Choosing The Right Triathlon Clothing

How do you dress for your first triathlon? This is a common question that new triathletes have. It’s understandable because 5K running races have a pretty straightforward wardrobe. The same goes for cycling and swimming races. But when you do all three sports together, does that mean you have to change your clothes for each discipline?

What do I wear to my first triathlon?

When you’re working out, you probably wear a swimsuit in the pool, cycling shorts on the bike, and a tech tee and shorts on the run. These different outfits help keep you comfortable with the specific demands of their respective sport.

Triathlon suit or not?

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Should you buy a triathlon suit? Most triathletes wear one because it’s an all-purpose piece of gear that can be worn from when they arrive at the race to the post-race cool down.

A good triathlon suit is designed specifically for triathlon and offers benefits that may help you race faster and be as comfortable as possible. It will be great in the water, providing a skin of sorts that fits well beneath your wetsuit or as your only garment in the water. A good tri suit will also help you during the biking portion of the race, as it is made to minimize wind resistance. Finally, it will help you during the run, as it is designed to wick away sweat and keep you as comfortable as possible.

This fabric will dry quickly, so you won’t need to worry about chafing when you’re cycling. This will also help you save time when switching to the next leg of the race.

There are some negatives to triathlon suits including the high cost and the fact that you don’t need one to do a triathlon. Additionally, it’s convenient to have workout clothing that can be worn for other activities, but a tri suit is only good for one thing. Some people have done a lot of triathlons who don’t own a tri suit. The features of the tri-suit include:

This fabric is sleek and hydrodynamic, like a swimsuit, which allows you to move through the water easily. If you wear a wetsuit over your swimsuit, this fabric will slide under your wetsuit without adding any extra bulk.

TRIATHLON padded shorts have a thinner layer of padding, called a “chamois,” to protect you while biking without adding bulk. This is important because after you get off the bike, you still have to run, and no one likes running in something that feels like a diaper.

The material dries quickly, which is helpful when you get out of the water and during the bike or run when you start to sweat.

Pockets are necessary for carrying things like nutrition and hydration when you’re doing three sports.

The strategic placement of seams (or the lack thereof) prevents blisters and chafing during repetitive movements.

If you are a beginner at the sprint or Olympic distance, we recommend that you get the following items, and you will be ready to go.

The Zoot Active Mesh Tri Top is a comfortable and functional tri top that can also be worn as a workout shirt.

You will need a bike helmet, and the Giro Agilis is a good option. This helmet can be used for other types of cycling as well.

Wear your normal running shoes, but make sure to get lock laces or elastic no-tie shoelaces for a faster on and off.

If you plan on competing in races, you will need to purchase a wetsuit, which can be expensive. A good option for beginner racers is the Blueseventy Fusion. It is not too expensive and still has good quality, even as you improve your racing skills.

While swimming is a great activity, don’t forget about safety accessories like swim goggles. The basic Hydrospex goggles are a great option and can be found on Amazon. They’re affordable and will do the job.

Triathlon shorts


They differ in a few important ways You don’t need to use a triathlon suit, many beginners and intermediates choose not to. You will want to invest in some good triathlon shorts instead. Tri shorts are a staple of any complete triathlon wardrobe and look a little like cycling shorts but are different in a few important ways.

The seats are designed to dry quickly, and they have a seat pad that is usually thinner and lighter. This is important because you don’t want to sit on a seat pad that is soaked with water, which would almost definitely cause chafing.

The main choices for triathlon shorts are usually length and pocket layout, which can range from £40 to around £100. Most triathletes use shorts with inseams of 8 to 10 inches. It is also good to have at least one pocket for carrying food or other items.

Triathlon tops or singlets

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Many racers will choose a triathlon-specific top, often called a singlet, for racing. Singlets are often chosen because they can be comfortable for activities such as cycling or running, even outside of a tri race. Good singlets generally range in price from £30 to £85, depending on the maker and the quality.

A support top, which resembles a swimsuit top or a training bra, is also an option for women. This allows them to decide if they want to wear it for the entire race or throw a shirt over it once out of the water.

There is no problem with just putting on a t-shirt or workout shirt for the bike and run. This would typically be done over a support top for women, but men would come out of the water shirtless. In any race, many racers will be wearing a simple t-shirt or workout shirt.

Tri wetsuits

5 Great Sources for Triathlon Wetsuit Discounts - Complete Tri

We have done extensive writing on triathlon wetsuits and we suggest that you read our triathlon wetsuit buying guide if you want to learn more. A good wetsuit not only keeps you warm in the water but also makes you more buoyant and balanced as you swim. It also helps you glide through the water.

Wetsuits help most racers swim faster, which more than makes up for the extra time it takes to take the wetsuit off during the first transition.

Triathlon shoes

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There’s no such thing as a “triathlon shoe”, but there are shoes that can work well in a triathlon, depending on your goals and overall plans.

Most racers use different shoes for the bike and run to turn in the fastest times. Many racers have a favourite pair of cycling shoes with clips that they use during the bike leg, and then they put on running shoes for the run at Transition 2. Some athletes, especially age-groupers who only want to finish, don’t have clipped pedals on their bikes so they can use the same running shoes for the entire bike and run legs.


Ask A Gear Guru: How Do I Find the Best Running Socks for Triathlon? – Triathlete

The question of whether or not to wear socks while racing is a personal choice. Many racers choose to go without socks, as it can make transitions faster and reduce the risk of blisters if the socks become wet during the swim or if the race conditions are wet.

Although most beginners use socks, you should never attempt to go sockless without practising that way several times and building up the ability to do it. Remember that not all socks are meant to be worn inside a running shoe during a demanding race.


Spring 2021 Triathlete Buyer's Guide: Helmets – Triathlete

One of the most important things you can do while biking is to wear a helmet. Your race will require you to wear a helmet, and most races enforce this rule strictly. If you don’t have a helmet or don’t like wearing one, start getting used to it now. Many people find that, after a while, biking without a helmet feels strange and unprotected.


Nrc Outdoor Cycling Sunglasses For Men Uv400 Bicycle Glasses Mtb Goggles Bike Fishing Sport Riding Eyewear Women Tr90 3 Lens - Cycling Sunglasses - AliExpress

Although sunglasses might seem like a convenience item, they play an important role in keeping you safe while cycling. If you’re cycling at 15-20mph, a bug hitting you in the eye could easily turn into a serious accident. By wearing sunglasses, you’re less likely to have an accident.

Can I change my clothes during a triathlon?

The logic behind wearing the same outfit for a triathlon has to do with both expediency and logistics. You likely won’t have a place to change your clothes for a sprint, Olympic, or half-iron/70.3 race, so you’ll have to do it in the open transition area. Each athlete has a designated spot next to their bike where they can change their accessories.

If you plan on changing clothes during one of these races, keep in mind that being naked is usually not allowed (and could even be against the law), so you’ll probably have to change in the port-a-potty, which will most likely be small and smelly.

Do I have to buy a tri suit for my first triathlon

Some people choose to do the entire race in their swimsuits (including some professional triathletes)!

Some people like to wear bike shorts with running tank tops. Others prefer to just buy one piece of clothing, like tri shorts and wear it with other things they already have.

Although these are all good ways to save money when buying triathlon clothing, especially for beginners, it is important to test them out during training first.

Why are triathlon clothes so tight?

You want your triathlon clothes to fit snugly, like a second skin. They should be tight enough to compress your muscles but not so tight that they restrict your breathing or have any loose fabric.

Fitted, moisture-wicking fabric is far superior for race-day comfort. Form-fitting race gear may sound counterintuitive, but it’s actually more comfortable. Baggy tops can balloon up or scoop water during the swim, making swimming more difficult. The same goes for cycling when you want to slice through the air without your clothes creating drag. Loose clothes also have more leeway to rub against the skin, which can cause blisters and chafe while running. Fitted, moisture-wicking fabric is far superior for race-day comfort.

Triathlon tips and tricks

Always check the rules of your race

Most races follow national federation rules for clothing and gear, but there is some variation in the way these rules are enforced. For example, some races allow athletes to run shirtless (or in a sports bra only), while others require the torso to be covered. Ditto for logos or slogans that may be considered profane or offensive.

Practice your transitions

Transition practice can help you not only shave seconds off your overall time on race day but also help you figure out what does and does not work for you in terms of clothing and gear.

When picking out your tri suit, think about what you’ll need to stay comfortable throughout the race. You’ll probably need more than the basics like UPF compression sleeves to protect your arms from the sun or elastic laces in your running shoes for faster transitions.

You should wear something with the logo of your tri club or a tank top that says you beat cancer to show off your personality and boost your confidence. Even superheroes who wear spandex suits have capes as an accessory.

You have to wear no specific uniform for your first triathlon. You should wear whatever will make you the most comfortable.

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