How Do I Choose a Skinsuit?

How Do I Choose a Skinsuit?

Know what you want: Some people really love pockets, while others prefer to be a bit more minimal. Few races where you would wear a skinsuit require storing anything in a pocket, but some people like having the pocket for riding around with a phone or gel before the race.

Look for the “full zip” when possible: Skinsuits used to have a more onesie-style construction in terms of the zipper, but in recent seasons, most brands have shifted to a “full zip” construction that visually looks more like the bottom of a jersey. This allows just a bit more wiggle room and often lengthens the life of your zipper since it takes some of the strain off of it as you wiggle in and out.

Avoid commitment: Because sizing can be so whacky on skinsuits since you’re trying to fit a top and a bottom as a single piece, you’ll want to avoid committing before trying on whenever possible. Look for options that offer free returns and exchanges, or, in the case of custom options, look for brands that will send a fit kit so you can try a few sizes to figure out what’s best for you.

Check your measurements and their measurements: A soft tape measure will be your best friend in this search, since everything from bicep to torso length can affect how well a skinsuit will fit.

Get aero: When you do try on your new skinsuit, don’t just stand around. Get on your bike and assume the aero position to ensure that nothing pulls or sags once you’re bent over.

Beware of mixing up triathlete and cyclist skinsuits: Triathlon skinsuits or speedsuits will have very, very light padding, but not much by way of a chamois, since you’ll be swimming and running in it as well as riding. So they won’t be as comfortable on the bike. And you wouldn’t want to wear a cycling-specific skinsuit for a triathlon, because the swim will cause the chamois to get waterlogged and pretty darn gross and squishy for the ride and run.