When choosing triathlon gear, it is important to consider all events of a triathlon as well as the transitions between the events. Your cycling needs will be different from your running needs, but you may be wearing some of the same clothing during both legs of the competition, so you will need clothing that can handle both events. The swimming leg differs the most from the other two legs of the race, so the triathlon gear you will need for swimming will be unique. Consider comfort and performance when choosing your triathlon gear, but also keep cost in mind if you are on a budget.
For the cycling and running legs of the race, be sure to choose triathlon gear that is moisture wicking. Such clothing will transfer moisture away from the body to ensure comfort and control over body temperature. While these materials are generally more expensive than cheaper cotton materials, the investment will be worthwhile; this is one area in which splurging for the better triathlon gear will ensure a better race. When choosing shorts, choose a pair with several panels of material rather than just one or two panels. This will ensure a better fit and less shifting during competition. The pad inside the shorts should be minimal — just enough to provide some padding while riding the bicycle, but not enough to interfere with your running stride.
The swimming leg of the triathlon will require a wetsuit, or — depending on water temperature — a good bathing suit. A wetsuit will cost more money than a simple bathing suit, but is designed to help you move through the water more quickly. Choose a triathlon wetsuit that fits snugly and is made from performance materials, but also one that fits within your budget. Remember to invest in a good pair of goggles that will fit snugly and resist fogging.
Perhaps one of the most important pieces of triathlon gear you will have to purchase is the pair of running shoes. Your running shoes should be lightweight and fit snugly. Choose a pair that lets the foot breathe; a pair that allows moisture to escape from to help keep the foot dry and comfortable. The shoes should be sufficiently padded in the heel and the ball of the foot to provide comfort throughout the race.
Also extremely important for a triathlon is the bicycle. There are a variety of types of racing bicycles, some built specifically for triathletes. Be sure to choose a bicycle that fits you well; most bike shops can help you get properly fitted, and they can also help you choose a helmet that fits snugly and is reasonably aerodynamic.