The holidays are a time to celebrate with friends and family, look back on the year's accomplishments, and give thanks for everything we have. But they're also an excellent excuse to stock up on triathlon gear for next season! Obviously, we're partial to our own Switch Aero System, but in this 12-part series we'll highlight and recommend some of the best triathlon gear that will get you to the finish line faster in your next race.
A triathlon wetsuit is an essential piece of equipment for any triathlete. In addition to providing vital warmth in frigid waters, a triathlon wetsuit will help you swim faster by increasing your buoyancy and helping maintain a streamlined body position. For some triathletes, a good wetsuit can save up to 10 seconds per 100 meters (or around two and a half minutes for an olympic triathlon swim distance)!
What to look for:
Sleeves or Sleeveless - For most people, most of the time a full sleeve suit is the obvious choice: you'll swim faster and stay warmer. However, if the water temperature is warm to begin with, or if you don't like the restriction of a full-sleeve suit, a sleeveless model may be a better option. They also tend to be a bit cheaper than full sleeve models.
Fit - This is the single most important consideration when buying a triathlon wetsuit. You can spend a million dollars on the fanciest suit in the world, and if it doesn't fit properly, it'll slow you down and feel terrible. A suit should fit you very snugly, and it's not uncommon for it to be somewhat difficult to get onto your body, especially when dry (don't worry though, they're much easier to take off quickly, which is what matters). It's incredibly important that you put the suit on correctly, and if possible, you should evaluate the fit in the water since it will feel dramatically different once there's a thin layer of water between your body and the swim suit material.
The suit should fit tightly into your crotch (a mild wedgie effect is good!), while the shoulders should feel loose and free of any restriction when raising your arms above your head. Don't forget to hike the material on the arms and legs upward toward your crotch/shoulders to make sure that the suit isn't pulling down on your arms or shoulders. The fit around the neck should be snug to prevent water entry, but shouldn't feel like it's choking you (although this is another aspect that usually feels better in the water than on dry land).
HUUB Wetsuits - HUUB is a newer entrant on the wetsuit scene but has quickly garnered a large following. Their suits are unique because they feature different "buoyancy profiles" depending on what type of swimmer you are. If you're strong in triathlon swimming with good body positioning, you can choose the 4:4 type suit, which will provide even buoyancy. If (like me) you are a typical sinking-leg triathlete who plows through the water like a barge, then the 3:5 type will provide extra buoyancy in the legs, letting you relax and swim in a more streamlined position. We recommend the Aerious suit for men, and the Aura suit for women.
Desoto T1 Wetsuits - Desoto wetsuits are different than most manufacturers because they come in separate upper and lower pieces. This is great because it lets you size the components separately if you happen to have a long torso and short legs, or vice versa. It also makes them a bit easier to put on than many one piece suits, which definitely helps in a triathlon! We recommend the Black Pearl collection as well as the Speedtube/Speedvest combo for warmer water.
Be sure to checkout the next installment of our 12 Days of Triathlon Gear series.