What do you wear? (Ladies)

I'm doing my first triathlon (sprint) in July and I'm a bit confused about what to wear. I guess a tri suit is designed to be worn for all three parts? Do you wear a sports bra underneath for the swim? I guess there's not much chance to put it on after. Does it dry out quick enough?

And if I didn't want to wear an "all in one", do I need to be looking for tri shorts and tops?

Sorry for the stupid questions, I just want to make sure I'm understanding correctly!


  • mathschickmathschick ✭✭✭


    not a stupid question - I asked the same before my first

    I got tri shorts and a top off the internet, and wore my sports bra underneath for all three parts. If the weather is ok, just get out of the swim, shoes on and straight on the bike. When I did my first one it was fairly cold so I put a jacket on for the bike which I took off for the run. The bra didn't totally dry out, but it wasn't uncomfortable either

  • If its a sprint tri then you would be ok with an all in one but personally I think you'd get more wear from seperates ...

    Sports bra underneath if you need one as some tri tops have a certain level of support anyway

  • mathschickmathschick ✭✭✭

    my tri top has support built in, but I think I need the bra as wellimage - depends how you are built I think...

  • I swap my usual sportsjock bra which I run in for a Triumph Tri Action bra when doing tri as the Sportsjock takes forever to dry out.

    If you think you can or you think you can't you're probably right.
  • Thanks. I suspect I would need a bra to hold everything down too.

    Any advice on where to buy this stuff that doesn't cost a fortune??!

  • I wear a sports bra under my trisuit even though I've not got much to put in it, usually a Sportsjock one but Little Miss Happy has it right, they do take ages to dry out. 

     I prefer a one piece suit myself as it keeps my fat belly under control a bit better, although going to the loo can be a pain! 

    Start Fitness are quite good for cheaper stuff.  Got a Scott Trisuit from there that was around £25 or so and it's great. 

  • Definitely go for separates - makes the whole loo thing soooo much easier.  As far as price goes, have a browse on the internet.  There are heaps of places flogging tri gear, and lots of special offers.  And don't rule out ebay...

  • Try the 'more miles' website. I have got seperates from there, good quality and great value.

  • SuperCazSuperCaz ✭✭✭

    Make sure you try your sports bra out in the pool before hand.  Some of them chafe when they get wet.

  • I just bought a rather lovely pink all-in-one Saucony tri suit from chainreactioncycles. Christianed it last night under my wetsuit on my first OW swim - happy days.

    I'm not slim, but I think it looked ok. Perhaps not for a Parkrun, but reckon it'll be ok for an actual tri event. I liked it because it wasn't too expensive, and had longer legs and pockets. I wore my shockaborber underneath just to see how it would all feel. Bra still wet this morning. However it gets pretty wet with sweat when I run anyway.

  • Quick question for the more experienced lady cyclists who've done long rides.  Knickers or no knickers?
    (Thinking cycle only, not for swimming beforehand!) 

  • depends on your shorts Nurse....

    If they have a proper "chamois" insert  or even a faux cham insert it's a no...

  • Absolutely NO knickers under your bike shorts, commando is the only way to go. Wearing anything under your shorts can cause terrible chafing when the material bunches up. Less is more when it cmes to cycling.  If you need some, there's plenty of chamois creams you can buy to use.

  • not a silly question!!!

    i bought a 2xu compression singlet and shorts combo, i was advised against a onesie in case i needed a toilet break! 

    i wore the singlet and shorts under the wetsuit, this was my first tri (sprint) 2nd weekend in may this year, i wore my shock absorber run bra under the singlet. i did put my super light bike jacket on for the bike (cold day) and i wore my arm warmers for the run. Totally no knickers under bike shorts. 

  • SuperCazSuperCaz ✭✭✭

    No knickers.



    And that's not just on the bike image

  • image Caz.

    I agree, no knickers in the bike. I'm off for a few days cycling over the bank holiday and will be trying out some new Tri gear.
  • SuperCaz wrote (see)

    No knickers.



    And that's not just on the bike image


  • Has anyone any advice for a first time Ironman attempt when it come to ladies' clothes?

  • Do you all wear cycling shorts with cham, which ones are best.  I will try the no knickers.  My long ride yesterday was not very comfortable, couldn't wait to get into a nice warm bath when I got home.

  • Wicked Witch wrote (see)

    Do you all wear cycling shorts with cham, which ones are best.  I will try the no knickers.  My long ride yesterday was not very comfortable, couldn't wait to get into a nice warm bath when I got home.

    Yes I always wear cycling / tri shorts with a chamois. Cycling shorts are, as you might imagine, a very personal thing. A bit like saddles. What works for one person may not work/suit the next. It's one of these things you just have to try. You might find the first ones you try out are perfect for you or they may not be!

    Don't be blinkered into thinking you have to buy ladies specific gear, talking to a female assistant at my local bike shop she had had a look at the chamois on the men's and womens versions of the same shorts and reckoned they were identical. Personally I use men's 2XU tri shorts and Endura cycling shorts (depends on the distance of the race which shorts I go with)!

  • Can't be doing with proper cycle shorts, I just find them really bulky and uncomfortable. Have worn various makes of tri shorts at all distances up to IM and, while I wouldn't say I've been totally free of discomfort, they're a lot better than cycle shorts. 

    Should also say I'm happy with my saddle and it's usually just my sit bones which get a little sore on longer rides (80+) but that probably has more to do with not doing enough longer rides to harden them up image

    <edit to add> Would never wear a trisuit in anything longer than a sprint - too much hassle in the (likely) need for pit stop.

  • Hi Guys!

    I'm new to triathlon & I'm trying to figure out what to wear. Reading this thread there's a lot of talk about bike shorts, and I'm confused. 

    Do you wear bike shorts instead of Tri shorts? Or do Tri shorts have bike padding?

    Do you wear them for the swim? Doesn't the padding soak up water? 

    Do you wear them for the run? Isn't that uncomfortable?

    if you only wear them for biking, do you just pull them on over your Tri suit?

    Also can anyone recommend a quick drying sports bra?

    Thanks for your help!

  • I'll answer the bits I'm qualified to.  Tri shorts do have padding, but it's usually more minimal than regular bike shorts, so as to avoid the soaking problem and to make them comfortable for the run.  So you do the whole event wearing the same pair of shorts.  

  • That makes sense. Thanks.

  • most sports bras should be quick drying......never had a problem with my shock absorber ones......


    some peopel feel the need for more padding on the bike hence the bike shorts,.........but i always find less is best and the tri shorts are perfect for the whole eventimage

  • I got some mind body and soul sports bras from sports direct, they're cheap as they were the in house JJB brand before they went bust. They're just a polyester style fabric which means then don't soak up the water and they dry out quickly. They've been fine for the half distance and I shall use them for the full.  


    My clothes  plans for outlaw are

    Swim wetsuit and swim suit

    Bike pirate Monaco, bra and assos bike shorts, sock and bike shoes. DHB Arm warmers and leg warmers added if cold and a gore jacket if wet.

    Run sub4 run shorts and pirate Monaco left on, same with leg and arm warmers if cold.


    For the half I just wore my clubs tri shorts and top with the bra underneath for the whole lot. It was a lovely hot day and I'm only changing from that as my clubs tri shorts chafed a bit.

  • Ok, I have shock absorber bras already, so hopefully that will work image just need to get tri shorts/top then.


    Thanks for the advice.

  • I've never had any problems with chafing, right from when I started in sprint events wearing a one-size smaller swimsuit with lycra running shorts underneath until Ironman which I've always done wearing tri shorts, sports bra and pirate top. Hate cycle shorts, much too bulky and you can't swim in them, they soak up water and take ages to dry. I swim, bike and run in the same gear, only thing extra is my zip up pirate cycle jacket which I'll throw on after the swim if the weather is really bad. In my case, less is more - started out using a women's gel saddle and now use a lightweight skinny racing saddle. Does it for me.

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