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Home / Reviews / Castelli Core SPR-OLY Suit review

Castelli Core SPR-OLY Suit review

In the Castelli Core SPR-OLY we have a tri-suit that's firmly aimed at short-course triathlon. Let's find out if it's up to the task...

Castelli Core SPR-OLY tri-suit

The Castelli Core SPR-OLY is made for shorter distances, namely sprint and Olympic-distance.

This means bonus features for longer races, like high-tech chamois pads, extra pockets and reinforced zippers, aren’t needed, so Castelli can deliver the basics to go fast at what is an attractive price point for the premium Italian brand.

As you can probably tell from the picture, the Core SPR-OLY is an all-black affair with a logo on either side, and this is the only colourway at the time of writing.

If you prioritise stealthily beating your mates over standing out from the crowd in the post-race picture gallery, this will appeal.

How does it fit?

It zips up from the back via a tough drawcord, which means fewer seams and a suit that’s designed for fast non-wetsuit swimming.

The top part of the Core SPR-OLY is close-cut, with Castelli describing the fit as ‘Race’.

If memory serves me correctly, there was a time when Castelli gear always seemed to come up a couple of sizes too small, but that wasn’t the case here.

My 80kg frame fit perfectly into the size medium suit with some wiggle room, and if you’re unsure, Castelli provides a chest and waist measurement chart so you can find your ideal size.

Comfort and fabric performance

Onto the technical features, and Castelli claims the suit’s ‘Endurance Evolution’ fabric is both lightweight and supportive.

From the get-go, I found this suit very comfortable for all three triathlon disciplines, experiencing no irritation at all.

Through the water I barely noticed I was wearing it, yet gained over one second per 100m in a pool swim at tempo pace.

Coming out the water and onto the bike, the suit dried impressively quickly, even during a very overcast spell of British weather.

How we tested

Every time we review a tri-suit, we make sure we’ve swam, cycled and ran in it multiple times. Vitally, given the multisport nature of triathlon, we also ensure we wear it during a brick session so we can see how it performs when switching sports. Our testing criteria includes comfort, storage, breathability, freedom of movement and how long it takes to dry.

Castelli says its fleece seat liner “smooths out the bike ride but disappears on the run”, which is perhaps a slightly exaggerated way of saying it won’t afford you a great deal of padded comfort while cycling.

For short rides – and paired with my favourite triathlon bike saddle – this wasn’t a problem for me, but if you prefer ample padding then this suit probably isn’t for you.

On the run, the chunky leg grippers stayed perfectly in place.

I found the fabric impressively breathable, and didn’t feel claustrophobic on test runs despite the rear zip construction.


There’s just one pocket in the middle of the lower back section, which is appropriate for the sprint and standard-distance triathletes this suit is aimed at.

The ‘envelope’ style means that a small flap covers the pocket to keep whatever you’re putting in there secure, and it’ll easily hold a bar or a couple of small gel packets to power you through your run.


Overall, the Core SPR-OLY does what it says on the tin. It’d make a great suit for short(ish) distances whether you’re just starting out or a podium-chaser.

If Olympic-distance is more your thing and you’re going to be on the bike for considerably longer than an hour, you might want to consider a suit with more generous padding.

For more choice, take a look at our list of the best tri-suits on the market right now.

220 Triathlon verdict

Good value, hard-wearing suit for shorter distances. Score: 82%


  • Rear zip equals high levels of comfort
  • Fabric is breathable and dries quickly


  • Only one pocket
  • Thin chamois pad could cause issues for some

Castelli SPR-OLY Suit specs

Buy from:Direct from Castelli: men’s, women’s
Available sizes:XS-3XL (men’s), XS-XL (women’s)
Breakaway zip?No, rear zip
Chamois pad:‘Fleece seat liner’
Profile image of Jack Sexty Jack Sexty Editor at road.cc


Former 220 staff writer Jack Sexty is now editor at Road.cc. Jack has raced everything up to Ironman distance, is a sub-2hr Olympic-distance athlete and has represented GB at the ITU World AG Champs on several occasions. He's also a regular kit tester on the pages of 220 and holds two world records for pogo jumping – Longest distance pogo stick jumping in 24 hours and Most consecutive jumps on a pogo stick.