5 Best Swimskins for Triathletes

Michael Butler
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Swimmers who wear a wetsuit are a minority on the triathlon circuit just as in open water swimming. Such an apparel seems to be a drag on performance.

However, a couple of years before triathlon was even considered a sport, thousands of distance swimmers put on 2-3 mm of neoprene. Back then, the wetsuit was as much a performance advantage as shoes or aero helmets are nowadays.

We still love the wetsuit for open water swimming and to help you choose the right one for you, here is a list of the five best swim skins for triathletes to consider.

NameCategoryProduct
ROKA Men's Viper X Short Sleeve SwimskinBest OverallROKA Men's Viper X Short Sleeve Swimskin
Synergy Triathlon SwimskinBudget PickSynergy Triathlon Swimskin
blueseventy PZ4TX+ Triathlon Short Sleeve SwimskinUpgrade Pickblueseventy PZ4TX+ Triathlon Short Sleeve Swimskin

1. ROKA Men's Viper X Short Sleeve Swimskin

Our rating: 9 / 10

ROKA Men's Viper X Short Sleeve Swimskin

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Pros:

  • Elastic in the arms
  • Mesh panels on the sides
  • Great for triathlon swimming
  • Very sleek and bare
  • Available in sizes ranging from Small to XX-Large

Cons:

  • Takes time to get used to for those who are not used to the bare arm design
  • Not available in sizes that would fit extremely slim people

Swimskins are becoming more popular with triathletes and marathon swimmers. They are another layer that is worn on top of a regular swimsuit that helps to reduce drag as you slice through the water. They are a specific design off a skinsuit and are not meant to replace a swimsuit during races, but rather to be worn during triathlons or long training swims or in the pool.

For those looking for a great triathlon swimskin, the ROKA Viper is one to keep an eye on. The Viper is a Speedo made swimskin designed with a partial bare arm design that helps to limit drag because it gives less surface area to create drag on full-sleeve swimsuits.

Designed with mesh panels, it also helps to keep the skin cool and the body dry so you can swim faster. The Viper has a 50+ UPF rating for those who swim outdoors often.

2. blueseventy PZ4TX+ Triathlon Short Sleeve Swimskin

Our rating: 8 / 10

blueseventy PZ4TX+ Triathlon Short Sleeve Swimskin

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Pros:

  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Ironman and FINA WR Approved

Cons:

  • Inaccurate color depiction in pictures and description
  • Not good for swimming in cold waters

Blueseventy is one of the best swim skin manufacturers out there. Your swimming experience will be a lot more enjoyable with this product.

It is an Ironman and FINA approved and also halve an ironman award design, which is very cool baetyl.

In the box you will find the highest quality triathlon shorts for men. These ultra-high quality shorts are available in many colors, which are shown on the image of the item's cover.

3. ROKA Men's Viper X Swimskin

Our rating: 7 / 10

ROKA Men's Viper X Swimskin

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Pros:

  • Cable Management
  • Waist Belt
  • Storage Pockets
  • Available in Two Sizes
  • Pockets can stow goggles

ROKA’s Viper X swimskin is the one you should go for if you are going to swim in cold waters.

The Viper X features a compression sleeve, a long back tail (helps with drag in the pool. It can be tucked in the back pocket for safety reasons), and a waist belt.

The compression sleeve also helps reduce the amount of waves you’ll cause in the swimming pool, which may help you get a better lap time. The swimskin features two pockets that are perfect for storing your phone or the keys to your locker.

4. Synergy Triathlon Swimskin

Our rating: 7 / 10

Synergy Triathlon Swimskin

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Pros:

  • Designed to get you through the entire competition without the need to stop and change your wetsuit
  • Skin like neoprene material helps you retain body heat
  • Does not retain water once you’re out of the water
  • Feel faster and more confident knowing you can make it through your entire race without having to stop to change your wetsuit.
  • When you get cold while racing you can react quickly

Cons:

  • Made to fit certain bodytypes
  • Skin tight may not be comfortable if you are not an athlete accustomed to wearing race skin tight clothing
  • A bit more expensive than other options

In my opinion, Swimskins are not something you are going to need often, but once an every great swimmer should own a pair. If you have ever had to stop during a race to change your wetsuit, you know how inconvenient, cold and frustrating it can be. If you are a triathlete deciding what is best for you, this is an investment worth exploring.

The Synergy may not be the “Rolls Royce” of swimsuits, but it’s a stylish, high-quality swimskin that will get you from start to finish without the hassle of stopping mid swim to change your wetsuit.

5. TYR Men's Torque Pro Swim Skins

Our rating: 5 / 10

TYR Men's Torque Pro Swim Skins

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Pros:

  • They allow you to feel every stroke, and they won't get in the way in the water
  • The material doesn't retain water when it gets wet
  • There is less resistance as you go through the water
  • They are made for faster swimming

Cons:

  • They are harder to put on
  • They are not chlorine proof

These cut the water to help you swim faster. They are meant to be barely noticeable in the water. You'll be able to focus on your stroke and feel even more confident in the water.

The TYR Men's Torque Pro Swim Skins are extremely lightweight, so they won't slow you down. They also help you swim faster and easier. The legs are made of a soft and absorbent nylon material that helps you feel the water while you swim.

So you get less resistance when you swim. At the same time, they wick the water away from your body, keeping you comfortable. If you wear these swim trunks, you'll feel like you're flowing through the water like a Puffin.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best wetsuit for triathlon?

If you’re going to swim whilst wearing a wetsuit, you need to buy a wetsuit that’s specifically made for that. When you do this, you’ll need to consider a few things.

The first thing you need to do is asses whether you need a Full Suit or a Three Piece Suit (and if you already own a wetsuit, you probably need a different one as the two are very different for a triathlon).

What is the best wetsuit for triathlon beginner?

The lycra suits are the new and became extremely popular, mostly for their comfort and for their ability to provide a better compression to the muscles. The neoprene suits were created to offer the most compression to the muscles, making it easier for you to swim faster.

Since triathlon is a sport perfectly made for performance, the neoprene suits are now the most demanded amongst athletes who take part in this. The running shoes might need more attention, but the wetsuit is extremely important too, when it comes to performance. You need to buy the best triathlon wetsuit that will let you swim faster and also swim with less effort.

Are Swimskins buoyant?

Swimskins typically only come in black or dark blue but they do come in a variety sizes so that everyone can benefit from the streamlining effects.

The biggest positive about this product category is how customizeable they are. You can trim them to fit just about any type of swimsuit, tri suit, or swimwear.

The benefits of streamlining products like this become instantly apparent when you start to wear the garments that don’t have one attached. It’s almost impossible to notice that the suits themselves are even there. You won’t have droopy fabric that is just driving your drag through the roof. You will see a huge difference just by adding this single product to your gear arsenal.

What are Swimskins?

Swimskins are basically swimsuit alternatives for triathletes and open water swimmers.

Their original function was to provide women with a way to swim faster and more comfortably. It is also a great option for men looking to shave off time and shave off some body mass.

The look is quite familiar, and the style accomodates for a variety of preferences. They can be worn as boardshorts or bikinis. Many are more functional than fashionable, but they are not all created equally.

Since 2010, there has been a rise in the amount of men wearing swim skins. So what is it about Trisuits that has inspired such an increase in popularity?

For starters, swim skins are usually a lot more comfortable and less restricting than a conventional triathlon wetsuit. While this is true, it is also important to note that swim skins are not illegal nor are they not as fast as wearing a normal wetsuit.

Conclusion

The triathlon swim skin is one of the most important gear you would need to swim long and fast in the open water. It protects you from the salty sea, as well as the sun’s UV rays, but it doesn’t restrict your movement. Looking for the best swim skin should be an easy task when you know what to look for.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
ROKA Men's Viper X Short Sleeve SwimskinBest OverallROKA Men's Viper X Short Sleeve Swimskin
Synergy Triathlon SwimskinBudget PickSynergy Triathlon Swimskin
blueseventy PZ4TX+ Triathlon Short Sleeve SwimskinUpgrade Pickblueseventy PZ4TX+ Triathlon Short Sleeve Swimskin