Understanding Triathlon Suits: One-Piece or Two-Piece

Understanding Tri Suits. Which one is right for you?

A tri suit is a garment designed specifically for triathletes to be worn during the swim, bike, and run. They are made of a swimsuit-like material that dries quickly during your transition to the bike. They also make riding more comfortable with built-in pads that you won’t even notice during the run. Most importantly, the suit allows for a total range of movement so you can wear the suit for the entire tri. A tri suit is an element of the basic triathlon gear you need, so keep reading to understand the differences between a one-piece and two-piece tri suit.

Two-Piece Tri Suit

Rookie Triathlete wearing a two-piece tri suit

Rookie Triathlete, Laura Gomez, wearing a two-piece tri suit on the run course.

A two-piece tri suit is a set of tri shorts and a tri top. Some athletes prefer a two-piece because they offer a few advantages. For example, a two-piece is less likely to restrict your range of motion from being too tight on your shoulders and allow for natural movement. The two-piece suit also tends to feel cooler than a one-piece, due to the fact your mid-drift can be exposed. A two-piece suit is also great for athletes who may require different sized clothing for the upper and lower parts of your body.

One drawback is the two-piece can be less aerodynamic during the bike portion if the suit bunches up. Leaning too far forward on your bike can also cause the back of your tri top to rise up and lead to exposed skin. This is not ideal to protect your skin if you were to fall on the bike course or raise the risk of getting a sunburn.

One-Piece Tri-Suit

Triathlete wearing a one-piece tri suit

Running into T1 in a one-piece tri suit!

One-piece tri suits are more commonly preferred by most athletes for simplicity. A one-piece suit typically has some compression built-in, making the suit more aerodynamic for athletes who opt for a one-piece. Women who wear one-piece suits claim that it’s more flattering on their figure than a two-piece. Athletes also say there’s less chafing with a one-piece because there are fewer seams in the suit.

One drawback of a one-piece suit is the material the suit is made of can cause you to feel warmer throughout the race. This is important to take this into account depending on which tri distance you complete and what time of year your race takes place. Lastly, a one-piece suit is a better option if you will be wearing a wet suit during your race.

At the end of the day, comfort is most important when choosing the best tri suit for you. Hopefully, now you have the knowledge and tools you need to get yourself the perfect suit for your upcoming tri!