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Things to Look for When Buying the Best Mens Triathlon Wetsuits

Updated on November 3, 2017

Me and My Concerned Dog

My dog wondering why I'm in the water
My dog wondering why I'm in the water

Triathlon Wetsuits for Men

Triathlon wetsuits are meant to be snug, yet allow full range of motion, while swimming and running.

When selecting a triathlon wetsuit make sure you take into consideration the general temperature of the triathlon events and races in which you are likely to compete. Sleeveless, full length wetsuits will have the most use. A bib wetsuit and a short and full-sleave top are an excellent choice for most of the USA.

But don't forget, the fit is the most important thing.

Wetsuit Pros and Cons

Speed - Due to wetsuits hydrophobic coating, there is less drag in the water
Slower transition to bike
Bouyancy - The more wetsuit, the more bouyancy, generally speaking
Less freedom of movement
Warmth - This can be especially important in colder water
Can be too hot
Less energy expenditure, which means more energy for other parts of the event
Sleaveless offers good range of motion

Triathlon Wetsuit Styles

USAT Wetsuit Guidelines

The United States of America Triathlon (USAT) organization guidelines state that "everyone may wear a wetsuit if the water temperature is 78 degrees Fahrenheit or below. You are welcome to wear a wetsuit if the temperature is 79 degrees to 84 degrees but you won’t be eligible for awards. Anything 85 degrees or over, no wetsuits are allowed."

If the water is 78 or below, I suggest that you wear a wetsuit, as even a sprint distance race you will be much faster in a wetsuit. You will also likely save energy.

However, you will have to deal with taking it off in the first transition, before the biking. Practice taking off the wetsuit in the time before the event and you will easily make up for the additional time in transition.

The three basic styles:

Short Cut -- Knee length Farmer John. 75 degree +.

Sleeveless -- John, Farmer Jane. Made for 75 degree +.

Full Cut or Full Length -- Coverage from head to toe. Made for 50 degree + water temps.

NeoSport Men's Triathlon Full Suit, Black/Yellow, Large - Triathalon, Swimming & Racing
NeoSport Men's Triathlon Full Suit, Black/Yellow, Large - Triathalon, Swimming & Racing

This is one of the top-rated triathlon racing wetsuits for men.


Benefits of a Full Length Triathlon Wetsuit

  • Full benefit of wetsuit-provided floatation
  • Can be used in the coldest triathlon temperatures
  • More efficiency provided by wetsuit for speed

My Wetsuit

If the temperature and the rules allow it, I will use a wetsuit. It provides more float, glide, and allows for less energy expenditure.  I own and use a full length triathlon wetsuit during the early spring and fall, most often.

The downside is that the transition is slower and it can be very hot as you wait for your turn in the water.

Full length legs
Full length legs

Benefits of a Sleeveless Triathlon Wetsuit

  • Sleeveless wetsuits provide a better range of fit options for people
  • Complete range of motion for the arms
  • Good warmth benefits
  • Good floatation
  • Easier to take off than a full length triathlon wetsuit

Sleeveless Triathlon Wetsuits

Henderson 5/3mm Men's NRG Sleeveless, Black, Medium
Henderson 5/3mm Men's NRG Sleeveless, Black, Medium

This wetsuit includes mid-calf leg openings increase kick efficiency and decrease drag, while still giving you warmth.


Here's a Trick!

Use a strong plastic bag on your hands/feet when sliding your arm or leg into each section.  The wetsuit will slide on like a champ!

The Benefits of a "Short John" Triathlon Wetsuit

  • The shorty gives you a longer potential range of temperatures in which to compete
  • Easy to put on and fast to take off
  • Good floatation
  • Excellent range of motion

Here's a Trick!

Use Body Glide to reduce chaffing and ease the removal of your wetsuit during the first transition.


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    • mulberry1 profile image

      Christine Mulberry 

      8 years ago

      I suppose they come off pretty fast despite being wet but it does sound like it would eat up a bit of precious time.


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