With thousands of designs and styles available, how do you go about choosing a new swimsuit? Well, with so many out there it can be tempting to grab one based on a bargain price tag and an eye-catching print or colourway. But although there’s nothing wrong with that per se, putting a little more consideration into your new suit could see you performing better in the pool, finding a suit that lasts longer and, in the case of the new range from Zoggs, being more ecologically aware.
First, it’s worth considering your body shape and the kind of coverage you’re looking for. Do you like a high leg and a suit that’s skimpier on the bum and up the sides, or do you prefer more coverage? If you’re larger-busted you may find wider straps give you more support, plus
you might want to consider suits that include an integral shelf bust support, or just look for a slightly more compressive suit.
Next, consider which style will give you the range of motion you need to swim freestyle (and other strokes if you like to mix it up in your sets). Key is to have straps that allow your arms and shoulder blades to move freely, such as the ‘racer’ or ‘star’ back designs in this test.
Fabric choice is important too, and most suits we review here at 220 will have chlorine and sun-resistant fabric that promises elasticity even after many swim and wash cycles. Those saggy swimsuits with a bobbly bottom we all remember from our school days have no place in a triathletes’ kit bag, and although they may cost a little more a well-constructed suit should last at least 200-plus pool hours.
Finally, go for it and search out a design of suit that makes you smile from the many funkier prints out there. After all, we all need something to brighten up those wintery 6am pool sessions!
With a surfy vibe and wetsuit-style back zip with pull cord, this is also the only suit on test to offer a bit more coverage and higher neckline, rather than thin strappy straps. We were lucky enough to be testing the suits during the long, hot summer months and that meant we could swim in skins in open water, where we did appreciate a bit more coverage – although the thicker fabric felt warm in a heated pool! The fabric is Funkita’s C-Infinity which promises 100% chlorine resistance and felt high quality. Overall the fit was comfortable (albeit less ‘free’ feeling than a skimpier number), but the suit’s integral shelf bra band felt distracting and annoying against the skin. aquaswimsupplies.co.uk
Verdict: Great if you like coverage; shelf bra annoying, 81%
Buy from www.swiminn.com
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 79%
buy from huubdesign.com
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 80%
Buy from www.amazon.co.uk
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. zoggs.com
Verdict: The higher cost is worth it for a quality suit that also boasts eco credentials 91%
Buy from www.zoggs.com
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. As we went to print this was reduced to £17.50 online too, which is a fantastic bargain. racezone3.com
Verdict: Quality suit that just fits perfectly and performs in the water, plus we like the print! 86%
Buy from zone3.com
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 60%
Buy from wiggle.co.uk
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 87%
Buy from www.swiminn.com
MORE WOMEN’S TRIATHLON GEAR REVIEWED