The Ltd Ali’i is available in two other colourways for £10 less, but we’d rather spend the extra for this Hawaii-inspired design. While it falls short by not including a zipguard on the front, we didn’t notice any significant chafing thanks to the soft-finish binding on the zipper. Elsewhere, Zoot’s completely covered seams ensure it’s comfy against the skin. Rear mesh venting covers the back, including the two rear pockets that are roomy enough to house a couple of energy gels each. The large Italian leg grippers provide compression without being too clingy and the fleecy chamois offers just enough padding for a 2hr ride.
Verdict: Extra comfy seams and we like the design 86%
Buy from zootsports.com
The Aquaflo+ has plenty of performance-orientated features for a sub-£100 suit, and Zone3 say it’ll support you ‘all the way up to Ironman’. While we’d want a full-length zipper for that, elsewhere it fits the bill for longer races, with a comfortable 14.5cm wide chamois, wide leg grippers and plenty of ventilation across the back. The fabric feels soft to the touch and it’s just a really easy suit to get on with, with flat lock seams further increasing the comfort. The side pockets are small but fairly easy to access the single gel you’ll manage to fit in there. The Aquaflo is the roomiest suit here, so check the sizing chart.
Verdict: Smartly designed, functional suit for a great price 84%
Buy from www.wiggle.co.uk
Now available from within the UK, the price of the Elite Aero has come down for us Brits, but it’s still a huge outlay. Yet we think it’s worth the money – a key reason being the superb leg grippers. They’re super comfortable and provide just the right amount of compression, never riding up under a wetsuit. The front is a carbon knit construction, keeping our core stable and providing freedom of movement, while the zipper is full length, which makes it more suitable for longer races. The chamois isn’t the best but dries quickly, and for sprint-, Olympic- and middle-distance tri the Elite Aero has become our go-to suit.
Verdict: Supremely fast and comfy high-end race suit 92%
Buy from www.wiggle.co.uk
The Core is arguably Huub’s most functional and accessible suit for the majority of triathletes, thanks to the comfortable, flexible fabric and decent price. It has an easy and unrestrictive fit (see also Zone3 and Dhb), and we found our medium was just right. Huub are another brand that make use of Coldblack tech to provide UPF30 protection and keep you cooler, and there are also mesh sections on the back to provide additional cooling. The pockets are placed above the hip, which isn’t ideal as we could feel our gel wrapper rubbing. The leg grippers are looser than some on test, but aren’t baggy enough to become problematic. huubdesign.com
Verdict: Comfy and does the job over multiple distances 80%
Buy from www.tredz.co.uk
The final verdict
Across the board none of the suits here were huge losers; the score of Endura’s QDC Drag2Zero was more reflective of its narrow target market and very high price. We know of multiple very fast age-groupers who use Endura’s Drag2Zero suits to great success, but for the majority of triathletes we think it’ll simply be too restrictive for most body shapes and/or too expensive.
Of the two suits under £100, we’d choose the Zone3 Aquaflo+ thanks to its superior comfort and robust yet breathable fabric. With a roomy fit and big pockets, Dhb’s Blok is made to get you round your first tri experiences comfortably, but it didn’t quite do enough to prevent chafing at the front. 2XU edge Huub and Zoot for the mid-priced offerings.
Our overall test winner is Roka’s Elite Aero. At more than double the cost of some of the suits on test we were expecting a lot and Roka have delivered. It’s comfy, innovative and has proved to be durable, making it well worth the investment for competitive triathletes.