What to look for when buying Women's Triathlon Tops and Shorts
Posted: Jul 25 2014
Coeur Sports was founded by female Ironman athletes and we make women’s endurance sports clothing. Our line includes women’s triathlon shorts and tops and we’d like to tell you a bit about our gear and what to look for when buying your first triathlon kit. By the way, “Kit” is what many people call the combination of a pair of triathlon shorts and a top.
Triathlon shorts and triathlon tops are two of the absolutely critical items that you’ll need for a tri. It is likely that you’ll wear them as you log miles and miles of training and, come race day, most people keep them on through the entire event. Some folks who are doing their first event may elect to change into running shorts after T-2 but the vast majority of women keep their triathlon top and shorts on from start to finish.
Triathlon Shorts: What to think about when buying
Tri shorts for women are available at several different price points and quality levels. There are companies who mass produce blank white shorts and tops and some designers like to put their designs on clothing from these companies. We’d recommend that you check to see if the company you’re buying from actually custom designs each panel of the triathlon short to fit a woman’s body or if they just put their design on someone else’s clothing. The way to tell is to look for another smaller logo on the clothing. The company you’re buying from may try to hide it but there will usually be a second logo somewhere on the garment. If you’re not sure, just ask. The higher end companies like Coeur design their gear from the ground up and will include features like:
- A Yoga Waist Band to help minimize the “muffin top”
- Slightly wider leg holes to reduce the “sausage links” and to give your quads more room
- Very few or, as in the case with Coeur, no seams in the crotch area
Chafing can be a big issue in a triathlon, so you should check to make sure the manufacturer uses what are called “Flatlock” seams. With a flatlock seam, the fabric is butted together and does not overlap in key areas. A flatlock creates a smoother feel next to the skin. The equipment to sew this seam is expensive and some manufacturers elect to use a substitute (and less effective) seam called an overlock. The Coeur women’s triathlon shorts do use flatlocks and they have also removed the seam from the center of the pad which is also called a chamois.
While bigger pockets are typically on the jersey, your triathlon shorts should have a couple of small pockets so you can store things like gu packs for nutrition or even a chapstick.
Believe it or not, all fabric provides protection from UV Rays. We also recommend that you make sure the fabric from your gear has a UV protection of at least 40. In addition, the fabric should have an anti-microbial finish on it.
Triathlon Tops: What to think about when buying
As with triathlon shorts, a women’s tri top should be custom designed for the female body. First a bit of context. If you’re new to the sport, triathlon specific bikes have special forearm pads and bars that allow you to lean forward into a position that reduces wind resistance. This is called the aero position or being in the “aero bars”. Your tri top should be designed to accommodate this position. The back should be lengthened so that you skin isn’t exposed when you lean forward.
A Coeur Athlete in the Aero Position
As with the triathlon shorts, the top should be made of very soft fabric. It should also have a supportive shelf bra so that you don’t have to wear another sports bra underneath. The top should have two or three pockets big enough to put a water bottle in and some mesh fabric in the back area is recommended to help with cooling.
A final point
Finally, women’s triathlon clothing should be cute. If you’re racing an ironman, you may be on the course for up to 16 hours. You might as well look good while you’re out there. Now clearly there are several good brands of clothing in the marketplace but we think the Coeur triathlon clothing meets all of these qualifications. It’s at the top end with regards to quality and cuteness but the price point is very reasonable. But whatever brand you buy, we hope it works for you and helps keep happy and comfortable in the great sport of triathlon for many years.
If you're going to race, you might a well look good doing it!