If you are just starting out in Triathlon competitions, unless you have a large budget, you will be looking to save money where you can. You might think that it would be fine to just use your normal bike shorts for competition – but find out why we think that’s a bad idea!
The first thing to be clear on is that bike shorts are designed specifically for bike riding and have a thick padding covering a larger area of the shorts, providing more support at the back and coming higher up at the front. While you might want to stick with these for your long training rides, when it comes to competition, that thicker pad is going to be a problem because:
- Swimming in them will slow you down as the thicker padding will collect more water.
- Because they collect more water during the swim, they take longer to dry.
- Sweat from the bike ride also pools in this extra padding giving the potential for chafing and a rash like diaper-rash!
- Triathletes compare running in bike shorts to running in a wet diaper!
- There is no advantage to the extra padding in the shorter bike section of a Triathlon
- When running, the extra padding, designed to be comfortable when sitting, can cause painful chafing – even if the shorts have dried out
- They have too much ‘grip’ to run in – and will slow you down
What are The Other Differences between Tri Shorts and Bike Shorts?
Triathlon shorts are:
- Designed to stay dry, wicking moisture away from your body
- Usually at least two or three inches shorter than bike shorts
- Usually slightly less expensive than cycling shorts
- Designed with swimming, cycling and running in mind
- Easier to run and swim in with less retention of fluid in the padding
Tri Shorts We Recommend
For men: TYR Men’s Competitor 9-Inch Tri Compression Shorts
These TYR Men’s Competitor 9-Inch Tri Compression Shorts are getting great reviews for comfort as the tubular construction of the 80% polyester and 20% spandex material eliminates internal seams in places where these could cause chafing. Constructed particularly for triathletes. Innovative triple density foam purposefully absorbs your weight when in an aero position. Allow air through, multi-directional expanse will keep you experiencing cool and unhindered while running or cycling. Supple woven elastic together with distributed evenly Silicone tiny droplets. Delivers proper grip on your leg with no restriction to mobility or comfort.
All TYR Performance Swim Suits offer UPF 50+ Protection.
For women: 2XU Women’s Active Tri Short
These 2XU Women’s Active Tri Shorts are a great buy, providing a high-performance product at a budget price. They incorporate Creora elastane yarn to provide comfort and durability. The microfilament yarn repels water so you are speedier in the swim and more comfortable in the cycling and running stages thanks to the quick-drying properties and the way perspiration is wicked away from the body.
Invest in a great-looking pair of Triathlon Shorts for race days! They will give you an ego boost as well as a performance boost and if they are slightly less durable, or less comfortable than your bike shorts on longer training rides, keep those for training days.