Swim. Run. Repeat. That’s the recipe for the surprisingly addictive challenge of swimrun. We tested four purpose built wetsuits designed specifically for this new sport.
Our southern hemisphere reviewer and his wife signed up for New Zealand’s first swimrun, the Breca Wanaka. They put their training and the 50-kilometer event to good use, testing swim/run specific wetsuits from four companies: Camaro, Colting, Zone 3, and Orca. Here are their thoughts on each of the suits.
What’s swimrun? The sport involves swimming and running over a course and involves multiple, sometimes many, transitions between swimming and running stages of the race. It is usually carried out as a team of two, and often involves ultra-length distances.
The Austrian company, Camaro, uses Black Tec fabric for their suits, which has generous give. This makes it easier to take on and off, and is still super comfortable to run in. But it allows a bit of cold water down the neck.
It has an understated basic black design that makes it difficult to sight your partner during swims. The front zip – a feature common to all swimrun wetsuits – is uniquely diagonal in the Uto Pulsar, allowing for solo removal of the suit. Two rear pockets allow for some storage – think whistle, swimming cap, or racing gels.
This full suit comes ready to alter with a simple pair of scissors and a lifetime repair policy.
Get it for: approximately $450.
Get a deal: for $215 from Wolff-Wear.
Buy it for: comfort. The Uto Pulsor 2.0 is a super flexible and comfortable mid-range suit with plenty of versatility. Plus, Wolff-Wear offers a worry free return policy with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, 3-year waterproofness guarantee, and 10-year repair guarantee for any nail damage.
A Swedish company, Colting uses Yamamoto’s well-known #39 and #40 super composite skin neoprene with robust seams and ample give in its simply titled offering to the sport. This full suit is the warmest we tested and comes ready for alterations.
It sports heavily padded thigh panels that give additional float for the legs, possibly eliminating the need for a pull-buoy when swimming with shoes. It has four internal pockets that provide a moderate amount of cargo capacity.
Its most unique feature, compared with the other suits tested, is the inclusion of both a front and back zipper. While this addition made it easy to get out of the suit without help, we found the front zip to be too clunky and stiff to rezip quickly between run to swim transitions.
The retro orange and yellow pixelated design looked unique and made sighting a partner in the water relatively easy.
Get it for: approximately $675, the most expensive option.
Buy it from: Colting directly, by emailing email@example.com.
Get a deal: during Wolff-Wear’s sale for around $560.
Buy it for: Warmth. The Swim Run is an expensive option with good durability, leg buoyancy, and a super cool styling that is suitable for training and racing in cold waters.
This UK company, Zone 3, also uses Yamamoto neoprene for their only swimrun offering. The Evolution is a hybrid suit with short legs, long sleeves and includes a pair of 8mm calf sleeves that make a pull buoy unnecessary in most cases.
The suit is properly snug with flexibility through the hip and shoulder panels. A vertical front zipper makes for easy venting but isn’t long enough to enable disrobing during solo training sessions. Two internal pockets and one extra large external pocket give the Evolution the greatest storage capacity of the suits tested.
The suit comes with a compass and a whistle to meet most swim/run gear list requirements. It’s brightly colored in sparkly blue and neon orange for easy sighting while in the water.
Get it for: around $500.
Buy it for: Versatility. The Evolution is a well rounded, versatile (calf-sleeves included), and robust mid-range suit. It’s large cargo capacity is great for longer races.
Orca, a New Zealand company well known in the triathlon world, makes a number of swimrun suits. We tested the Core. This is a shorty wetsuit – short arms and legs – made with Yamamoto 39 cell neoprene panels.
The suit fits true to size with a very snug feel and lets in very little water. One external thigh pocket is easily accessible but provides limited cargo capacity–enough for only a couple of gels. The front zip has a whistle attached to the pull tab and works well for ventilation but doesn’t allow solo suit removal.
In the water, the neon orange color is very bright. The suit also comes with separate arm sleeves.
Get it for: $200.
Buy it for: Value. The Core is a great all around suit with high visibility and good versatility (detachable arm sleeves) that costs less than half of its competitors.