Triathlon Wetsuits, Bikes, Cycling Shoes and Running Shoes

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Having the right equipment will help you perform better in any race. Each item you use is an opportunity to find a marginal gain and edge towards a new personal best.

If you’re entering a triathlon, the subject of gear becomes especially important because there’s so much of it. Get it wrong and you risk undermining the hard work you put in during tough training sessions; get it right and you’ll post a time that makes all those hard sessions worth it when you cross the finish line.

But it’s not just the end of the race you’ve got to worry about. The start line can be equally important. “You don’t want to stand out from the crowd,” says triathlon coach Ian Rooke. “When you’re at an event everyone’s looking at each other to see what wetsuit or what bike you’ve got. Having the correct kit makes you blend in. It can also provide motivation – you want to do it justice and get the most out of it.”

After the bike, wetsuits are the most technical items. “If you’re wearing an ill-fitting wetsuit then you won’t perform well,” Rooke says. “You’ll get off to a bad start and you’ll feel deflated.” That doesn’t mean you have to splash the cash on a top-of-the-range suit. “If you’re doing two or three races in a season it’s worth investing in a wetsuit. But if it’s just one race you may want to hire one to train and race in. If you decide to carry on you can buy one for the next season.

The type of race is also important. “Is it a sprint or a half Ironman?” says Rooke. “And what type of terrain? Because there’s no point in buying a time-trial bike if it’s a long-distance bike leg in Exmoor, which is notoriously hilly.” Use Rooke’s gear advice to race like a pro.

Swim Gear

Orca S6

Wetsuit Pick

“The wetsuit is the second biggest purchase a triathlete will make, after the bike,” says Rooke. “The suit needs to be well fitted, ideally by an expert, as fits can be very different between models and brands. The thicker the fabric, the more buoyant but less flexible your suit will be. The Orca’s a good entry-level option.” £169, buy on

2XU Race Goggles

Goggles Pick

“It’s worth investing in a decent set with anti-fog technology,” says Rooke. “These give you a tight fit, with a low-profile design for comfort and streamlining.” £11.25, buy on

Zone3 Aquaflo Plus

Tri-suit Pick

“A tri-suit’s designed to be worn under your wetsuit, letting you swim, bike and run in the same item of clothing without having to change in transition,” says Rooke. “This one minimises drag through the water and dries quickly.” £95, buy on

Bike Gear


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The three main categories are Endurance Road, Aero Road and Triathlon Specific, also known as Time Trial (TT). “On a hilly course, I would use one of the road varieties,” says Rooke. “If the course is flat and fast then the TT’s geometry would suit it better.” Endurance Road pick: Cannondale Synapse, buy on; Aero Road pick: Cervelo S3, buy on; TT pick: Trek Speed Concept, buy on

Kask Rapido

Helmet Pick

“Much like bikes, the right helmet depends on the rider, the type of course and the conditions,” says Rooke. “This one is entry-level – it’s really a road helmet, but it’s a solid all-round option.” £65, buy on

Specialized Sport Road

Shoes Pick

“Good road cycling shoes will help you push the pedals hard and make full use of your muscles,” says Rooke. “You can get tri-specific shoes which reduce transition time because the straps are simpler, but road shoes are probably best for your first tri.” £55, buy on

Run Gear

On Cloudflow

Shoes Pick

“Run shoes come in all types to suit every running style, and you should always try them before you buy,” says Rooke. “Look out for comfort, weight and breathability.” Rooke’s pick, the Cloudflow, is supportive and highly breathable. £120, buy on

Xtenex X300

Laces Pick

“These are elastic, so there’s no need to tie your shoes up – and the laces won’t come loose when running, which saves crucial seconds in transition,” says Rooke. “They’re precise, lightweight and quick – the cheapest way to save time.” £9, buy on

2XU Compression Run

Socks Pick

Made for running, 2XU’s Compression Run Socks have zoned breathability panels, a linked toe cage and PWX compression help to increase blood flow, reduce fatigue and improve performance. £35, buy on

RECOMMENDED: The Best Running Compression Socks

Coach Staff

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