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The draw: TT-specific chamois
Zoot has been making triathlon apparel since the early days of the sport, and the culmination of that expertise is evident in Zoot’s Ultra apparel line. This suit has a new TT-specific chamois that’s wider and denser toward the front of the pad to contour to your body when you’re in the aero position. Zoot nailed the design of this breathable pad that’s gender-specific and antimicrobial. The fabric on the body of the suit uses Coldblack technology to reflect heat, making this black suit as cool as if it were white. A new reflective leg hem offers just the right amount of compression, staying put while cycling and running. Four hip holster pockets are big enough to stash a bar so you’ll have plenty of storage for any race distance.
Singlet and Short
$130 (sold separately), Blueseventy.com
The draw: Plenty of pockets
With three pockets on the back of the singlet and the shorts, you’ll be able to pack enough gels to get through a long race. The singlet combines strategically placed mesh panels with a durable, mildly compressive fabric to create a comfortable fit that offers a nice value for the price. The cut is a little more generous compared to Blueseventy’s more expensive kit, but the fit is still nearly skin tight. The shorts don’t provide much compression. A welded leg hem design eliminates the need for a silicone gripper, which is great, but those with skinny legs may find the hem a bit loose. The length of the inseam is on the long side, coming down close to the knees. The perforated chamois is thin but comfortable on the bike and basically disappears on the run.
$175 (sold separately), 2xu.com
The draw: Quality mix of materials
The singlet is designed to perform well in the heat with large mesh side panels and three rear pockets that are each big enough to store an energy bar. The 7-inch inseam on the shorts places the silicone-free hem in the middle to upper thigh, so only those comfortable showing a little skin should opt for this length over the 9-inch version. The broad waistband is similar in construction to yoga pants and is super comfortable. The quick-drying chamois packs a decent amount of cushion considering how thin and flexible it is.
$130 (sold separately), Pearlizumi.com
The draw: Training-friendly, affordable
Killer deal alert! With thicker material that can take some abuse and a stylish, T-back top, this kit is perfect for daily wear. Both the singlet and shorts have envelope back pockets that’ll handle a few gels each, while the soft chamois is thin enough to wear to the gym for a post-run weight workout without feeling weird. Cut long, the top features a built-in-bra that’s pretty tight, so consider going up a size.
The draw: Built for speed
Consider this suit an upgrade to your own skin. The silky, lightweight fabric features a UPF of 50, stays cool in the sun, and has no top seams—save for a full front zipper—to feel super aero. The chamois is thick enough to handle a half-Ironman, if your guts can handle racing that far in a (not-so-bathroom-friendly) onesie. Wear your own bra and test this suit before you race to make sure the stomach seam won’t chafe. Then hammer on race day and stash a few gels in the envelope-style back pocket for the run.
$190 (sold separately), Soasracing.com
The draw: An instant pick-me-up
Rainbow stripes will make you smile during even your worst workout. But don’t let the cheery look fool you—this kit is ready to race. Both the bottoms and racerback top feature large pockets to handle fuel for longer runs and rides, while the shorts’ thicker material makes them durable enough to handle tons of training and racing. The soft chamois is thin, but ladies with experience in the saddle could squeeze 56 miles out of them. Cut long enough to prevent lower-back sunburn, the top is tight so it won’t flap in the wind. The fun style made this kit our tester’s go-to training ensemble.
$230 (sold separately), Tyr.com
The draw: Ready for long course
There’s a reason (besides sponsorship) four-time Ironman world champ Chrissie Wellington wore a TYR Carbon kit. The thin, crepe-like fabric features a UPF of 50, is virtually seamless and dries wicked fast. Combine all that with a chamois beefed up right in front for comfortable aero riding without feeling like a diaper, and you’ve got a kit ready to take on some serious distances. Just make sure you’re cool grabbing food from aid stations—the top has only one small back pocket while the shorts have none. Like the Garneau, this suit is BYOB—bring your own bra.