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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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Bianca
3 weeks ago.
Hello! I'm trying to figure out my TYR tech suit size. Right now I'm severely in between sizes and I've worn a 23 tech suit size that is too loose around the waist and back. My training suits are all 26s. My measurements are 32" bust, 26" waist, 30" hip, and a 59" body loop.
SwimOutlet
3 weeks ago.
Hi Bianca!

Please be advised that different brands use different sizing charts and even the same brand with different style. Since we do not know what particular suit you are interested in, you will need to compare your actual measurements to the sizing chart of the item. Sizing charts are located below the color and size option of a certain product. Though, please be advised that sizing charts and our recommendations are merely suggestions and cannot guarantee a 100% fit due to different body types and shapes.
Ava
2 months ago.
Hi!,
So usually for regular swimsuits, I’m a 28-32. But I did my measurements and my measurements are all different sizes so I was wondering what size TYR Venzo I should get?
My measurements are:
torso: 61 in
bust: 33 in
hips: 33 1/2 in
waist: 28 in
Thank You!
Lizzy
2 months ago.
I am looking at the TYR Venzo suit. my measurements are chest: 36 inches, waist: 30 inches, hip: 37 inches, and torso: 59 inches. Please let me know what size in each the closed back and open back!
SwimOutlet.com
2 months ago.
Dear Lizzy,

Kindly refer to the sizing chart for the TYR Venzo suit: https://www.swimoutlet.com/size-charts/tyr/tyr-women-s-venzo-tech-suits-sizechart_s2713/
Abigail
2 months ago.
Hi! I was looking to buy a TYR Women's Tracer B-Series Tech Suit. My measurements are chest- 92 cm, waist- 84 cm, hips- 99 cm and torso loop- 158 cm. All of my measurements are telling me different sizes and I wanted to know which one was right.
-Thanks!
SwimOutlet
2 months ago.
Hi Abigail!

Based on the item's sizing chart, you are in size 32. However, please be advised that sizing charts and our recommendations are merely suggestions and cannot guarantee a 100% fit due to different body types and shapes.
Katie
2 months ago.
I wear a size 40 practice suit. Would a 38 tech suit work for me?
SwimOutlet
2 months ago.
Hi Katie!

Each brand and design have different sizing. We still suggest that you get your recent measurements and compare it to the size chart of the specific tech suit you wanted.
mary
2 months ago.
Hi
i am chest 87 cms, waist 71 cms and hip 89 cms and i would like to try
a speedo pure valor or intent .
What size would your recommend?
Thanks.
swimoutlet.com
2 months ago.
Based on the measurements provided and the sizing chart you would need a size 22.
Lily
2 months ago.
I wear a 28 for pratice suit. I’m getting the arena women powerskin carbon flex vx open back. What size should I get? Could a 24 work?
Rhino
3 months ago.
looking at the TYR Women's Thresher Open Back Tech Suit Swimsuit, chest 38.5, waist 30.5, hips 35, torso loop 62. the chart guide shows different size for each measurement. which would be best?
SwimOutlet
3 months ago.
Hi Rhino!

In general, Women's Competition suit sizing is comparable to the actual bust measurement in inches. Do get a size 34.
Kathleen
10 months ago.
When measurements don't all fall within one specific size, which size to you lean towards? (Chest 35.5, Waist 27.5, Hip 33.). We are looking at the Pure Intent and TYR Venzo.
SwimOutlet
10 months ago.
Hi Kathleen!

We suggest you consider more the chest and hips. If you are in between sizes, it is best to size up.
Anna
10 months ago.
Hi! I wear a size 24 in the speedo pure intent, what size would you recommend for me if I am wanting to buy a TYR Venzo? The sizing charts are very different so I can't tell.
SwimOutlet
10 months ago.
Different brands use different sizing charts and even the same brand with different style because of this it would be best for your to take your actual measurements (chest, waist, hip, torso) in inches then compare them to the sizing chart of the item.
yael
11 months ago.
I wear a 25 in a lzr elite 2 so what would my size be in the arena carbon flex or carbon air. I’m buying a suit tomorrow and I’m not sure what to get because I’ve heard that in arena tech suits you should just get your practice size.
SwimOutlet
11 months ago.
Hi Yael!

Different brands use different sizing charts and even the same brand with different style because of this it would be best for you to take her actual measurements comparable to the sizing chart of the item you are interested in.
Katie
11 months ago.
Hi! What size do you recommend for a TYR kneeskin? I’m stuck between size 20 and 22, My measurements are torso: 52’’ chest: 24’’ hips: 30’’-32’’ waist: 23”. I’m very small haha. Thank you!
SwimOutlet.com
11 months ago.
Hi Katie!

Based off your measurements you would be a size 22 in the TYR Kneeskin!
Marie
11 months ago.
What suit for 5’6 135lbs 29” waist 32C chest?
SwimOutlet.com
11 months ago.
Hi Marie,

Please compare your chest, waist, hip and torso measurements, and compare it with the tech suit's size guide attached on the product page for a better fit. Different brands do not share the same sizing guide.
Paul
11 months ago.
What size women’s carbon air 2 for a chest 34, w28, hips 36, torso 67
SwimOutlet
11 months ago.
Hi Paul!

You should get size 24.
Grace
11 months ago.
I have a small bust area, what suit brand would you recommend trying (for a knee skin) arena or speedo?
SwimOutlet
11 months ago.
Hi Grace!

For the type of knee skin, it is your preference, but for the sizing, it is best to take first your actual chest, waist, hip and torso measurements in inches. Once you have these, you can directly compare to the sizing chart of the item you are interested in to get your proper size.
Valerie
1 year ago.
My tech suit is a bit harder to get in than a normal suit- but it’s not a big struggle. It also doesn’t bother me between events- does that mean I need a smaller size? Also, my suit doesn’t go to the very top of my knees, it fits about the middle of my quads/thighs. Is that just the type of suit? It’s a Speedo kneeskin.
SwimOutlet
1 year ago.
Hi Valerie!

In order to determine the proper fit please take the actual bust, waist, and hip measurements and then compare them to our sizing charts. Sizing charts can be found at the very bottom of any page you are on, or above the Size drop-down menu on the item page.

In general, Women's Competition suit sizing is comparable to the actual bust measurement in inches. For example, a bust circumference of 36" would likely be a suit size 36. Please be sure to measure around the fullest part of your bust rather than using your bra band size. Competition suits are designed to fit snug, you may wish to size up depending on the fit you desire.
Andrea
1 year ago.
If I wear size 24 for the LZR X, is it reasonable to get the same size for the Pure Valor?

Thanks!
SwimOutlet
1 year ago.
Hi Andrea!

Different brands use different sizing charts and even the same brand with different style because of this it would be best for you to take your actual measurements (chest, waist, hip, torso) in inches compare them to the sizing chart of the item.
Rylie
1 year ago.
If I wear a 30 practice suit what size should I get for a speedo LZR open back women’s tech suit ?
SwimOutlet
1 year ago.
Hi Rylie!

Please refer to the sizing guide here - https://www.swimoutlet.com/size-charts/speedo/speedo-women-s-lzr-racer-x-swimwear-sizechart_s1852/
Maria
1 year ago.
Hi!
I was looking to buy a Fastskin LZR Racer X Openback Kneeskin. My measurements are chest 89cm, waist 72cm, hips 89cm, and torso loop 144cm. All of my measurements put me at different sizes and I don't know which one is right.
Many Thanks!
SwimOutlet
1 year ago.
We recommend size 25 for you.
Maria
1 year ago.
And what size would be for Speedo LZR Element? Many thanks!
Sarah
1 year ago.
Hello! I wear a 25 Long open back for the speedo elite, if I were to order a speedo valor for closed back, would I still get a 25 long?
SwimOutlet.com
1 year ago.
Hi Sarah,

We recommend taking your actual measurements and comparing it to the size chart for a better fit. https://www.swimoutlet.com/size-charts/speedo/speedo-women-s-lzr-pure-intent-lzr-pure-valor-tech-suits-sizechart_s2722/
Bernice
1 year ago.
Hello, im wearing a female size 26 for arena carbonair, what size will fit me perfect for a race with mizuno gx sonic 3, do i get a M or L.
SwimOutlet
1 year ago.
Hi Bernice!

Different brands use different sizing chart because of this it would be best for you to take your actual measurements comparable to the sizing chart of the item you are interested in buying.
Robin
1 year ago.
My daughter is interested in the Speedo LZR Racer Pro Recordbreaker Kneeskin. Her measurements are: chest 32”, waist 27.75”, torso 56.5”. What size would you recommend?
SwimOutlet
1 year ago.
Hi Robin!

Please do get a size 24 for her.
Abby
1 year ago.
If your measurments fall in different size ranges, what is the most important measurement to consider? Hips? Chest? Torso? Thanks!
SwimOutlet
1 year ago.
Hi Abby!

The chest is the most important part to consider in choosing a size for a swim suit and second is the hips.
Anthea
1 year ago.
My daughter wears a size 25 speedo lzr racer elite 2 open back and wants to try a TYR Venzo Gensis Open Back what size do I get.

Height 174cm, Torso, 157, waist 73, Hips 84.5, Chest 91.
SwimOutlet.com
1 year ago.
Hello Anthea,

When switching to a different brand tech suit you want to get your swimmers measurements and then compare those to the sizing chart of the new brand you are looking to purchase. Based off the measurements provided your daughter would need a size 28 in the TYR Open Back Venzo Genesis Tech Suit.
Sara
1 year ago.
Hi, my daughter has these measurements:
waist 70 cm
hips 84 cm
chest 78 cm
contour 150 cm
what would be the best size for the speedo pure valor racing suit?
Many thanks
SwimOutlet
1 year ago.
Hi Sara!

Please do get a size 22 for her.
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