Beginner Gear Guide: Trisuits

News and Updates

Triathlon is long past the days when athletes would tuck their running singlets into swim trunks or cycling shorts at the start of the race to save time in transition. (Although we do see some athletes race in “budgie smugglers”… if that’s your style, you do you!)

These days, materials and design for triathlon clothing have progressed towards practical sweat-wicking one- or two-piece coordinates made of technical fabric. They give you a full range of movement but also look fashionable and distinctive. Thin but good quality chamois in shorts helps keep your delicate bits from chafing on the bike and run without absorbing too much water and sweat.

Not only do good trisuits decrease drag in the water and on the bike and can be worn from start to finish, but they also make you easy to spot for friends, family, and teammates to cheer on.

One- or Two-piece?

A one-piece trisuit is aerodynamic, hydrodynamic, and gives you full coverage so you’re always sure you’re not giving everyone a show. However, they can be a pain to take off and put back on if you need to make a toilet stop in the middle of a race (just try rolling a skintight race suit up over wet shoulders…).

This isn’t really something you’ll face during sprints and standard/Olympic distances, but becomes more of an issue in longer races when nutritional issues might come about and your stomach starts to rumble.

Sleeved or Sleeveless?

World Triathlon has amended its rules to allow age-group athletes to race in trisuits with fabric extending to above the elbows in any distances. (However, if you’re racing as youth, junior, U23, or elite over sprint and standard distance, you will need to go sleeveless.) This has been a boon to athletes who prefer not to have burnt shoulders at the end of an ironman. The slight aero benefit from a sleeved suit has also given more people reason to switch.

But sleeveless is still a great option for short, hot races – and they’re just a bit cheaper, too. They’re a good starter option for your first few races until you decide to commit the sport a bit more.

In the end, it comes down to what you’re comfortable wearing, and what’s practical for the distances you’re doing.


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From kids triathlons and workshops to teen sports camps and assistance for aspiring Olympians, Pho3nix projects create a pathway from participation to professionalism. Pho3nix Club memberships and donations support every step on that pathway.