The Huub/Brownlee collab is here. Will it be worth the wait?
Huub’s five-year association with the Brownlee brothers has now resulted in a signature wetsuit that the brothers have been involved with from concept to the finished product. Both Alistair and Jonny proclaim the Brownlee Agilis a ‘gamechanger’ in Huub’s slickly produced video to coincide with the launch. And while we’re inclined to think they would say that, Yorkshiremen aren’t renowned for hyperbole, so we were eager to try it out for ourselves.
The neoprene is noticeably thin and delicate in the arm and shoulder panels, and when putting it on we found a little more time and care was needed to get a perfect fit. Compared to Huub’s Albacore suit, which we perceived as feeling quite ‘tough’ and if anything a little boxy around the shoulders, the Agilis feels very different; extremely supple in the upper body, perhaps aided by the loss of Huub’s signature bicep release panels that appear on the Albacore and the Archimedes suits.
At the Brownlees’ request, Huub’s mission with the Agilis was to create a suit that feels as if you aren’t wearing one while still lifting the hips and legs as high as possible, allowing you to employ the same technique you would use in the pool with all the benefits of high buoyancy. In terms of fulfilling this design brief, we think it’s undoubtedly a success as the suit provides a highly natural swimming experience. We could swim with a freedom in the Agilis that we’ve only really felt on Roka’s Maverick X in the arms and shoulders, and Huub say they’ve managed to achieve this through their patented ‘Arms Neutral’ technology to provide rotational freedom through the stroke cycle.
Huub’s +43 buoyancy foam is purported to be 43% more buoyant than standard neoprene, and it’s placed past the centre of buoyancy (i.e. the thighs and hips) for an extra lift. It didn’t appear to hoist our body position as high as some very high buoyancy suits we’ve tested previously, although for us that wasn’t a bad thing and we felt the placement of panels higher up the suit made it feel very well balanced.
We were highly impressed with the Agilis after numerous test swims. It pretty much eliminates any arm fatigue and the reasonably high levels of buoyancy will be suitable for a wide cross-section of swimmers. We’d be hesitant to train in it week-in-week-out as it definitely feels much finer than your standard wetsuit. And, although that price seems high, the Agilis is very much a no-compromise offering that’ll pay you back in spades come race day.