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Wetsuit Vs Tri Suit – What To Wear Under A Triathlon Wetsuit?

When you’re new to triathlon there is usually a lot of confusion between a wetsuit vs tri suit. In this article, we look at the differences and if you should wear a triathlon suit under the wetsuit for your next triathlon.

Wetsuit Vs Tri Suit – How They Compare?

If you’re starting out in triathlon you may be confused by the difference between a wetsuit vs a tri suit.

First, a tri suit comes in multiple designs from a single one-piece style to a split two-piece style. It is often chosen by the triathlete based on comfort rather than performance. The tri suit is then used for the complete event rather than just the swim portion of the triathlon.

Since the tri suit needs to be used throughout the event, it is made from a ultra thin and breathable material. The material helps to provide freedom of movement for running, cycling, and swimming and helps control the body temperature better than typical other sports apparel.

Most often these suits are designed to be sleeveless but during the last few years, short-sleeved tri suits have started to out sell sleeveless versions. This is because of the comfort and aerodynamics gained by using shorter sleeves over the sleeveless model.

The tri suit’s bottoms are similar to cycling shorts, although the padding is thinner for better movement. This also helps to prevent chafing on the run. It is also important that the padding in the shorts disperse water fast. Otherwise, it will end up feeling like a large soaked diaper on the bike.

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Because of the above factors, a tri suit is designed to be used under your wetsuit and during both the run and bike. It is also used in triathlons where you are unable to wear a wetsuit based on the temperature and event rules.

If we then compare the difference between a wetsuit vs tri suit, it is relatively easy to distinguish. A wetsuit is primarily made from neoprene and is designed to be buoyant in the water. Much more buoyant than a tri suit.
Just like a tri suit, a wetsuit comes in multiple designs, long sleeves and full-length legs to sleeveless (no sleeves and full-length legs). Apart from these two main categories, you can often find variations of this for events like swim-run competitions.

Because of the neoprene material used in a wetsuit, it makes it near impossible to run or cycle in it. The wetsuit is then changed in transition 1, where you remove the wetsuit and continue the event in your tri suit.

What To Wear Under A Triathlon Wetsuit?

What To Wear Under A Triathlon Wetsuit?

For most triathlons, the use of a triathlon wetsuit is mostly mandatory. Although it all depends on the water temperature on the day of the event. If the water is too warm, you may find the swim being a non-wetsuit swim. But most often than not, you will find yourself wearing a wetsuit at your next event.

You may be wondering what to wear under a triathlon wetsuit then. This is where the choice of a garment plays a large role in comfort and performance. Ideally, you should be wearing either a one-piece tri suit or a tri top and shorts. Both give you freedom of movement on the bike and run, and allow adequate breathability during the event.

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Just remember to use some anti-chafing cream with your tri suit. Rub in the anti-chafing cream around areas that may irritate the skin under the wetsuit.

Do You Wear A Triathlon Suit Under Wetsuit?

For most triathletes, you wear a triathlon suit under a wetsuit. This offers the best comfort and moisture-wicking performance over anything else on the market.

There are multiple designs available from short sleeves to sleeveless, and the choice ultimately comes down to what is more comfortable for the person.

Although the moisture-wicking performance, added padding, and comfort play a major role, there is also aerodynamics too. Since the triathlon suit is tight fitted, it offers much better aerodynamic properties than something that is loose-fitting. Because of this, in recent years there has been a movement from sleeveless to short-sleeved suits. This is mainly because of the aerodynamics associated with sleeves and the increased buoyancy of more material.

No matter which model of triathlon suit you choose, make sure that it feels comfortable and isn’t too restrictive when running.

What Do Women Wear Under Wetsuits?

What Do Women Wear Under Wetsuits?

Just like men, women should wear a triathlon suit under their wetsuit. Depending on the model of the tri suit, you may find that it comes with a built-in bra. For the models that don’t, you would be required to wear a sports bra underneath the tri suit.

There are multiple tri suits on the market that cater to women and their body shape. They use the same material as the men’s models, but the shape of the suit and the design of the padding is slightly different. This helps to fit the anatomy of a woman better when running and cycling.

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Brands like Orca, 2xu and Desoto are all popular brands with women and offer multiple ranges of tri suits that fit all shapes of bodies.

Do You Wear Sports Bra Under Tri Suit?

You may need to wear a sports bra under a tri suit if the suit doesn’t already contain a built-in bra. If this is the case it is important to choose a sports bra that dries quickly and isn’t prone to chafing under the suit.

For the model of tri suits that contain an inbuilt bra, you won’t need to wear a sports bra. Although for most women that have larger breasts it’s usually better to wear a tri suit and sports bra separately. This offers a better all-around fit, catering to the size of the breasts and providing a better overall fit.

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