what to wear under a triathlon wetsuit

What To Wear Under A Triathlon Wetsuit: A Helpful Guide

Have you ever been to a triathlon event as a spectator or watched one on TV? 

Have you ever wondered what pro triathletes wear underneath the wetsuits, an apparel  which appears once they take off the wetsuits post the swim  of the race?

Well no prizes for guessing, what you see them wearing is a triathlon suit or a tri-suit in short, specifically made for the sport.

A lot of beginner triathletes don’t know what to wear to a triathlon, including what to wear under a triathlon wetsuit and what not to wear.

If you were to dress separately for every leg of the race, a lot of time would have gone wasted in transitions. Frankly speaking, it’s no fun either.

Well, you do change clothes during transitions in a triathlon both from swim to bike and bike to run.The transition areas are specifically meant to change for the next leg of the race.

But, given the option, nobody would want to because it’s cumbersome. 

Here is where “triathlon suits” change the game. 

The greatest merit to a tri-suit is that it’s an all-rounder, meaning you can swim,bike and run in it. A tri suit is made to be worn for all triathletes and with the help of this article, we will get to know how a tri suit can change your triathlon experience.

Now that we are good to go, let’s roll.

What Is A Tri-suit ?

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A tri suit is a piece of clothing worn during a triathlon which gives a triathlete the option to finish the entire race wearing a single garment during the swim, bike and run leg of the race.

A tri-suit generally comes in two varieties, first one a single piece with or without sleeves and secondly, a separate short and a jersey.

A tri-suit is worn under a wetsuit for the obvious reason that it gives a triathlete the option to finish the race wearing the same piece of garment for the bike and the run portion of the race.

The fabric and design of a trisuit is such that it will dry quickly post swim. Tri-suits also have chamois padding which is a lot thinner than the padding given in a cycling short for the obvious reason that you wouldn’t want the padding to retain much water during the swim and also prevent chafing during the run part.

Now that we know what to wear under a triathlon wetsuit, let’s get to know the benefits of a tri suit .

What Are The Benefits Of A Tri-suit And How Do I Choose The Right Tri-suit?

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Tri-suits have a lot of benefits which will make you not think twice before choosing them  for your next triathlon.

  • Comfortable : one important thing that provides comfort is the chamois padding which makes the bike experience smooth. You can also achieve full freedom of movement during the race as the suit can stretch easily.
  • Quicker transitions: out of the water and onto your bike, without the need to put on additional bike shorts. That’s how quicker transitions can become. For information on transitions, read this article.
  • Protection against adverse weather: a tri suit is designed to keep you cool during hot weather, it also acts as a second skin on a windy day to keep you warm.
  • Accessory pouch: it has several pockets which you will be using to keep your nutrition and race related accessories.
  • More focus on the race: since much of the things like transitions and accessories are taken care of, you can focus maximum on the race .

Choosing the right trisuit can be a tough task, but there are certain things you must know before you pick one for yourself.

  • Dri fit technology: so that it dries as soon as you get out of the water.
  • Quick wicking and breathability: you will sweat during the race a lot, given the race is during summers. A quick wicking fabric will prevent your suit from getting saturated with sweat and side by side, ensure that the costume is breathable.
  • Chamois padding: should be thick enough for comfortable bike ride but also thin enough so as to prevent chafing during the run.
  • Sleeve length: short sleeves are much more aerodynamic compared to sleeveless designs.
  • Pouch size and Zippers: make sure pouches are sufficiently big to keep your nutrition. Also , zippers must function smoothly. You will have the option of both front and rear zippers. Front zippers are more popular because of easy accessibility.

What Should Males Wear Under a Triathlon Wetsuit?

Men are allowed to do a triathlon shirtless for the bike portion, except for a safety helmet which is non optional. 

 Males should wear nothing under a triathlon suit because a tri-suit is supposed to dry off after getting wet quickly. So, anything you wear under a tri-suit will retain water during the swim and will not dry soon enough, which will trouble you during the bike leg.

The chamois padding near the crotch portion and silicon grippers provided at the end of thighs will hold the suit in place and will fit snugly.

Wearing even sports underwear under a tri suit does not guarantee you a chafe-free triathlon experience.

So , by all means, you are good to compete in a triathlon with just the tri suit itself.

What Should Females Wear Under a Triathlon Wetsuit?

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Women can also wear the tri-suit but with a few undergarments of course.

For females, you might consider wearing a sports bra under a triathlon suit so that the chest is comfortable when you come out of the water, which will not be the case with a tri-suit, given the fabric is stretchy and lightweight.

Apart from this, you need not wear underwear as the chamois padding will provide you sufficient comfort during the race.

You can also go with the option of a two piece tri-suit, which eliminates the hassle of unzipping the entire tri suit for any last minute emergencies.

What To Wear In A Non-Wetsuit Triathlon?

 USAT only allows participants to wear wetsuit if the water temperature is 78 degrees fahrenheit or lower. For temperature between 78.1 degrees till 83.9 degrees, participants may wear a tri suit but they will not be eligible for awards. 

So, if your next triathlon is during that time of the year when the rules do not permit you to wear a wetsuit, you will probably end up going for the race wearing a trisuit.

Triathlon swims will either be taking place in a pool or open water. You can swim in a tri-suit for both pool based as well as open water based triathlons.


A tri suit can be the difference between a good and a bad triathlon experience.

A tri suit is what you will wear under a wetsuit for open water swimming, which is a lot tougher than pool based triathlons, or even to races where wetsuits are not allowed.

Triathlon suits are actually worth the investment as they eliminate the hassle of changing for each discipline and minimise the cost of participating in a  triathlon to a great extent.

I hope this guide on what to wear under a triathlon wetsuit was helpful. If you have any more suggestions for this article,feel free to give your valuable feedback in the comment section. 

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