So you’ve decided you are going to become a triathlete. Now you’ve got to figure out how to pick up all the equipment you’ll need to take on this new endeavour. This can be a daunting task, but, especially when it comes to picking out a wetsuit, it doesn’t have to be an ordeal.
Unless you are confident you will be at or near the front of the pack from day one, you probably don’t need to look at a high-end wetsuit. There’s no doubt that a premium suit can offer some performance gains, but unless you’re gunning after a spot on the national team or hoping to qualify for Kona or the Ironman 70.3 World Championship, you will likely do just fine in what we call an “entry-level” suit. One such option comes from Huub. The Aegis II costs less than $400, but has many features that you’d typically find on much more expensive suits. It also has some interesting features that make it particularly suited for beginners.
Huub offers its suits in different buoyancy configurations, which can make a difference based on your level of swim expertise. In the case of the Aegis II, Huub has gone with a 3:5 ratio between the upper and lower parts of the suit, which you really notice once you get in the water. This means that the upper part of the suit uses 3 mm-thick rubber, while the lower part of the suit uses 5-mm-thick rubber. Beginner swimmers often have difficulty getting their bodies in the optimal position when they’re swimming – often they find their legs sink behind them. Providing more buoyancy at the bottom of the suit helps you attain a better position in the water. Going with thinner rubber on the upper body helps your shoulders roll and your arms pull through each stroke more easily.
As you pay more for a wetsuit, you’ll typically get higher quality materials – both the liner on the inside of the suit and the rubber on the outside will be more flexible and slip through the water more efficiently. While the Aegis II doesn’t feature Huub’s highest-end materials, it does utilize Japanese smoothskin rubber and extra stretch panels. This means that you’ll get lots or range of movement in the suit – while the Aegis II doesn’t provide nearly as much of a “no-suit” feel as Huub’s most expensive suits, it does allow you to swim quite comfortably.
Huub has also included a lot of design features in the Aegis II that help it perform like a more expensive suit. The multi-panel shoulders conform to your body so you can stretch out as you reach and pull through the water. There’s a large Velcro contact area so it’s easy to adjust the neck and get a comfortable fit. The breakaway zipper, is very tricky to do up, but allows you to get out of the suit quickly in transition.
Wearing a wetsuit can be a bit scary the first time you pull it on. Believe it or not, you’ll want it to feel very snug when you pull it on in the store to try it on. No, you’re not going to suffocate, I promise. Huub’s Aegis II is one of the most forgiving intro suits you will find, too. It is surprisingly flexible and comfortable to wear (the collar is especially comfy), and this suit allows lots of range of movement so you’ll feel like you can maintain your normal stroke once you hit the open water.—km
Huub Aegis II $375