How to choose when buying a Tri Suit - Pt 2

How to choose when buying a tri suit pt2
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25th June 2020

A Tenola tri-suit has been designed to be used in each discipline of triathlon (swimming, cycling, running).

The tri-suit, can be a single or two piece, to wear throughout an triathlon competition. When choosing a tri suit, there are a few basic things to keep in mind which dictate your choice and how it will perform in competition.

This article is a follow on from Choosing and Buying a Tri Suit Pt1 >


In the swim discipline, you are trying to move through the water quickly but with the minimum amount of effort. To move fast through the water you need to reduce your drag in the water and obtain a “streamlined body position”. This will allow the water to “flow” around you more smoothly. The tri-suit is designed to help you achieve and maintain this position.

Tenola Swim suit in action

Your tri suit should be a good fit, erring on the tighter side rather than being loose. A tri-suit which is poorly fitting, results in folds and ripples in the fabric which will increase your resistance as you are swimming, thus affecting your speed.

A well designed  tri-suit helps you achieve this body position due to the hydrophobic (water-repellent) coating applied to the fabric. The coating significantly reduces the ability of the fabric to absorb water, and therefore helps you maintain ideal body position. The water instead rolls off the suit.

Check the position of pockets (if any) on your suit. Are the pockets likely to “catch” the water and slow you down (i.e. drag).


As we finish the swim, we come out of the water and head off to the transition area (T2), preparing ourselves for the bike stage. This is where a quick drying suit with a comfortable chamois is essential.

As previously mentioned on the swim section, the hydrophobic coating on a tri-suit promotes a wicking action, which moves moisture away from the skin and allows it to evaporate. Since the hydrophobic coating fabric doesn’t absorb as much water, it helps the fabric to dry faster once out of the water.

Tri specific chamois

Depending on which distance you are covering (i.e. Sprint, Olympic, Ironman) a Tenola tri-suit is designed with a suitable chamois.  A normal road cycling chamois is too big and isn’t designed for use in water and running. Tenola tri-suits all use a tri specific chamois by Italian manufacturer Cytec to suit the distance being ridden.  Tri specific chamois have been designed to provide cushioning on the saddle, from fabrics which dry quickly (after the swim) and are un-noticeable on the run. Depending on the distance you are covering, you may want to put some gel bars in your tri-suit pockets. Are the pockets safely accessible while riding on your bike, without the need to stop?


As with any type of clothing you wear, there is always a chance of experiencing chaffing tri-suits are no different. What is chaffing and what causes it?

Chafing is damage to the skin caused by repetitive rubbing. A chafed area is basically a painful, bleeding scratch mark where your sweaty, salty skin has rubbed against your tri-suit or even against itself. The chafed area will be red, raw, and tender. When you sweat, the moist skin is more prone to damage. Salt crystals form when sweat evaporates, adding grit that can cause more friction and chafing. Hot weather is a high-risk time for chafing due to sweating.

How do you resolve the issue of chaffing?  The fit of a tri-suit is important, if the suit is too loose or too tight a fit on your body, then this suit could possibly irritate your skin. To reduce chaffing ensure your suits sewn seams are flat-locked. Flat-lock seams are made by placing two pieces of fabric side-by-side and sewing the raw edges directly together – resulting in almost no bulk.

Flat lock seams and mesh fabric

One of the fundamental features of high quality sportswear is being made of breathable fabric. Breathability allows a fabric to absorb moisture and boost its natural evaporation ensuring freshness, protection and comfort during exercise and race conditions.  On our Inspire range of tri-suits, we use a fabric by Carvico: Spider PL, a micro-mesh fabric made of polyester and featuring an open structure, it is naturally moisture wicking and prevents the spread of bacteria which may generate odour.

The Tenola tri-suits are available to buy here >>>

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