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Triathlon Shorts Ultimate Buying Guide (Best of 2023)

Triathlon is often infamous for the mind-numbing gear prices. Just as an example price for an average level bike can be anywhere between 7000-10000USD, and in our opinion entirely not necessary for us amateur enthusiasts. This article is dedicated to reviewing triathlon shorts. You will be able to find all the essential information about men’s triathlon shorts and women’s triathlon shorts. What to pick for long course racing, and do you even need all the features to reach your race day finish line feeling comfortable.

What are the essential features of tri shorts?

The essential features for your triathlon shorts will depend on the distance, and we do recommend purchasing different model wear for each occasion. For example range- long course racing athletes will prefer their choice of the thicker pad to support the blood flow. In contrast, other sprint or Olympic race distance athletes will have moisture wicking and integrated pockets as their most important features.

  • First, decide what your preferred inseam length is. Most triathlon shorts have an inseam length range from 6 inches (considered short) to 10 inches (long) as there are no performance differences chosen based on personal preference. Focus more on leg grippers.
  • An key part part for tri short is triathlon chamois that can range from thin fleece for sprint distance events to thicker foam pad for longer races such as half Ironman or total Ironman distance. So it only makes sense that triathlon chamois is one of the most important factors when considering what pair you need.
  • Leg grippers that you don’t even feel. Their purpose is to keep short, slide up on your thighs, and avoid bouncing underneath your tri swimsuit. Usually, spending more will give you more comfort; thereby, your next race day goes without surprises.
  • Keep flat seams in focus; they must sit right on your skin, and there is no chafing, rubbing, or any other chance the shorts move while you are on your bike. It is expected that none of the known tri shorts manufacturers have issues with flat seams with modern technological improvements.
  • Last but not least in our essential features list will be tri comfort waist fit. Core strength is vital in triathlon in general, but a well designed waist part will ensure comfortable minimal pressure on the back and belly during race day or training.

The best triathlon shorts

Is there an actual difference between 200$ Louis Garneau or De Soto compared to 80$ Pearl Izumi. We all aim for the finish line with the same hunger. But we also know that triathlon shorts are different from regular cycling shorts. The main difference is in the pad thickness and density. Triathletes have their tri shorts right underneath the swimsuit. To compete and perform an elite transfer, the quality of the gear is important. That does not simply mean that you need the most expensive one, which will make you win your next race, but it sure helps.

The best budget triathlon shorts

Pearl iZUMi Men’s SELECT Pursuit Tri Shorts (Black)

Pearl iZUMi Men's SELECT Pursuit Tri Shorts (Black)

Price $65,

The SELECT collection of well-known brand iZUMi of tri short is the ideal option for both training and racing as it is suitable for all triathletes. Made from 88% nylon and 12% LYCRA® elastane will secure a quick drying feature and ensure all the necessary leg comfort as both leg gripper is thin, so your thighs will not be pressured, and the flat seam is sewed to perfection. An additional feature is a durability for a stretch due to fabric components. You can watch seasonal sales and grab a pair for a great price.

SLS3 Triathlon Shorts for Women (inseam length 6 inches)

SLS3 Triathlon Shorts for Women (inseam length 6 inches)

Price $60,

While we stated in the article that tri shorts should not necessarily be split between genders, these SLS3 brand FRT shorts are designed with a performance-ready fit. They are complimented with soft compressive fabrics, and feminine details are an excellent deal for the buck. The material is simple yet effective 80% nylon, 20% spandex blend. With a soft 6cm, wide ribbed leg band and medium compressive grab, your legs and muscles will feel comfortable sitting on your saddle. Chamois is a light and quick drying chafe free Tri Pad. Medium 6inch inseam that reduces muscle vibration, thereby also fatigue and soreness. Oh, and two pockets with soft binding. Best triathlon shorts for the price.

The Best De Soto Triathlon Shorts

De Soto Forza Tri Short FTF3 (4 pockets)

De Soto Forza Tri Short FTF3 (4 pockets)

Price $170,

There is a price difference, and here is why the De Soto brand is so unique. Starting with Mobius™ Comfort Compression leg-bands will suit best for long and ultra race distances, four pockets to fit all necessary gear, fuel, and bananas. We would point out an elastic waistband and zero stretch drawcord for adjustability as a critical part. 4mm Clasico Integrated Pad provides comfort on the bike and goes unnoticed on the run. A seamless inner thigh eliminates friction and increases durability. 3-inch Mobius™ Comfort Compression leg-bands keep short in place without tight constriction. Swim, bike, and run in comfort without changing. Wears well under your swimsuit! Use in Triathlons.

De Soto Riviera Tri Short (RTS3)

De Soto Riviera Tri Short (RTS3)

Price $165,

Hydrodynamic Waterlid™ pockets make the Riviera the “must-have” tri short for non-swimsuit legal swims. 7mm Clasico Integrated Pad has 4-way stretch, is soft next-to-skin, has no seams to eliminate chafing, and offers antimicrobial properties. 3-inch Mobius™ Comfort Compression Leg Band offers equally graduated compression around the legs; you get the same support with no tightness and squeezing. Liftfoil3™ center panels improve durability and make swimming without a swimsuit faster! Two Waterlid™ Pockets – one on the side of each leg. These pockets are hydrodynamic when swimming without a wetsuit and provide storage solutions for the bike and run.

De Soto Femme Riviera Tri Short (WRTS3)

De Soto Femme Riviera Tri Short (WRTS3)

Price $144,

Features a 6mm quick-drying, moisture-wicking triathlon pad for ultimate comfort in the saddle and will go virtually unnoticed during the run. Wide, 2-inch waistband with an (easily removable) drawcord for adjustability and comfort. Mobius™ Comfort Compression fabric provides the benefits of muscular compression without discomfort. Two rear leg back pockets to store training/racing essentials. No-gripper wide leg band keeps short in place without “squeezing.”

The Best Pearl iZUMi triathlon shorts

Pearl iZUMi Women’s SELECT Pursuit Tri Shorts, Black

Price $65,

88% Nylon 12% Lycra Elastane. SELECT transfer dry fabric sets the benchmark for compression and moisture transfer. Flatlock seams provide superior abrasion resistance. Flattering wide waistband with straight stretch draws cord for superior comfort—plush elastic silicone leg gripper.

PEARL iZUMi Men’s Elite Tri Shorts

PEARL iZUMi Men's Elite Tri Shorts

Price $90,

80% Nylon 12% Lycra Spandex 8% Polyester, Upf 50+. ELITE Transfer In-R-Cool fabric powered by cold black provides superior cooling and reflective Sun Protection. Stretch drawcord for superior comfort and fit, one back easy access envelope pockets. TRI quick-dry chamois, 8 inches.

The Best Louis Garneau triathlon shorts

Louis Garneau, Men’s Vent Tri Short

Louis Garneau, Men's Vent Tri Short

Price $140,

Get maximum comfort during the swim, bike, and run with the Vent Tri Shorts. They include everything you need for a smooth ride in the aero position and efficient, bloating-free stride during the run. Chlorine-resistant, Triflex fabric Laser-style finish at thighs, tri-comfort waist with drawstring, 2 angled back pockets, Reflective trim, and logos, Inseam: 9.5″/24 cm.

Louis Garneau, Women’s Vent 8 Tri Short, Black

Price $140,

Enjoy the maximum comfort of an 8 mm inseam during the swim, bike, and run. Chlorine-resistant, Laser-style finish at thighs, HugFit waist, 2 angled back pockets, Reflective trim, and logos, Inseam: 8”/20.5 cm.

Does women’s triathlon shorts are different from men’s triathlon shorts?

While there might be differences between men’s and women’s triathlon shorts, such as length and leg grippers tension, you will not feel the difference if they have a proper fit. After all, we all are adults who wear spandex early mornings, on weekends, while we swim and ride, so some rubbing is always a piece of sport. There is also a difference between cycling shorts and tri shorts with a cushion (pad) layer. But, again, it would be best if you always chose based on material feel and fit.

3 Important Recommendations For Your Bike Leg

So your race day is finally here; your suits are prepared and ready for another swim, bike run event. You have great support from your family with you, and the training plan is done with excellence. What now? What to keep in mind to have top performance?

  1. Get your bike fit by a professional.Proper setup can make a massive impact on your bike leg efficiency. If you are new to the sport, experts recommend that we have an aggressive (high) position and an areobar pad that is almost the same level as your saddle. You may need time to adjust as this is different from the road cycling recommended position, which is more relaxed. Riding is the longest part of the race and is often routed on flat roads, and in most triathlons, you will not need to stand up more than a couple of times to release tension from your legs. Get used to this position.
  2. Work on your swim – bike transition.We like to call it elite transfer. Get your wetsuit off as efficiently as possible and settle for a long and challenging bike ride when you get out of that open water. To make it furthermore comfortable good to have your triathlon shorts quick drying, and as mentioned, the critical part of that is quick dry chamois. It is recommended to involve transition on your weekly or bi-weekly training schedule. It will secure that your thighs are ready for this shock.
  3. Prepare a fuel plan.Longer races mean longer rides. And as necessary as it is to have good brand high quality with minimal water absorption tri shorts, it is also crucial to have proper fueling. There are tri shorts that have four pockets to store all the goodies. The exact volume will be different for different events and different athletes, but the often used calculation is 60-90g of Carbohydrates per hour, equal to 240-360 calories.

How to decide what triathlon gear you need?

As said, triathlon gear is infamous for the crazy expensive gear availability. However, different brand options for a modern triathlete are based on needs and available resources. You can and should also look up information from local triathlon clubs in your area; look up the internet same how you arrived here for details about triathlon shorts. We are on mission to share all our knowledge here in this blog, so stay tuned for more!


Can you swim in triathlon shorts?

Triathlon shorts are thin as a pad so that you can swim in triathlon shorts. Depending on events ruling about swimming legs, you can also wear them under the wetsuit. Please note that usually, it is not recommended to swim in high chlorine pools as they will wear out quickly. On the other side, they have a quick drying ability if you do race or training in open water.

Can you wear regular shorts for the triathlon?

The short answer is yes, you are usually allowed to use regular sports shorts in triathlon events, but it is not recommended due to comfort. In this article, you can compare different tri shorts and choose based on available resources.

Do Triathletes run in bike shorts?

If you are new to the sport and do not want to invest additional money, bike shorts will be acceptable. However, once you get more competitive and attend longer rides and runs, it will be well worth investing in good and comfortable tri shorts.

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