Since the main objective of a triathlon is to get from start to the finish as quickly as possible, it is important to have your race equipment dialed in. While each discipline requires specific gear, there’s one thing you’ll wear throughout the race: your triathlon kit. A jack-of-all-trades, your kit or tri suit has to function and remain comfortable through swimming, biking and running.
Depending on your preferences, kits come in either one- or two-piece options. The two-piece variety is a bit more convenient during bathroom breaks, but many triathletes still favor a one-piece suit. In the long run, it all comes down to personal preference and what fits your body the best.
One thing that all options have in common is that they are made with a skintight, moisture-wicking fabric. The moisture-wicking properties help keep you dry and cool during a race, while the sleek fit ensures comfort and ease of use through all three disciplines. Tri shorts and suits also include a low profile chamois for comfort during the bike without being too bulky for the swim and run.
A properly fitting kit can be easily worn under a wetsuit or alone in the water. Some triathletes prefer to throw a shirt on after the swim, but for the most time-efficient approach, you’re usually better off sporting an ensemble that can be worn on its own through the entire race.
As you prepare for your next race, be sure to select your chosen kit well before competition. Trying out your race day outfit in training is important for a number of reasons. First, you want to make sure you can comfortably swim in the suit, whether you’re wearing it with or without a wetsuit. A suit that is too big can cause drag in the water and one that is too small can restrict breathing.
What’s more, the chamois in tri suits is less substantial than in regular bike shorts, so it’s worth practicing in so you know what to expect. Lastly, taking your ensemble for a test run is important for the final leg because it’s the most common time for problems with hot spots and chafing to arise. By wearing your kit for a few test runs, you’ll know if there are going to be any trouble areas.
To get you started in your search for the perfect kit, check out these options. Through wear testing and product reviews, we present to you a variety of top choices.