How to choose the right triathlon wetsuit for beginners

Find your perfect fit: The ultimate guide to buying a triathlon wetsuit

Key learnings – triathlon wetsuit
If you are a beginner in the sport of triathlon, you might be wondering how to choose the right wetsuit for your upcoming event. A triathlon wetsuit can make a big difference in your overall performance, helping you to stay warm, buoyant, and efficient in the water.

With so many available options, selecting the best wetsuit for your needs can be overwhelming.

In this article, we will guide you through the process of choosing the right triathlon wetsuit as a beginner, covering the key features to look for, important considerations to keep in mind, and tips to ensure a proper fit.

What is a triathlon wetsuit?

While wetsuits for triathlon, diving, and surfing are all made from neoprene material and designed to be worn in water, there are some differences between them.

A triathlon wetsuit is designed explicitly for the needs of triathletes, providing thermal insulation, buoyancy, and hydrodynamics for racing. It is made with thinner neoprene material than a diving or surfing wetsuit, as it needs to be flexible and allow for a full range of motion during swimming.

Triathlon wetsuits are also designed to be easy to put on and take off, with features such as zippers and speed transition panels.

On the other hand, a diving wetsuit is designed for underwater exploration and provides thermal protection for scuba diving. It is made with thicker neoprene material than a triathlon wetsuit, as it needs to provide insulation in cold water at deeper depths. Diving wetsuits also typically feature extra reinforcement to withstand the wear of diving gear.

A surfing wetsuit is designed for the needs of surfers, providing thermal protection and abrasion resistance for riding waves. It is made with thicker neoprene material than a triathlon wetsuit but thinner than a diving wetsuit. It needs to provide some insulation while still allowing for mobility and flexibility.

Benefits of using a triathlon wetsuit

Using a wetsuit during training and racing can provide a range of benefits for triathletes:

  • The main advantage of a triathlon wetsuit is that it allows for thermal insulation, keeping you warm in cold water and preventing hypothermia.
  • It also supports your buoyancy, keeping you afloat in the water and reducing drag. This, in turn, conserves energy and improves your swim speed.
  • A wetsuit improves hydrodynamics, reducing the friction between your body and the water and improving your overall swim efficiency.

Wearing a wetsuit is not always required for all events. Wetsuit rules can vary depending on the event and its organizers and usually rely on the water temperature. Most races provide information regarding wetsuit regulations.

However, most non-professional triathlon events usually require a wetsuit, as it is considered a safety measure. Also, since many triathlon beginners feel more comfortable with a wetsuit during the open water swim portion, race organizers let you wear it!

Triathlon wetsuit practicing
Practicing swimming in a triathlon wetsuit is crucial as it allows you to become comfortable with the added buoyancy and flexibility it provides. This familiarity can significantly improve your performance on race day, as you can focus on swimming efficiently rather than adjusting to the wetsuit. Regular practice also helps you identify issues or discomfort with the wetsuit and make necessary adjustments before race day.

Features to look for in a triathlon wetsuit

Again, the primary function of any triathlon wetsuit is to keep you warm. And the thickness of the neoprene material is, of course, an important consideration. 

Other than that, the absolute most essential consideration to keep in mind when choosing a triathlon wetsuit is the fit. A poor fit is guaranteed to result in discomfort, chafing, and decreased performance.

And there is no one-size-fits-all, so the perfect wetsuit is highly individual.

So how do you ensure a proper fit?

The best way is to do your own consumer test. So, head to a store with a wide selection, and try on several different wetsuits before purchasing. And make sure to have plenty of time; the last thing you want to do is to be stressed out and start sweating. The latter makes it ten-fold harder to get the tight wetsuit on (and off).

Start the screening process by taking accurate body measurements, including your chest, waist, hips, and inseam, to determine the correct size.

Then ensure that the wetsuit fits snugly but not too tight. Yes, it is somewhat claustrophobic, but you get used to it. When trying, ensure that there is no excess material or gaps around the neck, arms, or legs. A poor fit will make the cold water slip in during your swim and lose the triathlon wetsuit’s function to keep you warm.

The serious wetsuit dealer lets you swim a couple of laps in the pool to really have a chance to test it. And sometimes, triathlon clubs arrange buyers’ nights for this reason. If this is out of scope, test the triathlon wetsuit’s flexibility and range of motion by performing swim strokes and movements in the store or at home.

Triathlon wetsuits for beginners

Several triathlon wetsuits on the market are specifically designed for beginners. These wetsuits offer a balance of performance, comfort, and affordability, making them ideal for those new to the sport. Note that our website is not a buyer’s guide, and models selection out there are constantly updated.

However, if you choose from notable triathlon wetsuit brands like Orca, 2XU, or Blueseventy, and follow the above guidelines, then you are set.

Are you ready for your first triathlon?

By reading this article, chances are you considering taking on the exciting challenge of completing your first triathlon.

Our 12-week beginner triathlon training plan is designed to help you new to the sport of triathlon prepare for your first event.

Sign up today, and you’ll be on your way to achieving your dreams of crossing the finish line.


  1. […] Wetsuit for open water swimming – Eventually, you will need to consider investing in a wetsuit. Although it is generally required, confirming with the event organizer is best. We recommend referring to our guide to help you select the ideal triathlon wetsuit. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *