The last thing you want to worry about mid-workout is whether your shorts will stage a wrestling match with your knees or if your strappy suit will leave a little too much exposed. We asked professional surfers, stand-up paddleboarders, swimmers, and triathletes to share the swimwear they rely on.
Virus ST3 Origin Active Shorts ($ 54)
Slater Trout, Stand-Up Paddleboarder
Training in Virus shorts comes down to a feeling of freedom, says Slater Trout, a world championship medalist in stand-up paddleboarding. “They feel like air when I train in them,” he says. “I hate shorts that bind up over your knees, and these sit just above the knee for a clean fit. They also have a wide leg, which also makes them great for the gym, running, and biking.” Though the fabric is light, Trout says it’s durable. “I’ve put hundreds of hours of pure abuse on them and they’re holding up just fine.”
Rip Curl Mirage Conner Spin Out Boardshorts ($ 55)
Conner Coffin, Surfer
When it comes to shorts, Conner Coffin says these Rip Curls are the Goldilocks of the surfing world: “I like a bit of bright color but not too bright, stretchy but not too stretchy, short but not too short,” says the 24-year-old rising star who is currently ranked tenth in the world in his sport. Coffin partnered with his sponsor Rip Curl to design just-right boardshorts for training. “My latest,” he says, “is a stylish take on technical shorts.” The fabric is a blend of polyester and elastane, which has just the right amount of stretch to move freely on the board, says Coffin, but not so much that the shorts feel baggy.
TYR Trinityfit ($ 55)
Kelsi Worrell, Swimmer
“Fit is the biggest challenge in swimsuits, and it’s what I like most about this one-piece,” says Kelsi Worrell, a 2016 Olympic gold medalist and TYR ambassador. “The straps on the TYR Trinityfit have just enough tension to stay in place but aren’t tight and don’t limit my movement at all. I can do a two-hour workout and my shoulders still feel great. I also feel secure and comfortable in the suit. When I push off, there’s not a lot of drag on my back or front, so the suit isn’t limiting me, which is what you want in swimwear.” Worrell also likes the colors. Her favorites: pink with orange straps and bright yellow.
Roka Elite HD One-Piece Power Back Swimsuit ($ 60)
Meredith Kessler, Triathlete
“This suit is about as comfortable as it gets in the water,” says Meredith Kessler, five-time Ironman New Zealand champion. “The lower cut around the hips and higher cut and compression around the chest make it so I do not need to worry about being exposed or getting a wedgie every flip turn.” Kessler also appreciates the fit—snug and secure with minimal drag. “I really feel comfortable in it. I don’t have to triple check to make sure everything is perfectly positioned. I just slide it on and dive in.”
Speedo Mesh Drag Suit ($ 28)
Ryan Murphy, Swimmer
“I’m one of the few swimmers who likes to wear a drag suit to train in,” says Ryan Murphy, a three-time Olympic gold medalist and world record holder in the 100-meter backstroke. “When I have this suit on, I have to pull and kick harder to keep my body on the surface of the water, and I can feel my catch and stroke more with the added resistance.” Murphy pairs the drag suit with traditional Speedo briefs for more versatile workouts, wearing the drag for part of his yardage and slipping it off for quick, fast intervals.
Arena Mast Light Tech Back Suit ($ 68)
Haley Anderson, Swimmer
Haley Anderson, the national 5K open-water champion, loves the simple, no-fuss aspects of this classic suit. “The Mast Tech has been my practice suit for years now,” she says. “The cut and fit is comfortable and snug but leaves room to move around, and the material stands up well to chlorine without fading or stretching out. For those who like a little less coverage for sunny outdoor training, I highly recommend this suit.”
Roka SIM Pro II Shorts ($ 72)
Jesse Thomas, Triathlete
These neoprene shorts let Jesse Thomas, six-time Wildflower Triathlon champion and three-time Ironman winner, mimic racing in a wetsuit without the downsides of training in one. “They’re shorts, so obviously they’re a lot easier to get on than a regular wetsuit, and you won’t roast in the pool in them,” says Thomas. The center panel traps air to improve buoyancy, while less float on the sides helps you rotate properly. “They lift my midsection to where my body alignment is closer to wetsuit feel,” he says.