When it comes to buying gear for a triathlon, you’ve got more variables to consider than just any one-sport race. You use different muscle groups to move from the swim to bike to run. So to avoid mid-race injury (and save precious seconds on your time) you’ll want the best-fit gear to ensure fast, smooth transitions during your tri.
The fastest way to browse? Hit the web. But before you plug in your credit card digits, make certain you try gear at your local store before making the investment. Patience is crucial when you’re searching for the right tri-gear, no matter how fast those shoes look. “Everybody is built differently,” says Jimmy Wills, 30, who has raced triathlons for the past 15 years and competed in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in 2007. “Don't just buy something based on how it looks or what you’ve read.” In your prelim gear search, stay focused on your needs, avoiding fancy gear gimmicks. Wills advises triathletes to invest in the essentials upfront to train safely and comfortably. “Then you can start accumulating cool ‘want’ pieces to improve performance or just look faster.”
To jump-start your list, Men’s Fitness scoped out the season’s top-quality triathlon gear. These 15 tri-accessories will help sharpen your training regiment or race time, keeping athletes—from newbie racers to professional triathletes—comfortable and safe.