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Best Triathlon Gear

last updated Oct 22, 2019

Let’s be brutally honest here for a second; buying the gear you need to prepare for your upcoming triathlon is not going to be easy. Given the fact that this type of event is going to combine running, cycling, and swimming, there are many different activities that you will need to account for.

This then means that there will be loads and loads of gear and general equipment that can go a long way to helping you. While you can’t expect to buy everything for your upcoming event, you may want to get your hands on a few goodies, and that is why you are here today.

In addition to providing you with some of the best triathlon gear on the market right now, this guide will also go in-depth to explain to you how you need to go about buying these types of items.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 4 hrs of research

Vigor Compression Socks
Vigor Compression Socks
Why is it better?

Features Polygiene’s Stay Fresh Technology

Designed with graduated compression

They fit right over your calves

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Vigor Compression Socks
Test Winner: Vigor Compression Socks
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Name
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Price Comparison Last Updated (17.11.19)
Rockay Link
$49.95
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Rockay Link
$14.95
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Amazon Link
$15.95
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.11.19)
Rockay Link
$32.95
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Amazon Link
$33.95
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.11.19)
Amazon Link
$144.95
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.11.19)
Amazon Link
$104.05
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.11.19)
Amazon Link
$564.23
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.11.19)
Amazon Link
$39.95
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.11.19)
Amazon Link
$67.96
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.11.19)
Amazon Link
$168.75
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.11.19)
Amazon Link
$12.89

Our Top Picks for the Best Triathlon Gear

1. Vigor Compression Socks

$$$$$
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Rockay Link
$49.95
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Features

Features Polygiene’s Stay Fresh Technology

Designed with graduated compression

They fit right over your calves

It is safe to say that a lot of you are going to be looking for performance-based clothing. For something that can be as grueling as a triathlon, you may want to take a close look at these compression running socks.

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Being compressions socks, these fit right over your calf and offer a great deal of performance. As for the actual graduated level of compression, this is 16-23 mmHg. It is worth noting that this level of compression was not decided merely in one night. The engineers spent several hours researching and testing to find the best results possible.

As such, wearing these socks is going to increase your blood flow, improve your recovery time, and allow you to train longer without feeling gassed. All this will significantly benefit you when you partake in any triathlon event. Oh yeah, these have also been designed with Polygiene’s Stay Fresh Technology.

This technology is going to prevent the growth of any odor-causing bacteria out there. And, to give you even better peace of mind, these socks are backed by Rockay’s lifetime guarantee. Really, about the only negative you could say about them is they are a bit steep in price.

2. Rockay Accelerate Running Socks

$$
Rockay Accelerate Running Socks
Rockay Accelerate Running Socks
Rockay Accelerate Running Socks
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$15.95
Rockay Link
$14.95
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Features

Designed with a merino wool core

The padded area on the forefoot adds protection

Features mesh for improved ventilation

Alright, so maybe calf socks are not your style and that is fair. If you would rather run and cycle with a pair of ankle socks instead, then you may be quite fond of these suckers.

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The best aspect of these running socks is they work terrifically for all different types of activities. From hiking to sports to just general walking, the additional padding in the toe and heel areas makes them an absolute joy to wear everywhere. Oh, and there is even padding on top of the forefoot for even more protection.

Now, I also understand that these are going to fit a bit tight. However, there will never be a point where you feel that your feet are suffocating. Outside of the natural comfortability, this can also be attributed to the organic merino wool construction. Coupled with the integrated ventilation zones, this makes these running socks excel at breathability.

Due to the semi-tight fit, however, you will find that these can be a little difficult to get on your feet. While this does not hinder their performance or comfort in any way, it is something that you will need to be prepared for. Still, in spite of that, it is easy to call these socks superb. They are an excellent choice for your next triathlon event, bank on it.

3. Rockay Blaze Compression Sleeves

$$$
Rockay Blaze Compression Sleeves
Rockay Blaze Compression Sleeves
Rockay Blaze Compression Sleeves
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$33.95
Rockay Link
$32.95
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Features

Designed with moisture-wicking fabric

They have been treated with Stay Fresh Technology

Sports documented graduated compression

If you have not noticed already, activities of this nature are when compression gear shines the brightest. For the record, do be aware that sleeves are not socks and that fit on your lower legs.

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Sure, these may be a bit pricy, but there is a reason for that. These compression sleeves have been made with ultra-durable and high-quality materials. Let’s say that you will not need to worry about the fibers breaking down very quickly. As for the compression, that is superb too.

Even if there are any doubters out there, included in the box you receive is the verified state-of-the-art compression test that was used for these sleeves. The proof is in the pudding, and you will see that when you buy these.

As with various other Rockay sleeves and socks, these have also been designed with Stay Fresh Technology. Noted before was that this technology helps to prevent bacteria growth, and that is the benefit here, as well. Additionally, the Blaze Sleeves will also wick moisture away from your skin for improved breathability. There are also ventilation zones, for the record, that help with breathability too.

What is also lovely is the lightweight material makes these almost go unnoticed. However, from time to time, they may roll down a bit. It is nothing too major, though, so do not worry about that too much.

4. De Soto Forza Shorts

De Soto Forza Shorts
De Soto Forza Shorts
De Soto Forza Shorts
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$144.95
Features

Designed with a fantastic pad

They sit below your hip bones

Offers the benefits of compression

These are not your average pair of shorts and this is putting it lightly. In addition to the integrated padding that is softer than ever, you will also not need to change out of these during the course of your event.

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Arguably the best aspect of these triathlon shorts is the fact that they provide compression performance for you. This is thanks to the three-inch compression leg bands. Without being too tight to feel like they are restricting your legs, they keep the shorts in place and deliver the compression that so many of you will be looking for.

Past this, the implemented pad also adds cushioning, support, and comfort. It is also softer than ever, and this is something that you are going to notice right away. Instead of being inside, the pad has also been sewn into the surrounding panels. Speaking of these panels, they, too, offer improved comfort.

As for the practicality of these shorts, they have been equipped with four different pockets. It is worth pointing out, however, that if they are empty, you will experience no drag on your rides. Additionally, you can also wear these directly under your wetsuit to prevent the need to take them off.

Do be a bit cautious, lastly, as these do run a bit small. Given how they are designed, this does make sense, though.

5. Profile Design Hydration System

Profile Designs Hydration System
Profile Designs Hydration System
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$104.05
Features

It has been designed to reduce drag

The reservoir almost fits a liter of liquid

It is very easy to refill

Keeping yourself properly hydrated is going to be one of your biggest priorities during triathlons. With a system that is as well-designed as this, that is going to be a lot easier.

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Triathlon events can take a while, so, conveniently, this system sports a reservoir that can hold nearly a liter of water. In addition to this, it utilizes a bite valve, and this is something that you will see on much bulkier hydration packs (so that is neat).

And, that is something that this system is not: bulky. Being coupled with the Aeria Ultimate stem, you are not going to be slowed down by excess drag. The entire hydration pack system will also integrate seamlessly with your ride (adding to the convenience of it all).

It is also quite easy to use, which is always a good thing. Even when it comes to refilling the reservoir with more water, the task is not going to be too hard to accomplish. The sleek hose system also makes drinking from the reservoir incredibly practical and straightforward.

Perhaps you will prefer to go with a much cheaper solution for your hydration needs, and that is fair. For the cycling portion of the triathlon, however, this is as ideal as it is going to get.

6. Garmin Forerunner 945

Garmin Forerunner 945
Garmin Forerunner 945
Garmin Forerunner 945
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$564.23
Features

Equipped with GPS technology

Includes training statuses and performance monitoring

You can pair it with your smartphone

Alright, so while triathlon clothing is great, you may also want a few electronic devices, as well. Take the Garmin Forerunner 945 as a great example as it is a GPS smartwatch that will be perfect for your needs.

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While this most certainly is a smartwatch and can utilize the power of your smartphone (more on that later), it is most noteworthy for its performance monitoring capabilities. In addition to VO2 max, you can also adjust your training for certain metrics such as recovery time, heat, training load focus, and much more.

As this is a Garmin watch, it can also serve as a GPS. It has been designed with onboard maps that deliver full-color displays. Rest assured you are not going to get lost even when you use this for outside events and activities. And, as for the battery life, this can go for 10 hours in GPS mode and two weeks in smartwatch mode.

Now, let’s talk about some of those smart features. For starters, you can store up to 1000 music tracks on the Forerunner 945 and listen to them via your Bluetooth headphones. You can sync these tracks straight from your smartphone, as well. Oh yeah, this watch is also compatible with Garmin Pay.

Without question, the Forerunner 945 is a beast and is something you will never want to go without during your triathlon-based events.

7. Louis Garneau Bike Helmet

$$$$
Louis Garneau Bike Helmet
Louis Garneau Bike Helmet
Louis Garneau Bike Helmet
Amazon Link
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$39.95
Features

Meets different safety standards

Features Icefil padding to keep your head cooler

Built with a lens for enhanced eye protection

For the cycling portion of the triathlon that you are partaking in, it may be in your best interest to buy a dedicated bike helmet. And, while this model is a little pricy, it is hard to argue with the results.

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Sure, you could slap any old ordinary helmet on your head for the cycling portion of your triathlon. But why would you want to do that? What makes this, in specific, such an excellent piece of triathlon gear, is the fact that it has been engineered with aerodynamics in mind. Basically, not only is it not going to slow you down, but it is going to enhance your speed.

Because this bike helmet has also been streamlined, you can expect it to fit you well. It is also equipped with four different vents and even inner evacuation channels. These features vastly improve the breathability of this helmet and will leave your head cooler on your rides.

However, though it does fit well, it does favor smaller heads. If you have a large cranium, you may find the fit a bit too tight. With that said, the Pro-lock adjustment straps do make for quick and easy adjustments when need be.

And, if all that was not enough, this also meets AS, CEN, CPSC, and ASTM standards for bike riding safety. What helps with this, additionally, is the P-09 lens, which adds much-needed eye protection. If you are not sold by now, then you are never going to be.

8. TYR Transition Bag

TYR Transition Bag
TYR Transition Bag
TYR Transition Bag
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$67.96
Features

Designed with a dedicated wet suit compartment

The main compartment displays all your equipment

Several organizational compartments are integrated

Here is a question for you; how do you plan to actually transport all the gear you buy? This is a super important question to answer as you will clearly not want to carry it all by hand, right?

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Make no mistake about it, the TYR Transition Bag is designed for your gear and that you can count on. It is going to keep all your essentials organized and will allow you to tag along whatever you need for your triathlon event.

As soon as you get your hands on this, you will notice all the different organizational compartments that you can utilize. And, there are some special ones in store for you. The most noteworthy include the bottom wetsuit compartment, 15-inch laptop sleeve, and exterior mesh pockets.

But, you can’t forget about the main compartment either. It features a drawbridge-style, and it is going to open quickly and efficiently to reveal all your goodies. This is a pretty large bag, too, so you really should not be worried about space.

With the implemented padding and also the waist belt, you will also find this comfortable to carry around. Oh yeah, with its 45 percent polyurethane construction, this is also going to handle light to mild rains. During downpours, however, your interior contents will get wet.

9. Pearl iZumi Cycling Shoes

Pearl iZumi Cycling Shoes
Pearl iZumi Cycling Shoes
Pearl iZumi Cycling Shoes
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$168.75
Features

The EVA insoles provide arch support

Features a unibody construction

The Tri Closure system eliminates hot spots

Something else you may be starting to realize is that you can spend quite a lot of money on triathlon gear. While the Elite V6 Cycling Shoes are certainly not cheap, their performance makes them worth every penny.

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With its unibody construction, you are going to find that the performance these cycling shoes provide will be second to none. This produces a super low stack height, and it is going to allow for improved pedaling efficiency as a whole. In other words, your cycling experience is going to be turned upside down with these on your feet.

All while delivering top-notch performance, the Elite V6 Shoes will also allow your feet to breathe. They accomplish this with their three-layer seamless composite upper as this is going to eliminate any potential hot spots. The upper also feels nice against your feet, making for a more comfortable experience overall.

In spite of the transverse arch support that can be attributed to the dual-density EVA insole, these are quite stiff overall. They feature a carbon power plate for additional power, so this does make sense. But, this stiffness will take its toll on your feet before too long. At the end of your cycling session, you will be ready to take them off (which is not exactly a bad thing).

10. Speedo Classic Swim Goggles

$
Speedo Classic Swim Goggles
Speedo Classic Swim Goggles
Speedo Classic Swim Goggles
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$12.89
Features

Designed with a PVC frame and silicone strap

Both ends can be adjusted

They will protect you from UV rays

Yep, you can’t forget about some of the gear you will want for swimming, either. How about a nice pair of swim goggles? This model from Speedo is also highly affordable too, which is always a plus.

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Some swim goggles can feel quite uncomfortable against your face, but that is not the case here. The soft one-piece frame is coupled with the silicone split head strap for your convenience. Of course, what also helps these fit better is the gasket shape.

As these goggles are not offered in different sizes, this gasket shape is going to provide a near-universal fit (as it can never be promised that these will fit every single one of you). The straps, as noted, can also be adjusted. Overall, it is noted by Speedo that these goggles are suitable for ages 14 and up.

Alright, so what about the actual lenses? There is excellent news here too because, in addition to providing optimum underwater safety, they will also block UV rays from the sun. Though they are anti-fog lenses, some users have complained that they can fog up from time to time.

At the same time, they are also not going to leak granted you have them on your head securely enough. All this comes at an affordable price that all of you are going to love.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Style

It is very important to understand that you need to buy according to your needs.

You would probably end up being surprised at how much money you can spend on triathlon gear. We are not talking about a couple of hundred dollars, either. No, you could easily spend upwards of five figures on equipment if you wanted to. However, not all of you are going to possess this type of money, which is entirely understandable.

The good news is you do not have to break your bank. What you need to do is focus your time on the gear that you need (this will be different for everyone). Now, remember that most triathlon events will consist of cycling, swimming, and running. As you saw in the above list, your search should be limited to gear for those three specific activities.

Again, you do not necessarily need to get every single piece of gear possible (you also may already own some). As for what you can get, though, that list is almost endless. From bike helmets and bike components for your cycling bike to swimming goggles and wetsuits for swimming, there are a lot of choices at your disposal.

At the very least, make sure you get the essentials. This can include a proper hydration system, bike helmet, and even suitable clothing.

Effectiveness

The gear you buy needs to be able to perform to the standards you need it to.

While many of you may not be in it to win it, it does not mean that you need to settle for gear that can’t perform to the standards that you have. Keep in mind, though, that your budget is going to restrict you in the gear that you can buy. Certain triathlon gear (such as bikes, GPS watches and specific clothing) is going to come at somewhat of a steep price.

Now, speaking of which, let’s talk about some of the clothes that you may want to wear. If you did not notice in the above list, you may want to get your hands on some compression gear. From compression sleeves to compression socks, this type of gear can have a positive impact on your experience. The reason being is compression is designed to increase the oxygen that they receive.

In turn, they will promote enhanced blood flow and superior athletic performance as a whole. Heck, there are even some triathlon shorts for running out there that will sport compression benefits. The same type of core principle also applies to the bike gear you get.

To prevent gear from hindering your cycling performance, look for additions and components that do not add drag to your ride. Also, for any electric gadgets, look for them to perform at a high level.

Features

While this is more vital for certain gear, it most certainly can come into play for you.

The importance of this section comes down to the type of gear that you are buying, truthfully. For example, if you are in the market for some triathlon clothing, then there are not a ton of features that you will need to look for. For shorts, in specific, you could look for some pockets to be implemented. But, remember that the more items you put inside them, the more drag you are going to create (when cycling).

Now, for bike gear and anything electronic, this section will be a bit more crucial. Take, for example, a bike helmet. In addition to looking for one that can be adjusted to fit the size of your head, you may also want it to come with some eye protection or check our guide on the best cycling glasses. And, as for electronic gadgets, you will want them to be as functional as possible for your triathlon event.

You will also want to look for practical devices. Something like a dive computer will do you much good but a GPS watch might. Specific GPS Garmin watches will come with training tools and programs that can help you monitor your progress. You could even use such watches when preparing for your upcoming triathlon, quite frankly.

Breathability

This just in, you are going to sweat during your triathlon event. Just keep that in mind for this section.

Unless you do not try very hard, you better come to grips with the fact that you are going to sweat during your triathlon event. What this then means for you is it will be in your best interest to prioritize breathable triathlon gear. In specific, anything that you physically put on your body should be at least somewhat breathable.

For sure, clothing such as socks, sleeves, shorts, etc. needs to have the ability to wick moisture away from your skin. Unless you are wearing sweatbands that are designed to absorb your sweat, you will want to look for performance-based fabrics to keep your body drier.

But, even for something as simple as a bike helmet, your experience will be enhanced with better breathability. For instance, you would probably want a helmet that is built with ventilation to allow hot air to escape and fresh air to enter in. Trust us; this is not a section that you want to take lightly.

Comfort

For any gear that you are going to physically wear, you will want to prioritize comfort.

As with the last section, this is something that you are mainly going to want to worry about with any gear that you plan to wear during your triathlon physically. Yes, this will mostly be clothes, but it can also be your helmet, oakley sunglasses, bands, watches, etc. After all, you will need to account for quite a lot of gear like this.

And, as you know, one of the best ways to ensure that anything is comfortable is to make sure that it fits you correctly. From your socks to your shorts to even your wetsuit, a proper fit is going to mean everything in the world for you. In general, what you will want to keep in mind is that this type of gear should fit somewhat snug.

No, it should not be suffocating to the point where your blood circulation is cut off, but your clothes should also not be too loose. Of course, even if the gear fits you correctly, it does not necessarily guarantee that you are going to find it comfortable.

For clothing, in specific, pay attention to the details such as the utilized materials and the design of the seams. Researching user feedback is also another right way to go about this.

expert tips icon
Style

Ask yourself this critical question; what do you believe you need for your upcoming triathlon? Keep in mind that the three most common events will be swimming, cycling, and running. Whatever you can think of that would help you with these types of activities is a fair game. You have to be disciplined with your budget too. You do not need everything, so go for the bare essentials if you have to.

Effectiveness

For a lot of you, it is all going to be about performance. Even though triathlons can be fun to partake in, they can even be more fun when you give yourself a chance to win. Sure, a lot of this will depend on your skill and fitness levels, but what you will find out is the gear you are using can also make all the difference in the world. To use the perfect analogy, it is like a carpenter who has the right tool for the job.

Features

It is worth pointing out that this section will be subjective regarding its importance. Where it comes into play is if you want gear that is multi-functional in its performance. The first thing that comes to mind would then be electronic devices. But, other triathlon gear such as helmets, goggles, and hydration systems can be equipped with different types of features that can help you out.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Do you change clothes during the event?

a:

Whether or not you change out of your clothing really comes down to your own personal preferences. You will see participants that will choose to do so and others will want to avoid it. For the record, if you do want to change then you better learn how to do so fast.

As most people will opt to wear wetsuits, you can also wear specific shorts and shirts underneath. Again, this really comes down to what you feel comfortable doing.

q: How do you store wetsuits in the off-season?

a:

This really can be in reference to any of the gear that you buy specifically for triathlon or general fitness events. First and foremost, you want to ensure that all your gear (including your wetsuit) is washed and cleaned before it is stored.

From there, just keep it in a cool location that is not exposed to direct sunlight. Even your closet or dresser is going to do just fine. Really, this is not something that you need to overcomplicate.

q: Are socks needed?

a:

Before this question is even answered, it needs to be pointed out that some of you probably already are in the habit of running without socks. There is no right or wrong answer here, but if you are used to running with socks on, you may not want to go without them. Well-designed running socks are going to prevent blisters from developing on your feet.

At the same time, if you can get around this issue, then you may be able to ditch them altogether. Most of you will simply be more comfortable running with socks on, however.

q: Do you need a tri-specific bike?

a:

To be perfectly honest, for maximum efficiency you are going to want a triathlon bike for your upcoming triathlon. Your everyday road bike is not necessarily going to be awful but there are some stark differences that can hinder your overall performance.

Have you ever noticed that most bikers in events such as this are almost at a 90-degree angle when they ride? With your road bike, your body is going to be straight up and this is not ideal when you want maximum speed. Additionally, tri-specific bikes are going to make it easier for you to run afterward.

q: How are triathlons structured?

a:

Not every single triathlon you ever partake in is going to be structured in the same manner as variations do exist. With that being said, beyond the most popular form is the continuous combination of cycling, running, and swimming events. All of which can have varying distances.

There are also going to be transition areas in-between different activities. This is where you will store your gear for the upcoming event and also where you can change your gear altogether.

q: Can you use snorkels?

a:

Perhaps you have been pondering some of the triathlon gear that you may want to get your hands on. If the thought of getting a snorkel crossed your mind, then you may want to think again. The World Triathlon Corporation bans the use of such water equipment. It is not too big of a deal, though, as you can get by just fine without them.

Additionally, there is also some other specific water gear that is banned. Flotation devices, paddles, fins, and anything of this nature are most likely going to be prohibited. So, in other words, if you are not a swimmer, then you will need to get more accustomed to the activity before you try a triathlon.

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