When making the transition from runner to triathlete, there’s a bunch of new triathlon gear you’ll need to invest in.
One of the most important things is a wetsuit. If you live (and compete) in a hot place, chances are you won’t need a wetsuit for most summer events.
But if you’re planning on competing in cooler places or winter months, it’s an essential piece of equipment, not to mention that it’s illegal to race without one in some circumstances.
We’ve reviewed the best wetsuits for beginner triathletes to help you pick an appropriate one.
Our top choice is the Synergy Volution Fullsleeve Triathlon Wetsuit. It’s constructed of durable, hydrodynamic neoprene, features two different thicknesses for the best performance, and has a 30-day guarantee and a 2-year warranty.
Compare the wetsuits we recommend to find the one that’s perfect for you. Don’t be caught without one when you need it!
Top 3 Best and Favorite
Synergy Volution Fullsleeve Triathlon Wetsuit
TYR Hurricane Wetsuit Cat 1 Sleeveless
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Synergy Endorphin Fullsleeve Triathlon Wetsuit
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1. Synergy Volution Fullsleeve Triathlon Wetsuit
The Synergy Volution Fullsleeve Wetsuit is made from hydrodynamic neoprene, which makes the wearer sleek and streamlined in the water. It’s coated with SCS silicone called SyPrene, for even better aerodynamics.
The front torso (or “core buoyancy panel) is 3mm thick. The entire back of the wetsuit, as well as the arms and lower legs, uses 2mm neoprene for better flexibility and range of movement.
Powermax SyPrene panels on the forearms also improve flexibility and breathability. The collar is just 1mm thick, to allow for more freedom around the neck while keeping a good seal.
For the best comfort and fit, there’s a Velcro closure at the top back. The zipper is internal, which greatly reduces drag, keeping you speedy and sleek in the water.
There’s also a small Bio Align panel on the lower back, which provides a better fit and more structured support.
It’s an excellent choice for beginners, but it’s also a great option for experienced triathletes. If Ironman is on your bucket list, then you’ll be glad to know that this wetsuit is Ironman-approved.
This wetsuit is covered by a 30-day guarantee, in which you can get a full refund if you’re unhappy with the product. Take note that this does depend on which supplier you buy from.
It also comes with a 2-year warranty, although general wear-and-tear doesn’t seem to be covered.
- Hydrodynamic neoprene
- Bio Align panel on lower back
- SyPrene coating
- Wear-and-tear isn’t covered in the guarantee
2. TYR Hurricane Wetsuit Cat 1 Sleeveless
A sleeveless wetsuit can be great for keeping your core warm but allowing your arms more freedom to move. If you prefer a wetsuit without sleeves, then we recommend the TYR Hurricane Wetsuit Cat 1 Sleeveless.
Made of slick-skin neoprene, these wetsuits are abrasion-resistant and insulating in cool water temperatures. They’re also excellent at reducing drag, helping you move more smoothly and quickly through the water.
The neoprene varies in thickness throughout the suit, being the thickest at the front torso, 5mm. Areas that need less protection range from 1.5mm up to 5, allowing for an excellent range of motion.
They use a tapered ankle design which allows for a quick on and off. The suit can be reversed so the feet can be easily slipped through the “quick-release” cuffs, taking half the effort out of putting your suit on and getting it off.
An unusual but effective wrap panel design replaces the conventional standard seams, providing light support for all the most important muscles during a swim. Five specific core stabilization panels help to preserve strength and reduce fatigue while swimming long distances.
It’s also USAT and Ironman-legal. The biggest potential issue is that the neck may feel a little tight for the first few swims, but it does loosen up after a few wears.
- Slick skin neoprene
- Speed wrap paneling
- Core stabilization panels
- Available in five sizes
- The neck may take time to loosen up
Best Thin Wetsuit
3. O’Neill Epic (men’s), Reactor (women’s)
The O’Neill wetsuits are ideal for those who find 5mm to be too thick and uncomfortable when gliding through the water. Both the men’s (the Epic) and the women’s (the Reactor) are thinner than your average wetsuit, allowing for a sleek, comfortable fit and a great range of motion.
On both wetsuits, the Ultraflex torso is covered by 3mm-thick neoprene, while the Fluidflex extremities and less vital areas are made of a layer of 2mm neoprene.
Both wetsuits also have a Super Seal Neck design, with the men’s being slightly higher than the women’s (Double Super Seal vs Single Super Seal).
Other features they share include an easy-entry back zipper, a Hand-Cuff Stitch Sleeve Anchor, Krypto Knee Padz for extra durability and comfort around the joints, and Strategic Seamless Paddle Zones, which are designed for aerodynamics.
The seams on the men’s suit are blin-stitched and glued for durability. The women’s seams are flatlock-stitched for a reduced risk of chafing.
On the men’s, there’s also an external key pocket for convenience.
- Ultra Stretch Neoprene
- Seamless Paddle Zones
- Krypto Knee Padz
- Super Seal Neck
- May not be warm enough in very cold water
Best For Colder Conditions
4. Synergy Endorphin Fullsleeve Triathlon Wetsuit
On the other hand, if you do need a wetsuit that can see you through very cold water conditions, the Synergy Endorphin Fullsleeve Triathlon Wetsuit is the ideal choice.
Featuring 5mm thick neoprene in the core, 3mm in the back and lower legs, and 2mm in the shoulders and arms, you’ll stay as toasty as possible while swimming in frigid water.
Apart from the warmth, the extra millimeters also give you more buoyancy in the water, which is always helpful and can help prevent your muscles from fatiguing too soon as they attempt to keep you afloat.
Made from Yamamoto neoprene, this wetsuit is also surprisingly eco-friendly. It’s coated with SCS SyPrene, a silicone layer for better aerodynamics. The neck is low and soft, staying comfortable while creating a good seal to stop water from getting in.
This Ironman- and USAT-approved wetsuit comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a full 2-year warranty.
The sizing charts can be a little confusing, so be sure to spend some time working it out properly so you get the right size for you.
- Silicone-coated Yamamoto neoprene
- Soft, low neck
- Allows for full range of motion
- Ironman and USAT-approved
- The sizing can be confusing
Top For Sprint or Olympic-distance Races
5. Blueseventy Sprint Triathlon Wetsuit
Superstretch neoprene and oversized, stretchable nylon arm gussets make this wetsuit a great choice for sprint distances.
The arms and arm gussets feature 1.5mm Yamamoto neoprene, which allows for extreme flexibility as you move through the water.
The torso is thicker and layered with an SCS (Super Composite Skin) coating on the hips and extremities, which creates a hydrophobic barrier as you move through the water.
For extra buoyancy and less muscle fatigue, the suit features a buoyancy profile of 3-4-4. This means that there’s more buoyancy in the lower body, lifting it higher in the water and assisting to propel you forward faster.
Other convenient and comfortable features include easy-out ankles, which use stretchy material to help you get out of your suit faster, and a low collar that’s facilitated by a curved closure flap for the highest comfort.
- Hydrophobic barrier
- Curved closure flap
- 3-4-4 buoyancy profile
- Oversized arm gussets
- The thinner material means it’s more fragile than others
Best For Open Water
6. SUMARPO RACE
This aerodynamic wetsuit is ideal for race use. Made of eco-friendly Yamamoto neoprene, it’s highly buoyant and has a hydrophobic SCS coating for extra slippery streamlining.
The suit varies in thickness from 3.5mm down to 1.5mm. This helps keep you warm and buoyant where you need to be while allowing for flexibility in other places.
SCS is both extremely aerodynamic and fairly waterproof, so you should stay fairly dry wearing this suit. Even the inner lining of this wetsuit is sleek and slippery, mixing an SQ-Flex inner liner and Superfine Stretch Fabric to make it easy to get in and out.
A low collar makes it comfy around a potentially annoying area, but it still forms a good seal to prevent water from getting in.
1.5mm panels in the arms and shoulders provide extreme flexibility. You can swim completely comfortably and not be held back at all in this wetsuit.
Varying thicknesses throughout the suit increase the buoyancy in the lower half of the suit, helping you stay afloat and in an optimal position.
An interesting and unique feature is the GSP (groove-shaped paddle) on the inside of both forearms. These are textured panels that help to increase the efficiency of your arm stroke, propelling you through the water faster.
It comes in a wide range of sizes, so check carefully before purchasing.
- Made from Yamamoto neoprene
- Slippery inner liner
- Low collar design
- Low-resistance fabric
- Slightly pricey
Got questions about the best wetsuits for beginner triathletes? Here’s what you need to know about fitting, buying, and wearing a wetsuit in competition.
Why Do You Need a Wetsuit?
A wetsuit can help to stop your extremities from going numb in cold water! Numb, cold muscles can reduce your performance and increase the chance of injuring yourself.
As well as keeping you warmer, they can improve your performance by adding a touch more buoyancy, and making you much more streamlined in the water.
When Should You Wear a Wetsuit?
In many cases, it’s compulsory to wear a wetsuit in open water swims. USAT has put together guidelines regarding wetsuits in competition, which most races will follow closely. It’s advisable to check the rules of the race you’re entering.
Here’s a quick rundown of the wetsuit rules relating to water temperature:
- Over 84 degrees Fahrenheit: Wetsuits are not allowed.
- 78 to 84 degrees: Allowed, but athletes may not be eligible for awards if wearing one. This depends on the race rules.
- 65 to 78 degrees: Wetsuits are allowed, but you may also swim without one if you wish.
- 60 to 65 degrees: Wetsuits are optional, but USAT highly recommends wearing one in waters of these temperatures.
- Lower than 60 degrees: Wetsuits are compulsory at this temperature.
How Much Warmer Does a Wetsuit Keep You?
The thicker the wetsuit, the warmer you’ll be in it. The thickest wetsuits you’ll find are around 7mm, which can keep you toasty in waters of about 38 degrees.
They do have one downside, though, and that’s that they can be quite inflexible at that thickness.
On the other hand, the thinnest ones of around 2mm can handle water of 70 degrees or higher. But the most common wetsuit thicknesses are 3 and 5mm.
With these suits, you should be able to swim warmly and comfortably in water between 65 and 78 degrees, and they’re generally flexible enough to allow for good movement.
How Should a Wetsuit Fit?
Wearing an ill-fitting wetsuit can not only make you extremely uncomfortable, but it can also decrease your performance.
A wetsuit that’s too small will inhibit your range of motion and squeeze you in places you really don’t want to be squeezed. One that’s too big won’t do its job of warming you up properly, and it’s just as uncomfortable to swim in a suit that’s floppy.
Not to mention that a too-big wetsuit leaves you open to being weighed down as water pools inside of it!
Here are our top tips to make sure the wetsuit fits right before purchasing it.
Torso Fit Is Most Important
The wetsuit you choose should be tight on the torso, but not restrictive. You should be able to move properly and your breathing shouldn’t be restricted at all.
Depending on your preferences, you can choose a wetsuit with a narrower or a wider collar. Narrow collars shouldn’t feel restrictive or interfere with your movement or breathing.
Whichever you choose, the neck should form a good seal that won’t let water into the wetsuit while you’re swimming.
Use the Lower Back As a Guide
Once you’ve got the torso right, the next step is to make sure the lower back also fits snugly.
Some wetsuits will be a little looser in the back, which can lead to water pooling in the space, weighing you down and making you cold.
Leave Length for Last
Arm and leg length should be the last thing you consider. Many beginner triathletes focus more on length than they do on torso and lower back fit, which is a mistake.
If length is important to you, only fit wetsuits that are long in the legs and arms. You can always cut them down to size, but there’s really no way you can lengthen a short sleeve or leg.