Part 3 of our 2014 best tri suits review features 7 of the best tri suits from £119.99-£140
Following on from part 1 and part 2 of our 2014 best tri suits review, here we’re looking at another 7 suits from this year’s massive 21 suit test to help you find the best tri suit for your training and racing. Check out our other tri suit reviews here.
This reverse zip tri suit from Italian brand Santini is designed to be as aero as possible, meaning a very snug fit. We found it hotter than average, especially at the high intensities needed for short-course racing. It’s easy to pull the long tassel on the zip to let a bit of hot air out on the back and it was also one of the few reverse-zip suits we’ve tried where doing it up on the fly was simple. Movement isn’t restricted and the superb GTR gel insert is one of the best you’ll find for absorbing road buzz, though it’s not as inconspicuous as some during the run. The underarm seams are quite bulbous and we found that they rubbed a bit during swimming. There isn’t any gel storage either, but given the suit’s aero leanings, that’s not too much of a surprise.
A great suit on the bike, but scratchy in the water and a bit hot for running
Sailfish Trisuit Comp
New for 2014, Sailfish ’s Trisuit Comp hugs the body well, giving support where it’s needed and plenty of flexibility. As you’d expect from Sailfish, the suit was great in the water, feeling fast and smooth as well as supportive around the core. The comfy, thick fleece insert is perforated and the whole suit quickly shed water on the bike, where the long zip gave ample cooling. The legs held perfectly without silicone though the pockets on the outside of each thigh are fairly short, so long gels lacked a bit of security. There’s also a long, slender enveloped pocket at the base of the back, which was easy to get into and held longer bars and gels with no problem. Comfort and freedom of movement during running is also excellent.
A great performer across all disciplines with comfort to boot
The TYR Competitor features smooth, compression web fabric on the legs, held in place by silicone dots. The same material also supports the sides of the core. This reverse-zip version (a front-zip type is also available) has a really clever detachable strap. There’s a definite sense of extra speed while swimming and back on dry land, the little water that was absorbed was quickly shed, while the underarm and back-of-leg mesh panels aided cooling. The bike pad is the best here – plenty of padding for Ironman racing but very slim in the centre to avoid chafing on the run. The triangular shape of the non-enveloped pockets meant a less than secure hold on gels, but the rest of the suit is so good you won’t care.
A brilliant suit with rear and front zip options, ultra comfy pad and great attention to detail
Aqua Sphere Energize
Being a swimming-focused brand, it’s no surprise that Aqua Sphere ’s tri suit is very close to being a swim skin. The material is almost totally waterproof, with splashes still beading off after an hour of swimming. There’s definitely an edge to be gained during the swim leg here, with a sleek compressive fit and advanced material keeping speed high. Once out the water, things do heat up though – there’s just not the same cooling and comfort on offer as there is on much of the competition, despite the rear zip. The minimal pad is adequate for short rides and to be fair, Aqua Sphere say the Energize is designed specifically for sprint and Olympic-distance tris. On the run, the compression gives a boost, but heat is again an issue. The odd zipped rear pocket is a bit of a faff too.
One of the fastest suits through the water, but you could suffer a bit during the bike and run
Castelli Free Tri San Remo
We were initially sceptical about Castelli’s latest offering, which is a kind of halfway house between a one and two-piece tri suit, but it soon won us over. The upper section, which is sewn to the bottom around the back, has a full zip. This gives some of the benefit of separates such as easier over-the-waistband pee stops as well as tons of ventilation if you need it. The top half also moves very naturally on the run and of course, there’s no riding up. This, along with large rear pockets and Castelli’s generous pad – probably the best out there for the bike leg but a bit cumbersome for some on the run – makes this a fantastic option for long-course racing.
A unique tri suit that takes a bit of getting used to, but great for longer triathlons
The Skins TRI400 is naturally all about compression. It’s designed to improve blood flow to get more oxygen to working muscles. We were surprised that the TRI400 wasn’t as compressive around the legs as Fusion’s suit, but the upper is noticeably tight and supportive. This actually proved a bit too constrictive during longer run sessions, however the long legs, with anti-chafe carbon-infused panels, were very comfy indeed. Two small enveloped pockets took one tall gel each at a squeeze. The suit’s not the coolest out there, and the front zip could do with being a bit longer, though there’s a rear-zipped option if that’s your preference. The compression makes it fast through the water, while the pad offered decent comfort on the bike.
If you’re into compression gear and like a really supported torso, this could be the suit for you
Being a truly pro-level suit worn by many of the best athletes on the ITU circuit, it’s not really a shock that the Osuit from Zerod is the most expensive offering here. The Water Wear Weapon fabric repels water and this, along with the body hugging fit and rear zip, makes it very fast in the water. Once onto the bike though, it does a far better job than Aqua Sphere’s Energize suit at wicking away moisture and keeping you cool. Being a short-course, speed-focused suit, there aren’t any pockets, however the slim pad is very comfortable. The women’s version has an open, swimsuit-style back but no internal bra. The suit manages the tricky task of providing brilliant second-skin support while also offering complete freedom of movement, making it a winner on the run.
Pro-level performance with a price tag to match, but not as suited to longer races
Check out our other tri suit reviews here.