In our 2021 Triathlete Gear Guide, we built, used, and abused over 100 products to see what works and what doesn’t. These 17 items got the highest marks to earn our “Best In Class” pick in each category. Learn about our testing process here.
And be sure to check out our full buyer’s guide with deep dive reviews for members. You can also enter through May 1, 2021 to enter to win a new Canyon tri bike, as part of our annual contest.
RELATED: 2021 Gear GuideSection divider
Best Triathlon Gear of 2021: Women’s Wetsuit
Blue Seventy Helix | $865
An industry leader in high-end wetsuits, small changes and modifications update one of the fastest suits in the water.
- Increase in super-stretchy material allows full range of motion for each stroke
- Reverse zipper creates the smoothest fit around the neck (no chafing or water flow) and quick removal
- Ribbed material behind the knees allows for a natural movement in the legs
- Nine size options accommodate a greater range of bodies
- Excessive seams throughout the suit allow for more chances of rips and tears
- Reverse zipper requires assistance to zip up
Best Triathlon Gear of 2021: Men’s Wetsuit
ORCA 3.8 | $600
A high-end race-focused model with a lot of technological features to help developing swimmers gain an edge.
- Outstanding buoyancy coupled with superior warmth
- Targeted to swimmers that need increased buoyancy but works for a wide audience
- Ease of swim gait while in a stabilized and neutral body position
- Shoulders move well, even with extra buoyancy
- Small changes/improvements from prior versions
- Concerns with repeated use and wear-and-tear
- Mild rigidity in the torso (from “core lateral stabilizers”); purest swimmers will be critical
- The high-elbow panel is more useful to inexperienced swimmers
Best Triathlon Gear of 2021: Goggles
Speedo Vanquisher | $20
Super simple but highly functional goggles, with a sleek, low profile, snug eye socket fit, and anti-fog lenses.
- No-frills pair of goggles that checks all the boxes for comfort, reliability, fit, and performance
- Best value for the price tag
- Can work well for beginners through to elites
- Good field of vision, but not as wide as others on test
RELATED: Complete 2021 Spring Goggles GuideSection divider
Best Triathlon Gear of 2021: Swim Training Tool
Eney Buoy | $33
A pull buoy comprised of two plastic chambers that can be filled with water to add weight—up to seven pounds—and resistance. When the chambers are empty, the buoy helps lift your body position in the water.
- Super smart training device that can build swim-specific strength and speed
- Simple and easy to use
- Introduce into your training gently
RELATED: Complete 2021 Spring Swim Gear GuideSection divider
Best Triathlon Gear of 2021: Triathlon Bike
Scott Plasma RC 6 | $9,000
Weight: 21lbs. 12oz. (with hydration and storage)
One of the most well-rounded bikes in recent memory with built-in hydration, nutrition, and storage. This bike’s balanced ride and attack complements a choice race-ready setup and tons of fit options.
- Predictable handling through corners, descents, and crosswinds
- Excellent integrated hydration/nutrition placement—lower than most for stability
- Very smooth ride on all frequencies of bumps
- Easy fit flexibility for changing needs
- Slight bit of flex in basebars when standing to attack
- No inexpensive build available
RELATED: Best Triathlon Bikes of 2021Section divider
Best Triathlon Gear of 2021: Wheels
Enve Foundation 45 | $1,600
Weight: 1,541 grams (pair)
Slight aero penalty and different hubs/spokes bring Enve’s price down to earth.
- Great amount of tech for the money
- Relatively low weight for depth
- Super tight tire fit
RELATED: Complete 2021 Spring Wheels GuideSection divider
Best Triathlon Gear of 2021: Helmet
Smith Podium TT | $350
A minimalist-style helmet that provides lots of tech in a small package for those who don’t want to stray too far from a traditional road helmet feel.
- Includes two lenses and a carry case
- Lightweight and non-obtrusive feel
- Easy to adjust on the fly
- Ear covers are short, leaving bottom half of our tester’s ears exposed
RELATED: Complete Spring 2021 Helmets GuideSection divider
Best Triathlon Gear of 2021: Aerobars
Zipp Vuka Clip with Alumina Evo Extensions | $140
Zipp worked closely with top bike fitters when designing these aerobars. The result is a fit-focused bar with a wide range of adjustability that can be mounted above or below the handlebar. The extensions are available with either a 70mm or 110mm rise, and feature a S-bend shape that rolls 20mm inward to improve wrist comfort.
- Multi-radius S-bend design provides a comfortable grip that’s easy on wrists
- Highly adjustable design fits a wide variety of riders
- Includes angled shims for forearm pad angle adjustment relative to the bars
- Low price for a feature-packed production from a premium brand
- Torx hardware requires specific tools that some might not own
RELATED: Complete Spring 2021 Aerobars GuideSection divider
Best Triathlon Gear: Saddle
Ergon SR Pro Carbon Men | $190
Weight: 175 grams
The Ergon SR Pro Carbon for men has a slightly longer nose than the well-loved women’s version, and the pressure relief cut-out has been located slightly differently—both work equally well for men and women, depending on preferences. A do-it-all saddle that is at home on any drop-bar bike.
- Fantastic design that works great for many riders
- Available in two sizes (S/M and M/L)
- Affordable carbon-railed saddle
- Saddle cushion and surface tend to wear quickly
RELATED: Complete Spring 2021 Saddles GuideSection divider
Best Triathlon Gear of 2021: Cycling Hydration
Profile Design HSF/Aero HC 800+ | $115
A between-the-arms hydration system that incorporates the ability to refill on the fly, an integrated computer mount, flexible drink hose with integrated magnet, and an adjustable design with an 800mL capacity.
- Integrated Garmin mount
- Can be mounted above or below bars
- Powerful magnet secures straw while riding
- The cage also fits a standard water bottle—perfect for training
- Zip-tie mounting makes for more difficult installation/removal
- Fill port can splash when refilling on the fly
- Bottle can rattle in cage when riding on rough surfaces
Best Triathlon Gear of 2021: Cycling Shoes
Specialized S-Works EXOS | $425
Weight: 150g (size 42)
One of the highest-end road shoes Specialized makes, these are designed for the high-performance cyclist. Ultra light, stiff, and molded to your feet, while the quick-release BOA system makes it feasible for triathlon transitions.
- By far the nicest cycling shoe we tested
- Extremely lightweight upper makes it super flexible and breathable
- Carbon plate keeps the bottom of the shoe incredibly stiff for power transfer
- BOA system is fairly fast for entry and exit
- With shoe snugness, a flying mount is ill-advised
- Needs some breaking at the heel
- Unless you’re a top-level cyclist, the price is probably higher than necessary
Best Triathlon Gear of 2021: Running Shoes
Asics Noosa Tri 13 | $130
Weight: 7.9oz (men’s), 6.5oz (women’s) | Offset: 5mm
Noosa fans will notice a rather dramatic update from the 12 to the 13. The 13 is more rockered and uses Asics’ Guide Sole tech with a greater stack height. Features an early rocker that almost immediately rolls you forward from stance phase into a medial push-off from the big toe, making for a snappy experience.
- Perky snappiness makes them fun
- Runs like a carbon-less super shoe
- Firm yet energy-returning midsole
- Instability of a dramatic rocker
- Past models have caused blisters, but update to fit appears to have resolved
Best Triathlon Gear of 2021: Smartwatch
Coros Pace 2 | $200
This is the lightest/smallest exercise-focused smartwatch on the market, with big features like running with power, open-water swimming, tri, and more.
- Killer battery life (20 days smartwatch/30 hours GPS training)
- On-wrist running power
- Ridiculous price
- Future-ready software leaves space for big updates
- Few lifestyle functions
- No brick/multisport functions aside from basic tri
RELATED: Spring 2021 Smartwatch GuideSection divider
Best Triathlon Gear of 2021: Transition Bag
Huub TT Bag | $130
This 40L bag comes with a hidden mesh helmet section that can be zipped away when not in use, wet and dry compartments, and expandable side pockets for drinks.
- Despite its large capacity, sleek enough for everyday use
- High-quality everything
- True backpack design for those who don’t like the feeling of carrying a duffle
- Pockets in all of the right places
- Can’t lay flat and access all compartments at once (a feature many bags now have)
- Third compartment may be too small for anyone looking to completely separate swim, bike, and run gear
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
RELATED: Complete Spring 2021 Tri Suits GuideSection divider
Best Triathlon Gear of 2021: Mask
Asics Runners Face Cover | $60
While Asics makes a cheaper and more basic mask, this one was engineered specifically for runners with breathable wicking material. Unlike the standard ear-loop masks, this uses a cinching behind-the-head strap to stay in place. Machine-washable.
- Structure and strap keep it in place when running
- Relatively light material is comfortable when working out
- Best mask we tested for balancing COVID protection with actual workouts
- Those with ponytails may struggle to find the right place for the strap
- Unclear if the open mesh under the top layer provides full protection and filtration
- Pricey for a mask—but machine washable and reusable
Best Triathlon Gear of 2021: Recovery Tool
Normatec Pulse Pro 2.0 | $1500
Compression boots that help expedite recovery and reduce muscle soreness.
- Noticeably helped speed up recovery between sessions for our testers; ideal for high-intensity or high-volume blocks
- Easy to use and super comfortable
- Very easy to pack up and travel with
- Not a cheap recovery tool