Many beginners wonder what to wear in a triathlon. Some know that a triathlon suit is what’s worn, but what is a tri suit, how necessary is it, and when should it be worn?

A triathlon suit is Lycra shorts that connect to a top with or without sleeves. It is worn throughout the entire race preventing any need to change clothes between the swim, bike, or run.

triathletes wearing tri suits
Triathletes wearing tri suits by Purpose

Some of the characteristics of a tri suit may include:

  • A lightweight chamois (or pad on your groin) that is typically not made of foam, as foam holds more water than gel-like padding
  • A zipper to close it from the belly button to the top of the chest
  • Sleeves or no sleeves. Sleeves may offer sun protection.
  • Usually three (sometimes two) pockets in the small of the back mainly to hold nutrition (gels or bars), glasses, tools, etc.
  • Rubber-coated leg-openings to grip the legs
  • Some may have some reflective piping or features for night riding (though most races are not in the night)
  • Some may have a gap around the belt line for easy peeing, however while on the bike or run, many athletes pee while riding or running (see links here and here about peeing on the bike and run)
  • The groin is generally all black to prevent it from becoming see-through while wet

My Tri Suit Recommendation

For years, I have worn tri suits from Purpose, a brand best suited for hot weather racing.

If you would like to get a 10% discount on a Purpose tri suit, enter the promo code IMHACKS10 here:

PURPOSE. World Championship winning kits for triathlon cycling running – Purpose Performance Wear

Others I can vouch for are Zoot, 2XU, Castelli.

As a beginner, you may want to do the following to get started:

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