What to wear for your upcoming triathlon

The first question every triathlete gets is “so wait, how long and how many sports is that?” and the second is usually “so what do you wear for something like that?” and thankfully there is an entire industry dedicated to outfitting you in the swim bike run tri kit of your dreams. That said, with most things triathlon, this comes at a hefty price tag. I’ve been doing triathlons since 2017 and self-identify as a “poor triathlete” with priority on being able to race and have fun, not having the fanciest gear. I need something to keep me covered and comfortable as I’m out there racing for myself. Below is a curated list of women’s triathlon suits (or tri kit / tri suit) that will work with any budget if you are brand new to the sport or have years of experience and are looking for an upgrade.

  1. Smashfest Queen – Women owned, medium/high-priced and very high quality. The colors, designs and overall look is very different from the bland black and blue kits you will see at races. I love this brand and this is the triathlon suit I wear today. I wore this at Ironman Texas 70.3 along with pro athlete Sarah Bishop and I cannot begin to count how many compliments I received on the bike and run from both athletes and spectators. Smashfest Queen tri suits are around the $190 price tag and Aero suits (tri suits with sleeves) will run you about $250. They have kits in their warehouse sale section that will be around $120 for a tri suit and $170 for an aero suit. I personally waited to upgrade from my Nike ebay tri suit (more on that later) until black Friday of 2019. I snagged the full price Sakura Sun Aero Tri Suit for $164 (originally $250) and used code Ironwoman to get $10 off my order. If you have built up more maturity in the sport and can commit to a higher priced suit, would absolutely recommend Smashfest Queen.
  2. Betty Designs – Another woman owned triathlon appareal company known for their edgy and sassy designs. Their tri famous slogan is “Do Epic Sh*t” and they’re definitely appealing to the younger crowd. I love a badass kit, and the strength and intensity that comes from their suit designs can translate into feeling strong and powerful on that triathlon course. I personally do not own a Betty Design tri kit, however I have heard great things about their quality. A tri suit with sleeves will run you about $250 and a standard trisuit will run you around $160. These are comparable in price to Smashfest Queen in the middle/high price range.
  3. Coeur Sports – Women owned triathlon company (noticing a theme?) with colorful designs that are more mainstream than the previous two companies. You see a lot of these kits on the race course and I have heard great things about their quality. A tri suit will run you about $200. They have an active ambassador program and often come to ironman race villages, so there is a good chance you could get a discounted kit at one of these expos or through ambassador affiliate links.
  4. Love the Pain – This is your ultra-high-end tri suit, known for dramatic designs and often customized tri kits. These kits run anywhere from $350-$425, however you will look the part! Beautiful designs and attention to detail. I don’t own one since I’m a “poor triathlete” but I have admired them from afar on athletes at races. They are not common and definitely stand out.
  5. Decathlon – Decathlon is the European sporting goods superstore with decently high quality. I’ve purchased running socks, undies and shirts and have been impressed with the value to price ratio. They also have tri suits around $40. The caveat here is that they specifically say “short distance” tri suits in the description. Probably a fair warning not to attempt a 140.6 in this outfit.
  6. REI Garage Sale – REI is known for high quality and you can often get great deals in their garage sale section for past season’s styles. I’ve personally purchased REI brand cycling shorts ($60) and they are the best pair of cycling shorts I own. You can find a range of brands and tri suits on REI Garage Sale from $60 – $200.
  7. Swimoutlet.com – This is my go-to for grab bag training swimsuits, and they also offer triathlon kits as well. I’ve always had excellent customer service and fast shipping with orders through their site. You can get some of the big brands in triathlon on their site and a tri suit will run you around $80-110. These will be good quality, but certainly are not your high-end triathlon gear. Perfect if you’re growing in the sport or starting out in it.
  8. Light in the Box – I came across the site in past years when looking for an inexpensive tri suit for one of my first races. The quality might be questionable, however they are very affordable at $40-60 for a triathlon suit. They also have wild patterns and can make for a fun themed race with friends.
  9. Facebook Marketplace / eBay – Triathlon is an expensive sport. Many people get into it thinking they will do an ironman for their bucket list and then realize how much work it is and how expensive the hobby can become with $4000 bikes and equipment, let alone race fees of $250-800. Facebook Marketplace and eBay can be your best friend for mainstream triathlon suit brands like Desoto, Pearl Izumi, Zoot, 2xu. I personally got my Nike tri suit (since a discontinued product) for $15.50(!!!) If that isn’t a steal I don’t know what is. And you know what? I wasn’t any faster or slower wearing a $15 suit compared to someone wearing a $500 suit. Definitely peruse the re-sale sites if you’re new to triathlon and don’t want to make a large financial commitment just yet. Many times tri suits on these sites have been worn only once or twice if at all.
  10. Tri shorts + Sports Bra – If none of the above is working with your budget, don’t worry about it. Many people, especially in sprint and Olympic distance races, wear what they already have. I purchased 2xu tri shorts on eBay for $18.49 and wore those along with my favorite sports bra for the swim, then put on a workout shirt for the bike and run. It was perfect, inexpensive, and did the trick. I convinced one of my girlfriends to do a sprint triathlon and let her borrow the same shorts. Her out of pocket was $0 for her entire outfit.

Triathlon can be more affordable with a little creativity. Have you purchased a tri suit in the past you either loved or hated? What is the most important part in your decision making process on what to wear?

Posted by:Allie

3 replies on “Women’s Triathlon Suits for Every Budget

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