How do I Choose the Best Triathlon Shorts?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 27 January 2020
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Triathlon shorts are a crucial piece of triathlon equipment, and a triathlete will spend the majority of the race in them. Choosing the best triathlon shorts means examining your personal needs and taking the materials into account. Since every person's body is different, a pair of shorts that works wonderfully for one person may be extremely uncomfortable for another, but the general guidelines are the same: choose triathlon shorts that are not too bulky in the seat, that are high cut in the rear for cycling, and that are made from several panels of material instead of just one or two.

If a pair of triathlon shorts is made from several panels sewn together, that pair is likely to fit more snugly and comfortably than a pair that only uses one or two panels of material. The different panels allow the triathlon shorts to mold to the body more effectively, eliminating any baggy spots that may cause discomfort. When choosing a pair of multi-paneled triathlon shorts, be sure to note the location and bulk of the seams. Seams that are located on or near where the buttocks will rest on a bicycle seat can cause discomfort, and seams raised high off the shorts can cause hot spots and blisters.


The length of the shorts depends largely on your preference and the style of the moment. Many triathlon shorts extend down the full length of the thigh and stop somewhere just above the knee, while others are much shorter. The length up the back should be long enough to reach above the lower back, providing more comfort and coverage when bent over on a bicycle. The front of the shorts should be fairly low cut to avoid bulking up when bent over.

One of the most important considerations when choosing triathlon shorts is the material. Cotton will absorb moisture and will not dry out quickly, which means you will be wearing shorts that are weighed down and likely to cause discomfort. Look for moisture-wicking materials that will transfer moisture away from the body to enhance comfort and help regulate body temperature. As the body sweats, such materials will transfer the moisture away from the body, ensuring you don't get hot spots from friction, and that your body temperature does not drop significantly in cold conditions.


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