Redefining the tri-suit

Together with industry partners HeiQ and REGNA, Deakin have used innovative technology and design to develop a new and better performing tri-suit for elite triathletes.

Project aim

The aim of this project was to develop the best tri-suit for elite female and male athletes. We set out to understand what athletes wanted and to investigate whether there were any issues with tri-suits currently on the market. As triathlons are made up of three distinct sports, and athletes' body morphology varies, we determined that a one-size-fits-all approach wouldn't work.

Discovering athletes' needs

During our investigations, we contacted a number of top-tier elite triathletes who reported back to us with honest and surprising feedback.

The main complaints we received regarding tri-suits were about poor material choices, design and cut of the garments. We found that two-thirds of all elite females modified their tri-suit for competition and that all of the athletes that did this reported a perceived performance benefit.

Each athlete needs clothing that fits them, is comfortable and fast in the water, on the bike, and throughout the run. As there is no typical body type in triathlon competition these needs are heightened.

Developing the new tri-suit

The development process for the tri-suit went from idea to research, design and development, multiple iterative loops, fabrication and real-world testing.

Our focus began on the intelligent selection of materials and surface coatings that feel lightweight even when soaked from sweat. For this, we used the properties of products developed by our industry partner HeiQ: SmartTemp and HeiQ RealSilk. HeiQ's SmartTemp is a product that senses body temperature changes and activates or deactivates cooling accordingly. RealSilk, developed and manufactured on site at Deakin’s ManuFutures facility, increases the next-to-skin comfort and helps reduce chafing.

Through both partners HeiQ and REGNA, our tri-suit utilises Swiss-tech surface coatings, Italian-milled fabrics and Australian design and engineering.

We used lead user analysis and tested a range of aspects including:

  • aerodynamics
  • hydrodynamics
  • individual and preferred compression profiles
  • built 3D avatars for all of our test athletes
  • examined cooling and comfort levels.

Our testing has shown performance benefits through the use of this technology and design, and the athletes who have tested the tri-suit have all reported significant feedback in terms of qualitative and quantitative results.

Partner with us

We use high-end data-driven design and engineering to develop technical apparel and outerwear. Our tri-suit is available commercially and we invite you to contact us to discover the benefits for you.

For more information, please contact Associate Professor Paul Collins.
+61 3 5227 3428
Email A/Prof Paul Collins

*Ryan Fisher volunteered to test our tri-suit and did not receive any payment.