Due to improvements in tech (most notably brands finding a way to stop the waistband riding up) and the increase in the number of long-distance tri athletes, the two-piece tri-suit is still going strong. And the quality of most of the two-piece tri-suits reviewed here, from £95 steal to techy £250+ wonders, ensures that athletes have plenty of choice when picking the best two-piece tri-suit for them.
While convenience and comfort is the major two-piece tri-suit draw, there’s also plenty of versatility with having separate shorts and tops as well, and we’ve already got plenty of wear using the shorts for gym and swim sets. We’ll also be using two-piece tri-suits for training in the build-up to our major races next summer and beyond. Still not convinced about a two-piece tri-suit? Then check out our guide to the 30 best tri-suits, all reviewed by our independent experts.
- What should you look for in an Ironman tri-suit?
- What is a tri-suit?
- Tri-suits: What are the different types available?
The two-piece shorts were tested on the swim, while the complete sets were taken out on extended bike and runs around Somerset. We have longer distance racing in mind when testing and reviewing the two-piece tri-suits, so the pads on the shorts were analysed for endurance comfort and the tops were assessed for if they moved up the body on the run. Whether the internal seams, grippers and zippers irritated was gauged, as were aesthetics, price and versatility.
The 5 best two-piece tri-suits reviewed
- dhb Blok Vesuvio
- 2XU Compression
- Orca 226 Perform
- Huub Anemoi Aero
- Zoot Aloha 19
dhb Blok Vesuvio
Possibly due to our long-suffering family’s letters of complaint, Dhb have resolved their see-through issues on the rear of their tri shorts in 2020. Further improvements have come in the Vesuvio’s visuals, the internal flatlock seams that led to chafe-free riding and running, and our best leg grippers on test. So far so good, especially at half the price of the other suits. Where it falls down for long-distance riding and racing is in the short’s (£50) minimal pad, and by 50km on a June ride we were searching for a bucket of ice to sit in. The short’s pockets are too shallow to be trustful, making them largely redundant, but the £45 top’s duo of pockets can fit a couple of energy gels apiece. As with all of the two-pieces here, they don’t keep things tucked in like an all-in-one tri-suit so – if, like us, you want that muffin top concealed – a conventional suit is a smarter option. wiggle.co.uk
Verdict: Fine price, fine design and grippers. The lean pad limits any long-distance appeal, however. 85%
Buy from Wiggle
The 2XU Compression set romps to the Best on Test award largely due to the performance of the compressive shorts (£85) alone. We’ve used them on the turbo, under shorts at (virtual) running events, for home workouts and will heartily swim in them when we return to the chlorine. The webbed compression fabric genuinely feels compressive and supportive, while the grippers grip and the waist band keeps things in place. The pad easily has the most cushion of all on test and offers coverage for the frontal regions as well, while the pockets are neatly positioned at the side for easy access. And the £85 top? There’s a slight hint of Rab C. Nesbitt going on with the mesh construction, but it’s breathable, the flatlock seams limit chafing and the visual design is one of our favourites here. Less effective are the back pockets, which are a little saggy and only hold a single gel apiece.
Verdict: Formidable shorts and functional top make this the combo to beat, although the pockets could be improved. 91%
Buy from 2XU
Orca 226 Perform
We had a flashback to 2010 with the 226’s shorts, with the grippers creating that lovely above–the-knee ‘sausage leg’ effect on the bike and run. News of which is a shame as there’s much to admire elsewhere here. The duo of meaty rear jersey pockets befit the 226 tag, and we managed to fit five gels and three energy bars in just one (and a post-ride pasty in the other) without it sagging or bouncing. The two smaller shorts pockets can fit a gel apiece but are harder to access when the top is on. The hydrophobic material can feel redundant as you probably won’t be swimming in the top, but it offers UPF50+ sun protection and is welcome in the rain. Breathability is decent enough thanks to the underarm vents, but we’d prefer flatlock seams internally, and the lean pad feels more suited to 51.5 or 113km racing than the titular iron-distance of 226.
Verdict: A mid-level tri-suit set of hits and misses that only truly excels in the pocket department. 75%
Buy from Orca
Huub Anemoi Aero
Whenever we put the Anemoi on in either its all-in-one or two-piece form, we’re surprised at the comfort that the suit (which touts itself as one of the most aero around after extensive track and tunnel testing) provides. The thin pad manages to find that sweetspot of support on the bike and invisibility on the run, while the top feels the most breathable of the lot. Where it falls down is versatility. The lack of pockets on the top limits training use and the short’s tiny single pocket, which extended a little too far into our bottom area, isn’t something we’d want to use for both access and, yep, hygiene reasons. We’ll use all the other suits here for swim, bike and run brick sets yet, given that £270 tag, we wouldn’t want to trash this in the pool or hammer it on the trails. We also suspect that those with an aero focus (and the monies) will go for the all-in-one version. huubdesign.com
Verdict: Delivers comfort and promises aero gains, but limited by that price tag and lack of pockets. 84%
Buy from Huub
Zoot Aloha 19
No two-piece tri-suit test would be complete without Zoot, one of the tri-suit’s true pioneer, being involved. The positives start with the Zoot’s tacky and superior grippers on the arms and the legs, which are possibly the best on the market at subtly staying in place. You get four easy-to-access open pockets for nutrition, race-day convenience, and the flat seams and the polyester/elastane blend sits softly on the skin.
If the price is higher than many integrated suits, there’s more versatility with two-pieces away from the race course – we’ve used the shorts (£89) for indoor biking and swimming, and the top (£90) with bib shorts for training rides. You can also pick from two different inseam lengths (7” or 9”).
Less glowing is the fact that, for those of us carrying a little more timber, a two-piece suit doesn’t keep everything tucked in like an integrated suit. There’s also the problem that the drawstring in the shorts fails to stay in place compared to the 2XU especially, and we were concerned about what view any riders behind us may have been subjected to. The fleece pad is soft but we’d want more padding for going long, which loses it full-distance Ironman-appeal.
Verdict: Superior comfort and grippers, but divisive design and drawstring woes. 82%
Buy from My Triathlon
Photos by Steve Sayers