The all new SKINS TRI400 suit for 2012 is here and we wanted to highlight some of the features and technology that this tri suit has to offer. If you aren't all that familiar with SKINS, this Australian company actually makes a whole host of sports compression apparel targeted at athletes involved in every sport from golf to triathlon. Probably more well known abroad, but we've noticed the SKINS presence seems to be increasing in the transition areas of the various races we attend.
The TRI400 suit is based on 400 key fitting points to provide a great fit while swimming, biking, or running. The suit is moisture wicking and incorporates an antimicrobial treatment so you don't have to worry about how to get the funk out. The material is very soft and seems to be plenty comfortable. The suit also provides 50+ UV protection. Our main concerns with the fabric at this point are with hot weather performance and long term durability. Our weather is beginning to heat up, so we will be able to have an opinion on the heat aspect very soon. Our other SKINS products have held up very well so we don't anticipate a problem with durability.
For us tri folks SKINS has probably been best known for their recovery products (which are some of our favorites at TriBomb) we've worn their travel and recovery tights for several years. We also reviewed the RY400 tights here.
So it seems only fitting that the new TRI400 suit places a large emphasis on the whole compression aspect. This new tri suit features Dynamic Gradient Compression, which is designed to increase oxygen and decrease lactic acid build up in the muscles. This targeted compression is also designed to reduce the amount of vibration experienced in the muscles during activity and limit damage to the soft tissue, which should reduce the amount of soreness post-exercise.
The TRI400 features carbon-infused panels that run on the inside of each thigh, these panels are designed to reduce friction and eliminate chafing when it comes time to leave T2 and head out for the run. These panels also provide a seam free section that runs up the inside of each thigh all the way to the crotch. This moves the seams more to the front and back of the leg, rather than right down the middle of the inner thigh, again eliminating potential chafing.
Another feature we like to see in our tri apparel is the absence of the rubber "leg gripper", and the TRI400 has a smooth leg band without a gripper.
The extremely narrow pad of the TRI400 is a nice touch when it comes to the run portion of any event. You can definitely feel the freedom of movement from the slim, non-diaper-esque size of the pad and the all-way stretch it provides, we feel that chafing will likely not be an issue. In our rather limited experience with the suit thus far, the chamois provides adequate padding for shorter distance racing. We are a little concerned that there's not enough substance for long course racing, but more testing is needed to see how it performs during long stints in the saddle.
The TRI400 has two rear pockets that incorporate a flap to reduce drag in the water, a nice feature for short distance racing where a wetsuit or speedsuit isn't used.
Another swim friendly feature of the TRI400 is the TRI400 fabric, which is a super smooth heat and pressure treated fabric also designed to reduce drag.
The front zipper is well concealed with a material backing to prevent any discomfort from the zipper rubbing the skin.
Look for our TriBomb rating and opinion of the TRI400 in our final review after we wrap up our testing.