We review 5 of the best entry level triathlon wetsuits.
On first impressions the Sprint looks a little more like a surf wetsuit, than a wetsuit you’d want to swim your first open-water 1500m in. But at the cost (the cheapest on test) you can’t complain. It’s been made cheap by cutting back on neoprene and replacing it with foam neoprene, which doesn’t feel great against the skin, but was not as noticeable with a full tri-suit on.
The advantage of this is that flexibility around the shoulders is good and doesn’t feel restrictive. Buoyancy is a little compromised because of the lack of rubber, but that didn’t affect better swimmers. A good suit for the cash, but you’ll want to upgrade soon if you catch the open-water bug, which doesn’t make it that cheap.
A good starter wetsuit for the open water, although you’ll want to upgrade pretty quickly.
Blueseventy’s second suit on test is new to their range and designed for new triathletes who need a bit more buoyancy. It sees has more neoprene over the entire the suit than the absolute entry-level Sprint. The foam neoprene still makes an appearance under the armpits, which helps for increased flexibility, but unless the suit was put on perfectly and pulled up high enough it caused a fair amount of chafing.
Once pulled up high on the arms and a bit of lube was applied it was fine. Essentially, the suit is the same as the Sprint model, no special features like some of the other suits, but this helps keep the price down and in fairness this is still a pretty entry-level suit compared with some on test. It’s a good option for new triathletes.
Covers all the basics, at a good price point. Will meet most triathletes’ swimming demands.
This suit boasts a similar design to the higher-end Foor model (see right) and includes some of the features too. It has thin panels across the shoulder blades to increase flexibility when swimming, which works well, with no distinct differences in feel between the Quantum and some of the more expensive suits on test.
Features include an ARB panel designed to minimize snaking and improve rotation. It’s similar to the technology on some other high-end suits, but at a fraction of the cost. A great wetsuit for a great price.
A great entry-level suit that meets the demands of open water swims on a budget.
One of the cheapest suits on test, but it delivers quality above its entry-level price tag. Like Ronseal, it does exactly what it says on the tin. The money has been saved by cutting back on the super-technical features found on the more expensive suits and focuses on buoyancy and flexibility, with an eye towards the beginners. This is achieved by using very thin (1mm) neoprene on the arms and armpits.
Across the hips and legs the neoprene is thicker creating a medium amount of buoyancy, meaning this suit would be suitable for all levels of swimmers starting their open-water careers. One of the testers (a pure swimmer) actually found the suit easier to swim in than the more expensive Orca model.
A suit focused on the basics, you won’t find any fancy features, just buoyancy and flexibility.
Zone 3 Aspire
Zone 3 is a fairly new company with less experience at making wetsuits than some of the other brands on test, but the excellent price point for the quality of the suit itself makes it quite special. Firstly the visual design of the suit makes it stand out from the others, but the separation doesn’t end there. The inside of the suit is coated with a special material, which makes it very fast in transition to remove.
The suit has good buoyancy but doesn’t interfere with swimming fast. This suit is aimed at a competent swimmer who needs that little bit of help with floating. The only drawback was that the zip rubbed on the lower back when swimming, which could be an individual issue. But it’s a minor problem when looking at the bigger picture.
A suit far above its price point, this offers extremely good value for money.
TRIATHLON PLUS TOP VALUE AWARD, ISSUE 15