What you can wear in a Triathlon

Posted: Nov 06 2014

What to wear in a Triathlon

Since we’re in the women’s endurance apparel business, we frequently get asked what someone should wear in a triathlon. Now clearly, we believe that the Coeur gear is hands down the best in terms of quality but there are still lots of variable to take into account.

Triathlon Suit

One of the questions people have to answer is whether or not they need to buy a one piece triathlon suit or if they should go with a separate top and bottom. As with so many things in life, the answer is…”it depends”. A triathlon suit or a one piece is common in ITU or Olympic distance racing. It is a garment that can be worn throughout the entire race and having one eliminates the need to put on a top after the swim. If the fit is good, a one piece can be very comfortable and having one will save a few seconds in transition. The downside is that going to the restroom can be a bit more challenging and triathlon suits can get a bit pricey. We’re seeing a very small number of them at races and the consensus seems to be that most people go with a separate top and bottom.

Women’s Triathlon Shorts

We make a distinction between women’s tri shorts and men’s because…well…women are (blinding flash of the obvious) built differently and have different concerns. While many of the things to look for in triathlon shorts are common across the sexes, we’re talking specifically about women’s gear here. First, make sure the fabric is soft. In a perfect world, you don’t even want to think about you’re clothing and the softer the fabric, the less you notice it. Second, make sure the seams are smooth. There’s a sewing technique called a “flat lock” where the pieces of fabric do not overlap. This takes a bit more thread to sew and is a more expensive technique but a flat lock seam does wonders to make sure the seam doesn’t cause chafing. As we mentioned, flat locks are more expensive, so some cheaper brands substitute with a seam called an over lock.

Third, make sure the seams around the pad aren’t in the sensitive areas of your body. Coeur has moved the seams down on our tri shorts and you can be assured that you won’t have friction in the…well…the “private area”.

Coeur has removed the seam in the center

Next, make sure the waist isn’t too constrictive. Not only do you not want to restrict your breathing but from an aesthetic perspective, you don’t want the stomach to flip over the waist band. We call that the “muffin top” and we eliminate it by having a yoga waist band.

Finally, make sure you like the design. Sure it’s superficial but why not look cute while you’re racing. After all, if you look good, you feel good and we think that goes a long way toward ensuring you’ll come back for another race.

Women’s Triathlon Tops

From construction standpoint, you want many of the same things in a tri top that you want in tri shorts. Again, make sure the fabric is soft and the seams are not raised in areas where rubbing can occur. In addition, check the length of the top. In a triathlon, you’ll spend much of your time bent forward in the aero position on your bike. Traditional tops can ride up and expose the lower back area. If you’re not careful, this can lead to a nasty sunburn on your back. Coeur has lengthened our tops to eliminate this issue. Also, make sure the top has a series of pockets.   Most brands do have three pockets but you want to make sure they are deep enough to even hold a water bottle if need be. Most of the time, you’ll have your bottles on the cages of your bike but having the option to put one in you back pocket is nice.

A good example of a women's tri top that is long enough

Arm Warmers

We do get asked from time to time if it is better to have arm warmers or a long sleeved jersey for days when the temperatures drop. As a general rule, we say go with Arm Warmers. You get more flexibility with them since you can take them off if you get too warm. There are several brands to select from but the thing we like about the Coeur arm warmers is the fact that they have a built in mitten with a thumb hole to keep them from riding up.


 The Coeur Arm Warmer has a thumb hole to make it a mitten too 

Like we’ve said, there are several options for women’s triathlon gear in the market so make sure you get what is right for you. If you do decide on Coeur, you can rest assured that we have tested all of our gear in some of the toughest Ironman triathlons in the world and you’ll be getting the highest quality women’s tri gear in the market.