Review by "Nath"
I have been kindly provided with a swim speedsuit from Dare2tri for review with a view to using in an upcoming non wetsuit race.
Let’s be honest, the triathlon market and community is made up predominately of middle age people who are not technically gifted in one discipline but rather, we enjoy the challenge of the three sports combined.
Therefore most triathletes will use anything that will give them any type of benefit or time saving to improve their performance in the elusive chase for that perfect race, PB or Kona spot! However with the amount of money required for triathlon equipment such as bikes, shoes, wetsuits, helmet and so on, a swim speedsuit is something that many will be reluctant to spend a large amount of money on for small gains.
Using a speedsuit for a non-wetsuit swim is one of the pieces in the puzzle that a lot of age group triathletes will consider and is something I was looking at for use in an upcoming non-wetsuit IM race.
So if you are reading this review you are no doubt considering a speedsuit and would probably would like to know the following, which I believe are the primary considerations;
For reference at time of testing I am 175cm and 70kg.
In most cases for clothing I fit a small, for the testing I was given a small and a medium to try on and in the end I went with the medium as I was worried about constriction, although after wearing a few times I probably should have stuck with my normal size and chosen the small.
Both of these suits felt very similar in size and the difference in feel was pretty minor. However I would say that the suit is a true fit for what you normally expect or wear, so my advice would be stay with your normal sizing for ordering.
Front view showing the sculptured fit of the speedsuit.
As far as comfort is concened I found the suit to be very comfortable when swimming in it. I could not fault it as I had no areas which were rubbing or chaffing even for swims up to 4km. The legs have elastic bands similar to cycling knicks at the bottom to firmly seal the legs which feel slightly tight at first, especially if you have cyclist’s legs, but they are like this for a reason and you don’t notice it after 5 minutes of wearing the suit. If you take time and put it on correctly as you would with a wetsuit I found that it is a nice snug fit.
The suits leg grippers
The suit is zipped at the back from bottom to top to do it up and comes with a length of cord to attach to the zip so you can reach it and undo it yourself the same as most wetsuits. Once again I didn’t have any issues with undoing the suit and taking it off, under race stresses I cannot see any potential issues.
Rear view showing yet more panels for a pecise fit.
The only issue which I had with the suit was that just under my neck when swimming, the suit did fold in as my chest comes together and it felt like some water could come in the suit and down the inside. I doubt that this created any actual drag or slowing down and was probably caused by wearing the medium when I should have stuck with my normal size and had the small. Possibly the cut of the suit could be a little higher to the neck line to really seal this area off, but is may affect the comfort and create a chaffing issue I’m not too sure.
So overall for comfort and fit I would give it a 9 out of 10.
OK, so this is the $64 million question and what most triathletes are going to want to know!
Well as a preface I am probably right in the centre of the bell curve for triathletes as far as swimming is concerned with little background in swimming and I’m not a natural swimmer. My swim times for an IM are usually around 59-61 mins with a wetsuit and I’m comfortable in the water, just not elegant and natural so like most triathletes I tend to look for things that might help me along.
Water dropped on the suit simply "beaded".
This was left for over 20mins after which the water rolled off the suit leaving it dry.
My testing of the suit was only done in a 50m indoor pool and I have not tried it in a race yet, so my observations are only from my experiences in pool swims.
Generally, yes I did feel slightly faster in the water and more streamlined. From my understanding speed suits are not designed for, and capable of aiding buoyance so it doesn’t help to lift your legs in the water as such, but the aim is to reduce drag.
Give me some numbers I hear you say! Well I found that generally I was up to 5 sec per 100m faster in the suit than without, without trying to change things with my stoke or effort level.
As I am not a natural swimmer and don’t necessarily have that subconscious ‘feel’ for the water so it is hard for me to notice small improvements or changes. However I did feel that the suit would help ‘average’ swimmers more than a natural swimmers in much the same way as a wetsuit provides more assistance to ‘average’ swimmers than natural swimmers. A natural swimmer with good technique may be able to provide a more detailed insight into the effect of the suit to your stroke or efficiency, but I just felt a little more streamlined (and faster) in the water.
So the bottom line is that I certainly felt more streamlined and controlled so I can certainly see marginal benefits over 1.9km – 3.8km for triathletes, which will come at no cost to comfort or fit so if that is the only consideration it is a no brainer.
Overall the score on making me faster 7.5 out of 10.
As mentioned previously the majority of the target market for a product is not necessarily always the high end professionals but the large market of average athletes who want good equipment and don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on every piece of kit, and this is where Dare2tri have really hit their mark in my opinion.
If a company is to be successful in this tough market they will need to be competitive to sell product and at a cost of $139, the Dare2tri speed suit is great value. In my research for a speed suit the range of pricing for the more well-known brands is around the $300 range, which considering the marginal gains of a few of minutes over 3.8km questions the value.
The Dare2tri speed suit uses similar materials and technology to provide a product which does its job in improving your swim performance but at much less cost, therefore making it very good value for money.
Overall score for the cost I believe is 9 out of 10.
The suit has a minmal "chamois" for those that intend to kep it on for the entire race.
I found the Dare2tri speed suit to a comfortable fit, true to size and a suit which gave me no chaffing issues which I would be confident to wear over a 3.8km swim without any issues.
I also genuinely believe that the suit will shave time from my swim compared to swimming without it, how much exactly I don’t know just yet but I estimated around 3-5 sec per 100 for an average swimmer, swimming around 1:30 – 1:35 per 100m.
So in summary a swim speed suit is something which fall into the category of the final 5% of items which triathletes will consider whether it will help performance and the value of the money spent, however at this price point I think that the Dare2tri speed suit is worth the money and a very good product.
I have been provided with this Dare2tri speed suit for free for review purposes. However I am currently in contact with the company to arrange a payment in order for me to keep the suit. Whether I have to pay full cost I don’t know at this stage, but I am prepared to pay the retail cost of the item as I am happy with the product.
Ed: All reviews are independent and while they may be edited for spelling, grammar or aesthetic reasons the facts or “vibe” of the review has not been changed.