Zoot’s new Ultra Tri Aero Full Zip Racesuit was created specifically to help athletes stay fresh in hotter races—i.e., Kona. Details include strategically placed ice and cold sponge storage pockets, high-end aerodynamic Italian fabrics, and Zoot’s new Ultra chamois.
Each section of fabric placed for maximum aerodynamics and cooling
Chamois provides extreme comfort on the bike, with a barely-there feel for the swim and run
Amazing fit with next-to-skin feel that minimizes chafing
Plenty of storage (four pockets) for nutrition
Neon color may not be for everyone
Only made for warmer races—not great for frigid temperatures
After leaving the ownership of skiing brand K2 in 2017, new Zoot owner Shawn O’Shea committed to putting an “unwavering focus on triathletes.” This kit (and the entire Ultra 2021 collection) is a result of that renewed commitment. Zoot-sponsored athlete (and fan favorite) Ben Hoffman played an integral role in the creation and testing of the collection. Highlights include Cool Storage technology and sponge storage pockets—all aimed to keep an athlete’s core temperature down. Those details combine with aerodynamic fabrics for a comfortable, cooler premium race kit made specifically for triathletes going after longer distances in hotter temperatures.
There’s a lot of good here—heck, even putting on a race kit after a year of no races was pretty dang exciting. The most unique detail on this kit is the featured ice pockets (there are three of them) throughout the jersey part of the kit. Cleverly placed around the abdomen and then upper back, loading on ice at aid stations of hot races will be simpler and have a longer-lasting impact in the effort to stay cool. They also come in handy for additional nutrition storage (more on that below). We were also impressed with the zipper. It’s a sturdy zipper that’s easy to use while you’re in motion (like in T1) and stays locked into place no matter where you put it. We’ve all had race kits where the zipper either completely malfunctions or starts to slide down throughout the race—we’re confident none of these problems will come up with this kit. The chamois is just the right thickness to stay comfortable on the bike, but not get in the way on the run. It features a super simple design with no seams that can create any friction after a long time on the bike. The gripper component on the leg pieces is the best we’ve tried in any kit. Sometimes the stickiness in kits can be too much, but we found this kit to feature the perfect amount of grip without being something that pulls while out on the run.
As one of our favorite kits, there’s not a lot to complain about here. The pockets in the back offer plenty of storage and we can see why they made the openings the way they did—it makes sense that you wouldn’t want nutrition to easily escape on the bike or the run. In practice, it’s a little tough to get gels, blocks, or anything else out of the rear pockets. It’s not impossible, but it takes intentionality which isn’t always the easiest feat when you’re in the final miles of a long-course race. The ice pockets serve as a nice option for additional storage, but that’s not really what they’re there for. We really like the black and neon green (or black and neon pink for women), but if you don’t like the look then you’re out of luck. We love the sleek look of Ben Hoffman’s white and blue ultra kit (from Kona 2019), but that’s not currently an option for purchase. It’s also worth nothing the price—$325—is on the higher end for a triathlon kit.
Of all the kits we tried, this one won the “can’t wait to wear this race after race” battle. The collection also includes a jersey, a tri tank, and tri shorts. In a thoughtful touch for 2021 races, you can also buy a mask to match the kit. It’s not a cheap kit, but the value is there. (And it’s pretty reasonable, when you consider some of the other high-end options out there.)