While pools across the country have been closed, warmer weather is coming here in Canada, providing some hope that triathletes will be able to do some open-water swimming soon. A look at a few wetsuit options for those in need of a new suit that will serve for training and racing – once we’re able to do that, of course.
Sadly there are still some of us who can remember the days before Dan Empfield created his Quintana Roo swim-specific wetsuits – now these neoprene wonders are ubiquitous with the sport. Innovations just never seem to cease in this incredibly competitive category, either, as you’ll see in this collection of speedy suits perfect for training once we’re allowed to hit the water (and it warms up enough!), and even better for racing once that returns.
Deboer Floh 1.0
This premium wetsuit is Deboer’s option for colder water temperatures – down to 12° C / 53° F. The super-light 44Cell HBF-Limestone WhaleSkin neoprene offers incredible range of motion, which is enhanced by the 1.5 mm UltraFlex material used in the shoulders and arms. There are 5 mm 48Cell Airfloat Stability Panels to enhance your body position in the water, while the GlideSkin Surface coating improves the suit’s hydrodynamic properties. The anatomically correct fit and hand glued, DolphinSkin neck closure and double blind stitched seams combine for a super-comfortable suit that pulls out all the stops when it comes to comfort and speed, even in cold water. As would seem appropriate for a suit this expensive, you get a specially designed wetsuit bag for protection during transport and for storage, too.
Blueseventy Thermal Reaction
Designed for colder temperatures, the Thermal Reaction uses a thermal liner called Zirconium to keep you warm for those early- and late-season open water swims – or for those of us who live in spots where the water never warms up very much. The Reactive Stretch Technology in the suit uses thinner neoprene in the back and shoulders for great mobility, while the S-Flex Side Panels help with your body position in the water. There are special forearm panels to help give you a better feel for the water, while the legs are designed for a quick exit so you’ll fly through T1 after your swim.
This is Dare2Tri’s most popular wetsuit, and it’s easy to see why – you get a lot of suit for the money. The suit uses lightweight 44Cell HBF-Limestone neoprene, with super-thin 0.7 mm Duraflex material under the arms and 2 mm neoprene sleeves to ensure you get lots of flexibility through your shoulders and as you stretch out for each stroke. There are 44Cell stability panels to help you stay up high in the water, while the Glideskin Technology and AquaGrip helps you slice through the water and get the most out of each stroke. Add in a unique neck closure and the YKK stainless steel bottom-up zipper and you have a comfortable suit that’s easy to get out of once you hit T1.
Huub Brownlee Agilis
If it’s good enough for the two-time Olympic medalists, one would think the rest of us should be able to make due, right? Designed to keep the Brownlee brothers happy, the Agilis is so flexible that it hardly feels like you’re wearing a suit at all. Using specially designed +43 buoyancy material, your hips and legs ride high in the water. Huub’s combination of neoprene thicknesses in the suit allowed them to give the Brownlee’s what the truly wanted – a suit that let them stretch and roll to get the most out of each stroke – technology Huub calls Arms Neutral (for the stretch and long stroke) and Rotational Freedom. It all adds up to a suit designed for Olympic speedsters that the rest of us can enjoy, too.
Using a combination of super-thin Yamamoto 0.88 neoprene in the arms with Yamamoto 44 in the shoulders and back, the Alpha is sure to be a hit for those who come from a swimming background with a strong, natural swim stroke. This suit has lots of stretch, which means you’ll get the most out of each stroke without feeling like you’re fighting the suit. The shorter, reverse zip system won’t limit your stroke, making it easy to reach and roll, while kicking (another stroke feature that better swimmers tend to utilize) is made easier thanks to the new FT1 technology in the knee panels. While this suit excels for strong swimmers, those looking for lots of flexibility around the shoulders will want to have a look at the Alpha.