Best Triathlon Wetsuit

You’re looking for the best triathlon wetsuit? Well, you’ve come to the right place, but before you just pick the best one you first need to understand what type of wetsuit you need. Yes, there are a number of things to consider before you buy the best triathlon wetsuit. Considering how much equipment is required for triathlons a wetsuit can easily be one of the most expensive if you head straight for the top end price point. However, every triathlete is on a different skill level and personal goal. With those things in mind, there are wetsuits built for every style and type of triathlete. To better explain this we have broken down some tips on what to look for in a wetsuit, and what the best triathlon wetsuit is for every triathlete.

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Xterra Volt – Men’s Best Triathlon Wetsuit

mens triathlon wetsuit modelsThickness – 3mm
Sizes – XS – XXL (See Size Guide)
Style – Full Sleeve (Also Available in sleeveless)
Legal – All Xterra Volt wetsuits are WTC (Ironman) / USAT legal.

Xterra makes some of the most robust mens triathlon wetsuit models. The company was born in San Diego in 2001 and has been researching and developing the best wetsuit possible. They are committed to offering the best and in my book the most affordable wetsuit. They have everything from $100-$700 mens triathlon wetsuit models. However, they offer a lot of steep discounts from various outlets like Amazon making them budget friendly and if you have Amazon Prime, free shipping.

Xterra Volt Overview –

If a reliable, affordable, and comfortable wetsuit is was you need, then the Xterra Volt has to be on your list. This mens triathlon wetsuit was designed for durability and speed giving you max flexibility with 3mm neoprene on the front, 2mm neoprene on the back and 1.5mm neoprene on the arms. The 3mm front provides plenty of lift in the water while the 2mm back gives plenty of flexibility. As for the arms being 1.5mm neoprene that provides enough mobility for free arm movement.

The suit was rated as “Deal of The Century” by Competitor Magazine, which was Xterra’s goal. They wanted to provide triathletes with a wetsuit that no one had an excuse not to own one. That said, they even provide a 30-day money back guarantee if you’re not 100% satisfied, which comes in handy if you need a new size.

Details –

Xterra kept flexibility in mind when they developed the Volt mens triathlon wetsuit. The arms are made of anatomically-correct panels to provide plenty of natural movement when swimming. Second, to that Xterra created a low-profile collar that is made to be comfortable and durable. Lastly, the suit uses triple-layer X-MAX seam-seal technology and double-blind stitching to ensure the longest possible life of your waterproof seams.

Comfort & Quality –

The Xterra Volt was made with X-FLEX suit liner to allow it to stretch in all four directions. As a result, it then can return back to its original state and shape to provide a superior fit time-and-time again. The X-FLEX allows for a very flexible liner that provides comfort from head to toe.

The Volt comes in 9 different sizes, check your size her on the size guide, which is to ensure you get a correct fit. All wetsuits are designed to fit snug, however, in the event, your’s seems to tight. You have 30 days to return your mens triathlon wetsuit model with Xterra for the correct size. On top of that Xterra makes such high-quality products that they offer a 1-year warranty as well, against all manufacturing defects. I personally have worn and owned Xterra wetsuits for years and have never had an issue yet with tears, rips, or poor seams.

Conclusion –

Hands down if you’re looking for the best triathlon wetsuit for performance, buoyancy, lift, and value. The Volt is going to be your #1 selection. It’s designed with the age-group athlete in mind, yet it’s built with speed and flexibility. Go to any triathlon and you’ll find that Xterra is well represented in an open water swim, and it’s because they tend to be the absolute best value for your money and performance.

TYR Hurrican – Best Triathlon Wetsuit for Cold Water

best triathlon wetsuit for cold waterThickness – 3mm
Sizes – XS – XXL (See Size Guide)
Style – Full Sleeve (Also Available in sleeveless)
Legal – All TYR Hurricane wetsuits are WTC (Ironman) / USAT legal.

TYR created back in 1985 is a global company with years of knowledge and experience thanks to Joseph DiLorenzo and Steve Furniss.  Therefore they sponsor some of the top elite swimmers around the world. TYR’s manufacture lines consist of swimwear, aquatic fitness, and triathlon gear. Some of their more prominent triathlon gear consist of tri suits, goggles, and training equipment.

TYR Hurrican Overview –

The TYR Hurrican was designed to minimize drag and maximize speed, this is the ideal wetsuit for beginner triathletes or triathletes looking for their first wetsuit. Why? Because it’s developed for performance, durability, comfort, and value. The wetsuit is made of lick skin neoprene giving it extremely durable and abrasion resistant properties. Slick skin neoprene is one of the industries most durable fabrics. That said, this material is actually very comfortable and flexible.

When it comes to the seams, TYR uses speed wrap paneling in the legs, chest, and core to give you a comfortable snug fit. This also provides elevation throughout your legs, core, and chest. Ultimately reducing your water drag and increasing your speed and efficiency. For an affordable entry-level wetsuit, the technology is much appreciated and will improve your swim times if you’ve never raced in a wetsuit before.

Details –

TYR has a few different construction designs that allow for it to stand out amongst its class. First are the form-fitting wrist cuffs. They were designed to support swimmers with power strokes. As a result, preventing water to enter into the sleeve and slow you down with drag. Instead, the cuffs have form-fitting panels that maximize energy output while preventing any leakage.

TYR even went as far as adding quick release ankle cuffs. If you’ve ever tried to take a wetsuit off when in a race or training they can be a bit difficult. TYR developed tapered legs allowing you to reverse the wetsuit opening for a quick and easy transition. It may sound like a minor detail, however, most sprint or small races don’t have wetsuit strippers so anything to speed up the manual process helps.

Comfort & Quality –

With a minimal panel and seams approach the Hurrican is a very comfortable wetsuit. It adheres to the shoulders, waist and down to your legs. I’ve found that the shoulder area is usually what gives me issues, and with the Hurrican, you don’t feel any restriction or discomfort. TYR also designed the neck and collar of the wetsuit to be low profile so that it doesn’t allow water in as you swim or cause discomfort. However, I still would add a little chamois cream to your neckline to ensure no chaffing or irritation.

As we mentioned earlier the slick skin neoprene is one of the most durable materials used in the industry. Therefore, if your swimming opening water in lakes, rivers, or oceans you’ll be glad to have such a durable wetsuit that won’t rip, tear, or wear out.

Conclusion –

If you’re looking to buy your first wetsuit and not have to invest in a new one next year, the Hurrican is a great option. It’s one of the best triathlon wetsuit for cold weather you can buy and it comes with some great benefits and features found on some elite models.

ROKA Maverick Elite II – Men’s Best Triathlon Wetsuit

best triathlon wetsuitThickness – 3mm
Sizes – XS – XXL (See Size Guide)
Style – Full Sleeve (Also Available in sleeveless)
Legal – All ROKA wetsuits are WTC (Ironman) / USAT legal.

ROKA is one of the newer companies in the triathlon world. However, that hasn’t stopped them from grabbing some of the biggest names in the game. They started in 2013 out of an Austin, Texas garage and in just three years had the honor of sending 18 athletes to the Rio Olympic games. So even though they may be newer they make very high-quality triathlon gear.

Roka Maverick Elite Overview –

If you’re in need for a wetsuit that will improve upon your last swim time, or want to get to the next level of wetsuits. Then the ROKA Maverick Elite II is going to be the best triathlon wetsuit. ROKA has packed this wetsuit with designs and technology that is for the top athletes.

ROKA has selected premium materials and liners to optimize your swim mechanics, stretch, comfort, and support. All of the neoprene is selected only from the Yamamoto Corporation in Japan, which makes premium fabrics only. The neoprene gives optimal body positioning in the water with a graduated buoyancy. As a result, it reduces your drag and yet has very durable properties. The material is referred to as Super Composite Skin or SCS. It has hydrophobic Nano-Coating on the surface of the neoprene offering less drag and higher performance. As you can see this suit is a step above the rest and it shows.

Details –

ROKA’s patented technology RS Centerline Buoyancy is a very unique detail that other wetsuits don’t have. The wetsuit actually allows for snappier side-to-side rotation and eliminates dead spots in freestyle. Ultimately improving your stroke rate and streamline properties in the water. The RS Centerline Buoyancy does this by adding more buoyancy down the centerline of your body. Hence, where the name comes from.

Comfort & Quality –

The second Patent ROKA has been able to embed in the Maverick Elite is their Arms-Up Construction. They actually pattern the wetsuit with the hands above the head, instead of at the sides. This makes complete sense as the wetsuit was designed to be used when swimming not with your arms at your sides. By doing this it provides the wetsuit with increased mobility through every phase of your swim stroke. This eliminates shoulder restriction improving faster swims and reducing arm fatigue.

Conclusion –

I know for myself when you are looking to race for a personal best or want to edge up in your age group. You have to train harder and with better equipment, the Maverick Elite is one piece to that puzzle, it’s an extremely good wetsuit that is hard to outperform. It does come at a higher price point, but you get what you pay for definitely applies here. Hence, why the Maverick Elite is the best triathlon wetsuit from Roka.

Best Triathlon Wetsuit Womens –

Xterra Vortex – Best Womens Triathlon Wetsuit

womens triathlon wetsuitThickness – 5mm
Sizes – XS – XL (See Size Guide)
Style – Full Sleeve
Legal – All Xterra wetsuits are WTC (Ironman) / USAT legal.

Xterra makes some of the most robust wetsuits. The company was born in San Diego in 2001 and has been researching and developing the best womens triathlon wetsuit possible. They are committed to offering the best and in my book the most affordable wetsuit. They have everything from $100-$700 wetsuits. However, they offer a lot of steep discounts from various outlets like Amazon making them budget friendly and if you have Amazon Prime, free shipping.

Xterra Vortex Overview –

The all-new Vortex Women’s wetsuit is built for the all-around athletes. Its dual purpose design allows it to perform well whether you’re training or racing. The full sleeve wetsuit was constructed to offer speed, buoyancy, and performance all while still being extremely flexible.

The suit is constructed with 5mm on the front, (legal thickness) giving you maximum lift keeping your body high in the water. Hence, increasing your streamline ability and speed. The back is made of 3mm neoprene giving your shoulders and back flexibility. The arms and shoulder area is 1.5mm giving you maximum mobility and stretch. As a result, you won’t have fatigued shoulders after a 70.3 swim.

Details –

Xterra included some key features into the Vortex suit making it the best womens triathlon wetsuit. The collar is low-profile giving you maximum water protection while swimming. This helps to eliminate water from rolling between the collar and your neckline.

The interior of the wesuit is lined with X-FLEX LINER 2.0, which gives you a smoother transition. The liner is actually an upgraded neoprene from their Volt line giving you better buoyancy and flexibility.

Comfort & Quality –

Similar to the Volt wetsuit line which is the best triathlon wetsuit for men, Xterra included improved flexibility to the women’s Vortex. With anatomically-correct arm and shoulder panels, the Vortex has a fantastic comfort level in all sizes. The seams are also designed with Xterra’s X-MAX seam-seal technology that uses a triple layer of glue and double-blind stitching to ensure long-lasting waterproof seams when swimming.

Conclusion –

If you’re new to triathlons or been in the sport and need a new wetsuit, the Vortex is going to be the most versatile and forgiving wetsuit. It’s a very affordable and durable wetsuit which is why we selected it as the best womens triathlon wetsuit.

Top 5 Tips For Finding The Best Triathlon Wetsuit –

Before you “dive” into finding the best triathlon wetsuit, you need to consider a few things as wetsuits can range in price quite a bit. Hence, if you’re not planning on racing for a PR or podium slot you may be able to save some money and buy a reliable wetsuit. However, if you’re looking to gain that minute or two on the water a speedsuit or high-quality wetsuit may give you that edge. That said, finding the best triathlon wetsuit is going to depend on your expectations and goals, not necessarily just the most expensive. Regardless, you need to consider a few things before you purchase the best triathlon wetsuit.

Type Of Race & Goal –

best triathlon wetsuitTriathlon distances can be anywhere from just a few miles total to hundreds. There is no gold standard or “real” distance regardless of what people’s opinions may tell you. Most people sign up for a triathlon that is a sprint distance, or short distance race. It may involve a few hundred meters of swimming, 10-15 miles of biking, finished with a 3K. However, as you begin to challenge your skills and test your limits you may find yourself signed up for a 140.6 race. Due to the fact that these races and distances are drastically different, you may find you need different equipment such as a wetsuit.

A sprint may not require an ultra-slim skin-tight wetsuit as it’s not worth the value considering the distance, whereas, a 140.6 may require you to invest in a wetsuit that can help save time and effort. As you can see the type of race can dictate a wetsuit decision.

Another factor is personal goals. For me when I first started getting into triathlons, I picked out a wetsuit that was good quality, affordable, and designed for triathlons. It lasted me multiple seasons, help me get acclimated to open water swimming, and when I finally was ready to find something to help improve my speed and efficiency I started to invest in a faster, more expensive wetsuit. A wetsuit is just one of the tools required to race a triathlon, but not the only one, so consider that when first getting started versus after being in the sport for many years.

Budget –

The second tip is to consider a budget, a general idea is that a wetsuit will cost you about $100 dollars on the lowest end up to as much as $1,000. Yes, that’s not a typo for any new racers, $1,000 is what a top-end wetsuit can cost. I will say for some triathletes it’s necessary for their personal goals and skill level, however, that is not the case for everyone. I believe my first wetsuit cost me around $150 and after 5 seasons it still was in use and worked great. The thing you need to decide is what is your budget and how much are you willing to spend to get something that either fits better, performs better, or is made of better material. Like anything, the prices for wetsuits tend to increase with higher-quality materials, better construction, and technology.

Style –

When it comes down to finding the best triathlon wetsuit, there are a few styles to choose from. The first option is the traditional full-wetsuit, this means the wetsuit will cover your legs and arms. Typically, this offers the most buoyancy, lift, and reduced drag. However, the second option that can be a cost saving and a comfort preference is a sleeveless wetsuit. Which is exactly as it sounds, the wetsuit is similar to a full wetsuit on the legs, but it stops at the shoulders. Therefore, giving you more mobility for your arm stroke, which also decreases the cost a bit.

Thickness & Construction –

The last thing to consider is the thickness and construction. Typically, you’ll find wetsuits have a certain thickness, however, what you need to look into is that if that thickness is legal for your race. For example, Ironman events require that the wetsuit has to be less than 5mm in thickness, even on the seams. The last thing you want to order is a wetsuit that wasn’t designed for triathlons and find out that it’s not a legal race wetsuit. Ironman also has mandatory laws on when a wetsuit can be worn or not depending on the water temp.

The other thing to consider is the construction of a wetsuit, there are races laws that require wetsuits to be made of certain materials. Be sure to check out the race you’re planning on attending for their laws and regulations. If you’d like to review Ironman laws view them here. Typically, some racers especially new get wrapped up into this and worried they don’t have the correct wetsuit. What you need to know is that most triathlon wetsuit manufactures are creating race legal wetsuits, but if you’re still unsure ask race directors and officals before you race.

Most Commonly Asked Wetsuit Questions –

When it comes to using, racing, or buying a wetsuit many triathletes tend to have a lot of questions. Therefore, we’ve put together the most common questions to help answer them for you.

Do I need A Wetsuit –

Yes, but there are rules to the exception, so read on. Let’s start with the “yes” a wetsuit is going to provide you with a few perks when it comes to speed and safety. A wetsuit is designed to keep you above water or on top the water, therefore, making you more streamline and faster. It also gives you some buoyancy making you feel a bit safer and easier to tread water. The other added benefit of a wetsuit is that it can keep you warm in cooler waters. For instance, if you’re swimming in large lakes, rivers, oceans, or even early season races where water temps are low. A wetsuit will keep you protected and hold in your body temp more efficiently than any other type of suit.

That said, there are some exceptions where a wetsuit is not worth the investment in a race situation. For example, some sprint races me require you only to swim 300-400 meters. As a result, it’s not worth the time or effort to use one if the water temps are comfortable. Some swimmers are experienced enough as well that a wetsuit may actually restrict their stroke, therefore, they opt to not use one.

best triathlon wetsuitWill A Wetsuit Make Me Faster –

As we stated before a wetsuit will, in fact, increase your speed at times. A wetsuits buoyancy and ability to keep you on top of the water reduces your drag, therefore, increasing your streamline and speed. As a result, if you’re someone who struggles to keep your legs straight or high in the water, then a wetsuit will help this on a race. Again I wouldn’t depend on this and it’s always better to work on your swim stroke then it is to rely on.

Will I Float With A Wetsuit –

No, more than likely you won’t float with a wetsuit, however, you will experience some buoyancy. That said, if you tread water without a wetsuit and then toss one on you’ll notice a significant difference. Maybe in the right weight and size, one could float, but a wetsuit isn’t designed to make you float, it’s designed to provide lift and limited buoyancy.

Is A Wetsuit Legal –

We eluded to this earlier, yes most races allow wetsuits, however, there are some exceptions. Most of the time it’s going to depend on water temps when the temperatures are too warm. For example, Ironman’s latest rules allow wetsuits up to temps of 76.1 degrees for age-group athletes, and 71.5 degrees for professional athletes. There are also different material and manufacture construction regulations making a wetsuit legal or illegal. Check out the latest regulations for Ironman for more details.

Are All Wetsuits Made The Same –

Absolutely not, each manufacturer has their own way of designing, technology, and construction. Materials used in the construction also vary, affecting the cost as well. Therefore, take into consideration the materials and technology when making a decision on what type of wetsuit to order.

How To Put On A Wetsuit –

The question is often asked or often shared, how to put on a wetsuit. The skin-tight hard to get in wetsuit, was not designed to be easy, but it was designed to be tight. If you don’t have a few pointers or tips on how to put a wetsuit on, it can be difficult, however, it really isn’t that hard. Therefore, we put a simple 4 step procedure to put on your wetsuit.

  1. Roll your wetsuit’s legs inside out, and roll over the cuffs of the leg holes. Slide your feet into the holes, with the zipper on your back, (amazing how many times you can mess this up not paying attention). Gently roll the legs of the wetsuit up your calves, over your knees and to your waistline. Be sure to not use your fingernails so as to prevent any punctures instead use your fingertips.
  2. Next, begin to slide your arms into the sleeves of your wetsuit until your hands come through. Be sure to remove any triathlon watches so they don’t get caught inside. Now you’ll feel the shoulders are tight and you need to get the sleeves to fit comfortably under your arms.
  3. Now, pull and pinch, with your fingertips the outside of your wetsuit and pull so the arms and sleeves fit correctly. You don’t want any wrinkles or bunching up. It should lay tight to your skin around your forearms, shoulders, and under your arms.
  4. Lastly, zip up the back of your wetsuit by placing one hand on your lower back and holding the wetsuit while pulling the zipper up with your other hand. If you want you can add a little chamois cream to your neck area to prevent any rubbing or chaffing.

best triathlon wetsuitTaking Off Your Wetsuit –

There are two ways to do this one is by yourself and the other is in a race there are wetsuit stripping volunteers that will help remove your wetsuit. We’ll go over both as each are necessary to know the differences in both.

By Yourself –

In order to remove your wetsuit, you need to almost reverse the steps of putting it on, with a few changes.

  1. Start by pulling your velcro collar off and pulling the zipper down. Now you can take your left or right hand and begin to grab the wetsuit shoulders and pulling them towards your hands to roll the wetsuit top off. When wet this can be difficult, therefore, be sure to rip hard and pull it off.
  2. Once you’ve removed the arms you can simply pull the bottom off to your ankles. This is where it gets hard.
  3. Since the wetsuit is wet it will be tight to your legs. Therefore, you need to step on one leg of the wetsuit and lift the opposing leg up. Basically, you go back and forth until it’s off. The wetsuit at this point will be inside out once finished.

With Wetsuit Strippers –

In order to remove a wetsuit in a race with wetsuit strippers, you’ll need to perform most of the steps the same as above until you get to the waist.

  1. Start by pulling your velcro collar off and pulling the zipper down. Now you can take your left or right hand and begin to grab the wetsuit shoulders and pulling them towards your hands to roll the wetsuit top off. When wet this can be difficult, therefore, be sure to rip hard and pull it off.
  2. Now you have the wetsuit to your waist. At this point leave it here to run out of the water until you reach the wetsuit strippers.
  3. Once you’re within a few feet of the wetsuit strippers pull the wetsuit below your waist and butt. Doing this will allow you to sit down, not on your wetsuit.
  4. Next, sit down and place your arms on the ground and your legs up, now this is when the wetsuit strippers will pull off your wetsuit.

A helpful tip here is to perform step 3, too many times have I watched a race and seen triathletes sit down with their wetsuit under them. Hence, preventing a wetsuit stripper from assisting.

Wetsuit Construction –

Since we’ve talked quite a bit about construction we’ve thought it would be beneficial to overview what construction means to a wetsuit. This way you have a great idea of what to look for and exactly what you’re paying for.

Seams & Bonding –

There is no way around it, a wetsuit is going to be made of multiple materials combined together to make its shape. Therefore, there are going to be seams on your wetsuit. These are extremely important for the integrity and overall function of the wetsuit. Seams help to keep the wetsuit watertight, meaning as your swimming water shouldn’t be flowing in and out of the suit causing drag. The seams also need to be durable enough to be stretched, pulled, and flexible to accommodate your swim stroke. Because as soon as a seam tears or rips the wetsuit has lost its integrity and ability to perform. To better explain seam construction we’ve compiled the most common bonds:

Stitched & Glued –

More commonly referred to as glued and blind stitched is an extremely watertight bond. In order to construct this bond, it requires two neoprene pieces to be glued together. As the glue sets, a sewing machine binds the two pieces together with a blind stitch. Meaning that the machine or needle only goes through one piece of material creating a “blind” stitch. This helps to prevent water from entering and it also is extremely durable and perfect for wetsuits.

Flatlock –

One of the more common seam bonds is flatlock as it’s fairly inexpensive. To perform this bond it requires the layering of materials where the needle penetrates both pieces. As a result, it creates numerous holes and not the watertight seam a glued and blind stitched would have.

swim workouts for triathletesSealed –

When you’re looking for one of the most watertight bonds known to wetsuits, liquid sealed are on top. As this seam requires no sewing or creation of holes. Instead, a thin bead of liquid rubber or glue helps bond two materials or panels together. Therefore, this creates an extremely watertight seal, and it’s also extremely flexible when swimming.

Welded –

Similar to sealed seams, welded or fused seams use materials similar to liquid sealed seams. However, they have the ability to use far less material making them more streamlined and smooth. They don’t carry the same durability as a typical seam would have, but it does create a watertight seal with plenty of flexibility.

Material –

We’ve talked quite a bit about materials and how they can cause a wetsuit price to inflate or deflate. So to better explain the top materials used in making wetsuits we’ve composed the top materials most commonly found. This way you can better understand what you’re buying or looking for.

Laminated Neoprene –

Most commonly found in wetsuits, Laminated Neoprene is popular amongst all wetsuit manufactures. The price point to use this material and fabric is inexpensive. Hence, why it’s used often in low to mid range wetsuits. Even though it’s inexpensive it doesn’t mean it’s a poor choice of material. The material is typically made of layers of neoprene and nylon or polyester. It gets its name from the nylon or polyester materials being laminated to the neoprene. As a result, it creates a durable and flexible material perfect for wetsuits.

Neoprene Insulated –

Now, most people assume that if neoprene is insulated it has to be thicker. For example, if you want insulated gloves, you have to have more insulation. However, with neoprene, it’s a little different. Instead, of adding insulation, the material is layered with multiple panels. Inside these panels, air is trapped and your body heat actually can be retained in the air pockets. Therefore, creating an insulation layer to help prevent you from getting cold in cooler waters.

Neoprene –

The last kind of neoprene is often referred to as Skin Neoprene. That said, instead of worrying about insulation or flexibility, wetsuit manufactures construct these wetsuits for speed. Due to the fact that neoprene has water repellent characteristics and the fact that other materials can be laminated to the outside surface. These suits prevent water absorption and create a speed suit that is fairly flexible.

Types Of Wetsuits –

There are two primary wetsuits available, traditional wetsuit and a speed suit or swimskin. A traditional wetsuit is one made of neoprene that is insulated and can be used in most water temp conditions. However, a speed suit is constructed without insulation and designed to repel water for speed. Therefore, they can be used in much warmer water temps. The also are skin tight to the body creating a very streamlined profile. Swimskins are less common, however, there are some out there. They don’t always offer the versatility that a traditional wetsuit would.

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