What to Wear for a Triathlon Sprint

Triathlon has gained pretty much growth in popularity since the year 2000. People are drawing towards the too exhilarated sport and signing in to the triathlon. The most common and age-old inquiry arises in every beginner of the sport, “What to Wear for a Triathlon Sprint?” This is a self-explanatory question as the game includes swimming, cycling, and running. A participant must perform all three tasks without any break in the same apparel, so the clothing should be comfortable enough and suitable for all three sports.

What to Wear for a Triathlon Sprint

If you are also struggling with the apparel and confused about what to wear for your training session or the first race, do not worry because I can help you find an easy solution to your dilemma. But, let me first congratulate you on signing into your first race or the training for a triathlon!

As triathlon has become so familiar these days and still increasing in popularity, various apparel brands are producing different types of triathlon wearing. You have lots of choices available in the market for your triathlon outfit. Although having many options makes the decision more confusing if you do not have the right idea regarding the issue. So, knowing all the basics of triathlon clothes is necessary before spending money on them.

What can you wear for a Triathlon?

Before going for the apparel, you first need to get it very clear if you want to try this sport out of your curiosity or continue it. This is because you have many options on the market, and when you are sure of your intentions, it becomes easy to find the right choice. I will present here my preferences considering average quality outfit ideas. Of course, you have the option of choosing according to your comfort. If you are a beginner and intend to keep the outfit simple yet comfortable, you can follow my recommendation below.

  • Get a pair of tri shorts from your trusted sports shop. Tri shorts are comfortable for beginners when you take part in the race. If you don’t compromise with tri shorts quality, you will get a noticeable comfort all-around.
  • For the top part, singlet tri tops are available at the stores. Tri tops are made especially adjusting with tri shorts and considering the player’s comfort. So, I don’t think you will regret buying one. If you don’t want to wear tri tops, you can always go with your workout shirts. This will also get your work done decently.
  • Now it’s about the gears. A bike helmet is a must in triathlon since you have to cycle in between. If you are giving it a try to the sport, I suggest you not buy another helmet if you already own a standard cycling helmet. And don’t forget to wear your swim goggles.
  • Typical cycling or running shoe is suitable for your race. You don’t need to buy a new pair!

Now, I will discuss each aspect of tri-wearing you should know. The outfit idea given above is for beginners confused about their tri clothes. There are mainly two apparel options for your triathlon race. Somehow, all kinds of triathlon outfits you will get to see at stores are of these two options. These are triathlon suits and bathing suits with extras.

Triathlon Suit

Triathlon suits, or tri suits, are designed especially for the triathlon race. These suits will benefit your race faster with superior comfort. You can wear a tri suit at the beginning of the race to cool down post-race. It prevents the trouble of adding or subtracting any other attire mid-while the race.

A tri suit can provide you with as comfortable as possible for every three legs because it is designed in such a way. In the water, you will feel light as the fitting feels like skin. You can wear a wetsuit over this or use your only garment in the water as your wish. Tri suits come with a quick-drying fabric that benefits you while cycling and running. You won’t have to wear a wet tri suit for long as it will dry too soon. Also, a tri suit has a thin pad in the shorts not to face any inconvenience while cycling.

what to wear for a sprint triathlon

Let me open up about this for you. A triathlon suit is nice to have but not necessary. Tri suits are generally the most expensive accessory after the bike you will need for a triathlon. Usually, most high-end triathletes use tri suits for the race. Otherwise, many triathletes are seen using a combo or other suits not as specialized as tri suits.

Moreover, you can use tri suits only for triathlon races as these are one-purpose suits. A wide range of triathletes who didn’t own a tri suit still did so many triathlons with crowning glory. However, if you want to spend on tri suits, you won’t regret it only if you pursue a triathlon.

Tri suits come in different shapes and sizes. They are primarily of two kinds; one-piece and two-piece tri suits.

One-piece tri suit

You may already understand that one-piece tri suits are single-piece attire with top and bottom parts combined by the name. It is more like combining a tank top and a short jumpsuit. This tri suit has a zipper on the front or back for wearing comfort. Most experienced triathletes prefer a one-piece tri suit to two pieces. Usually, we mean one-piece tri suits by the term triathlon suits.

What to Wear for a Triathlon Sprint


  • These are more aerodynamic, so they feel smoother and tighter to the body.
  • You won’t have trouble with clothing riding up or falling.


  • A beginner can face trouble while putting on or down the attire.
  • Pretty much irritating in case you want to use the washroom.

Two-piece tri suit

Two-piece tri suits have two different parts. Simply put, a two-piece tri-suit comes as a combo of tri shorts and tri tops. These suits are familiar as tri kits more than tri suits.

As for the tri tops, they are different for men and women. Tops made especially for triathlons are also known as a singlet. Singlets are almost the same, with a few differences for men and women. They have a zipper at the front so you can quickly put it on over your wet skin. Women can wear a swimsuit top or training bra underneath the tri top. You can also wear a workout shirt or t-shirt for cycling and running. There’s nothing wrong with that. But this won’t provide as much comfort as tri tops. Tri tops can cause you to spend a minimum of $40 to a maximum of $110, depending on the quality and brand.

Two-piece tri suit

Tri shorts are the other part of this two-piece combo. Triathlon short is the go-to choice for beginners and intermediate rather than a tri suit. These specialized shorts look like basic cycling shorts but aren’t the same in quality and comfort. Tri shorts are made with quick-drying fabric that helps the shorts dry up as quickly as possible. Besides, it has a thinner seat pad that benefits you while cycling. However, this pad is not as thick as cycling shorts. You can find tri shorts for $50 to $100 according to the size, quality, and brand.


  • Suitable for long-distance races as it gives utmost comfort.
  • You won’t have any difficulties even if you use the bathroom.
  • You can customize tops and shorts according to your choice.
  • For the training session, you have the option of mixing and matching.


  • It may occur trouble as the clothing can ride up or sag down.
  • Not so aerodynamic.

Bathing Suit

A bathing suit or swimsuit can be a fantastic alternative to a tri suit for your triathlon. If you are a beginner or only trying the sport, you don’t need to spend a fair amount on tri suits. Swimsuits are enough for your first race. Moreover, these suits come in a reasonable price range. You will get the right quality swimsuit at an affordable price. Various racers also wear a one-piece swimsuit during the race, which has become common to see.

If you are a woman reading the article, I suggest you wear a one-piece swimsuit for your initial races. Most race authorities don’t allow exposed torsos, so it wouldn’t be a good idea to wear a bra-top style two-piece swimsuit. An athletic-style bathing suit will be suitable for your entire race, especially for the first leg. It would be better to wear a sports bra under the swimsuit since you need support while running. After exiting from the water, you can wear the tri shorts over the bathing suit for the first transition, as this will make you comfortable while cycling and running.

what to wear for a sprint triathlon female

Men are also allowed to wear bathing suits in local triathlon races. You must thoroughly check the race attire rules if you are a man and think of wearing a bathing suit because most races don’t allow exposed torsos. You can put on an athletic-style unit like a speedo suit or tight swim trunks for the swimming part. Later in the first transition, put on the shorts for the rest of the race.

Wearing bathing or a swimsuit in a triathlon also has disadvantages that can make you say NO to the attire idea.

If you decide to wear a bathing suit, you should remember that you have to add attire at the first transition, which can take up your time. This doesn’t happen with a tri suit, as you are ready to roll on the entire race with single-piece attire. The bathing suit has no seat pads, which can cause you to chafe during cycling and running. Swimsuits don’t come with quick-drying fabric, so you might need to continue the rest of the race with a wet suit.

I suggest you practice the race a few times before the final race day wearing a bathing suit and be sure to face any problems during the race. If there’s no inconvenience, you can indeed run in a swimsuit.

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Triathletes wear wetsuits over the tri suit or bathing suit. Wetsuits are likely optional wearing depending on the water temperature. Varying on the water temperature, the race director decides if wearing a wetsuit would be allowed for the race or not. If the water temperature exceeds 78, you don’t need to wear the wetsuit. Some ethnicities have a mandatory rule of wearing a wetsuit, whereas some will enable you to wear one, but you can skip it if you want to. Sometimes, the race directors prohibit wetsuits in the race. In that case, you can’t wear one even if you’re going to.


Tri wetsuits are great for keeping your body warm and balanced in the water. This helps you balance your body’s temperature while swimming in the cold water. Along with this, wetsuits will assist you while gliding through the water. Racers who wear a wetsuit realize that they swim faster than those without a wetsuit.

If you thought of wearing a wetsuit, you should remember that you have to wear this over your tri or bathing suit. That means you must strip the wetsuit off as you exit from the water, which takes time. So, it would be best if you practiced racing by wearing a wetsuit frequently before the race day. Thus, you will find the best and easiest way to do it.

I recommend you not wear a wetsuit as a beginner or intermediate if the water temperature is controlled and strong enough to swim without a wetsuit. A wetsuit is good, but I wouldn’t say it is a requirement.

Triathlon Shoes

Shoes are necessary for the triathlon race as you have to cycle and run with great speed to win. So, it is a must to have a nice pair of shoes.

You won’t find specialized triathlon shoes online or in the market because there’s no such. Instead, you can get a pair of cycling shoes with clips and a couple of running shoes. You might be thinking, why two pairs of shoes? Let me clear it. Cycling needs different shoes with clip pedals, so you get maximum control while on the bike.

Triathlon Shoes

Moreover, cycling shoes are not compatible with running. Triathlon is a sport where you have to be an expert in all three legs to win. That’s why you need a pair of cycling shoes with an SPD clip pedal and after finishing the second leg, put on your regular running shoe for running. This will make you faster through the race.

Nevertheless, you can wear running shoes for cycling if your goal is only to enjoy the sport at your leisure.

Other necessary gears

Physical attire is not only the attire you should concentrate on. More accessories are equally necessary to put on, on race day. And these accessories never should be overlooked.

Bike helmets
Bike helmets are a must when you are training or on race day. This is so essential that sometimes you can be disqualified if you don’t wear it. As safety should be the foremost priority, it would be better if you could practice wearing helmets. It will make you habituated to helmets.


Many ignore this essential accessory on race day or for a practice session. But, I would suggest you not overlook it. Without wearing sunglasses or eye protection, you might meet in an accident while cycling. When you ride the bike at 15 or more miles per hour, naturally, you will get hit by bugs or air in the eyes. This can cause you a lethal accident, which is unwanted. I recommend cycling shades to wrap around the head and provide more safeguard than regular sunglasses.

cycling Goggles


You will see many racers who don’t wear socks at the race take less time in transitions and prevent running with wet socks. But, I don’t encourage beginners or intermediates to go without socks. Instead, you should wear premium quality socks after your leg one and continue the race. It will benefit you in the long run.

racing socks

Accessories mentioned in this section are the basic needs on race day, and you can’t ignore them.

DOs and DON’Ts for the triathlon apparel

Here are some bonus tips you should remember for your triathlon.

  • Whatever you are planning to wear on the race day, practice a few times in that particular attire before the race day so you can get comfortable wearing the suit. It will also decrease the chances of feeling inconvenient during the race.
  • Pack all the things you need for the race the night before. You don’t want to forget your necessary stuff in the competition.
  • You should not swim wearing your tri shorts if you plan to put on a two-piece tri kit. If you swim wearing shorts, the seat pad will absorb water and look awkward while running. You can get out of the water and wear the tri shorts for transition 1.

Finally, don’t get too nervous or worried about what to wear. As you went through the entire guide, you might already understand what you should wear and whatnot. So, forget all the worries and practice as much as possible to prepare for your triathlon.

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