Orca has been producing swimrun kit for years and has now consolidated its range with two new swimrun suits, the Aesir on test here and a more budget option in the form of the Vanir (£199).
Orca tells us the Aesir is the most elastic wetsuit in its range. That’s thanks to the stretchy, jersey-like neoprene along the legs up to the waist, plus the use of Yamamoto 40 neoprene.
This design’s a great help during the run sections of a swimrun, as run stride feels unrestricted, while the thin, breathable material helps to prevent overheating.
In the water, the Aesir feels like a second skin. The DuraSkin 2 material used in the lower torso aims to protect the suit from abrasions during racing, boosting durability.
Naturally, the legs aren’t as lifted as you’d find in a full-length wetsuit, but this is why swimrunners often race with a pull buoy and buoyancy inserts in calf guards to lift trainer-laden feet in the water.
As such, we’ve had no trouble with sinky legs, the buoyancy profile of the Aesir raising our body into a hydrodynamic and ergonomic position for front crawl during swim sections.
During swim stroke, the flexibility across the shoulders gives ample range of movement and the arm holes with slim cuffs sit just right, without uncomfortably squeezing our biceps.
There’s no rubbing along well-located seams, or chafing on the underarms, which is a big plus, as this is a common issue with swimrun kit.
Some may be confused with the zip located along the front of the suit, but this is a normal set-up for a swimrun wetsuit as it allows for easy unzipping on the go. It’s easy to use, while the top Velcro closure doesn’t dig in or cut off our airways as we feared it might, though we did get some rubbing that was sorted by some anti-chafe balm.
Another big pro for the Aesir was the detachable sleeves, which are essential for racing in a range of conditions (a thermal version, the Aesir Thermal, is available for £399), though we prefer wearing the suit sans long sleeves to avoid overheating on the run.
What’s unusual about this suit is that it features a split design where the legs and front of the torso split apart completely at the bottom (but the two halves are still connected) to give the wearer a better fit and comfort.
This also means that the suit should fit a wider range of sizes, especially those on the taller side. The downside to this is that the zip’s more fiddly to do up on the go pre-swim leg if you want to wear the suit half-down during a run section.
Another feature we’d adjust is the lack of tow line attachment loops on the suit, though this isn’t a dealbreaker as you can add your own swimrun belt.
Meanwhile, built into the inside of the back of the suit is a 15 x 12cm pocket. It’s not easily accessible on the go unless you unzip the suit, but could be useful for storing small safety necessities like a whistle and gels.
Verdict: A high-performance suit that’s packed with tech and feels like a second skin.