How to Choose a Men’s Technical Swimsuit

Man swimming in pool

A technical suit plays a key role in your competition performance, so knowing how to choose the best option is essential. As with most swimming gear, the fit of men’s technical swimsuits often comes down to personal preference and the way you use the suit. However, understanding certain key characteristics and fit considerations can help in the decision-making process.

Check out our men’s technical swimsuit guide to help narrow down your options.

The Benefits of a Tech Suit

Before we go into how to choose a men’s technical suit, let’s talk about why you should buy one in the first place.

While you may intentionally choose a suit with drag during training to improve your strength, you don’t want anything slowing you down in competition environments. The goal of the tech suit is to minimize your drag as you move through the water, allowing for longer glides thanks to the lower water resistance. That reduced drag means you can swim faster with greater efficiency, which results in better performance in the pool.

Bubbles in pool water

To achieve this goal, you need a properly fitting technical suit. A suit that’s too large creates drag and doesn’t stay in place. A suit that’s too small feels uncomfortable — and can even be painful — with the possibility of restricting your movements, cutting off your circulation and making it difficult to breathe. For these reasons, fit is perhaps the most important factor in choosing your suit.

Style of Men’s Tech Suits

The jammer style of swimsuit is a very common option for men’s tech suits. This style looks like a long pair of bike shorts that stops just above the knee, but they come in special fabrics and with special design features to work well for swimming. While the suits are tight and revealing, they do provide more coverage than brief-style suits. Jammer-style tech suits often have silicone grippers along the bottom edge of the legs just inside the leg. These grippers keep the shorts from riding up while you wear them.

You can also find technical suits in a brief or racer style. As the name suggests, these swimsuits look like men’s briefs, but are very snug. Because there is minimal material on this style of tech swimming suit, they allow for a full range of motion. They also minimize drag.

The styling of tech suits uses compression to shape your body to become more hydrodynamic. In the case of men’s suits, they shape your legs so they glide through the water easily without creating more resistance. Whether you choose jammers, briefs or racers, the suit works for actual competitions or for fitness swimming.

Another design feature to consider is a drawstring waist. You may think the tight fit is enough to keep the suit in place, but it’s still a good idea to choose a swimsuit with a drawstring waist. This is particularly important if you do a lot of pushing off the wall for longer-distance swims. The added security of the drawstring lets you tighten the waist so you don’t lose your bottoms on all those turns.

Material and Construction

Tech suits come in a very specific type of material to maximize performance. The fabric typically features woven construction. This allows the fabric to be very thin without sacrificing strength, and makes the suit lightweight and form-fitting, yet still durable enough for you to tug and pull into place. The fabric is specifically designed to repel water and prevent the suit from becoming heavy and sopping wet as soon as you jump in the pool.

Most suits are either primarily polyester or nylon, although they typically include a blend of fabrics to maximize performance. Primarily polyester suits have a tight fit with greater compression and less stretch. These suits typically hold up better with a greater resistance to chlorine. Don’t buy a larger size just because the polyester is less stretchy — you want a snug fit. However, if you’re between sizes, you may want to go up for a good fit.

Primarily nylon suits still have a snug and supportive design, but they have more stretch to them. Nylon suits may not hold up as well as a polyester suit, which means you can expect to replace them a little more often.

If you swim outdoors, look for a suit designed for outdoor use. These suits often have a higher UV rating to withstand the effects of the sun.

UV rays from the sun

Another consideration in the construction is the type of seams on the suit. You can choose between bonded and stitched seams. Some tech suits use bonding agents or special adhesives instead of stitching the seams together. This bonding process reduces drag by creating a flatter fit that’s better able to conform to your body. Look for these bonded seams if performance is crucial, but expect to pay more for this type of seam.

Finding the Perfect Fit

A proper fit keeps the swimsuit in place without letting excess water inside the suit. While you want the suit quite snug, you don’t want to be completely uncomfortable in the water. A suit that’s too small can cause other problems, including distracting you with the discomfort. If the tech suit cuts off your circulation, it’s too tight.

A good comparison is a pair of comfy socks. It should fit snugly and stay in place without creating a pinching feeling. A sausage casing is another good reference — it should keep everything inside and held in place. Your muscles should feel like they’re being held in place while still having the freedom to move as required to complete your swimming strokes.

This same fit should occur from top to bottom. You don’t want a loose fit anywhere along the suit. And since men’s suits only cover the lower part of the body, you don’t need to worry about the fit around the torso.

When it comes to length, you want the suit to hit just above the knees. Aim for about one inch above the knee. If the bottom edge reaches your knees, you may need a smaller suit. If the suit hits higher than one inch above the knee, you may need a larger suit, as a leg cut that hits too high can be uncomfortable and distracting.

However, keep in mind that waist fit is more important than the length.

Another place to check is the rear of the suit. It should fully cover your backside. If it doesn’t, look for either a larger suit or one with a higher cut. The suit shouldn’t go over your navel, but otherwise it’s okay to go a little higher to get the coverage you need.

A special consideration for men is how the suit fits in the crotch area. This is where the inseam comes into play. As with the rest of the suit, you want the crotch area to fit snugly to minimize drag and to feel supportive, but you don’t want it so snug that you can’t properly move your legs and hips.

You can check the fit by trying it on and looking for signs of improper sizing. A suit that’s too large shows the following signs:

  • Wrinkles in the fabric
  • Bagginess
  • You can easily slide two fingers under the fabric
  • Legs hit at the knee
  • The suit slips on easily with little effort

Suits that are too small show the following signs:

  • Restricted leg movement that interferes with your swimming kicks
  • Painful to wear
  • The sense that it cuts off blood flow or affects your breathing
  • A “muffin top” effect along the waistband of the suit, causing your body to spill over the top
  • Legs hit more than one inch above the knee
  • Extreme difficulty getting the suit on

Male and female swimmer in tech suits

Keep in mind that it should take some effort to put on a properly fitting tech suit. If it slips on too easily, the suit is likely too large. Expect to take a while to get the suit on and adjusted properly. However, if it takes extreme effort or an exceptionally long time to get the suit on, you may need to go up a size.

How to Measure Yourself for a Tech Suit

Proper sizing is an essential component of a proper fit. Measuring your body before purchasing is the most accurate way to determine sizing for your tech suit. Don’t base your size on your normal pants size or previous swimming suit sizes. Fashion swimwear often fits differently and doesn’t have the same cut and fit as a tech suit. Suits also tend to stretch out, so your old suit may seem too large, but is actually just stretched out.

Men in particular need to measure instead of ordering a tech suit based on pants size. The sizing on pants is often different based on the style or fit, and may not be accurate for technical swimwear.

When picking the right technical suit for men, take the waist measurements one inch below the navel. That measurement determines the suit size you should wear. A 34-inch waist measurement means you need a size 34 tech swimming suit.

Here are some additional tips for measuring accurately:

  • Use a flexible and soft measuring tape for accuracy — not a metal tape measure.
  • Use a flexible string if you don’t have a soft measuring tape on hand. Hold the string up to a tape measure for accuracy.
  • Measure over bare skin, not over clothing, when possible. If you must measure over clothing, take into account that the clothing adds to the measurement.
  • Ask someone else to take the measurements to ensure accuracy. It’s difficult to tell if you have the measuring tape flat and level when you measure yourself.
  • Ensure the tape is flat without twists in it, to avoid adding excess length to the measurement.
  • Hold the tape firmly against the skin without pulling it tight. If you pull the tape so tight it causes indentations, you aren’t getting an accurate measurement.

Men have a much easier time measuring for a technical swimming suit, since the waist measurement is really the only one you need to take. However, you still need to take the measurements carefully to ensure accuracy.

Male taking measurements of waist

Tips for Choosing Your Tech Suit

With the basics in mind, your selection of a men’s tech suit often comes down to the details. Use these tips as a guide for narrowing down your tech suit options:

  • Set a budget:

    You don’t want to skimp on a cheap tech suit, but you do need to stick to a budget. Decide how much you want to spend on your new suit. Narrow down your search options based on that budget. Fit is much more important than how much you spend. You may find that a $200 suit fits much more comfortably than a $500 suit anyway, so don’t feel like you have to spend more to get a good suit.

  • Forget modesty:

    As we’ve already covered, men’s tech suits fit snugly to reduce drag. That means there’s little left to the imagination, even if you choose the longer jammer style. Accept that tech suits don’t afford much modesty. It makes shopping much easier.

  • Shop online:

    Shopping for tech suits online lets you easily compare the options and search by certain criteria to find your perfect suit.

  • Review the details:

    Check out the information provided for each swimming suit to see if it matches your needs. Some suits are designed for particular types of swimmers, for example. Others are designed for greater resistance to certain factors, such as the sun or chlorine, for longevity. When shopping online, thoroughly read the product details to determine if the suit has the special features that meet your needs.

  • Try it on:

    You won’t know how a suit fits for sure until you try it on. If you buy online, ensure you choose a retailer that allows returns.

  • Evaluate the fit:

    The sizing charts from swimsuit manufacturers and your measurements help guide your selection, but it really comes down to how it feels while you’re wearing it. Don’t rely solely on those sizing guides to choose your suit.

  • Test different positions:

    One way to test the fit of the suit is to recreate different motions and positions you use in the pool while you try on the suit. Try moving your arms the way you do for various strokes. Assume your starting position. Check the fit in those various positions.

  • Try it in the water:

    Don’t wait until a competition to try out your new tech suit. You won’t know how well the suit glides through the water or lets you perform your strokes until you hit the pool. When testing out the suit, try all of the possible strokes you’ll use to ensure you can perform each of them without interference. Another way to test the suit is to dive into the water and let yourself glide in a streamline position until you naturally stop. A suit that fits well makes you feel like you’re continuing to glide through the water without additional force.

Browse Your Options at The Lifeguard Store!

Now that you know how to pick a men’s tech suit, put your newfound skills to the test with our selection of tech swimsuits. We offer a wide range of suit styles to fit your needs and preferences. Our low prices let you get a high-quality technical suit that stays within your budget. Plus, we offer no-hassle returns if you decide the technical suit you order isn’t a good fit.

Start shopping now to improve your performance in the water!