A sleeveless front zip tri suit featuring dynamic gradient compression.
A little more cushion for the pushin' (of the pedals, that is) in the chamois department. More ventilation in the top half of the suit. A few more color options.
One of the better examples we've seen of a tri-suit that also incorporates some of the benefits of a speed suit.
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.
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.
For us triathlon folks, SKINS has 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 .
We aren't attempting to pigeonhole the new offering from SKINS as a short course only tri suit, but in our opinion that's where this suit really shines. In a perfect world we would all have every option available in our arsenal of triathlon garment garb, where we could pick the perfect attire depending on what the course and the weather were going to throw at us on race day. If that were the case, we would reserve this suit for those days where a short, fast swim and speedy T1 were critical. The fit and cut of this suit combined with its water friendly features make it an undeniable choice for short course racing in our opinion.
We've had the new SKINS TRI400 suit at TriBomb for several months now, and we've had a chance to get a good feel for this tri suit. We have seen a few of the newer tri suits attempt to sort of fuse the tri suit and speed suit together into one garment. It makes sense to us want to combine these two garments, especially for shorter distance races where any time gained in a short swim with a speed suit may be lost in transition peeling the thing off. Up to this point, we have found that most of these attempts would have been better served as either a tri suit OR a speed suit.
The all new SKINS TRI400 suit for 2012 is indeed somewhat of a hybrid tri suit in that it does address several issues that an athlete faces in the swim portion of any triathlon. One swim friendly feature of the TRI400 is the TRI400 fabric, which is a super smooth heat and pressure treated fabric designed to reduce drag.
The TRI400 also 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.
We liked the adequate, hey you don't need the kitchen sink, sized pockets.
As you can see from the picture the TRI400 suit is comprised of a variety of materials which are strategically placed to give you maximum comfort and performance.
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 plenty comfortable. The suit also provides 50+ UV protection.
We found the size of our sample to be spot on and the chart below to be accurate for sizing purposes.
The TRI400 also 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.
Is it hot in here...or is it just me?
One of our original concerns with this suit was with its hot weather performance and indeed it has proven to be one of the hotter suits that we've tested. If there's one thing we get plenty of in our part of the world, it's heat. 100+ degree days are a "treat" that we deal with on a daily basis in the summer. We found the upper part, specifically the front half, of the TRI400 suit to be a little toasty in extreme heat. The TRI400 fabric excels at moisture wicking, but we feel like the material lacks in overall breathability. The carbon-infused panels found in the lower half of the suit seem to be pretty breathable and a couple of those (or similar more vented) panels up top would be a welcome addition in our opinion. This of course might hamper the performance of the suit in the water so it may be a trade off they weren't willing to make.
Buns of Steel
The chamois of the TRI400 is another area of the suit that left us with mixed emotions. For short races we think it's fantastic. The extremely narrow pad of the TRI400 is a nice touch especially 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. Possibly more than any trisuit we've tested to date, the chamois of the TRI400 truly does seem to disappear while in run mode.
In our experience while testing this suit, our opinion concerning the chamois for use on the bike is the same as the rest of the suit...better suited for shorter distance racing.
We feel the chamois is adequate up to the half iron distance. Beyond that, we prefer a little more substance "down there". Yes, you can do an ironman in this suit, but we feel like there are more comfortable options for those longer stints in the saddle.
We feel like the the comfort level of the suit is very good overall and certainly just fine as it is for short course racing. In fact the fit of the suit and the arrangement of the various panels are excellent and make for very comfortable suit. The areas we felt could be altered would be in the ventilation and the chamois departments. The area we would prefer to see altered would be with respect to the front and sides of the suit. We would like to see some type of ventilation worked into these areas of the suit or at least an additional model that was geared more toward long course racing where the heat is more of a factor. Same goes for the chamois, excellent for the majority of duties, but a tad small for the longer races.
Another detail we like to see in our tri apparel along the comfort lines is the absence of the rubber "leg gripper", and the TRI400 has a smooth leg band without a gripper.
The front zipper is well concealed with a material backing to prevent any discomfort from the zipper rubbing the skin.
We've experienced no issues in the durability department.
On the high side at $300 MSRP USD.
TriBomb Bottom Line
A well made suit that combines compression, a great fit, and hydrophobic qualities to be the best example we've tested to date of combining a tri suit and a speed suit into a single garment. However we'd like to see more breathability and a more substantial chamois for going long.