A few weeks ago, prior to the actual Ironman World Championship race I was lucky enough test out a newly released Aqua Sphere Ironman Speedsuits. The new Aqua Sphere Ironman Speedsuits were officially being unveiled at the race in Kona (Aqua Sphere Introduces it's New Ironman Speedsuits). Speedsuit allows athletes to swim faster during races where wetsuits are not allowed.
The new speedsuits are sharp and stand out in the crowd with the bright red panels / arm accents. The first thing as always is the case with these types of suits or even wetsuits is choosing the right size. This is always confusing based on the sizing charts provided. The Aqua Sphere suits come in 9 different sizes on the Universal Adult Fit side and 4 sizes on the Women's Fit side. I of course was on the border between two sizes, so the Aqua Sphere rep had me downsize from my initial choice. The suit's exclusive Hydroform fabric with a hydrophobic water repellant surface made it very light, very stretchy with a soft rubbery feel.
Before putting on this ML sized suit I was concerned with the fit from my crotch to shoulders, would it feel too tight or would I feel constrained. So when I first put it on I was amazed at how the suit seemed to fit just right even though I didn’t initially choose this size. The fit was tight but comfortable.
The first thing I noticed when I dove into the water from shore was the initial glide though the water, it felt great, probably related to the hydrophobic water repellant surface the suit had. I took the suit out on a 45 – 50 minute swim. It seemed like I was cutting through the water with relative ease. The material around the arms and shoulder did not restrict my shoulder movement at all. I did notice some buoyancy, but it’s hard to tell if it was all from the suit or just because I was swimming in the salt water. One of the things that bugged me slightly was the zipper cord; it kept getting in my way. I’m not sure if the suit had velcro to secure the leash or if we just missed it when I was getting zipped up. The suit did really good keeping the water out.
The Aqua Sphere Ironman Speedsuit passed the chafing test. I went out on the swim course with no Vaseline or Body Glide to protect certain body parts and returned with no major skin damage around my neck, arms or shoulders, just had one little spec on one shoulder. Yes, I only swam for 45 – 50 minutes at non-race pace, so it’s possible that I did not generate enough rough movements to cause something. I would never recommend taking a chance like this on race day, I would still use something just in case.
The zipper was snug and covered with a piece of material to prevent irritation on your neck. It took me a second or two to get the zipper but once unzipped the short legged suit slips off very nicely and fast.
In conclusion, the Aqua Sphere Ironman Speedsuits is a great suit to have in your triathlon gear arsenal especially if you are primarily racing in warmer climates were non-wetsuit swims are most likely to occur. I have not major gripes except for the floating zipper cord. The best overall feature of this suit has to be the price. The price at $159 is great, significantly cheaper than most of the other speedsuit out there. The suit seems rugged enough to withstand normal wear and tear of training and racing but more delicate than a normal wetsuit. Best of all the suit is already approved for all USAT and WTC non-wetsuit events. TRIJUICE Rating: 4+ out of 5.
If possible, I would suggest trying a suit one on before you buy because of the variety of sizes they offer. You want your speedsuit to be tight and comfortable and not lose at all.
The Aqua Sphere Ironman Speedsuits come in nine Universal Fit (Men+Women) sizes (3XS – XXL) and four Women's Fit sizes (FS - FL). MSRP: $159.95 For additional information and where to buy one go to the www.aquasphereswim.com website.