7 top-end, £300 plus, triathlon wetsuits for women reviewed
Once you get over the £300 mark for a triathlon wetsuit the market opens up hugely and you can start to really pick and choose a suit that is tailored to your specific swim ability – and think about potential marginal gains that can be bought. Helen Webster tests 7 wetsuits priced £300 to £600
Once you’ve got a first season under your belt though, or if you’re lucky enough to have a bit more to spend to start with, then it might be time to upgrade. In a first tri wetsuit you’re looking for comfort, a great fit and maybe a few features that will help you transition faster. Once you get over the £300 mark though, the market opens up hugely and you can start to really pick and choose a suit that is tailored to your specific swim ability – and think about potential marginal gains that can be bought.
Key things to look for in a mid to top-end wetsuit are the correct buoyancy for your swim style, so consider whether you need more buoyancy in the legs, but also whether you want more structure and lift in the chest and torso, or whether your body position and core strength are such that you don’t need it. The thickness of the arms becomes a consideration here too (some on this test go as low as 0.5mm), plus maximum flexibility in every area of your stroke should be a given.
Next, think about tri-specific features that could bag you a few extra seconds. What kind of zip do you find easiest? Top- down, bottom-up, or quick-release? Are the arm and leg cuffs speedy to remove or will you get stuck? What is the suit like to run in if you’re planning a race with a long distance to cover between swim and bike?
How we tested
We tested our women’s suits in the warm waters of Club La Santa in Lanzarote (clublasanta.co.uk). The saltwater lagoon features a marked 1.9km course used for the Lanzarote Ironman 70.3 race, so was the perfect place to put these suits through their paces. There were also three 50m swimming pools to use.
Sneaking into our £300+ price point due to its funky limited edition colourscheme (the normal Aspire is £299), this is Zone3’s mid-range suit, yet despite being the least expensive on test, it easily holds its own. Upgrades since the last version centre around a one-piece shoulder design to improve flexibility and we didn’t feel any restriction in our stroke, although it didn’t achieve the top-end freedom offered if you pay for the wafer-thin arms of the Orca or the Zoot. Where this suit did excel was in body positioning, as with 5mm neoprene from ribs to knees, it holds you firmly up in the water. A top-down zip keeps it simple.
Verdict: a solid performer at a really decent price 85%
Buy from www.swiminn.com
The jazzy green and silver design on the 2XU instantly won us over (unusual in a women’s suit) and we loved the feel and fit with soft, supple neoprene ranging from 1.5mm on the arms to 5mm on the upper chest, lower back and legs. The neckline was low and comfortable too, with no feeling of tightness. We did have to size down, though (from medium to small), and even after that the suit still let in quite a bit of water. Proof that fit is king with wetsuits! Overall body positioning is good and we felt we could get good power and rotation in it. This is the only suit on test with straked wrist catch panels, too, for marginal gains. 2xu.com
Verdict: fantastic looking and techy suit, but let water in 80%
Buy from www.wiggle.co.uk
First included in this test in 2016, aside from a new neck-line the Atana hasn’t changed – but thanks to its unique design, created to feel great on as well as performing, there still isn’t anything else like it. The 3mm supple neoprene and four-way stretch lining make this the easiest to pull on and off and it didn’t feel at all tight (perfect for swimmers who feel panicky in a wetsuit), yet it did a great job of keeping the water out at the same time. With no thick neoprene sections you don’t get loads of buoyancy, but we found it gave just enough and we loved the feeling of freedom. The zip is a breakaway for marginal gains. Just one wish? Funkier colours, please! huubdesign.com
Verdict: unrivalled full-body freedom, stretch & flexibility 86%
Buy from www.wiggle.co.uk
Continue reading our guide to the best top-end women wetsuits for tri, £300 plus