We’ve been away from pools a lot over the last year, so if you’ve grabbed your kit bag only to find your swimwear isn’t what it once was, now is the time to invest in a new training swimsuit or pair of jammers.
Training swimwear should be chosen to improve speed and maximise comfort, so look for designs that are streamlined and allow good freedom of movement. There’s nothing worse than kit that drags in the water, won’t allow you to tumble turn, or impedes your stroke mechanics.
For men, jammers should fit closely with zero bagging, while an adjustable drawstring waist will ensure they stay up. Women’s swimsuits come in many designs, but pick straps that stay up, don’t irritate your shoulder blades (cross backs work well) and are comfortable. Thin straps tend to work well on slimmer women with small busts, whereas larger or bustier women may choose wider straps for support.
Most brands will have their own terms for their fabric, but make sure they’re chlorine-resistant. You may also want to look for swimwear that has good eco credentials, with some manufacturers now opting to make their suits out of recycled fishing nets and plastics.
Finally, pick a design that makes you feel good! It’s been shown that the more confident you feel in any kit, the better you perform, and that’s got to count for something at swim squad…
Best women’s swimsuits for triathlon training
Zone3 Strap Back Kona Speed
Wetsuit brand Zone3’s suit had a similar silky feel to the Yonda in this test and we liked the Kona-esque tribal print with bright edging (other prints are available in the same style).
The strappy open back and medium-high leg cut keep the suit modern yet comfortable and we didn’t have any problems with restriction when swimming. The fabric is Italian Xfinity, offering 100% chlorine resistance with a front lining that stayed in place throughout our test swims.
This suit has previously won ‘best value’ in this category, and it impressed again this year, but we did have one small niggle – we struggled to get the suit to stay in place on the bum after turning in the pool, which meant frequent adjustments were required!
Verdict: The fit on the bum could be better, but this is a nice quality suit.
Speedo Endurance+ Medalist
Ticking the Baywatch box with its red colour scheme, the Essential Endurance+ Medalist is one of those classic swimsuits that will always look good, while the fabric lasted well in our test with no bagging. It’s fully chlorine-resistant and features a lined front, as well as a wide X-back and wider straps than many of the others on test.
This will suit those who prefer a less skimpy number or don’t find skinny straps very comfortable. It’s also a good shout if you like a suit that doesn’t move at all once it’s on! We found our UK10 a touch snug when dry and a little too high on the hips as a result, as we possibly needed more length in the body, but once in the water it fitted like a second skin and was comfortable, with just the right amount of stretch.
Verdict: A good, solid suit in a classic style with an affordable price tag.
Funkita Juicy Fruit
The Funkita Juicy Fruit was the suit that instantly ticked the style boxes for the team at 220 thanks to its neon pineapple print and, pulling it on, the fit was equally impressive. Our UK10 was slightly snug, but once we were in the water it clung with no bagging and stayed in place throughout the session.
The back is a diamond back, which was secure yet unobstructive, with a wider bottom band that helped keep the suit in place. The Eco C-infinity 100% polyester fabric is manufactured from end-of-life plastic bottles and ticks the eco-credentials box, as well as being chlorine resistant.
This was confirmed in testing, with the suit staying perfectly in shape after multiple wash and wears. A front inner lining helps with modesty but was comfortable and not noticeable once in the pool.
Verdict: A funky design, great fit and recycled fabrics make this suit best on test.
Yonda Astratto Blu
Yonda impressed with its wetsuits in last month’s mag, so how about swimwear? Well first up, as we went to print, the Astratto Blu suit was reduced to £19.99 online, which makes it very good value. It looks great on with a funky geometric design and the thin straps and racerback were comfortable, while sitting well so as not to impede your stroke.
The Italian fabric has a slight sheen, and the bright pink lining feels good quality, helping it to feel supportive. After multiple wash/wear cycles, it still looked good, and our only issue was that the high cut on the legs and chunky seams dug in a little on this curvy-hipped size UK12 tester. Other figures may not find the same issue, though.
The fabric is chlorine-resistant, using Xtra-life Lycra and polyester, but the suit doesn’t have any eco-credentials as of yet.
Verdict: A great suit at a tempting price point, but unsure about the cut on the hips for a curvy tester.
Aqua Sphere Miami
Sitting as the most expensive suit in this test by some margin, this suit from Aqua Sphere may be a more considered purchase. That said though, we loved the striking leaf print (a black/grey lightning design is also available) and the suit is made using 55% recycled polyester (equivalent to four plastic bottles per suit) with a quoted 200+ hours of chlorine resistance.
The fabric felt good quality too, with a similar silky feel to the Yonda/Zone 3 and with a full black lining layer. The wide straps and racer back also allowed full movement with a similar fit to the Speedo.
Although in this test we had a mix of size 10 and 12 suits (depending on manufacturer size guide) the 12 here felt quite baggy, especially on the bust, so consider sizing down if you’re usually in between sizes or like a snug fit.
Verdict: Expensive but stylish, and we ran into problems with the fit.
Zoggs Dynamite Y-Back
Having tested multiple Zoggs suits over the years, the first thing we can vouch for is that they last forever. The Dynamite is made with Zoggs’ Ecolast+ fabric, which uses yarn made from recycled plastic waste (55% recycled polyester, 45% polyester P.B.T) and is 100% chlorine-proof.
The Y-back design allowed our shoulders to move easily and felt barely-there in the water. This design also includes an integral bra lining, which felt a little loose and moved around a lot while in the pool.
That said, with a style like this, which is cut low on the sides, larger-busted swimmers may welcome the extra support. The mediumcut legs hit the mark between freedom of movement and modesty, while the jazzy geometric design is a nice touch.
Verdict: We love Zoggs suits, but the internal bra used here wasn’t our favourite personally.
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Huub Jonny Brownlee Swimsuit
As part of their collaboration with the Brownlee brothers, Huub had them design a pair of swim briefs each – the same patterns of which also appear on these swimsuits. This might explain why they don’t feel terribly feminine, but once on we quite liked the unusual ‘Jonny’ print (although opinions were mixed at the pool, from ‘ooh!’ to ‘eww!’).
Once on, our UK12 felt slightly snug and short on the body and although it was comfortable enough to swim in, long-bodied swimmers may prefer to size up as there isn’t masses of stretch and the spaghetti straps dig in a little. It stayed in place well and the open back design allowed for plenty of freedom of movement, though.
Verdict: Design won’t be for all, but nice to see something unusual. Felt quite short on the body.
This suit from Tyr just breaches the £40 mark (along with the Funkita and Zoggs), which, psychologically, feels a touch steep for a fairly plain-looking suit.
What you do get, though, is Tyr’s Durafast One fabric made from 100% polyester, that claims to be nearly 20 times stronger than traditional swimwear, with over 300+ hours of swim time. We might not have managed that many in testing, but it is backed up by our previous experience of Tyr’s near-indestructable swimwear.
Here though, we found the modest key back and medium leg cut made us feel covered up, which paired with the subtle design failed to excite us. So if you don’t like skimpy suits, this will do you proud!
Verdict: Plain and modest design, but a quality suit that earns its price tag with many swim hours.
Zoggs Saber Starback
Taken from the new Zoggs Ecolast range, this suit is made from 78% Econyl yarn, which is made from recycled fishing nets, carpet and industrial waste saved from the oceans. That’s impressive to see – and we wish more brands would follow their example – especially as the fabric retains the chlorine resistance and longevity Zoggs are famed for.
We’ve long been fans of Zoggs’ high quality and reliable swimwear, too, and the Saber doesn’t disappoint, with a comfortable fit including adjustable star-back straps and medium leg height. The cut is a little skimpy down the side body, which took some getting used to, but it didn’t detract from the performance.
Verdict: The higher cost is worth it for a quality suit that also boasts eco credentials.
Zone3 Prism Strapback
There’s always a favourite suit in these tests that we find ourselves reaching for time and time again after the main testing’s done – and this time it was this striking suit from triathlon brand Zone3.
The fit was comfortable and managed to exactly perfect the delicate balance of good looks with just enough coverage (not too skimpy or too frumpy!). The fabric felt good quality, with a strap-back design allowing full range of movement without digging into the shoulders.
The Xfinity fabric promises 100% chlorine resistance and didn’t show any fading after many wash and wear cycles.
Verdict: Quality suit that just fits perfectly and performs in the water, plus we like the print!
Maru Techno Prism Swift
Two design options are available in the new Maru ‘Techno Dream’ range – Ariel, which is a foil mermaid scale design, and Prism (tested here), which shares the sparkly foil fabric and unicorn-esque colour palette.
Usually we’re a fan of Maru’s unusual designs but these just felt a little too childish. Personal taste aside though, you get Xtra Life Lycra for chlorine resistance and UPF50+.
The overall fit and feel is good too, although we had quite a problem with the skinny straps – they were so stretchy that, despite testing both a UK10 and UK12, they just pulled the front of the suit too low when pushing off at the end of the pool, meaning we had to keep pulling it up as we swam.
Verdict: Nice fabric, but the straps lacked security and we’re not sold on sparkly pastels.
MP Tropic Racing Back
Huub might have the Brownlees on their design team, but Aquasphere have the most decorated Olympian of all time in the shape of swimmer Michael Phelps, who is the name behind the MP swimwear collaboration.
We’ve seen the racing-back swimsuit on these pages before and again we’re impressed by the flattering design, which not only looks good but also allows a greater range of movement through the racer back (open back also available), and our UK12 fit true to size.
The fabric is Aquasphere’s Aqua Infinity, which claims 200+ hours of swimming, with UV50+ sun protection, something which is backed up by our previous experience of these suits.
Verdict: Striking looks and a fit that feels good and allows a wide range of movement in the water.