How to Choose a Women's Technical Suit
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How to Choose a Women's Technical Suit


When it comes to technical suit styles, women can opt for a traditional swimsuit cut or a model with slightly longer legs known as a "kneeskin," "neck-to-knee," or "short john." There are a large number of design features in both styles of suit that can make a difference in your decision. This guide explains how to find a tech suit that has the features that work best for you.

Choosing a Tech Suit Length

Unlike practice suits, technical suits for women come in a variety of leg lengths: From traditional, high-cut legs to legs that extend to the knee.

  • Neck-to-knee tech suits provide more surface area of material against the water, especially if the suit's fabric has special water-repelling or hydrodynamic qualities.
  • Because tech suits are worn tight over the hip joints, neck-to-knee or short john tech suits can restrict leg movement during breaststroke kicking — breaststrokers and IMers (Individual Medley swimmers) should look for stretchy fabrics that provide the full range of motion in the hip area, or choose a traditional (legless) cut.
  • Because of the greater surface area, neck-to-knee suits also increase the effectiveness of compression technology.
  • Traditional swimsuit silhouettes are just as popular as neck-to-knee models, and provide full range of leg motion at all times.

Compression in Technical Suits

Compression technology is a recent development in swimsuit fabrics and is now found in most high-end technical suits. Compression knits provide support, improve blood flow, and decrease recovery time.

  • Compression fabric is a knit that aids blood flow, pushing oxygenated blood to the muscles that need it most. This reduces fatigue and recovery time between swims in the same session.
  • Compression fabrics, because of their tight yet flexible knit, help stabilize muscles during activity.
  • Compression suits are an attractive option for open water swimmers, distance swimmers, and swimmers at multi-day meets.
  • Your technical suit should also feel tighter and more compressed than a normal practice suit.

Reduced Drag on Technical Suits

Because technical suits are designed to help swimmers move through the water as easily as possible, reducing drag is a priority in all designs. Seam style, suit pattern, and fabric all contribute to the amount of drag on a given suit.

  • Seams: Flat or thermo-bonded seam construction keeps seams lying flat against the body. This reduces drag more than traditional seam styles, which stick up more and catch water. Sprinters especially will want to lean towards thermo-bonded seams, since these provide the least possible drag in the water and a seamless transition from fabric to skin.
  • Water Repellency: Look for lightweight materials that are water repellent. They are often described as "hydrophobic." Since they absorb less water, these suits don't drag the wearer down.
  • Construction materials: Many tech suits will be a combination of polyester, LYCRA™ and spandex, but there are a few fabrics that have been designed specifically for technical racing suits. They use compression, are especially lightweight, and repel water. Some of these fabrics include: Z-Raptor™ fabric, compression knits, and LZR Pulse™ fabric.

Technical Suit Back Styles

Women's technical suits back styles mimic those of practice suits, with a few technological and hydrodynamic tweaks. This means that shoulder straps meet at the center of the back in a V or X shape, and that the lower back of the suit is cut out. Most technical suits have thick straps for support and comfort, and it is important that the straps of the suit back are tight enough to keep the suit fitting properly, but not so tight that they restrict movement. Look for a back style that mimics that of a well-fitting practice suit.

Take Your Time

Once you've selected your tech suit, it's time to put it on. Because technical suits are made specially for racing, their features require extra care and attention. Try not to rush when putting your suit on. Make sure you allow plenty of time between races or before your race to change into it. Tech suits will take significantly longer than a practice suit to put on because of the compression and tighter fit. Swimmers will often bring plastic bags with them to slide the suit over the ankles up to the knee. Avoid digging or pulling on your suit — especially if you have longer nails — as this might cause the fabric to rip or tear.

Things to Consider

If you are wearing your suit for official competition, make sure that the suit is FINA approved since full body suits and certain types of fabric are no longer legal. Remember that tech suits are worn tight to reduce drag. Either try on a suit before you buy it, or measure yourself and look at the online size chart before purchasing. Each technical suit will feel different based on the different types of fabric, compression quality and stretch components. It's important to make sure the physical feel of your tech suit is great in and out of the water.

Lastly, if you are unsure if a tech suit is right for you — because of your skill level or because of the price tag — try one of the lower-end tech suits first. These have many of the features of the top of the line suits, but may not include every drag-reducing detail. As you become more competitive, you can always upgrade to another style or model.

Shop all Women's Technical Suits

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I
1 month ago.
Hi, I mainly swim 100 breast and sometimes 200 IM and not sure which to get: lzr pro or lzr elite. What’s the difference? I am also not sure what size to get.
Swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hi,
Lzr elite will be a good choice.
Jen
1 month ago.
I was looking at speedo lzr elite 2 or the lzr racer x. I am 5'8 130lbs I have a 28 waist 34 bust 37.5 hips. I wear a 30 in practice suits. Can u recommend me?
Swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hello Jen,
We suggest a size 25
Bernard
2 weeks ago.
Searching for my daughter who has almost identical measurements and swims 200 IM, 100 Breast, & 100 Free. She also has a 30 in practice suit, would you recommend the same?
anon
2 weeks ago.
Yes, I would recommend the same. Since she swims breast in two of her events, I would suggest the Speedo Lzr Racer Elite over the Lzr Racer X.
Meghan
1 month ago.
Hi I’ve always swam in the speedo elite 2 with comfort strap in a size 23 I’m switching to the LZR X and am wondering if I should size up to a size 24 or stick to the 23?
Swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hello Meghan,
You will still be a size 23.
swimmer
1 month ago.
Hi, what size of the speedo elite 2 would you recommend for 80 cm hips, 63 cm waist, 73 cm chest and 140 cm body length? Many thanks
Swimoulet.com
1 month ago.
Hello,
We recommend a size 22.
Amanda
1 month ago.
I’m looking at buying my first tech suit. I’m 40 and my measurements are: chest 31, hips 34.5, waist 27 and loop 58. I’m looking at a cheaper suit - maybe Speedo FS LZR element or Arena power skin st 2.0. What are your thoughts on size and an ideal cheaper suit?
SwimOultet
1 month ago.
Hi Amanda,

Based on your measurements I would recommend a size 22 in the Arena Powerskin ST 2.0 and a Size 25 in the Speedo LZR. I would also recommend going with the Arena Powerskin ST as your first tech suit. It is a great entry level suit to get you used to wearing one.
Susie
1 month ago.
How do you know if the suit is the right fit. I just bought one and I think it fits right but I’m not sure.
Swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hello Susie,
A good fitting tech suit should take you about 20-30 minutes to put on.
stina lindholm
1 month ago.
I am an IMer and a flyer and I usually wear a size 28 or 30 competition suit. I’ve never bought a technical suit before. I think i’m leaning towards not getting a knee skin but just getting a one piece with no legs. I am 5’3 and I am 109 lbs. What size do you think i should get? Also, what suit do you recommend for me?
Swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hello Stina,
The Speedo Aquablade would be a great suit for you, but in order to size you we will need your chest, waist and hip measurements.
Elena
1 month ago.
Is the speedo lzr racer x a good suit for distance freestyle and breaststroke?
Swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hello Elena,
Yes, this suit is great for all swim styles. It does offer a lot of compression, more than any other Speedo tech suit, so if this is something you do not like then it may not be a good suit for you.
Riley
1 month ago.
Im wondering what would be the best suit brand as well as model for me this year in championship races. I swim the 500 and 200 free, and i am hoping swim in the state meet this year. Last year, I had a Speedo LZR Racer X, and i absolutely loved it. I am about 5'1" and weigh about 125 lbs. My waist measurement is 26 inches, my hips are 34 inches, and my chest is 33.5 inches. Please help!! Thank you!
Swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hello Riley,
Since you liked the Speedo LZR Racer X, you could try the Speedo Women's LZR Racer Elite 2 Comfort Strap Kneeskin Tech Suit in a size 24
Cami
1 month ago.
I wear a 34 competitive swimsuit size. I’m interested in buying the speedo PowerPlus. My measurements are bust 36, waist 31.5, hips 38, full body loop 59. Can you please help recommend a size for me?
Swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hello Cami,
We recommend a size 36.
Christine
1 month ago.
Hello! I swim 50m and 100m LCM breaststroke. I was looking for a Speedo LZR Racer X Closed back suit. My measurements are torso- 56.5/57 inches, bust- 31.5 inches, hip (bone)- 30 inches, and waist- 26.5/27 inches. I'm also worried about the suit's flexibility for breaststroke kicks, and the pressure of the straps. What size would you reccomend?
Swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hello Christine,
We recommend the size 22. This would be fine for biutterfly, the closed back does not limit your range of motion, it increases the amount of compression.
christine
1 month ago.
I swim breaststroke, not fly. My old suit was a size 22, but now it is too small. I was actually considering between 23 and 24. For this, which size would you recommend?
Swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
This suit will work fine with any swim style. As far as the size, we do not recommend going 2 sizes up in this suit as this will cause drag in your chest area. Try a size 23.
Evana
1 month ago.
Hi, I've recently bought a new tech suit and it is very tight and hard to get on and off. Do you have any tips for how to know when your suit is too small??
Swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hello Evana,
A good fitting tech suit should take you about 30 minutes to put on. You can read about how to put on a tech suit here" https://www.swimoutlet.com/guides/how-to-put-on-a-women_s-technical-suit
Sarah
1 month ago.
I swim mid distance/ distance freestyle (200,500,1000,1650) and breaststroke. What would be the best suit for me?
Swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hello Sarah,
We recommend the Arena Carbon Air.
K2no
1 month ago.
I’m looking for a new tech suit as my body has changed. I comfortably wear a 32 practice suit, currently wear a 26 Speedo LZR Racer Elite 2, but the legs are really tight and the chest is too big, letting in some water. I’m barely 5’5” & my torso is 60.5”. My chest is 38”, my hips 39.5”.
Swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hello,
We suggest switching brand since the Speedo doesn't seem to fit your body properly. The Arena Carbon Flex is a great option. You would be a size 26 in this suit as well.
Gracie
2 months ago.
Would you recommend the blueseventy r10 for the 100 butterfly and 200 freestyle if not what do you recommend? Chest 36 waist 28 hips 39 torso 60 1/2
Swimoutlet.com
2 months ago.
Hello Gracie,
This tech suit would be absolutely fine for her style swimming. We recommend the size 26.
Katie
2 months ago.
Hi, the last tech suit I bought was a 25L in the LZR Racer Elite 2 but I still find that the straps are a little loose, I'm almost 5'10 so I thought the longer one would better but my chest is 34'', waist 29'' and hips 35''. I've always had an issue where from my hips down it'd be pretty snug but once I get to my chest it's easy to get on quickly and by myself. I'm wondering if I should try sizing down to a regular 25, a 24 or a different brand/suit??
Swimoutlet.com
2 months ago.
Hello Katie,
We suggest going down to the size 24.
Kara
2 months ago.
Hi! I normally wear a 26 in practice, and I wear 26/24 in meets. I swim IM events, Freestyle, and Fly, I also do long Distance. What tech suit size and which one should i get?
Swimoutlet.com
2 months ago.
Hello Kara,
The Speedo Women's LZR Racer X or the Arena Carbon Air would be great options.
Lauren
2 months ago.
Hi! I was just wondering what’s the difference is between open back and closed back race suits. Also, does it make a difference or feel different when wearing a closed back suit while doing breaststroke? Thanks!
Swimoutlet.com
2 months ago.
Hello Lauren,
The difference between close back and open back is the level of compression. Closed back tech suits will have more compression than a open back. You will still have the same range of motion in both.
Madison
2 months ago.
Hello! I am mainly a breastroker but also need a kneeskin for all the strokes, what tech suit do you recommend? I’m a size 22/24
Swimoutlet.com
2 months ago.
Hello Madison,
We recommend the Arena Carbon Flex or the Speedo LZR Racer Elite.
Sérgio
2 months ago.
Looking for recommendation on sizing and suit style for my daughter. I'm looking at Speedo and Arena. She has: hip 33", chest 32", waist 28", torso 54". She swims middle distance free and backstroke
Swimoutlet.com
2 months ago.
Hello,
She would be a 20 in Arena and a 24 in Speedo
Sarah
2 months ago.
Hi! im mostly a freestyler (ranging 50-1000) and sometimes swim IM or breastroke events. my practice suit size is a 26 (im 5'4) and I am looking for an arena carbon flex or tyr avictor suit. what would you best recommend?
Swimoutlet.com
2 months ago.
Hello Sarah,
We recommend the Arena Carbon Flex.
Sara
2 months ago.
Hi I wear a size 24 in a Speedo tech suit, I was wondering what size I should get in an arena tech suit
Swimoutlet.com
2 months ago.
Hi Sara!
You would be a size 22 in Arena just comparing sizing charts.
Lydia
2 months ago.
I'm looking at speedo tech suits and was wondering what size to buy. I have a 61.5in torso, 30.5in bust, 32in hip, and 26in waist. Thanks!
Swimoutlet.com
2 months ago.
Lydia,
We suggest a size 22.
Wendy
3 months ago.
My daughter swims 50 & 100m Fly and I wondered which skins you would recommend?
Swimoutlet.com
3 months ago.
Hello Wendy,
We recommend the Arena Carbon Flex or the Speedo LZR Racer Elite.
Carlos
3 months ago.
Looking for recommendation on sizing and suit style for my daughters tech suit. Looking at Speedo. She is hip 34.5", chest 33", waist 29", torso 62". She has a speedo fastskin 3 súper elite SR9 but now it fits very tight.
Swimoutlet.com
3 months ago.
Hello Carlos,
In a Speedo, we recommend a size 25 in a LZR Racer X or a 25L in a LZR Racer Elite or Pro.
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