The triathlon wetsuit is one of tri’s big ticket items and one of the most crucial triathlon buys you’ll ever make. While they’ve experienced a host of technical innovations since the mid-1980s, a triathlon wetsuit’s aim largely remains the same: to get you through the open-water swim as swiftly, as comfortable and as fresh as possible.
Here are the best triathlon wetsuits for women on the market today, starting from around £100, all the way up to £600, all independently reviewed by our experts.
Best women’s triathlon wetsuits in 2021
- Best women’s budget triathlon wetsuits under £250 reviewed
- Best women’s triathlon wetsuits priced £250-£500 reviewed
- Best women’s top-end triathlon wetsuits, priced over £450, reviewed
What to look for when buying a triathlon wetsuit?
Although most events will see you in a wetsuit for about 10-20% of your race, a triathlon wetsuit can make or break your experience. The fit of your triathlon wetsuit is paramount. An ill-fitting, poorly-chosen suit will leave you sinking in the water with a sore neck; your optimum suit will be the finishing touch to all those hours of pool training and will make you look and feel unstoppable come race morning.
You also need to be truthful with yourself about your swim level. If you’re a beginner you might need one that will help you maintain your swim position in the water.
When it comes to value for money, the Yonda Spectre has a lot to offer. Thinner neoprene arm and shoulder panels provide good mobility and extend down the side of the body to below waist level. We found this design really helped with fit around the hips and with ease of movement overall, which was something we hadn’t seen with similar wetsuits on test. Thicker neoprene on the torso and legs added extra buoyancy to the legs and hips, the extent to which it felt like swimming with a pull buoy. The smooth lining of the Spectre made removal in T1 easy. Overall, the fit felt good, with a comfortable neckline and the zip easy to use, but we were curious about how well the thin cuff line at the wrist would stand up to use over time. yondasports.com
Verdict: great features and great value for swimmers looking for improved buoyancy
The Zoot Kona certainly makes a statement with its colours and pattern, though it could be a deal-breaker for some. It was the only wetsuit on test to feature several different panels across the chest, which could also be a bonus for women who need a bit more room. A GLIDEflex panel with its ribbed appearance down the breastbone is said to allow for deeper breathing while swimming, but it was hard to feel how this performed differently to the smooth neoprene of other wetsuits. The Kona had reasonable mobility around the shoulders and the thicker leg panels gave more buoyancy in the legs and hips to aid those looking to improve swim position. As an added bonus, the Kona was relatively easy to get on and off.
Verdict: suited for swimmers looking for extra buoyancy and with extra features
Dhb Aeron Lab 3.0
Dhb suggests that you’ll ‘unleash the fastest version of yourself’ with the Aeron Lab 3.0, so understandably we were excited. It certainly feels lightweight with super soft neoprene, and it was easy to get on and off, feeling great to wear, but there’s a seam lying across the top of the arm that could lead to chafing over time. Range of motion was excellent thanks to the 2mm thick neoprene on the shoulder panels and arms. With the lower half of the wetsuit being made of 4mm neoprene, the Aeron doesn’t provide the greatest buoyancy, but it’s great for swimmers who are already happy with their position in the water. Unlike other wetsuits on test, the Aeron has a seam at bikini line level, which we felt detracted from its otherwise good looks.
Verdict: good value, lightweight suit for strong swimmers; seam at bikini level is opinion-dividing
Huub Aura 2 3:3
Huub says the Aura 2 3:3 wetsuit is designed specifically for the female athlete in terms of fit and buoyancy. On test, it fitted like a glove and felt light compared to many of the other suits. The Aura has excellent shoulder mobility; the number of panels used in this area and also around the hips and legs supported the overall feeling of comfort and mobility. With the Aura, you feel like it’s adapting to your shape rather than the other way around. While the neoprene on the upper legs is relatively thicker than elsewhere and will therefore aid buoyancy, this wetsuit provides much less leg lift than other wetsuits on test. The Aura is very easy to get on and off, with handy panels at the ankles making removal even simpler.
Verdict: great-fitting, comfortable suit for strong swimmers
The Raceskin Summa is a good-looking wetsuit, and for people who like extra buoyancy, it has a lot to offer. By adding Aerodome panels (air bubbles built in between the fabric layers) to the upper legs and chest, along with thinner neoprene, the Summa achieves good arm mobility and very buoyant hips and legs. However, for one tester, it felt almost too buoyant to give an effective body position in the water. It was good to see that the thicker ‘dimple’ neoprene stopped at the knee, allowing for greater freedom of movement. As the Summa uses a reverse zip, you do need help zipping it up. Overall, the fit was good, but we found that the thicker albeit soft material around the neck felt tight over time in the water.
Verdict: good suit for swimmers looking for increased leg flotation; but tight neckline let it down
Buy from raceskin.co.uk
Quintana Roo Hydrofive
With the men’s version of this suit having been voted as ‘cutting edge’ in last year’s test, we were interested to see how the women’s QR HYDROFive performed. This suit has thinner neoprene on the upper body allowing for good arm rotation and thicker neoprene on the legs and chest panel. Great if you want help maintaining a better body position in the water or feel the cold more. While it was relatively easy to get on and off, the thicker leg material and fewer panels around the hips meant it took more attention than other suits on test. The ankle cuff panels and smooth interior help with removal. Overall, it was a good fit, yet it felt a little short in the body. We liked the comfy neck seal, and the zip was easy to pull up.
Verdict: comfortable suit that helps with good swim positioning; relatively easy to get on and off
Buy from quintanarootri.com
DHB Aeron Lab
It may be the budget option of the mid-range wetsuits on test here, yet the Aeron Lab still packs in many of the features seen in those almost twice the price, such as the drag-minimising Super Composite Skin (SCS) coating and the
39-cell Yamamoto neoprene grading throughout. The low-profile neckline is the most comfortable here and also keeps water at bay. While the overall fit is good, it was slightly let down by what felt like a thicker and less flexible 1.5mm shoulder area than some of the others on test. Despite this, the suit proved fast both in the water and on land in our mock transition one tests. The 3D-ribbed panels along the torso are claimed to channel the water and certainly seem to improve propulsion, and T1 is a breeze thanks to the M-flex lining and the quick-release cuffs.
Verdict: Not the most comfortable here, but performs well for the price, 83%
With neoprene derived from limestone rather than oil, the Aspire claims to be the environmentally-friendly option. The Aerodome materials provide a reported 30% extra buoyancy than standard neoprene, and the added leg and hip panels meant no kicking was required to stay afloat in our sea-swim tests. While it boasts superior flexibility, movement didn’t feel as free around the shoulders as others on test and the forearms felt unnecessarily tight. The arms and legs came up a bit short and, when at the catch phase of the stroke, there was a pulling feeling at the front of the body – those above average height may struggle here. Despite this, the Pro Speed cuffs made for a quick transition and, despite feeling restricted, thanks to the drag-reducing SCS coating it gives the feeling of gliding along with minimal effort.
Verdict: positive environmental message; good buoyancy and speed; let down by comfort and fit, 79%
Got money to burn on a top-end wetsuit and starting to think about potential marginal swim 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, plus maximum flexibility in every area of your stroke should be a given.
Here are the best top-end triathlon wetsuits for women reviewed
Although we tested version six of the Helix (version seven went on sale as we went to print), this is no throwback when it comes to performance, with modern features and quality materials combining for a fantastic swimming experience. The 5:4:4 buoyancy profile gave a superb position in the water and made swimming feel (near) effortless, with good stability and rotation. The flexible blue shoulder panels allow reach without fatigue, while the cuffs created a snug fit. The thin, pink hydrophobic fabric catch panels on the wrists were a touch chilly in our 9°C testing lake, as Blueseventy pitches this suit for water over 12°C, but they did achieve their goal of giving feel for the water. Finally, the top-down zip gave a close fit at the neckline with no water ingress – and a nylon stretch jersey lining made this the quickest suit to remove in transition.
Verdict: classic design meets modern tech for a superb, reasonably-priced swim
Last appearing in our female top-end test in 2019, the Vanquish remains superb value for money with only a £25 price increase, and yet a good amount of leading tech still in place. It’s a very flexible suit with supple 0.3mm sleeves that, despite being a bit chilly for our spring-time testing, will prove ideal come race season. Competing with the same wafer-thin neoprene as the Deboer, but at a much lower price (aside from the thicker 1.5mm shoulder panel), the Vanquish also has 5mm panels for buoyancy, which provided plenty of lift for an excellent body position in the water. We did have some water flushing through the neck, yet this wasn’t noted in the male version of the suit, so keep in mind that any wetsuit fit comes down to the individual. Finally, a silky interior and special cuffs made it quick and easy to remove.
Deboer Fjord 1.0
The Deboer Fjord is designed for use in water above 16°C, so it’s fair to say we weren’t relishing testing it in our 9°C lake, but a winter of acclimatisation served us well and despite the crazily thin 0.3mm shoulder and arm panels, we still managed to get a decent swim in. Where those thin panels do excel is in flexibility, and this is combined with top-end technology throughout. In fact, this was the closest on test to a completely natural swim experience. It was fast, too, with that rib-effect patented 44-Cell HBF-Limestone WhaleSkin™ neoprene giving good buoyancy and body position. Had we not been so nervous of damaging the thin material, it would’ve been a quick suit to remove (Deboer claims it’s fingernail-proof). On the downside, we did find the ends of the bonded seams scratchy on our wrists, and there’s really no escaping that price point. deboerwetsuits.com
Verdict: eye-wateringly expensive, but a smooth-operating suit for summer/overseas waters
Sailfish Ultimate IPS+
The Sailfish size chart put our tester in a size medium (based on height/weight), but in the water we saw water flushing through the top half (smaller suit on its way for our online review). That said, it was immediately apparent that this is a top-end design. ‘Nano Aerodome’ neoprene included in the hip, chest and legs contain air cells that provide extra buoyancy, providing a better body position in the water. We definitely felt well lifted and the ‘Stability Aero Panel’, which extends up the side of the suit along the hips, helped aid good rotation. The top half is then ultra-flexible and allowed for good freedom of movement, while the smooth lining made it fast to remove. It’s not a cheap suit, but we can attest to the longevity of Sailfish suits (our trusty Attack has lasted us many years) and find them especially useful for races in chillier waters.
Verdict: some sizing issues, but a superb suit with plenty of buoyancy and flexibility
2XU Propel Pro
Like the Zone3, the Pro also appeared in our 2019 women’s test, winning ‘best on test’. At the time, we noted our size medium was seeing some water flushing through it, but subsequently testing a smaller size solved the problem – although the zip closure at the top does allow some water to creep in. That aside, this is a fantastic suit and we were impressed with its flexibility and how easy it was to pull on. The seamless 1mm arm and chest panels give good range of movement in the water with minimal fatigue. Unlike many of the other suits on test, the legs are a mix of 2mm and 3mm panels (also 3mm buoyancy inserts in the torso) and we really liked the body position it created. Often 5mm legs can provide an overly high lift, which can create pinching in the lower back on long swims. Shaped cuffs made it easy to remove and, overall, this felt like a top-quality suit.
Verdict: top honours for a very flexible, yet not overly Buoyant suit, that provides top performance
The Bolt is new to the market for 2020 from one of tri’s major heritage brands. Sporting thicker panels of neoprene along the centre line and legs – plus thinner material around the upper body – the Bolt has good flexibility around the shoulders and arms, while going some way to improving body position in the water. The shaped legs mimic the natural form of the knee joint and we found it very easy to take off in T1. As with the Yonda Ghost II on test here, we found the fit bigger around the chest area, which could suit some women depending on their body shape. The Bolt has a straightforward bottom-to-top zip with a long leash, but we found the neck felt a little too tight over longer sessions. zootsports.co.uk
Verdict: A great all-round wetsuit with much to offer triathletes; bigger around the chest area 87%
Of the wetsuits on test here, the Agilis, along with the Orca Alpha, felt like we were swimming wetsuit-free. But that’s not surprising given its extensive input from the Brownlee brothers. Light and very flexible, the upper is made from 3mm thickness neoprene (5mm in the lower body). This means the Agilis isn’t going to give you the most warmth, but it’s very easy to get off in T1 and the neck is particularly comfortable. The breakaway zipper means you need to remember to pre-start it or make sure someone’s around to help you do it up, even when combined with its nice long leash. It’s worth noting that Huub tend to size small, so think about going for a size bigger or test for fit before you buy. huubdesign.com
Verdict: A well-designed suit with the strong swimmer in mind; think about trying before you buy, 92%
The Alpha is billed by Orca as the ‘perfect companion for Natural Swimmers from a swimming background who have a naturally good swimming technique.’ With thinner materials (a combination of 0.5mm and 1.5mm panels) and, therefore, less buoyancy than other wetsuits on test, the Alpha is aimed at ‘floaters’ rather than ‘sinkers’, and those likely to be swimming too fast to notice the cold. The Alpha has some of the best flexibility on test, especially for the all-important shoulder rotation, stroke distance and for easy T1 removal, even with a shorter-than-average zip length. The reverse zip means the wetsuit is less likely to be pulled undone during racing, but does mean you’ll need to make friends to do it up.
Verdict: Light, flexible and great for strong swimmers, but not for the sinkers out there, 94%
Roka Maverick MX
In a variation to their existing Maverick suits, Roka’s Maverick MX has maximum buoyancy in mind, in particular around the core, chest and arms. Of all the wetsuits on test, our feet noticeably broke the surface of the water when swimming. But, even with the Roka’s ‘arms-up’ design (the pattern is cut as if arms are in full extension), what was gained in improved body position and warmth was balanced out in reduced flexibility around the shoulders compared to others on test. Rear ankle panels of thinner material are included to speed up removal and, like the other suits here, wrist and ankle seams are taped to allow for personalised length. The softer Yamamoto neoprene and women’s cut make for a well-fitting suit.
Verdict: A robust and warm suit with excellent buoyancy, yet the normal maverick has more freedom, 82%
Yonda Ghost II
The Yonda Ghost II was voted Best on Test in our men’s test last year. The 4.5mm neoprene in a Y shape over the front of the body and back of the legs ensures a good body position in the water, but the dimpled Aerodome material made it harder to pull up. We found that the thinner 0.5mm around the shoulders, arms and side panels made for excellent shoulder rotation and we really liked the fabric arm panels, which allow your arms to flex and feel the water more than standard neoprene. Similar to Zoot, we found the fit bigger around the chest, which meant there was more chance of chafe, but for ease of removal this wetsuit won hands down due to its ‘slippy’ lining. The leash of the reverse zip could do with being a little longer.
Verdict: A great choice for athletes looking for a balance, between buoyancy and flexibility 90%
When it comes to a favourite wetsuit, so much depends on body shape, swimming position, comfort levels in cold water, budget and your triathlon aspirations. All the wetsuits here are of great quality and deal with the buoyancy-versus-flexibility equation in their own way.
The Yonda Ghost II would be a great choice for those with ‘sinky’ legs looking for improved body position in the water, while the Roka MX will also aid sinking swimmers with its increased buoyancy.
The new Zoot Bolt did nearly everything well and was hard to fault (the neck felt a little tight on longer swims), so it was the Huub Agilis and Orca Alpha that were the standout suits on test. Both offered unparalleled fit and felt the most like swimming in your own skin, with the Alpha just edging into the lead and the ‘Best of Test’ title due to its stylish look.
How we tested and reviewed the triathlon wetsuits
We tested these suits in UK waters within 2020’s disrupted season. Both lakes and the sea were the bodies of water, the latter especially allowing us to access how the suits dealt with UK summer seawater temps, dealing with waves and currents to judge their race-day form (and water ingress). Each was tested for comfort, performance, buoyancy, durability, hydrodynamics, zipper, removal speed, budget and the visual design.