Top Triathlon Suits Compared: The Expert Review
by NCAA Finalist, Julie Stupp
Triathlon is often a sport of attrition, meaning the one with the strongest mind, body and heart, will often times come out on top. One of the ways to stay razor sharp during a grueling hour-plus race is to be as comfortable as possible in your gear. Triathlon suits, generally called tri suits, are similar to swim tech suits in that they are essential on race day – and these days the market has become just as competitive with many top brands putting out excellent tri suits.
SwimOutlet.com sent me seven different tri suits (in varying sizes) to test out over the past month and I quickly learned that the technology, design and fit are all very comparable in these high-end race suits. While you can’t control the weather, the water, the bike technicality or run course, you can choose the best tri suit for your body and race conditions. Luckily, all of these tri suits were phenomenal in their own way and my hope is to distinguish their characteristics to help you make the best purchasing decision for your needs.
ZOOT LTD TRI RACESUIT ($160)
The Zoot Tri Racesuit not only stands out with its colorful floral pattern, but also because of the thoughtful technology design features. The suit has a thin razorback cut for minimalistic comfort and a built in bra for extra support. The double front zippers and dual layers allow not only for more support but also for the athlete to have the ability to unzip the first layer on a sunny race day for extra ventilation.
The Zoot Tri Racesuit has a super soft polyester chamois and sticky no-slip grippers on the legs that prevent the suit from riding up during the bike and run portions of the race. I would suggest this tri-suit for anyone looking to add color and flair on race day as well as a really well fitting, comfortable suit.
ROKA ELITE AERO II SLEEVELESS TRI SUIT ($250)
The Roka Elite Aero II features a sleek black design with tons of ventilation and four different fabrics distributed across different areas of the suit that allow the athlete to cool off on hot race days. The Elite Aero II is made out of a special UV protective textile that reflects and blocks the sun’s harmful rays. The Elite Aero II has the sticky no-slip grippers around the neck, back, shoulders and legs which are great for increasing speed, withstanding sweat and boosting hydrodynamic qualities.
The Roka Tri Suit also unzips in the front allowing the athlete to cool off during the race if necessary and has a bit of a thicker chamois for longer distances. I would suggest this suit for someone that races in hotter, sunnier conditions.
2XU XVENT EXCLUSIVE FRONT ZIP TRI SUIT ($143.95)
The 2XU X-Vent Tri Suit has a boxier cut with a thick stretchy fabric throughout the upper body and a more compressive fabric around the legs great for cooler weather. The 2XU Tri Suit feels very similar to a lycra swimsuit with fuller back design and two small perforated vents above the hips. 2XU has made a business out of compression and recovery, so it’s no surprise that the X-Vent compressive fabric around the legs not only feels great, but helps to facilitate the elimination of lactic acid throughout the race.
The 2XU X-Vent has a discreet chamois that is soft and feels much like the best of the best in bike bib shorts. I really think the leg compression makes this one stand-out if that’s something you’re looking for.
SUGOI RPM TRI SUIT ($109.95)
The Sugoi has a two-tone color block design with several key technology features. The RPM Tri Suit was a bit too big for me, I would suggest going down a full size in this brand for the best fit or check their sizing chart carefully and consult the reviews. The Sugoi fabric is high quality and made with a quick dry textile that helps the athlete to wick away sweat and moisture faster throughout the race.
The Sugoi RPM has a thin, soft chamois that is comfortable and seamless and two easily accessible pockets that are excellent for storing nutrition on the bike and run course. A good all-around suit that didn’t stand out in one area but checks all the boxes.
CASTELLI FREE ITU TRI SUIT ($199.95)
Castelli has been one of the hot brands among top triathletes for the past few years and the Castelli Free Triathlon Suit has some very unique design qualities including a full mesh fabric throughout the upper body and a thin soft liner across the back for extra comfort and breathability. This super lightweight design throughout the torso makes you feel like you’re wearing nothing and is essential on scorching race days.
The lower body of the Castelli Free Triathlon Suit has a blend of three fabrics, a “paper” swimsuit tech material, a bike short compressive material and a non-slip grip mesh around the quads. This Free ITU suit is built for speed, but has the most substantial chamois of the bunch. A thick chamois is great for triathletes looking for extra comfort on the bike or anyone racing a longer distance.
SPEEDO XENON TRISUIT ($143.95)
As the long time leader in elite swim gear, I was excited to try the new Speedo suit as they make their move into the sport of triathlon. The Speedo Xenon Trisuit is very similar in design to the Zoot race suit, but has some extra high-tech qualities for the water – which might be expected from the world’s top swim brand. The Xenon suit has dual layers, zippers and a thin sports bra with a soft yet thick band that wraps around your back and ribs for extra support. The top portion of the sports bra along with the mid-back are made of mesh material for breathability.
The Speedo Trisuit fabric is treated with a sanitized silver spray that keeps the suit free of harmful bacteria found in many bodies of water. The Xenon also has the most durable and effective non-slip grippers around the legs of the race suit, which again is no surprise coming from the swimsuit brand. If you’re looking for improvements in your swim portion, this suit might be the one for you. The suit’s stylistic touches might not be for everyone, but I liked the overall look of the suit as well.
ORCA CORE RACE SUIT ($129.95)
The folks at Orca make an amazing wetsuit so I was curious to test out their Core Race Suit this month. The Orca Core Race Suit fit me very well with a super thin racer back design and a mid-thigh length cut. The Orca suit is made with the same fabric throughout the majority of the suit with the exception of a small ventilated mesh opening in the center of the back. The Orca Core has two pockets on the back of the suit that are great for storage because of the top flap, but that same feature makes it hard to get into the pockets while riding the bike.
The Orca race suit has the most comfortable chamois of the bunch, it is soft yet has enough cushion for a smooth ride. This suit is great for long distance triathletes who are looking for extra chamois cushion during the long ride.Email Address Invalid. Please enter an email address in the format: firstname.lastname@example.orgAdd a Comment
Name * Your Email (will not be displayed) *To prevent automated bots from spamming, please enter the text you see in the image below:
Thank you so much for this detailed review. Super helpful when pu...
Thanks for sharing the review and feedback. It really helps me al...
Love the prints and the concept of using these fabrics to create ...
Hi Julie and Swim Outlet .comYour cute face and name caught my ey...
Thanks for updating the post. Keep up the good work. I really the...