Consumer Guide to Triathlon Wetsuits
As a triathlete, you need to be equipped with the best gear money can buy. Your skill may be the determining factor between winning and losing but having the best equipment can help you attain your goal significantly. Investing in a triathlon wetsuit is one of most costly purchases you'll make, so you should focus on quality gear.
What is a triathlon wetsuit?
Unlike traditional wetsuits, triathlon wetsuits are specifically designed for the sport. These types of wetsuits allow you to swim faster or easier. You become very efficient on water; you either attain faster swimming speed or spend less energy. Like all wetsuits, it should help you keep warm especially if you're swimming on colder water, but not too warm. This is why you have to a specific triathlon wetsuit to the water temperature.
How much should you spend?
Considering you'll be using your wetsuit more than once, you should get the best you can afford. Once you look at the top of the line wetsuits from any brand, you can see there are only slight differences. In the long run, the brand really doesn't matter so much. Generally, brands like Orca, Aquaman, ProMotion and Ironman use the same materials (usually neoprene) in their wetsuits. Most of the time, you're paying for more flexibility; the higher the price, the more flexible the wetsuit is.
You really get what you spend when it comes to a triathlon wetsuit. Aside from flexibility, the speed boost that it allows you is what you pay for high-end wetsuits. However, even $200 might not give you a significant boost in speed but it can be the difference between being first place and second place, along with a lot of training. This doesn't mean though that you have to buy the most expensive wetsuit in the market. Sometimes, you'll just have to see what works for you. Generally, you'll have to spend at least $250 to get a quality triathlon wetsuit.
What you should look for in a wetsuit?
When making the ultimate choice, personal preference still trumps over any review you can read. Some wetsuits just work well for others, while some prefer a different brand or style. Because of competition, wetsuit manufacturers have added minor tweak to make their product stand out from the rest. Some wetsuits may feel uncomfortable for you but can still make you swim faster. That same wetsuit may be the best choice for another athlete. Choose the one that gives you more comfort; performance is only one factor you should consider when purchasing a wetsuit.
The design is another determining factor. A really good wetsuit should have different thickness in various areas. The shoulders and arms should have less material, while the area on your lower appendages and chest should have thicker padding. This is because you'll be using your arms more than any body part when you're swimming so they should have more flexibility and freedom. Having thicker padding means more buoyancy so you'll need that in your torso. This is the basic efficient design, if your wetsuit has the same material distribution all over; chances are it won't help you perform.