5 Best Triathlon Shorts for Women in 2022

Image of Woman on bike wearing triathlon shorts

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Introduction

Depending who you ask and when, triathletes will tell you that finding the best triathlon shorts is almost as important as finding the best bike.

Badly fitting or badly manufactured and designed triathlon shorts can not only slow you down but can also cause discomfort and pain.

What is the difference between bike shorts and tri shorts?

Regular bike shorts are designed for the road, this means that they have more padding in the seat area. Triathlon shorts have far less padding which means that there is less water retention for activities after your swim,you don’t need to tell me how uncomfortable or indeed painful it could be sitting on a bike with an ocean of cold water between you and the bike seat.

We have looked around to find the best triathlon shorts out there, we reckon that the best triathlon shorts  for women in 2022 overall are Castelli Free 2 Tri Short but there are a few more out there that you may like too. Let’s take a look.

Best women’s triathlon shorts overall

Castelli Free 2 Tri Short

Best Overall Triathlon Shorts
Castelli Free 2 Tri Short
$119.99
  • Flat stitching for additional comfort
  • Really quick to dry
  • Comfortable in all three stages of the event.
  • Made by a pedigree sportswear manufacturer
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05/26/2022 07:01 pm GMT

We reviewed the male version of these shorts in the past and we were very impressed, so too with the womens version which comes out as our best overall triathlon short. 

Castelli says they can trace their history back to 1876 when they were making soccer kits for the likes of AC Milan and Juventus. In the 1910’s they began making cycling gear for 5 time Giro champion Alfred Binda. They continued to develop through the years and have become one of the leading manufacturers for the sport but still retaining the “eye for detail” first demonstrated by Milanese tailor Vittore Gianni in the 19th century.

The Castelli Free 2 Tri short is a body hugging garment although not tight. It’s “free” construction allows for a close anatomical fit whilst remaining extremely comfortable.

Castelli uses an “Instadry Speed Fabric” which is said to retain less water than its competitors and as a result is quicker to dry after the swim. 

Adopting flat-lock stitching throughout, the Castelli are smooth and comfortable in all three disciplines.

They have really good leg grippers (GIRO4) that keep the shorts where they need to be as well as being comfortable to wear, there is also a useful rear pocket big enough for essentials!

The pad (chamois) performs well in the water, it doesn’t absorb much, is quick to dry and provides enough padding for the bike ride.

What we like

  • Beautifully manufactured
  • Flat stitching for additional comfort
  • Really quick to dry
  • Comfortable in all three stages of the event.

What we don’t like

  • Longer leg can deter some riders

Coeur Mari Women’s 5-inch Triathlon Shorts

Coeur(French for heart) is a very interesting company indeed, founded by Kebby Holden, the company’s initial strategy was to design and produce sportswear solely for women.

The Mari Women’s 5” triathlon shorts are a great example of how the “designed for women” ethos has worked out.

Each panel has been designed with female comfort in mind and the chamois is utterly brilliant in terms of comfort in addition to performing very well in water and on the run.Coeur have a very extensive range of garments and they are well worth taking a look at, you can find them at coeursports.com

What we like

  • Seamless design for comfort
  • Chamois is incredibly comfortable in all events
  • Design with a woman in mind
  • Terrific range

What we don’t like

  • All sizes not always available

TYR Sport Women’s Sport Competitor 6-Inch Tri Compression Shorts

TYR Sport Women's Competitor 6-Inch Tri Compression Shorts
$71.99
  • Competitive price
  • Attractive design
  • Good comfort properties in all events
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05/26/2022 07:56 pm GMT

The TYR 6” compression Tri Shorts are a very attractive buy.

They are very competitively priced and give good value for money.

Made from a polyester/spandex blend and as the name suggests, is a compression short that aids recovery.

The TYR comes with a woven drawstring, a single back pocket and integral leg grip.

There is a geometric patterned fabric on the outer leg panel which, to be fair, does make it a more eye-catching garment than some.

What we like

  • Competitive price
  • Attractive design
  • Good comfort properties

What we don’t like

  • Maybe not as durable as some

CANARI Women’s Cycling/Biking Kailua Tri Shorts

Best Budget Shorts
CANARI Women's Cycling/Biking Tri Shorts
$34.99
  • Fantastic price
  • Decent finish
  • Good for training
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05/26/2022 09:51 pm GMT

The Canari Tri Shorts certainly come in at a very good price indeed. 

They are also quite well made and finished, made from Polyester/Spandex blend they fit pretty well. They have an elasticated waistband that is higher than most, the intention is to give the rider additional back support.

The leg gripper was good too, not too tight.

There is a “micro-suede” chamois pad that was reported as “reasonably comfortable”.

What we like

  • Exceptionally low price
  • Decent finish
  • Okay for training

What we don’t like

  • Not as refined and probably not the best for full triathlons

Louis Garneau, Women’s Sprint Tri Shorts

Louis Garneau, Women's Sprint Tri Shorts
$59.99
  • Very comfortable
  • Chamois performs well
  • Pedigree company
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05/26/2022 08:41 pm GMT

Louis Garneau was a Canadian road cyclist who went into garment design and manufacture once his cycling career was over. Starting from his fathers garage in 1983, the company now has nearly 200 employees, Louis is still president of the company and is well known for living and breathing cycling.

The Women’s Sprint Tri Shorts are made from Endurexx, a trade name for their elastane fabric which is very stretchy and figure hugging without feeling too tight. There is also a mesh fabric which is designed to get rid of moisture and cool the rider.

The chamois is named Tri-Air which is basically a 4 way stretch pad which is pierced to allow greater ventilation. The chamois is also coated with an antibacterial solution aimed to reduce the chance of bacterial growth. Nice to know.

The Louis Garneau Women’s Sprint Triathlon Shorts come with a traditional drawstring, decent gripper bands on the thighs and two angles pockets at the back for gels etc.

What we like

  • Very comfortable
  • Pedigree company
  • Chamois performs well

What we don’t like

  • Minimal padding may not suit all riders

FAQs – Best triathlon shorts for women

Q.Can you train in tri shorts?

A. Yes you can, you can train in the water on the bike or on the road in triathlon shorts.

It is, in fact, a good idea to do this as you are replicating the situation you will find yourself on the day of the event.

Q.Do you wear anything under tri shorts?

A. No. Just no.

We could go into detail but the bottom line is that the tri shorts we have reviewed above are all designed specifically to be worn without underwear.

Q.How tight are tri shorts?

A. The common answer, and the correct one, is that triathlon shorts should fit snugly. They should neither be too loose nor too tight, tri shorts that are too tight could cause circulation problems and this should be avoided. Too loose and we get into the realms of chafing, this can range from irritating to downright painful and event stopping.

Q.How long do tri shorts last?

A. In terms of worn hours, you can expect your tri shorts to last between 200 and 400 hours.

Conclusion

As we said right at the beginning of this article, triathlon shorts are a very important part of your triathlon equipment.

There are a few things you need to consider when you buy.

Make sure that the fit is right for you, some shorts are longer in the leg, which may improve your aerodynamics but may make you feel restricted or uncomfortable.

Make sure that the leg grips are tight enough, not too tight but sufficient to stop the shorts riding up.

The seams should be as smooth as possible and although the manufacturers we have reviewed all produce good quality seams, occasionally a bad one gets through. If this is the case, return them, scratchy seams can ruin your training or event.

Not everyone likes them but pockets on your tri shorts can be very beneficial and although you can argue that the pockets create drag and weight, the convenience is normally well worth it.

The main thing to consider when buying tri shorts is comfort, pure and simple, comfortable tri shorts are worth their weight in gold, just ask anyone in the triathlon circuit!

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