A must for any novice or expert triathlete is to invest in the best tri shorts you can buy. If you are not a fan of wearing a full tri suit on race day then you really only have the option of wearing separates.
Given the fact that you are going to be flat out for the duration of the race you are going to need some kit you can rely on to help you in your quest for your next personal best.
With this review of triathlon clothes we have focussed on quality tri shorts as opposed to the cheapest options, but still conscious that you don’t need to spend a fortune on gear either for both training and racing. The reasoning behind this is they will last you much longer and provide multiple benefits on race day.
I’ll break it down and show you our favorite shorts available today
Best Tri Shorts – Our Number One Pick
This pair really is world class and for the money, they are worth the investment.
Zoot tri shorts are designed for the pro’s but can be used by an absolute beginner and you will notice the difference from the first time you wear them.
The ZOOT SPORTS Men’s 8-Inch Tri Shorts are a great all-rounder and can be used during training and on race day.
The SBR 1D pad provides ultimate in comfort while racing or training, making the Zoot Men’s performance tri shorts the most comfortable shorts in triathlon.
These men’s compression style shorts are my go-to for every sprint triathlon race I compete in but can also be used as long distance tri shorts. The Seamlink stitching helps to minimize chafing whilst providing next to skin comfort and maximum stretch in the fabric – all making this the number one choice for Tri shorts.
Another thing to note is the comfort of the waistband. Unlike some other shorts on the market, these ones are amazingly comfortable and stay in place for the duration of the race – even under your wetsuit.
- Stay comfortable and dry quickly with the Performance Endure fabric
- Enhance breathability and stretch with the Endura 3D panels
- Secure waist fit with the handy inside drawcord. Superb leg grips.
- Integra SBR 1D pad construction
- Nutrition storage in convenient hip holster pockets for energy bars or gels
- 8” (20.3cm) inseam
Best Triathlon Shorts – A Very Close Second
Next up is the Louis Garneau Pro 8 Men’s Shorts.
Designed from first-grade materials the Louis Garneau PRO8 shorts are top of the line men’s tri shorts when it comes to comfort – both on race day and during heavy-duty training sessions both in and out of the water.
The multitude of different materials that make up these shorts all plays a vital role in their performance and are a great all rounder even just as running shorts.
Delfino is a material that breathes, wicks effectively and provides superior ventilation during your ride or run.
This fabric has been noted to provide exceptional aerodynamic properties along with added compression to enhance support for your muscles.
The biggest benefit in our eyes is the ability of the material to resist water absorption.
This will keep you drier for longer, while on the run or bike stage of any race, or indeed while you are out training for the big day.
Finally, the Carbon-X Mesh built into the rear of the shorts provides adequate muscular support but also provides better blood flow.
Another great feature of the Louis Garneau PRO 8 tri shorts is the 4-way stretchable chamois pad. This clever piece of kit is lightweight but very comfortable on both long and short distances.
It is quick drying and provides great comfort during the bike and run, but does not hamper you in any way during the swim.
Louis Garneau is known worldwide for the quality workmanship. These shorts are no exception. Built from quality material with all the latest design features you can be sure that once you try these out you will never look back.
Features to look out for
If you are the hunt for a new pair of triathlon shorts then you can’t go wrong with any of the brands above.
There are a few features you need to look out for when choosing tri shorts. Number one on our list is comfort and durability. You wear these shorts from start to finish at every race so they need to work in more ways than one.
Compression tri shorts can actually help with injury prevention because they are supporting your muscles as you run.The well-designed compression and elastic material clings to your legs and keeps everything under control. Couple this with a good pair of compression socks and you will feel like a superhero…
First up, you are going to wearing them under your wetsuit so they need to stay in place but not be so bulky or loose fitting that they end up in places they were not designed for. They need to be quick drying when you hit the bike because regardless of how good your wetsuit is they are going to get wet and after competing in a few races you will notice the difference to your ‘undercarriage’ if they do not dry off in the wind on the bike. It’s not a very pleasant feeling let me tell you.
They need a fairly good waistband. Because they are not all in one tri suits or bib style shorts you need the band to help them stay up. This goes for all parts of the race.
Seems a bit odd mentioning it but there is nothing worse than having to keep pulling up your shorts while you are hammering down the road during a race.
- Stay in position under your triathlon wetsuit.
- Stay up when you are on the bike and give you adequate compression on your thighs
- Hold in place when running but give you enough freedom of movement to let you run unhindered
You also need to focus on the leg grippers on your shorts.
They need to be tight enough to avoid slipping but comfortable enough to get you through a lengthy ride. Some of the cheaper pairs you can buy will sort of stick to your legs and chafe while you are riding even short distances, so best to avoid this at all costs.
The next thing you need to focus on is comfortable, but durable padding.
Your ride distances will always vary in length but you want to be as comfortable as possible even on shorter rides. Having checked the reviews on each of these shorts you can be sure that they will provide the level of comfort you would expect from quality triathlon shorts. While the padding is important on the bike section of the race you don’t want too much or it will hinder you when running. There is a fine balance here but any of the brands shown take this into consideration.
Another important factor to consider is how the tri shorts are made. Are there loads of seams in the material? This may give you a great look to the shorts, but if the seams are thick and in the wrong places you are going to suffer from considerable chaffing one you start racing.
The Zoot shorts above have multiple types of material as part of their makeup but if you look closely you will notice that the seams don’t run into any confined or pinch point areas when you wear them. This allows the manufacturers to add in breathable and compression areas to the shorts to help you every step of the way.
The seams should be flush on the inside and clear of any areas like the crotch etc. There are seams around the padding in the seat of the shorts but internally you will notice these are flush with the material to again, avoid chaffing etc.
If you want to extend the lifetime of your tri shorts then try and hand wash them after every ride or run and only put them through the washing machine after five or six uses.
A good soaking in warm to hot water with some soap is enough to keep your shorts clean are presentable. The more they go through the washing machine the shorter lifespan they will have. Do make sure to wash them thoroughly though if you do decide to hand wash them.
Tri shorts are not for everybody and the majority of athletes prefer a full tri suit on race day but it is really up to you which one you prefer. We opt for both options and it really depends on weather conditions and the length of the race we are competing in.
Just remember if you go for tri shorts then get yourself a decent tri top to match.
This review could cover hundreds of pairs of tri shorts so we have just selected some of our favourites based on customer feedback and reader reviews.
If you have a favourite pair that you feel should be on the list then leave us a comment below and we will gladly have a look and see if it should be featured here.
We hope you like our Best Tri Shorts review and if you are interested there is plenty more Triathlon info here to keep you busy reading.
Thanks for visiting and happy racing. Remember to leave a comment if you have experience with any of the products listed here.
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Sprint Distance Triathlete. Swim, Bike, Run, Fitness. IronMan is on the cards for 2018. Love the tech behind triathlon equipment and spend far too much time testing everything out so you don’t have to!!