Following on from our last article on “Why would you buy a Triathlon Wetsuit for Triathlons" today I want to discuss the fit and actually trying on a wetsuit.
This may seem obvious but how to pick a triathlon wetsuit mainly comes down to one important thing which is its fit. Wetsuits must be well fitted, as tight as possible before feeling restrictive; shoulder rotation is the single most important aspect of body and wetsuit movement. Your budget should not restrict the most important part of buying a wetsuit and that is getting the right fit/size. If a wetsuit is too big/loose, once in the water and you start to swim the suit will fill with water and instantly affect all the benefits you gain by wearing a wetsuit (warmth, buoyancy, efficiency and speed). If water can flush through the suit you lose any real thermal benefits as fresh, cold water will keep moving against your skin. If water cannot flush through, it will gather in your wetsuit and affect your buoyancy, body position in the water (1Litre of water weighs 1kg) and in turn this will affect your efficiency and speed through the water.
When putting on a triathlon wetsuit for the first time could be embarrassing and stressful, you may even perspire and need help, with all these possible problems, remember the wetsuit has to feel like a second skin and this is precisely why they are so effective in the water. Most brands have available full range of sizes.
These size charts offered by each wetsuit brand are intended as a guide only everybody has a different shape and size.
|XXS||6||152-161cm (5'0" - 5'3")||48-53kg (105-116lbs)||68-71cm (27-28")||61-63cm (24-25")|
|Extra Small||8||161-165cm (5'3" - 5'5")||53-59kg (116-130lbs)||73-78cm (29-31")||66-68cm (26-27")|
|Small||10||163-167cm (5'4" - 5'6")||59-64kg (130-140lbs)||81-88cm (32-35")||71-73cm (28-29")|
|Medium||12||167-172cm (5'6" - 5'8")||64-70kg (140-154lbs)||91-96cm (36-38")||76-81cm (30-32")|
|Large||14||167-174cm (5'6" - 5'9")||70-78kg (154-171lbs)||99-101cm (39-40")||82-89cm (33-35")|
|X-Large||16||167-177cm (5'6"- 5'10")||78-85kg (171-187lbs)||104-106cm (41-42")||91-96cm (36-38")|
Each brand and model will be ‘cut’ differently and with all of us being extremely varied in our shapes, some models will suit a particular build better than others. This simply emphasizes the need and importance of trying wetsuits on before purchasing.
As mentioned before a well-fitted wetsuit should feel like a second skin. It should be tight without being restrictive and without any folds or excess fabric. When trying on a wetsuit, it’s important eliminate any excess fabric as you move up the body.
A warning about wetsuit neoprene: Many of the wetsuits are made with a higher grade of smooth-skin rubber. This material is light, very buoyant and flexible, and often has a surface treatment called Super Composite Skin (SCS) that makes you hydrodynamic in the water. The down-side to this amazing material is that it's very delicate. It is particularly susceptible to finger-nail cuts and other abrasions. You need to always be very careful when trying on, and putting on wetsuits made from this kind of rubber. To avoid nail marks and other damage, a helpful hint is to wear gloves- lightweight cotton or disposable rubber gloves work well.
Tenola founder and CEO Ian Nolan has a lifelong love of all things active and has competed in a variety of sports over the years involving mud, sweat and tears – the latter following various serious sporting injuries! But it was the challenge of the dual or tri-disciplines of Triathlon, testing not only fitness but endurance and skill that truly captivated him and led to an ongoing passion for the sport. Read More >