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Triathlon wetsuits: 14 of the best tested and rated (£300-£600)

14 tri-specific wetsuits, for every budget, are put to the test by Matt Baird and Jack Sexty. The first 7 are priced £75-£350 while the final 7 are priced £400-£650



The Wave 3 sits below the top-end Wikiwiki in Zoot’s range. It feels noticeably buoyant, and during initial pool testing we could barely kick because our body position was so high. Where it counts in choppy open water the Wave 3 delivered, with Zoot’s PROarm panels providing plenty of flexibility. The wrist cuffs are tight, which made removal slower, but the legs kicked off with ease. While proclaiming a £400 wetsuit good value might seem odd, it’s got standout features and is comparatively less expensive than other high-end max buoyancy suits. So, if you need the extra lift and want a quality suit, the Wave 3 is a good option.

Verdict: Very buoyant but not for everyone 81%

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The Sailfish One is a high-end max buoyancy offering, with a SCS (super skin composite) coating to reduce friction between wetsuit and water. While it’s got plenty of tech, including the prominent ‘V-Power’ panels on the sleeves to assist with the stroke phase, we found the One offered the least freedom of movement of all suits here. Sailfish say there’s no material resistance on their arm panels, but the recovery and catch phases of our stroke felt cumbersome compared to the super-flexible Orca and 2XU suits. For a Euro brand Sailfish size up large, and the men’s small here was larger than Zone3’s medium Victory; so try before buying.

Verdict: Interesting features, but the pull felt restricted 69%

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The Vanguard is constructed of Yamamoto 39 neoprene, and Z3rod describe it as a suit that feels like you’re not wearing it. Our experience differed, and while the 5mm neoprene in the midriff brought us up high in the water, it didn’t feel as unrestrictive as some of the more flexible suits on test here. We found the neckline too thick and experienced some rubbing, but elsewhere it fitted well and we could utilise a strong pull. A breakaway zipper makes for fast removal, with this tester managing to kick it off in 12 seconds flat. We’d recommend this suit for sinky-legged swimmers with a strong pull – although the Zoot offers the same for less.

Verdict: Good, but lags slightly behind the best suits 71%

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Orca’s Alpha hasn’t changed since 2015 – and with good reason, because it offers one of the most unrestricted swims on the market. Although Zoot have since trumped the Alpha’s 0.88mm arms with 0.5mm on their new Wikiwiki, the difference is negligible and the sleeves feel barely there at all. Neoprene this thin can sometimes lead to removal issues, but the Alpha just requires a little extra tug on the arms compared to the usual 1.5mm sleeves. Weaker swimmers or those who tire in a long-course swim might favour Orca’s Predator for its extra buoyancy, but for those with a swim background the Alpha is one of the best.

Verdict: One of the best suits for strong swimmers 86%

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Continue reading our guide to this year's 14 best triathlon wetsuits - the top-end range (4/4)


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What about Zone 3 Advanced? It was the best of low-mid range several weeks ago. Thank you for your answer.

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