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Guide to Buying a Triathlon Wetsuit

Written by Fiona July 03 2013

A triathlon is demanding enough without hampering yourself with the wrong wetsuit. A triathlon is a multi-discipline sport with a swim, cycle and run element. The swim can be in a pool or open water. Most open water swims are in lakes, lochs and the sea and in the UK these are cold.

Triathlon swimmers. PIc credit Graham Milne

Triathlon swimmers. PIc credit Graham Milne

The aim of a wetsuit is to be tight enough to keep you warm, yet flexible enough around, for example the shoulders, to allow an efficient swimming stroke. A wetsuit can come in a range of thicknesses from 2mm to 5mm and some have a combination of thicknesses in different areas of the body.

Unlike, say, a surfing wetsuit, the area around the shoulders will be thinner and more flexible so that you can swim more easily.

Many people also find that the buoyancy of a wetsuit helps with swimming position in the water. That is, it can keep your legs up and your body flatter in the water, which can aid your swimming style and speed. This is truer for the guys than the women, as guys tend to have more leg drag when swimming in a pool! Women have the benefit of larger and more buoyant butts!

I ask a guest blogger to offer a guide to buying a triathlon wetsuit in different price brackets.

Triathlon wetsuits for all budgets

The Save Option

Barely keeping your head above water in the finances department? That doesn’t matter mean that the wetsuit you buy for your upcoming triathlon has to let you down in the areas you need it most.

There are lots of budget wetsuits on the market, like this one from Go Outdoors, which is available to buy online for £45 and is suitable for entry-level competitors. These wetsuits may not be able to boast the efficient designs that help athletes to achieve power and speed in the water, which the more expensive examples use, but they’ll maintain your body temperature during the swimming part of your challenge.

With regard to future competitions, opting for the affordable option may seem an attractive idea in the short term, but it’s more than likely that your suit will need replacing quicker than if you’d spent a little bit more.

The Spend Option

44528874-nIf you’re serious about winning a triathlon competition, you’ll need to look for a wetsuit that does more than lock in your body heat and keep you dry.

ActivInstinct stock a range of specialised triathlon wetsuits, including this best seller from ORCA. This design is extremely popular with triathlon athletes because it incorporates innovative neoprene panels. These panels are filled with air cavities for added buoyancy, leaving competitors with more energy to power through the water and make up those precious minutes that could mean the difference between winning and losing!

At £249.99, this wetsuit incorporates high-tech materials and an efficient design that’s going to keep you streamlined and fast, without breaking the bank.

The Splurge Option

It’s been described as the pinnacle of wetsuit performance and is built with speed, manoeuvrability and buoyancy firmly in mind. Let me introduce you to the Hurricane Freak of Nature Wetsuit from US-based TYR. The designers of this suit boast that the design incorporates the latest in technology, high-tech materials and design, for a suit that will greatly contribute to your triathlon success.

Like the ORCA wetsuit, this model incorporates neoprene for added floatation when you’re in the water. The old saying may suggest that you only get what you pay for, but there isn’t much that differentiates this suit for less expensive options, including features like ankles and wrists that are designed for quick transition.

One of these bad boys will set you back $1,119.00 dollars – that’s around £800 – so you’ll need to have some serious clams in the bank if you want to invest in one.

We may all be athletes, but our ambitions and budgets differ accordingly. When you’re choosing a wetsuit, your selection will match how much you’ve got to spend, as well as what you want to achieve in your triathlon. Hopefully, this guide has stressed to you that you don’t have to forfeit your life savings to buy a product that’s going to help you on your way to victory.

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