6 top-end, £500 plus, triathlon wetsuits for women reviewed
Got money to burn on a top-end wetsuit and starting to think about potential marginal swim gains that can be bought? Helen Webster tests 6 tri wetsuits priced £500 plus
The Propel is the easiest suit here to pull on thanks to the ‘stretch lining’, and is instantly flexible and comfy, with those graphics adding to the superhero feeling. Into the water and we were equally impressed, with the 45 cell neoprene, seamless 1mm arms and chest panels giving a range of motion while limiting shoulder fatigue. This suit features a mix of 2mm and 3mm leg panels joined by buoyancy panels on the torso, so doesn’t lift the legs as much as some of the 5mm suits, but our legs were lifted enough to correct our position. Plus, as it isn’t too corrective, strong swimmers who like a natural-feeling wetsuit will love the way it feels. We did experience some water down the neck, but sizing down to a S/M from our usual medium should solve this. Shaped cuffs prevented water ingress up the sleeves and are speedy to remove.
Verdict: Super-flexible and speedy wetsuit with gains for stronger swimmers 95%
Buy from www.tredz.co.uk
Coming in at a similar price to most in this test, the Torrent from French brand Mako is a suit that hasn’t seen any updates since we tested it a year ago so it’s battling against the latest tech and upgrades. While it still holds its own in the visibility stakes, we found this suit one of the trickier to get in and out of due to the jersey lining, which also made it feel tight and inflexible. It sizes quite small compared to others on test, too. Yet, like the Aqua Sphere Phantom 2.0 on the left, this suit comes into its own once in the water, with 1.5mm neoprene in the arms and shoulders giving good reach and flexibility, while a mix of 3mm and 5mm panels in the back and body kept the legs high. You also get stretchy panels at the top of the legs designed to make running to T1 easier and fabric catch panels on the wrists to improve the feel
Verdict: A solid and visually striking suit, but one that could use a revamp for the high price, 75%
Buy from www.swiminn.com
Available in 12 women’s sizes from XS to XXL, our testing of the Pro II really proved that wetsuit fit is king. Our usual medium gave a frustratingly restrictive feel, but once we sized up to a medium/tall, a whole new world opened up. The suit was still time-consuming to wriggle into, but once on gave us a fantastic position in the water, streamlined and with our feet just breaking the surface thanks to a graduated buoyancy profile centred around the lower body. Despite the close fit, the reach through our stroke was superb thanks to Roka’s ‘arms-up’ design (the suit is constructed around the arms being in a streamlined, ‘up’ position) which limit shoulder fatigue. Adding to the comfort was the neckline, which achieved the
holy grail of being comfortable, yet not chafing or leaking even on a 3km-plus swim session. uk.roka.com
Verdict: Get the right fit and this suit will reward you with a fast and comfortable swim experience 92%
Buy from www.wiggle.co.uk/
The overall verdict
This year’s women’s top-end wetsuits show the high level of technology now available. We’d happily pull on most on race day without any worries, but the 2XU took our ‘best on test’ award by virtue of its flexibility, comfort and speed. Sinky-legged swimmers looking for more buoyancy may prefer to choose one of the suits with 5mm legs though, such as the Aqua Sphere. Roka take our cutting-edge award thanks to the ‘arms-up’ fatigue-limiting design, which for us, offered the most comfortable long swim experience on test.