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Best Triathlon Shorts for Women

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 female 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 The Top 5 Triathlon Shorts for Women

1. Best Short Distance Triathlon Short, 2XU Women’s Core 7 Inch Tri Short at SwimOutlet.com ($44.99)

2. Best Long Distance Women’s Triathlon Short, Santini Women’s Ironman Tri Shorts ($111.99)

3. Best Budget Women’s Triathlon Short, MY KILOMETRE Women’s Triathlon Shorts 8” ($41.99 at Amazon.com)

4. Best Stand out in a Crowd Women’s Triathlon Shorts, Zoot Women’s LTD 6-Inch Tri Shorts ($73.50 at Amazon.com)

5. Best All-Rounder Women’s Triathlon Shorts, Pearl Izumi Women’s Select Pursuit Tri Shorts ($48.75)

In Depth Guide The Top 5 Triathlon Shorts for Women

Many women like to wear a separate triathlon top and shorts as we may not be able to find a triathlon suit that caters for our shape. We are all different and if you have wide hips or large bust them then separates may be more comfortable. Here are 5 of the best women’s triathlon shorts we have found this year.

1. Best Short Distance Triathlon Short, 2XU Women’s Core 7 Inch Tri Short at SwimOutlet.com

$44.99 at SwimOutlet.com

I personally love 2XU products as they offer good compression and last a long time. Featuring all the tech you need to get you to the finish line, the 2XU Women’s Core 7 Inch Tri Short ensures nothing will hold you back at your next race.

Designed for short-distance races, the 65-density 2mm to 6mm foam chamois is perforated and creates a funnel effect to optimise airflow and enhance moisture-wicking whilst Skyve technology guarantees maximum support where needed reducing the padding to a minimum.

These shorts feature everything you would expect in a women’s tri short such as Premium Italian-engineered silicone leg grippers, TMF® Core Tri Chamois plus an easily accessible rear pocket for your gels etc.

They also offer Sun Protection UPF 50 so your upper legs are protected in hot conditions. They are ideal for both training and racing over all distances.

They have light compression for muscle stabilisation, multi-directional stretch for great freedom of movement and power mesh panels for improved breathability.

Verdict: 2XU products are excellent quality and long lasting and ideal for short course triathlons.

2. Best Long Distance Women’s Triathlon Short, Santini Women’s Ironman Tri Shorts

$111.99 at SwimOutlet.com

The Santini Women’s Ironman Tri Shorts are perfect for long distances with a waterproof fabric and IMG chamois for comfort.

 Sleek fit and leg band with internal honeycomb gripper to keep the leg in place

It has a back pocket with zipper to hold gels and more. This short is endorsed by IRONMAN and Santini have designed a triathlon-specific seat pad with Tower Gel core technology which is ideal for both short and long distances. The fabric has sun protection UPF 30+ to help avoid sun burn on your legs.

Verdict: These IRONMAN endorsed women’s triathlon shorts are great for longer distance triathlons.

3. Best Budget Women’s Triathlon Short, MY KILOMETRE Women’s Triathlon Shorts 8”

at Amazon.com

MY KILOMETRE have spent time designing these shorts with the female body shape in mind with a specially designed female body zone orientate panel-cut with extra soft front waistline for female optimal fit, and flat locked stitching intended for maximum strength and minimum discomfort against the skin.

They have a new “Stretchskin” fabric printed strip with a hydrophobic treatment to stay dry at all times which offers better aerodynamics and muscular compression. The muti-density chamois foam gives more padding and protection when cycling and the central channeling in the perinea area is designed to offset pressure points. The high level of elasticity in the pad also maximizes freedom of movement when swimming and running.

The shorts have easily accessible nutrition storage pockets on each side of the legs. The silicon leg grips create a more comfortable fit and do a fantastic job of preventing any movement during the cycle and run.

Verdict: These women’s triathlon shorts from MY KILOMTRE may not be cost a lot but they don’t skrimp on features.

4. Best Stand out in a Crowd Women’s Triathlon Shorts, Zoot Women’s LTD 6-Inch Tri Shorts

Zoot Women’s LTD 6-Inch Tri Shorts – Triathlon Shorts, Swim, Run & Bike Shorts w/Primo Fabric & Pockets (UNBREAKABLE, Small)

$73.50 at Amazon.com

Zoot Sports has created the ultimate “stand out from the crowd” triathlon race and training tri shorts women love that is universally perfect for swimming, biking, training, running, and racing. Train and perform in superior apparel with these Zoot tri shorts for women!

Zoot triathlon shorts aren’t just great run and swim shorts – with a sublimated Italian-designed shield fabric, they’re quick-drying and breathable for all-day comfort and moisture management. With durable, stretchy fabric, these women’s running shorts are made to last.

The short inseam women’s triathlon shorts are uniquely designed for the perfect combination of comfort and support. They offer breathable yet secure compression that keeps these women’s workout shorts in place and have a wide, flat waistband with an inseam drawstring for achieving the perfect fit.

These shorts feature two hip holster pockets, perfect for convenient carry and access with minimal interference. Seamlink stitch construction gives next-to-skin comfort and compression while minimizing chafing. They even offer UPF 50+ sun protection.

Verdict: The Zoot women’s triathlon shorts not only help you stand out but also offer excellent durability.

5. Best All-Rounder Women’s Triathlon Shorts, Pearl Izumi Women’s Select Pursuit Tri Shorts

$48.75 at pearlizumi.com

The legendary PEARL iZUMi Women’s SELECT Pursuit Tri Short delivers comfort, durability and a great fit. The Women’s SELECT Pursuit Tri Short is ideal for both training and racing for all levels of triathletes.

 Pearl Izumi have a carbon off-set scheme called “pedal to zero” and with these shorts you only need to cycle 18 miles or 29km to off-set the climate impact of this garment.

 These shorts offer compression to help muscle recovery and a plush elastic silicone leg gripper so they won’t ride up.

They has a single easy access envelope pocket at the back for nutrition and a quick drying chamois pad. They also have reflective elements so you can be seen in low light and a 7 inch inseam.

Verdict: The Pearl Izumi women’s triathlon shorts are a great all-rounder for triathletes of all levels and also provide details on how you can carbon off-set their manufacture.

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:

Chamois

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.

Quick-Drying

Tri shorts are made from materials that dry quickly after the swim, ensuring comfort during the cycling and running portions.

Compression

Compression panels can help with muscle support and reducing fatigue during all three disciplines.

Flat Seams

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.

Pocket(s)

Some shorts feature a small pocket to carry energy gels or other essentials.

Women-Specific Triathlon Short Features

For female triathletes, shorts should offer proper coverage and a comfortable chamois that accommodates the anatomy. A good fit and a wide waistband can prevent chafing and ensure comfort.

Choosing the right triathlon shorts for women is crucial for ensuring comfort, performance, and a seamless transition between the swim, bike, and run legs. Here are the key factors that contribute to a good pair of triathlon shorts for women:

  • Anatomical Chamois: A chamois designed to accommodate the female anatomy, offering comfort without bulkiness.
  • Optimal Coverage: A fit that provides proper coverage while preventing chafing and discomfort specific to women’s hip and length measurements.
  • Wide Waistband: A wide waistband that sits comfortably and securely without digging in.
  • Comfortable Leg Grippers: Silicone gripper leg bands designed to stay in place without causing irritation.
  • Supportive Design: Tailored to provide support and comfort for women’s unique body shape.
  • Strategically Placed Pockets: Pockets designed with a woman’s body in mind, accommodating essentials without hindrance.
  • Ventilation and Breathability: Mesh panels and breathable materials that promote airflow.
  • Feminine Aesthetics: Design elements that cater to women’s preferences in style and aesthetics.

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.

One-Piece 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

What are triathlon-specific 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.

What’s the difference between triathlon shorts and regular workout shorts?

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.

Are there differences in triathlon shorts for men and women?

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.

Can I use the same shorts for different distances of triathlons?

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.

Are pockets necessary in triathlon shorts?

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.

How do I ensure a proper fit with triathlon shorts?

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.

Can I wear the same shorts for training and racing?

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.

How do I care for my triathlon shorts?

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.

What should I look for in terms of materials for triathlon 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.

Are there specialized triathlon shorts for different body types?

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.

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Karen Parnell
Karen Parnellhttps://chilitri.com/one-to-one-coaching
Karen Parnell is a Level 3 British Triathlon and IRONMAN Certified Coach, WOWSA Level 3 open water swimming coach,  80/20 Endurance certified coach and NASM Personal Trainer and Sports Technology Writer. Need a training plan? I have plans on TrainingPeaks, FinalSurge and TrainingTilt: TrainingPeaks FinalSurge TrainingTilt I also coach a very small number of athletes one to one for all triathlon distances, open water swimming events and running races, email me for details and availability. Karen.parnell@chilitri.com

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