£375 – www.zone3.com
A swimrun wetsuit has to perform across two completely distinct activities without feeling like it’s made too many compromises. Zone 3’s updated Evolution wetsuit does a good job of this. In the water, flexibility around the shoulders is excellent, the front closing zip is comfortable and makes a good seal and the balance is good, despite being a “shortie”. We also tested the optional removable arm sleeves, which added to upper body comfort in cool water and made swimming feel more like swimming in a regular wetsuit. The suit is one of the lightest we’ve used and the lower half is also extremely flexible so running was comfortable. The nylon coated exterior over the backside is useful additional protection against damage from the inevitable bottom slides into the water that seem to be a routine part of swimrun.
Another feature we liked was the six pockets. Many swimrun wetsuits fall short in this area, either having too few pockets or ones that are difficult to access. The Evolution has two zip pockets on the back (perfect for a small water bottle), a pocket with a flap on each leg and two internal pockets. There’s plenty of storage to carry a good amount of nutrition as well as mandatory equipment such as a whistle and reusable cup.
A number of swimrun wetsuits on the market now have a whistle inbuilt into the front zip. This feature is missing on the Evolution, which is a shame but not a deal-breaker. Some wetsuits also have attachment points for a tow line, which can be useful if you race in a team. However, you can use a race belt instead or simply loop the tow line around your waist.
It’s easy to access and open the front zip if you need to cool off while running. I did, however, find it difficult to roll off my shoulders, which I know some swimrunners like to do while running. Some suits have front and rear zips, which makes this easier. On the other hand, it’s more to deal with on transitions.
Overall, this is a solid choice for a swimrun wetsuit. Although it lacks some of the clips, loops and frills of other suits, we liked its fuss-free design. This is a high-performance suit in water and on land and the pockets are brilliant.