Sharks Guide to Choosing the Right Wetsuit for a Triathlon
At Sharks Swim & Triathlon, we are often asked which is the best wetsuit for a triathlon. There is not a simple answer to this question as the type of suit you buy will depend on many aspects of the event and your level of performance. It’s worth noting that if the triathlon event includes an open water swim, then a wetsuit is essential, and it some events even mandator – meaning you must wear one.
To help you make the right choice, we have come up with this guide which covers key factors such as buoyancy, flexibility, warmth, sizing and fitting. It’s also important to realise that after your bike, your wetsuit will be the next most expensive item which you purchase which is why it is vital you get it right first time!
The main advantage of wearing a wetsuit for your open water swim is that it gives you buoyancy. But it’s also important not to have a wetsuit that is too buoyant as this could cause back ache and make some swimming strokes virtually impossible.
At Sharks Swim Shop we stock a range of wetsuits, designed specifically for triathletes which give the right amount of buoyancy without hampering your swim performance. These include wetsuits from top brands including Orca who specialise in suits for open water swimming and training and which provide the ultimate freedom of movement in the water, so you can swim comfortably for longer.
As a general rule, the more you pay for your wetsuit, the more flexible it will be. Flexibility increases your level of comfort and so can enhance your performance during each open water session. A long-distance swimmer for example should always go for maximum flexibility.
It’s also important to think ahead as, even if you only doing short swims this season, if your goal for next year is an Ironman or two mile swim, you'll want to invest in a more expensive wetsuit that offers the flexibility you need.
All wetsuits provide you with warmth and the layer of water between your skin and the wetsuit will warm up quickly once you get moving. If you particularly suffer with the cold early or late in the season, there are wetsuits that have a special thermal lining inside to keep you warm. This feature would be particularly useful for someone planning a big challenge like swimming the Channel or doing a triathlon in a colder country.
If you do suffer from the cold, you may also need to invest in a neoprene swim cap as well as socks and gloves. Make sure you check with race organisers first that you can wear them in an event.
Sizing and Fitting
Unless you are a very unusual shape, there should be no need to buy a custom-made suit as there is a wide variety of sizes available to fit everyone. All wetsuit brands have size charts but they are all unique to their brand, so check the chart carefully if you are buying online.
We also suggest that you avoid buying a unisex suit as men and women are shaped differently.
At Sharks Swim Shop, we offer a wetsuit fitting service for all customers looking to buy a wetsuit as we understand the importance of ensuring the suit is a proper fit and that it is the most suitable for each individual. This is because if a wetsuit is too small it will be uncomfortable and if it’s too large, it won’t keep you warm when open water swimming.
Having a fitted wetsuit that is perfect for your shape will keep you snug and comfortable in the sea as well as enabling you to enjoy the swim more and even help to improve your performance.
There are a number of different types of zips available on different wetsuits. Make sure you are familiar with your zip and how it works before your event. A breakaway zipper offers the quickest exit for triathlon and more expensive suits will often have a very lightweight zip which slides up and down quickly, making getting in and out of the wetsuit quicker for more streamlined transition times.
Having a fitted wetsuit that is perfect for your shape will keep you snug and comfortable in the sea as well as enabling you enjoy the swim more and even help to improve your performance. Ideally, we prefer to carry out a wetsuit fitting on a one-to-one basis.
In the meantime, when taking online orders for wetsuits, we always ask customers to call us first to make sure we talk them through their measurements for a better fit.
When fitting, we ask questions relating to experience and purpose of the wetsuit so we can suggest the most appropriate suit for you. There are a number of key points that we emphasise including the fact that there is no such thing as a comfortable wetsuit whilst you are out of the water!!! However, a wetsuit is too comfortable it may be an indication that it is too big, though some high end performance wetsuits are so super flexible they can feel comfortable out of water even though they are the correct fit.
Sharks Swim & Triathlon
Like many other wetsuit suppliers, at Sharks Swim & Triathlon we also offer wetsuits online but if you make a mistake with the measurements for example, this can be a very costly mistake. Buying a wetsuit is a big investment for most people and it's worth taking the time to do some research and travel to visit a shop where you can be fitted correctly.
It’s also important to make sure you are buying a swimming-specific wetsuit and not a surf or diving wetsuit as these are not what you want for a race!
To see our full range of wetsuits click here or to if you want to discuss your requirements you can call us on the number below for advice.
Our wetsuit fitting service is carried out at our shop in Gorseinon. Appointments are free and no pre-booking is required.