Triathlon shorts are a significant piece of gear that can considerably impact a triathlete’s performance and comfort during the race. Let’s break down the features, types, materials, and considerations for male triathlon shorts, as well as those suitable for different distance triathlon events.
We have also tracked down the best triathlon short brands with the best features for men and women to help you choose the best ones from your specific triathlon event. We will look at the best triathlon shorts for short and long-distance triathlon – from Sprint and Super Sprint to Ironman distance races.
- Quick List of The Top 5 Triathlon Shorts for Men
- In Depth Guide to The Top 5 Triathlon Shorts for Men
- 1. Best Tri Shorts for Sprint and Olympic Distance Triathlons – Zoot Men’s Core 7-Inch Tri Shorts
- 2. Best Bottle Carrying Tri Shorts, Synergy Men’s Elite Tri Shorts with Mesh Pockets and Running Bottles
- 3. Best Budget Long Distance Tri Short, MY KILOMETRE Men’s Triathlon Shorts
- 4. Best Warm Weather Triathlon Shorts, Pearl Izumi Men’s Elite Tri Shorts
- 5. Best Triathlon Short to get Noticed!, TYR Men’s 9″ Competitor Tri Short
- Types of Triathlon Shorts
- Now Let’s look at the triathlon short features:
- Men-Specific Triathlon Short Features
- Common Features of Triathlon Shorts for Both Men and Women
- Separate Triathlon Shorts and Top rather than an all in One Trisuit
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – Triathlon Shorts
Quick List of The Top 5 Triathlon Shorts for Men
1. Best Tri Shorts for Sprint and Olympic Distance Triathlons, Zoot Men’s Core 7-Inch Tri Shorts ($80.00 at Amazon.com)
2. Best Bottle Carrying Tri Shorts, Synergy Men’s Elite Tri Shorts with Mesh Pockets and Running Bottles ($99.95 at Amazon.com)
3. Best Budget Long Distance Tri Short, MY KILOMETRE Men’s Triathlon Shorts ($41.99 at Amazon.com)
4. Best Warm Weather Triathlon Shorts, Pearl Izumi Men’s Elite Tri Shorts ($67.50 at pearlizumi.com)
5. Best Triathlon Short to get Noticed!, TYR Men’s 9″ Competitor Tri Short ($48.99 at SwimOutlet.com)
In Depth Guide to The Top 5 Triathlon Shorts for Men
Here are our top picks of triathlon shorts for men and we have picked ones for every race distance and budget so we are sure you will find the right one for your next triathlon.
Zoot Sports was founded in Kona, Hawaii, in 1983, and over the last 35 years, they have become the leading innovators in endurance sportswear. Coming from home of IRONMAN you know their products are aimed at triathletes.
The Zoot tri shorts for the male triathlete is expertly created for triathlon training and race day, offering a fit that gives you the edge needed to go the extra mile while running, swimming or cycling.
Zoot triathlon run, swim, and bike shorts for men are made with Italian Endura+ fabric, which dries quickly and moves with your body. The stretchy fabric also gives UPF 50+ sun protection.
With a more comfortable fit than traditional men’s compression shorts, these biking shorts provide integrated compression to maximize performance and aerodynamics, along with a seamlink stitch design that minimizes chafing and stretches with the fabric.
They feature hip holster pockets for storing race day essentials on both hips and BIOWRAP technology for a gripper-free hem that stays in place.
The fabric and chamois are designed to be thin so pack very small f you need to pack light for travel.
Verdict: A good quality tri short for sprint and Olympic distance triathlons.
2. Best Bottle Carrying Tri Shorts, Synergy Men’s Elite Tri Shorts with Mesh Pockets and Running Bottles
These tri shorts feature a thicker chamois pad for longer rides but are comfortable to run in. They also have a mesh pocket at the rear for running bottles which is great for longer events. They have soft and effective silicone leg grippers to keep your shorts in place. There’s a modesty panel for comfort and support.
They are made from advanced semi-compression materials to help you perform at your peak. The smooth flatlock stitching throughout helps with aerodynamics and a flat and long drawstring for a custom fit. A nice touch are the reflective logos are both stylish and improves visibility. As a bonus you get 2 Synergy 6 oz. running bottles which fit perfectly in the mesh pockets.
Verdict: Great for longer distance triathlons thanks to the thicker chamois pad and bottle carriers.
My Kilometre was established to provide high quality but affordable products to athletes and the have hit the make on with these tri shorts. They have put a lot of time and effort into designing a chamois pad that is comfortable on long rides and when running. The pad has been designed for the aero position, which developed to provide maximum performance and comfort on the bike and during the run.
Thewicking and breathable mesh inserts on recesses on the inside and outside help to accelerate moisture vapor. The chamois is made from bamboo carbon fabric with ultra-thin side wings keep MK TRI 2.0 chamois low-profile during the run. This inhibited stretch design enhances the comfort in movement while protecting from chafing. It is soft on the skin and made from Italian brushed fabric which contains bamboo carbon, which keeps you odorless and dry.
The rest of the shorts are made from 78% Regenerated Polyamide, 22% Xtra Life Lycrafibre . Featuring chlorine resistant for indoor pool swims, UPF 50+ protection and moderate compression.
They have accessible storage pockets on the sides of your legs which can store nutrition such as gels for easy access whilst on the bike or run Ultra-thin and Ultra-light elastic leg grippers designed for best comfort and super flexibility, conforms to your body for a perfect fit and avoids silicone discomfort.
Flat locked stitching has been used to follow the contours of the body to enhance your comfort, prevent chaffing and maximize the strength of the product.
Verdict: These have features associated with more expensive brands and great for longer distance triathlons
The Men’s ELITE Pursuit Tri Shorts are the go-to training and racing shorts, now updated with fabric designed for improved compression and aerodynamics. This all rounder short is great for Brick sessions when training and on race day over all distances up to 70.3.
The fabric has been designed to keep you cool so ideal for warmer training days or racing in hot climates.
Triathletes love Pearl Izumi shorts as they can wear them on the swim, bike and run without chafing thanks to fast drying fabric and thin but comfortable chamois.
They have an easy-access envelope back pocket for gels etc plus elastic silicone leg gripper to keep the legs from riding up with cycling and running.
Pearl Izumi products feature a “Pedal to Zero” philosophy Every garment will include the number of miles necessary to ride, instead of driving a car, to zero out its carbon footprint. And you can choose to ride its climate impact out of existence. For these shorts just ride 17 miles or 28km to off-set them.
Verdict: Best triathlon shorts for warm training and hot races plus you can cycle to offset the carbon footprint of this garment.
Compete in a short made for optimal performance plus stand out from the crowd! The TYR Men s 9 Competitor Tri Short uses graduated compression for fit, circulation and muscle performance. Its breathable and quick-drying fabric keeps you comfortable during all three disciplines.
This short has a “Competitor Amp Pad” which is a triple density foam chamois pad which absorbs weight in the aero position, so if you plan to “go aero” at your triathlon these could be your best friend.
They have a back aero-flap pocket storage compartment for gels and more and new leg gripper which prevents slippage and constriction around your legs.
The leg is longer than other models we have list being 9” so bear this in mind when ordering.
Verdict: We love the bright colors of this tri short!
Types of Triathlon Shorts
One-Piece Tri Suits
These combine a triathlon-specific top and shorts into a single piece, reducing transition time between disciplines.
Separate Tops and Shorts
This option allows you to mix and match tops and shorts for personalized comfort and style.
In this article we will focus in on separate triathlon shorts.
Popular Triathlon Shorts Materials
Triathlon shorts are typically made from a blend of materials to address the demands of all three disciplines:
- Nylon: Provides durability and moisture wicking.
- Spandex/Elastane: Offers stretch and flexibility for ease of movement.
- Polyester: Known for its quick-drying properties.
Some manufacturers are looking at recycled materials to minimize their impact on the planet which we support here are Trinewbies.
Short Distance (Super Sprint to Olympic) Triathlons
For sprint triathlons, the focus is on comfort and speed. Look for shorts with minimal padding for the bike leg, quick-drying materials, and a comfortable fit for the run. On the shorter runs like a 5k for a typical sprint triathlon you will be running faster so while you do want some padding for the bike (20km typically) you will want the chamois to be thin enough to run a 5k.
Short distance triathlon shorts if they do have pockets tend to have a small pocket on your legs for gels or no pockets. If you do need a gel on the run consider a number belt with areas for gels.
Long Distance (Middle distance to Ironman) Triathlons
In longer events like Ironman triathlons, comfort becomes even more crucial. Padded shorts with enough cushioning for the bike, as well as moisture-wicking and anti-chafing properties, are essential. Look for materials that reduce friction and irritation during extended periods of movement.
Long distance triathlon shorts tend to have a thicker chamois and more pockets to store more gels etc.
Now Let’s look at the triathlon short features:
Triathlon Shorts Components
Triathlon shorts are designed to provide comfort and functionality for swimming, cycling, and running. Some key features to consider include:
A thinner chamois (padding) is used in triathlon shorts compared to traditional cycling shorts. This provides enough cushioning for the bike leg without being too bulky for the swim and run.
Tri shorts are made from materials that dry quickly after the swim, ensuring comfort during the cycling and running portions.
Compression panels can help with muscle support and reducing fatigue during all three disciplines.
Flat seams minimize chafing and irritation during movement.
Gripper Leg Bands
Silicone grippers keep the shorts in place without riding up during the bike and run.
Some shorts feature a small pocket to carry energy gels or other essentials.
Men-Specific Triathlon Short Features
Men’s triathlon shorts are designed to provide comfort, support, and performance throughout all three disciplines of the race. Here are the features that are specific to men’s triathlon shorts:
- Optimized Padding: A chamois that offers adequate padding for men’s anatomy during the bike leg.
- Aero Efficiency: Streamlined design options for men aiming to improve aerodynamics and speed.
- Enhanced Support: Tailored to provide support and comfort for men’s specific physical needs.
- Proper Fit: A fit that offers the right amount of support and freedom of movement for men.
Common Features of Triathlon Shorts for Both Men and Women
There are off course common features on both male and female triathlon shorts and there are:
- Quick-Drying Material: Moisture-wicking fabrics that keep sweat away and promote fast drying.
- Flat Seams and Seamless Construction: Minimized friction and chafing through flatlock seams and seamless panels.
- Gripper Leg Bands: Silicone gripper leg bands to prevent riding up and ensure a secure fit.
- Durable Construction: High-quality materials and stitching for long-lasting performance.
- Multi-Sport Functionality: Shorts designed for swimming, cycling, and running without compromising comfort or performance.
- Comfortable Transition: The ability to smoothly transition from water to bike and bike to run without changing shorts.
- Stretch and Flexibility: Materials with spandex/elastane content for stretch and ease of movement.
- Waistband and Drawstring: Adjustable waistbands and drawstrings for personalized fit and security.
- Practical Pockets: Pockets for storing energy gels, nutrition, or other essentials.
- Variety of Styles: Options for various preferences in terms of colors, designs, and aesthetics.
Remember that each triathlete’s body is unique, so it’s important to try on different brands and models to find the shorts that best suit your individual preferences and needs. Testing the shorts during training sessions is highly recommended to ensure they meet your comfort and performance expectations on race day.
Separate Triathlon Shorts and Top rather than an all in One Trisuit
Choosing between separate triathlon shorts and a one-piece triathlon suit (trisuit) depends on personal preference, comfort, and race strategy. Each option has its own advantages, and the decision ultimately comes down to what works best for you as an individual athlete. Here are some reasons why you might choose separate shorts and a top over an all-in-one trisuit:
Separate Shorts and Top:
- Customizable Fit: With separate shorts and top, you can mix and match sizes to achieve a customized fit. This is particularly beneficial if you have a different size for your upper and lower body.
- Flexibility: If you find that your body temperature varies significantly between disciplines or races, having the option to choose different tops and shorts can provide more flexibility in managing your comfort.
- Ease of Bathroom Breaks: When nature calls during a race, using separate shorts and a top can be more convenient for quick bathroom breaks compared to removing an entire trisuit.
- Layering: In cooler or changing weather conditions, you have the flexibility to layer different tops over your triathlon shorts to regulate your body temperature.
- Ease of Transition: While transitioning from one discipline to another, you might find it easier to change shorts or tops separately, especially if you prefer a specific type of padding for the bike leg.
- Durability and Versatility: If one part of your outfit wears out or gets damaged, you can replace just that piece without needing to buy an entirely new trisuit.
- Streamlined Design: Trisuits offer a streamlined and aero-efficient design, which can provide a slight advantage in longer distance races where every second counts.
- Minimized Chafing: A one-piece design eliminates the potential for friction or chafing between separate pieces of clothing.
- Simplified Transition: Trisuits are designed for quick transitions between disciplines. You don’t have to worry about readjusting or changing multiple pieces of clothing.
- Consistent Fit: Trisuits provide a consistent fit across your body, ensuring that the entire outfit stays in place during all three disciplines.
- Reduced Bulk: The one-piece design eliminates the need for a waistband or drawstring, reducing bulk and providing a more streamlined look.
- Overall Convenience: For athletes who prioritize simplicity and convenience, a trisuit requires minimal thought during race day – just slip it on and go.
At the end of the day, your decision should reflect your comfort, race goals, and personal preferences. Some triathletes prefer the convenience of a trisuit, while others value the flexibility and customization of separate shorts and a top. It’s a good idea to try out both options during training sessions to determine which one works best for you and your race style
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – Triathlon Shorts
Triathlon-specific shorts are specialized athletic apparel designed to provide comfort and performance during the swim, bike, and run legs of a triathlon. These shorts are engineered to dry quickly, offer support, and minimize chafing, making them suitable for all three disciplines in a single race.
Triathlon shorts are tailored for multi-sport use, with features such as quick-drying materials, minimal padding for the bike leg, gripper leg bands, and flat seams to reduce friction. Regular workout shorts might not offer the same level of comfort and functionality needed for all three triathlon disciplines.
Yes, there are specific design considerations for both men and women. Women’s shorts typically have a chamois designed for their anatomy, and the fit may differ to provide optimal coverage and support. Men’s shorts might focus on padding and aerodynamics. However, both versions share common features like quick-drying materials and gripper leg bands.
Yes, you can use the same shorts for different distances, but the choice depends on your personal comfort and performance needs. For shorter sprint triathlons, shorts with minimal padding and quick-drying properties are suitable. For longer events like Ironman, consider shorts with more substantial padding and extra features for endurance.
Pockets are convenient for storing energy gels, nutrition, or small essentials during the race. They can be helpful, especially in longer races. However, the necessity of pockets depends on your preference and race strategy.
A proper fit is crucial for comfort and performance. Check sizing charts provided by manufacturers and consider trying on different brands and models. Look for a snug yet supportive fit with a comfortable waistband that stays in place without causing discomfort.
Yes, many athletes wear the same triathlon shorts for both training and racing. It’s recommended to test the shorts during training sessions to ensure they meet your comfort and performance expectations before race day.
Follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer. Typically, it’s best to hand wash or use a gentle machine cycle with cold water. Avoid using fabric softeners or bleach, and let the shorts air dry. Proper care will help maintain the performance and durability of the shorts.
Look for moisture-wicking materials like polyester or nylon blends that efficiently manage sweat and moisture. These materials promote quick drying and reduce chafing during the race.
Triathlon shorts come in various sizes and cuts to accommodate different body types. Brands often offer options designed for specific body shapes, so it’s worth exploring different models to find the one that fits your body best.