If you are beginning to venture on triathlon, determining the differences of tri-suit and wetsuit can be quite confusing. Since triathlon clothings must be tailored for specific body built and for a particular sport, they now come in various shapes and sizes. And with more men and women joining this sport, the popularity of triathlon continues to surge. You can see athletes wearing all kinds of different combinations, different garments, and numerous types of workout gear. This is one reason why tri-clothing has become more specialized and more choices now exist.
For the swimming leg of the race, some people would opt to wear a wetsuit. In USA triathlon, wearing a wetsuit is allowed without penalty in any event sanctioned by the organization. Aside from having two kinds of wetsuits, there is also the tri-suit. Each style of swimming gear is unique, and they have their advantages and drawbacks. Expert triathletes will usually experiment until such time that they find the perfect fit.
Tri-suits are designed to be worn through the entire race, and they offer benefits that may help you race faster while being comfortable. They come in various styles allowing you to choose between one- or two-piece depending on your personal preference.
Most tri-suits are sleeveless allowing more flexibility and freedom for the athlete. Some women’s varieties are even designed with a built-in sports bra adding comfort to the athlete during transitions. Aside from that, the bottoms are almost the same with a bike short but with a thinner pad or chamois. A good tri-suit is excellent in the water, possesses a quick-drying and wicking ability, and they usually do not cause chafing, helping you breeze through to the next part of the race as quickly as possible.
– Designed to be worn throughout the race
– Made of breathable and lightweight material
– Available in one- or two-piece styles
– Made of thin, quick-drying padding or chamois
– Thin padding may cause discomfort during long-distance races
– Not as buoyant during swims.
– Designed for fewer weather conditions
The appeal of tri-suits to athletes cannot be denied. While they provide freedom, they have some limitations in the waters with less assistance to the swimmer. Made of specialized fabric, neoprene, and more buoyant materials, wetsuits are the most common choice of triathletes.
Wetsuits are designed in two styles: sleeved or sleeveless. The sleeved wetsuit is the most traditional and the most common type while the sleeveless wetsuit provides many of the same benefits as the former.
One significant advantage of wearing a wetsuit is that they provide a high level of temperature control and protection while being buoyant in the waters. According to John Lippmann on his article about Buoyancy Control, wetsuits may alter your natural buoyancy and thus, improves your safety and reduces fatigue.
Moreover, wetsuits are found to be most beneficial to beginners or weaker swimmers as they are known to provide warmth, especially during open-water triathlons.
When choosing a wetsuit, be sure that it fits correctly. It shouldn’t be too tight as it causes you to feel suffocated or too loose that it can cause unnecessary anxiety. Aside from that, too big wetsuits can take on the extra water making the suit feel heavy and sloppy.
Whether sleeved or sleeveless, they are excellent for mobility and freedom, but with the case of wrong size and fit, wetsuits can be less comfortable sometimes.
– Made if buoyant neoprene
– Provides full-body coverage (for sleeved wetsuits)
– Offers effective temperature control
– You can choose from a variety of sleeve and leg lengths
– Good in hot weather
– Most expensive than tri-suits
– Sleeved wetsuits may be too warm in warmer conditions
– Only appropriate during the swim leg
– Difficult and time consuming to remove
Getting a wetsuit doesn’t always mean spending a lot of money for one, especially for beginners. You can begin by asking your friends or community of triathletes if they have a wetsuit you can borrow. But if you continue to compete in triathlons, probably you want to consider having a variety of swim gear in your wardrobe from sleeveless or full-body sleeved wetsuits to minimal one- or two-piece tri-suit.
Before investing in a wetsuit, take into consideration the following factors that will allow you to perform your best:
● Weather condition
● Your strength as a swimmer
● The amount you can spend on a swim gear
● If you are claustrophobic, especially under pressure
● The freedom and mobility you require
● Other environmental factors (sand, rocky shores, fish, water creatures)
Overall, there is a type of swimming gear, whether a tri-suit or wetsuit, that will be proper and helpful for you, providing protection, mobility, and having the edge you need to finish the race.