Sleeveless Triathlon Wetsuits?

Investing in a new mens triathlon wetsuit or women's triathlon wetsuit raises a number of questions for swimmers and triathletes, firstly do you go for a sleeved triathlon wetsuit or a sleeveless triathlon wetsuit? Or both, depending on the conditions?

For swimmers and triathletes, it’s always a personal choice and both are great options depending on your swimming requirements. If your someone who suffers from the cold, then the core questions is what water temperatures do you plan to swim or race in?

 Swim Temperature For Sleeveless Triathlon Wetsuits?

Water temperature is very subjective. The aim is to pick a wetsuit that allows you to swim longer through the seasons and enhances your enjoyment, ultimately by keeping you warm, without impacting your swim stroke.

Many athletes suffer from the cold and if that’s you a sleeved wetsuit potentially maybe the best option. When it comes to water temperature and swimming what one athlete thinks is invigorating, another may think is freezing and unenjoyable. As a guide sleeveless wetsuits are generally worn in water temperatures ranging from (16°C/60.8°F - 24.5°C/76.1°F).

For swim training or racing conditions that are on the warmer side, then a sleeveless triathlon wetsuit is an amazing choice. When racing always check event policies before racing, as event rules in Ironman, Challenge, ITU or your local races may differ. If in doubt the check with the race director.

Ironman Competitor 2022 Rules: “Section 4.02 WETSUIT RULES (a) For age-group athletes, wetsuits may be worn in water temperature up to and including 24.5 degrees C/76.1 degrees.

  • For professional athletes, wetsuits may be worn in water temperatures up to and including 9 degrees C/71.5 degrees.
  • A wetsuit may cover any part of the body except the face, hands, and feet; (d) A race kit may be worn underneath the wetsuit.
  • The thickness of the wetsuit may not exceed 5mm. If the wetsuit consists of two or more pieces, then the combined thickness of the overlapping pieces may not exceed 5 mm.
  • Wetsuits are mandatory for professional athletes and age-group athletes for water temperatures below 16 degrees C/60.8 degrees F. (DSQ) Section 4.03

 Triathlon Australia Events Rule: “Water Temperature limits for wetsuits have been aligned with the ITUCR. For elite events the wetsuit determination temperature is 22 degrees for swim segments above 3000m. For age group events the wetsuit determination temperatures are 22 degrees (for swim segments less than 1500m) and 24.5 degrees for longer segments.

Marine life (Jelly Fish, Stingers)

Marine life such as jelly fish or marine stingers, can also make wetsuits mandatory as wetsuits offer increased protection and coverage against stings. The Cairns Ironman swim is great example as it’s held in warmer water and sleeved wetsuits can have the ability to overheat athletes. Sleeveless triathlon wetsuits are a very popular choice for the Cairn Ironman as they improve buoyancy, swim position, swim efficiency and offer considerable protection to stingers, without over heating swimmers.

For swimmers who suffer from the cold sleeveless wetsuits will be cooler sleeveless, without sleeves and for this reason many athletes own both a sleeved and sleeves wetsuit.

In cold waters a wetsuit is a must to prolong your winter swimming and a sleeved wetsuit will be certainly warmer than a sleeveless wetsuit.

Some swimmers who only own and prefer a sleeveless wetsuit, will pair the wetsuit with neoprene swim cap, gloves and booties to further enhance body temperature as the water temp falls.

 Neoprene swim caps, gloves and booties are not allowed to be worn in races, unless the water temp is 18.3c / 65.0F, or colder.


Is Swimming Easier in A Sleeveless Triathlon Wetsuit?

Restriction is something particularly beginners who have never owned an open water swimming wetsuit, associate with triathlon wetsuits, no matter the brand or thickness of neoprene, despite technology improvements and the latest ultra-flexible Yamamoto neoprene.

Choosing a sleeveless wetsuit that has zero restriction, can be a great entry point into the world of open water wetsuits. Many swimmers who choose a sleeveless swim wetsuit, love the fact that your swim stroke and feel for the water at the catch is unaltered. This makes a sleeveless wetsuit an easy transition for beginners and a popular choice for swim training, longer swims and those who only occasional swim in wetsuits, as you don’t need to train in the suit to feel comfortable in the water.


Why Choose A Sleeveless Swimming Wetsuit?

Sleeveless swimming wetsuits are easier to fit on all body types and for swimmers with wider shoulders this enhanced fit ability, can greatly enhance your open water swimming experience.

Sleeveless wetsuits are also faster to put on and take off. For triathletes looking to shave off a few seconds in transition it’s a consideration, however its trade off as sleeveless suits are slightly slower hydrodynamically than sleeved wetsuits in testing. But reduced shoulder fatigue and more natural swim stroke make them ideal for those recovering from shoulder injury or looking for greater freedom of movement that can help improve the swim stroke speed over a sleeved wetsuit.

What Are Sleeveless Swimming Wetsuits for?

Sleeveless wetsuits are ideal for all swimmers and triathletes, they are also super popular with surf life savers and greatly enhance your body surfing abilities. Sleeveless wetsuits offer greater flexibility of fit and are more affordable than sleeved suits.

Do Sleeveless Triathlon Wetsuits Keep You Warm?

Sleeveless triathlon wetsuits are not as warm as sleeved triathlon wetsuits, however they will dramatically improve your swimming enjoyment and help maintain your body temperature allowing you to swim longer. Neoprene swim accessories like a neoprene swim cap, gloves and booties will further enhance body temperature as the water temp falls. 

Will I Swim Faster In A Sleeveless Swimming Wetsuit?

Sleeveless swimming wetsuits will dramatically improve swim speed, however hydrodynamically in testing sleeveless triathlon wetsuits are slightly slower than sleeved triathlon wetsuits. However, for many competitive pool swimmers, the improved fit a sleeveless wetsuit can offer and zero shoulder restriction, levels the playing field for longer open water swimming events.

Sleeveless Triathlon Wetsuit Sizing?

Let’s be honest weights a personal question, but it’s the number one tool for selecting the best fitting women's triathlon wetsuits and selecting the best mens triathlon wetsuit? We are always in search of sizing perfection and based on feedback have recently added an XXL suit and an XLS which is ideal for shorter stronger athletes. We have a full range of Women’s V1 Sleeveless Wetsuits and Men’s V1 Sleeveless Wetsuits to cover a wide range of athlete sizes. When it comes to achieving the perfect fit it’s a personal choice and to maximise sizing options, we ensure the appearance and colour of our sleeveless triathlon wetsuits are identical, so they appear gender neutral. Go with what fits best, as once you remove the tags, only you will know what you have selected. If you’re a female that is 6ft +, then you will find a number of extra size options in the men’s sleeveless range that could work very well for you.

For advice and personal sizing service feel free to call or email and we will happily help you out with sizing recommendations. Should a triathlon wetsuit not fit, our size guarantee lets you swap any volare women's triathlon wetsuit  or volare men's triathlon wetsuit purchased online that is in new condition for another size or alternatively we will refund you in the unlikely case of not been able to achieve a perfect fit.

For kids moving up from our youth triathlon wetsuit range, the women’s XS sleeveless wetsuit can be a great choice for boys and girls. Its easy to put on, keeps them warm and is fantastic for body surfing in the ocean or surf lifesaving.