What are the best tri shorts? Since the sport of triathlon is in a boom phase there are now numerous makers of tri shorts. If you thought that all tri shorts are the same then you haven’t seen many tri shorts. To illustrate my point take a quick look at this comparison of tri shorts. As the website points out there are many features and variations to consider. I’ll make an attempt to try to identify some good short based on my observations of the many many shorts on the market today.
Popular Tri Short Considerations:
Length: While this is mostly a comfort consideration I’ve seen a lot of people leaning towards longer inseam tri shorts the last couple years. However, you don’t want the tri short to be so long that they hit near your knee as it will be uncomfortable to run in. This is difficult category to suggest for because it is largely dependent on each persons physiology. As well manufacturers generally only offer inseam lengths for medium shorts (add ~.25″-.75″ difference between sizes). Another note I’d like to offer on this subject is that inseam measurements are not 100% accurate. This due to many factors including material, production, and fit. I would give at least a .5″ cushion of accuracy if not more. I know this doesn’t help for people buying blind but it further supports the option of trying on a few pairs of tri shorts. If you are serious about buying a good pair of tri shorts (you should be serious) make sure you are buying them from a place that has a large selection of tri shorts. With all the above in mind regarding length here are some of my recommendations:
TYR 9″ Carbon Tri Shorts 2011 – 9″ inseam
2XU Endurance Aero Tri Shorts 2011 – 9″ inseam
Louis Garneau Elite Lazer Tek Tri Shorts 2011 – 10.5″ inseam
Pad: details coming soon
Pockets: details coming soon
Compression: details coming soon
Price: I’m an advocate of getting tri shorts that make sense for you. I believe that if you are serious about triathlon and you plan on training and dedicating yourself to doing well then it’s not hard to see the value in investing in a great pair of tri shorts. If you did 200 miles combined in training and racing in your tri shorts and you spent $100 on a pair then you would have paid $ .50 per mile. Think about all that time spent swimming, running, and riding. Fifty cents is not a lot to pay for comfort. I bet most of you will crush the 200 mile total when you total up your training and racing. Most triathlete will end up spending way more on nutrition than a pair of tri shorts. Consider that with the fact that your tri shorts will be with your for many, many hours and miles.
Overall Top Tri Short Picks: After listing tri shorts to consider from numerous other categories I will list out the ones I think are top overall contenders. I don’t think you can go wrong with any of these choices. You’ll have to work out your own personal priorities when it comes to geatures. After taking into consideration what you want in a tri short I think these are the overall top contenders. Don’t forget that your own physiology and style preferences will also play into your ultimate satisfaction in the tri shorts that you ultimately end up owning.
Availability: Buying tri shorts aren’t like going into target and buying a pair of generic sweat pants. What I mean is that the specialty brands that make these shorts and the specialty shops that sell them won’t necessarily have an unlimited supply of the products. In the recent few years it is not uncommon for certain styles/colors/sizes to run out before the end of the year. Don’t be surprised if you find that this happens to you. Keep an open mind when shopping and try to have multiple choices not just one. It’s a good practice to set expectations well so you end up being happier with your final purchase.
If there was an easy answer everybody would be wearing the same pair. Hopefully this guide serves as a resource to help you narrow down what you are looking for.
Do I need tri shorts? What tri shorts should I get? As a beginner you might have asked one of these questions. Here’s a list of tri short considerations and guides that I’ve come up with.
(Update: to get the latest version of this article please visit another blog I contribute to called Tri Gear Reviews)
Why Tri Shorts? – Most coaches that I’ve run into in the past have all said if you buy one thing triathlon specific then it should be a pair of tri shorts. I would tend to agree as it’s likely the most important thing that sticks with you throughout the race. I think it’s important to get a comfortable good quality pair of tri shorts. This doesn’t mean you have to buy the most expensive pair but I wouldn’t skimp in this area. There are plenty of good tri shorts at around $60.
Considerations: There are a lot of things to consider when buying tri shorts. I’ll try to list all of them here:
- Length – Inseam length is a common consideration for people mainly because of comfort in the past 6″ shorts were the most popular. Nowadays 9″ and longer are more common. The most important thing here is to get something you are comfortable with.
- Pad – A good pad is a common desire of people who know their tri shorts. The most popular tri pads are the ones that have a little bit extra padding but not so much that it adversely affects the swimming and running portion of your race and training. You will generally pay a little more for these pads. Traditionally tri pads are a black, very thin, quick wicking, synthetic sponge like material. The newer pads are usually differentiated by being a different color, generally red. The best way to tell what will work for you is to just feel the difference. All pads are not created equally.
- Pockets – Some tri shorts offer 1 or more pockets to store small items like a gel packet. In one case it’s a nice feature to have if you want a gel in your pants. On the other hand you may not really need pockets if you have a race belt and pouch on your bike. Again this is a preference thing. A lot of people like the pockets. I don’t really use my tri short pockets. I tend to use my jersey pockets.
- Compression – This is a very popular consideration nowadays. People are leaning towards the benefits of compression and even buying compression tri shorts. There’s a lot to learn about compression so I’ll leave that for another time.
- Material – Tri shorts are made out of all types of materials. It’s an impossible balance to make a short sturdy, comfortable, fast, fast wicking, cool, and warm when you need it. Just know that you won’t be able to find an all-in-one-tri-short-that-does -everything. The best you can do is focus on comfort and maybe a couple things.
- Price – I already touched on this but I don’t think it’s a good idea to skimp here. You will be in your shorts for a long period of time. There is a lot of motion going on down there in the swim, bike, and run. A number of reputable brands have good tri shorts around $60 you can probably spend a little less or a little more for something
– Click on this link to see a huge selection of tri shorts.
Posted: February 25, 2011 in Shoes
Tags: Shoes, Ultra Speed, Zoot
The Zoot Ultra Speed race shoes have been updated for 2011 to read the whole post and get larger pictures visit this blog:
Entire Blog Post on the Zoot Ultra Speed for 2011
Sample: … “They are the easiest shoe’s I’ve ever owned to put on, which is especially helpful in a tri” more…
You can find out more and purchase the 2011 Zoot Ultra Speed by Clicking Here
2011 Ultra Speed:
The Zoot Ultra Speed at the time of this writing are in stock at OneTri.com:
2010 Ultra Speed (pictures below):
Entire Blog Post on the Zoot Ultra Speed for 2011