When it comes to shopping for triathlons, most people’s minds go to the big-ticket items like triathlon bicycles or staples like triathlon shoes. However, the clothes triathletes choose to wear are equally important since they determine comfort and, ultimately, performance. One such clothing piece is a pair of triathlon shorts, which are the most versatile piece of tri clothing on the market. The best triathlon shorts can be worn for all three legs and save triathletes time during transition periods. Check out our top picks below.
ASIN Number: B01E7R2NAG
One of the best triathlon shorts on the market, the FRT 2.0 shorts ensure both, comfort and support. The nylon/spandex blend is skin hugging and offers plenty of compression while still being stretchy and comfortable. The quick-drying and chafe-free chamois just adds to this comfort – because the pad conforms to the athlete’s body, it makes for extremely comfortable biking.
Users will also appreciate the storage options available – these tri shorts boast 2 back drop-in pockets for plenty of secure storage. Additionally, the garment is kept in place using two methods – an elastic waistband and flat drawstring. Triathletes can use these to ensure their shorts stay in place throughout the different legs of the race.
In addition to being lightweight and comfortable, the shorts offer UV protection and are finished with flatlock seams. Because of this, there’s no need to worry about chafing. The soft-leg finish at the hem also ensures that the legs won’t ride up during the race.
- Comfortable and breathable
- Freedom of movement
- 2 secure pockets
- Closure methods
- Quick-drying and lightweight chamois
- UV protection
- Flatlock seams and soft-leg finish
- Not suitable for use in chlorinated water
ASIN Number: B017J0Q6CO
The Mobius 4-pocket tri shorts get their name from the fabric they’re created from – Mobius Comfort Compression is form fitting and compressive without being too tight or uncomfortable. The Mobius fabric is identical on both sides and has a number of advantages – it’s smooth on both sides, and lightweight yet opaque. It’s also extremely durable and will hold up for use in future triathlons. The special fabric is also used on the leg bands of the tri shorts so that the shorts provide a good fit without being too binding.
Comfort is only enhanced by the Invisipad used in the shorts, which is made from seamless fleece to eliminate chafing. These highly rated tri shorts also use microlock stitching for additional durability and have both, an elastic waistband and a drawcord for adjustability.
- 4 pockets for storage
- Drawstring closure for adjustability
- Comfortable and breathable
- Environmentally friendly construction
- Seamless and stretchy
- Relatively costly
- Not suitable for repeated use in chlorinated water
ASIN Number: B08KRRMBKB
These tri shorts are designed with comfort and protection in mind, with both, UPF 50+ sun protection and an inside-draw cord for a great fit. In addition to the seamlink stitch construction, the Integra SBR chamois works to minimize chafing and keep athletes comfortable without being overly bulky. In fact, these shorts use exclusive Italian gripper to keep the leg hem in place and prevent unnecessary movement. The Italian primo fabric is both, moisture-wicking and durable. The shorts even offer storage with two hip pockets provided for essentials.
- UPF 50+ protection
- Inside-draw cord for fit
- Seamlink stitch construction
- Moisture-wicking and durable
- Run small
- Relatively costly
Features to Consider
Buying triathlon shorts may seem like a no-brainer, but most people, especially beginners, do not realize how much they differ from traditional bike shorts. Keep the following features in mind when shopping to ensure that you pick the best triathlon shorts.
A good pair of tri shorts features enough padding to make the bike leg of the triathlon comfortable by preventing soreness. However, at the same time, the padding should not be thick enough to impede range of movement. Thinner pads are also necessary in order for quick drying after the first leg of the triathlon.
Tri shorts use two different types of pads – foam and microfleece. Both are antibacterial and dry quickly, but foam pads offer an added advantage – increased shock absorption. This is preferable for longer races and bumpy rides.
The best triathlon shorts are made using materials such as spandex, nylon, polyester, and lycra. Keep an eye out for any combination of these fabrics. Basically, the material of the tri shorts has to be breathable and quick drying while also making sure to provide adequate compression.
Seams and Length
Look out for flat seams when shopping for a pair of triathlon shorts. While the seams on your tri shorts need to be durable, they also need to be flat enough for you to forget they’re even there. Flatlock seams will eliminate chafing.
Length, on the other hand, will determine coverage, and thus, protection. Longer shorts are sometimes preferred because of this factor, with the triathlete’s quads and hamstrings being protected through the use of longer tri shorts.
The best triathlon shorts are extremely durable and last through many races. Durability is especially important to consider if you’re planning to swim in chlorinated water.
While pockets aren’t necessary, they can be convenient for longer races or for triathletes who require storage options.
The best triathlon shorts feature leg grips that prevent the shorts from riding up the athlete’s thigh, and thus, ensure both, compression and comfort. Leg grips are especially useful in preventing chafing and should fit well without being too tight.
Fit is an important aspect of all triathlon wear. Triathlon shorts that are too tight can cut off a triathlete’s circulation, affect range-of-motion, or just be plain uncomfortable. You should also ensure that your tri shorts aren’t loose – this creates drag and will hinder swimming and cycling.
Our Final Thoughts
The best triathlon shorts are those that fit your body, are comfortable, and provide plenty of support and cushioning. This is different for every athlete, which is why picking a pair of tri shorts can be confusing. Hopefully, this article helped alleviate some of that confusion.
While all the tri shorts on this list are great, we would recommend the Zoot Women’s LTD Tri Shorts
for female triathletes and the SLS3 FRT 2.0 Triathlon Shorts for male triathletes. Whichever option you choose, always remember to double check the buyer’s guide to make sure you’re making the right choice. Good luck!