How do I Choose the Best Triathlon Clothing?

Sheri Cyprus

Quality features are crucial when you're choosing triathlon clothing. Rather than concentrating on certain high profile sports clothing brand names and flashy styles alone, first look for features that will give you maximum speed and comfort. Also think of serving a dual purpose by choosing triathlon clothing for both running and cycling. For the swimming component, be sure to choose a triathlon wetsuit.

Most triathlon wetsuits are made of neoprene.
Most triathlon wetsuits are made of neoprene.

Triathlon wetsuits are designed to reduce pull in the water to allow the racer to move faster. Diving or surfing wetsuits are not good triathlon clothing, as they don't have the same floating capacity as triathlon suits. The neoprene material can also have the benefit of keeping you warmer in cold water. Triathlon wetsuits are typically quite expensive, but even if you're a beginner in the sport, it's worth purchasing the highest quality one you can afford. If you comparison shop, it's often possible to find sales and competitive prices on a triathlon wetsuit.

Women's triathlon competitors should wear a sports bra under their clothing.
Women's triathlon competitors should wear a sports bra under their clothing.

A sleek, areodynamic one-piece wetsuit is best if it will be quicker to put on than a suit with top and bottom pieces. Otherwise, the style of wetsuit is a matter of personal preference. Likewise, the choice of a full or half-suit style depends on individual taste.

Clothing worn for the cycling and running components can also vary in length and number of pieces. Ease of movement and the potential for speed should always be kept in mind though when choosing all types of triathlon clothing. Materials used for the clothing should be comfortable when wet or dry and they should wick away moisture.

Triathlon shorts shouldn't bunch up. Look for good leg grip bands inside the legs of the shorts that will prevent bunching. Bulky triathlon clothing is just going to slow you down and may cause chaffing on the inner thighs. Whether you choose shorter or longer shorts, pay close attention to the waistband featured; it should be lower in the front than the back to allow this type of triathlon clothing to bend with you. Make sure the inner lining is soft fabric rather than padding or gel which can feel heavy.

Tops worn for triathlons should fit close to the body. Whether the length covers the torso or bares it, the important thing is good fit so that the arms can move freely. Women's triathlon tops should have a built-in sports bra that provides adequate support. Zippered vents featured on upper body triathlon clothing can allow you to let in air ventilation when desired.

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