Zone 3 Aeroforce-X
$400 (stock) $550 (custom), Zone3.us
This supersuit comes in two flavors: stock and custom. The stock version is loaded with five different fabrics to help with fit, aerodynamics, and comfort—hence the high price. The most visually obvious panel on this suit is the Aeroforce-X material found on the wind-facing shoulders and upper arms of this elbow-length suit. These golf ball-like dimples help create a thin layer of turbulent air to help decrease the wearer’s wake. Elsewhere, you’ll find stripes that perform a similar function on the underarm and lat panels, a cooling material on the back, and amazingly soft fabric on the front body and legs. Zone3 claims to save between 2–4 watts on the bike, and the two covered medium-sized pockets in the back indicate that you should be fine wearing it sans-wetsuit in the swim. All of this adds up to one of the most technically advanced and simply comfortable race suits we’ve ever seen.
That said, as excellent as the stock suit is, the custom version is on another level. If you have slightly “nonstandard” proportions or experience numbness or tightness in your arms, chest, or legs, you might be a candidate for Zone3’s extensive custom sizing program. Rather than just pick some different colors or separate top and bottom sizes that are sewn together, Zone3 has purchasers either get a 3D scan at their U.K.-based offices or go through a 22-point measurement process. The result is an entirely bespoke tri suit that actually goes through a more extensive fitting procedure than most five-figure custom-tailored dress suits.
We liked the way the different fabrics each performed their very different tasks on the stock version, but we loved the way the custom suit fit. It actually made us feel like we’ve been wearing the wrong size suit for almost a decade, and prompted us to use the suit on even long bike rides, just because it fit so well. While the price is quite shocking, if you’re going to be spending a lot of time training and racing in this suit for long-course tri, it might even be worth it.