5 Products that Support Athletes’ Unique Needs

When it comes to triathlon gear, not one product fits all.

When it comes to triathlon gear, not one product fits all. In fact, the 4 million-plus annual participants in the sport run the gamut in shapes, sizes and physical abilities. The one thing they have in common? They all want to get to the finish line. And now, certain brands are stepping up with more inclusive gear to get them there. Here’s a look at how some companies have extended their product lines to meet the needs of triathletes outside of the traditional market.

The gear: Hijab
The target: Muslim female athletes 

This sleek, snug head covering is made of Nike Pro “power mesh” and is designed to feel like a second skin and yes, you can swim in it. While the hijab has not come without controversy—some say it supports female oppression—Nike insists the product was born out of necessity. “It was a direct result of our athletes telling us they needed this product to perform better,” says Noelle Novoa, a Nike rep. “We wanted to serve them with a better alternative to support athletic performance.” Nike Hijab, $35, (available in 2018)

The gear:
Maternity tights
The target: Active moms-to-be 

Many female triathletes aren’t letting pregnancy slow them down—just look at pros Gwen Jorgensen, Mirinda Carfrae and Sarah Haskins to name a few. And 2XU has the goods to keep up. Through its progressive pre-natal line, the stalwart brand offers compression tights and shorts with an extra wide—and extra-stretchy—waist panel, designed to support a growing baby bump, plus the lower back and pelvic floor muscles. All while working to keep blood flowing and fending off injury and muscle fatigue through graduated compression. 2XU Prenatal Active Maternity Tights, $155,

The gear: Mastectomy swimwear
The target: Post-surgery swimmers 

The founders of HydroChic want to give active breast cancer survivors confidence—and plenty of swimwear options. Their mastectomy sports bra is designed with pockets to keep prosthetic breasts in place. Wear it alone, as a swim top or underneath a suit or swim shirt. Bonus: HydroChic also offers full-coverage swimwear for women seeking extra sun protection or to cover up skin conditions. HydroChic Mastectomy Swim and Sports Bra, $43,

The gear: Prescription goggles
The target: Nearsighted swimmers

The triathlon swim is tough enough without being able to see clearly. For the countless nearsighted competitors who don’t wear contacts, prescription goggles are key. The lightweight, low-profile frame of Sable Water Optic’s RS 101 competition enhance field of vision without being clunky, while the trademarked Flatlens technology eliminates underwater distortion. You can customize the prescriptive lens for each eye, with a full prescription range all the way to –10.0. Sable Water Optic RS 101, $75-$80, 

The gear: Extended sizing race kits and cycling clothes
The target: Plus-size triathletes, or Clydesdales and Athenas 

The rise of competition among plus-sized triathletes—USAT now hosts a national championship race just for Clydesdale and Athena athletes—has made way for brands to extend the sizing of their tri kits and training gear. Aero Tech Designs Cyclewear offers cycling shorts, singlets and tri kits in up to 4X-large for men and women. The plus-size gear features thoughtful touches like extra compression, anti-chafe protection between the legs and under arms, and stretchability of this technically designed gear to help athletes move unrestricted. Aero Tech Designs Cyclewear, $39–$79,