible. This new fabric allows for much greater freedom of movement throughout all four strokes and is perfect for anyone racing multiple events per session.

    Ali DeLoof: The material of the Arena Carbon Air2 is their ultra lightweight fabric. You can feel the difference from other suits just by holding it. The suit is extremely light and easy to put on. I tried on the blue suit - the color pops and is fun to wear. There are horizontal carbon bands that allow for breathing room and light compression. With this light compression in the suit, you can swim comfortably without much drag. The straps were comfortable as well and I did not feel any pressure there while I was wearing the suit or swimming. I felt like this suit was extremely flexible during testing.

    Performance

    Julie Stupp: The enhancements that arena made from the original Carbon Air2 greatly improved my performance in the pool, especially when it came to the flip turns and undulation. The Carbon Air2 compression panels gave me superior flexion in the water, most notably throughout longer swims. The three separate inner linings ensured comfortable chest, core, hip and glute compression without hindering my strokes. I am personally a fan of tech suits with greater compression like the Carbon Ultra, but this is the perfect suit for anyone who dislikes a highly-compressive race suit and needs a very durable, yet flexible high tech suit.

    Ali DeLoof: Overall, this suit was the most comfortable suit I tried on with not much compression. I like to have suits that hug my body around my core, glutes and hamstrings, so I know that everything is tight and I am ready to race. If you do not like a suit that is very compressive and feels more comfortable or lightweight this new version of the Air2 is a winner.

    Summary

    Fit — 4 
    Looks/Design — 4.5
    Comfort/Ease to Put on — 5
    Materials/Fabric — 4.5
    Compression — 3
    Performance — 4



    Funkita Apex Storm - $375 (In-stock in April)
    Size 28 - Julie
    Size 26 - Ali

    Like the arena Carbon Air2, the clear advantage of this suit within this group of suits is that putting it on is a breeze - even in the closed back style. Funkita has featured suits in the U.S. market now for a several years - many of them sold at SwimOutlet and they tend to have fun patterns and designs, which was also evident in the Apex Storm.

    Size/Fit

    Julie Stupp: The Funkita open and closed back suits both fit me very well. They both feature a long leg and high neck design, which is great because more of your skin is covered with the lightweight Funkita fabric. Both the open and closed back suits have uber thick and durable shoulder straps that stay in place while you swim and are comfortably constructed to sit lower down your back, eliminating unnecessary shoulder stress. When picking the right size Funkita, I would suggest going down one size to make sure it fits tight enough and improves the suit’s compression. The closed back suit has one poorly placed seam that wraps around the midsection creating an unnecessarily tight crease. Overall, Funkita fits quite well and has a comprehensive fit throughout the chest, back and legs.

    Ali DeLoof: The size and fit of the Funkita suit was very comfortable for me. It was not extremely compressive on my body, but the fabric is light and thin. If you are a younger swimmer or a masters swimmer who isn't looking for much compression in your suit, this suit is one to check out especially at that price point. It felt like the suit molded to my body well without being too restrictive. I am an athlete with a smaller chest so it did take on a little water when I was swimming and I think that would have been remedied with a smaller size. Also, this suit was extremely easy to put on, so if you're looking for a suit that doesn't take too long to put on, this is one option. The straps were comfortable on my shoulders and they had some give, too, so I was able to put them on myself.

    Material

    Julie Stupp: The lightweight Funkita fabric is great for those not craving an ultra-compressive tech suit. It is thin, flexible and allows for ultimate freedom of movement in and out of the pool. The Funkita tech suit is perfect for all ages and is great for long swim meets. The combination of single and double layers allow for comfortable compression and non-constrictive movements. The best part of the Funkita fabric is the high-quality water resistant treatment that creates a protective sheen on the suit propelling water after multiple wear tests.

    Ali DeLoof: The material of the Funkita suit is their rigid stretch fabric that molds to your body. I didn't feel an extreme amount of compression. This suit material most compares to the arena Carbon Air2 in this review, which is on the thinner side for racing suits, as well as it being lightweight. The suit is extremely light and easy to put on. With this light compression in the suit you can swim comfortably without much drag. The straps were comfortable as well and I did not feel any pressure there while I was wearing the suit or swimming. If you like fun and different patterns this might be a suit to check out. The racing suit I tried was a light blue, green and grey in color that was a marble pattern. I thought it was a fun and different type of racing suit if you like to stand out.

    Performance

    Julie Stupp: The Funkita performed well in the water. I had great flexibility in and out of the walls, off of my starts and throughout all four strokes. I felt really comfortable wearing this suit over a several hour period and it was easy to get on and off. I definitely felt more compression and lift from the open back suit because of the dual layering found throughout the body. The closed back Funkita only featured dual layering throughout the chest, hips and glutes, but had more fabric coverage overall. Both suits lack compression in the legs, which is tough for lactic acid build up, but is great for body proprioception in the water.

    Ali DeLoof: Overall, this suit was another one that was very comfortable to test. I think that if you’ve liked the Arena Carbon Air over the past few years, you would also like the Funkita racing suit because of how thin and comfortable the suit is to put on and wear. I would rather have a suit with more compression in it and a more durable thicker fabric, so I don't have to worry about it ripping. Also, I like to feel some areas of compression in a suit especially around my core, glutes and hamstrings, so I know that everything is tight and I am ready to race. But if you do not like a suit that is too compressive and feels more comfortable or lightweight, this is absolutely a suit for you to consider.

    Summary

    Fit — 4  
    Looks/Design — 4
    Comfort/Ease to Put on — 5
    Materials/Fabric — 4
    Compression — 3.5
    Performance — 4

    View the 2018 Tech Suit Review HERE

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    Neha Patidar
    10 months ago.
    Thanks for sharing the review and feedback. It really helps me alot
    James
    1 year ago.
    Awesome review. Thanks guys! Much appreciated. When does the new Mizuno suit come in?
    Katie
    2 years ago.
    I do a lot of lake swimming, and find other full body suits too loose. Spring/fall lake temperatures here are too low for regular suits, but the sun makes wearing a wet suit almost unbearable some days. Hoping compression suit will help with both temperature control and loose/sagging suits.
    Daniel
    2 years ago.
    When comparing the Mizuno Gx sonic 3 to the other suits, you said that if you could fit into a size 26 you could probably go with a medium. Which brand does the 26 refer to? Im having trouble finding information on how the mizuno sizes compare to others. I have a 28 arena carbon ultra, so Im just wondering what would be the best mizuno size for that.
    Jonathan Levy
    2 years ago.
    How hard are these to get one and off quickly?
    Kris
    2 years ago.
    Has any of these suits been tested for its hydrodynamics?
    Trenton Killman
    2 years ago.
    NEED a new tech suit wow.
    Sarah
    2 years ago.
    Which suits are better for sprinters?
    Kayla H.
    2 years ago.
    These suits all look so modern and amazing. One question about the speedo LZRs; how long did it get take to produce? And how does Speedo release new tech suits every few years with similar designs, yet they continue to improve?
    I’ve never tried a Speedo tech suit before, but I would definitely love to as I love their normal training/competition suits.
    Elizabeth
    2 years ago.
    Great reviews! My question is about the new Speedo LZR Pure Intent and the LZR Pure Valor:
    Will Speedo being offering sizes smaller than 20? A 16 or an 18 are popular sizes as well:)
    Thank you!
    shop@swimoutlet.com
    2 years ago.
    Hi Elizabeth!

    Unfortunately, Speedo will not be offering any sizes lower then a size 20 for either suit.
    David
    2 years ago.
    Thanks for the information on compression aspects!
    Mark Gangloff
    2 years ago.
    Glad you like it!
    Madelyn Holcomb
    2 years ago.
    Why are the LZR tech suits better than any other Speedo? Also, what Speedo tech suit is the most recommended by Olympians?
    alessandro
    2 years ago.
    How do i know which is my correct suit size? I'd love to have a Speedo LZR Tech Suit.
    SwimOutlet.com
    2 years ago.
    Hi Alessandro!

    When sizing for Tech Suits it is best to get your current measurements (Chest, Waist, and Hip) then compare them to the sizing chart for each specific Tech Suit. This will ensure that you are purchasing the correct size!
    Michael Kantar
    2 years ago.
    If I wear a 24/26 regular suit and 22 avictor, what should I get for the speedo pure intent?
    Mark Gangloff
    2 years ago.
    Michael,
    Good question. Sizing between the avictor and pure intent is very similar. You can confidently go with you avictor size in pure intent. Good luck.
    alessandro
    2 years ago.
    How do i know if the suit is of my correct size? I’d love to have a Speedo LZR Tech Suit.
    Abby B
    2 years ago.
    Love the detail! Thanks so much for going the distance!
    Mark Gangloff
    2 years ago.
    Thanks Abby! Julie and Ali did an awesome job.
    Denise Wetzel
    2 years ago.
    I currently have a TYR Avictor but ohmygosh it's exhausting to put on and I feel that it loses its water repellent properties after maybe 4-5 meets. I'd love to try the Speedo but I'm worried that the legs might be too long :-(
    Amy
    2 years ago.
    These reviews are so helpful! I always read these to see which suit I should purchase!
    Mark Gangloff
    2 years ago.
    Amy, We are glad we can help! Good luck this season.
    Steve
    2 years ago.
    How does Speedo Pure Intent compare to other brands' top models? Is it durable?
    (Poor Mark - product page claims "Fit: Water tight fit")
    Mark Gangloff
    2 years ago.
    Steve, Yes, this suit is durable and high performing. Even though I had some minor fit issues, it is a great suit. Good luck this season.
    Kurt Gaebel
    2 years ago.
    I love Speedo, they have innovated the best suits for decades! These are incredible
    Min
    2 years ago.
    Great tech suits!!!! My only issue would be getting them on?? #swimminglife
    Peyton Sewell
    2 years ago.
    What is the best tech suit for swimming the mile?
    Beth Gerow
    2 years ago.
    The reviews were great! I was wondering if tech suits make enough difference to spend the money on a high school student? My daughter is almost 16 and is swimming for the local YMCA team because our school does not have enough students for a team. She would love one but we have never purchased one because of the cost.
    Mark Gangloff
    2 years ago.
    Beth, Thanks for your kind words. Purchasing tech suits is certainly an investment. If the suits in this review are out of budget there are still many other tech suit options out there. Look through the various suits available on SwimOutlet to find the one that fits your budget. Good luck to your daughter.
    Adam Tichy
    2 years ago.
    Thanks for the information on the new suits!!!!
    Mark Gangloff
    2 years ago.
    Thanks for your feedback.
    Mike Fulton
    2 years ago.
    My son has always worn the Fastskin LZR racer X. What would be the up grade for that suit.
    Mark Gangloff
    2 years ago.
    Mike, the LZR X is a great suit. The difference in these suits compared to the LZR X is these have higher compression throughout. I find this to be an upgrade because I like tight suits. Talk with your son to figure out what he likes about his suit and then make a decision on whether or not to try one from this review. Good luck
    Displaying   1 - 25 of 873
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