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15 Top Picks for Tri Gear If You’re on a Budget or a Baller

If you’re giving the triathlon a go for the first time, getting all the necessary gear can seem a little overwhelming — not to mention super pricey. These races do involve three different sports, after all. While you’re always going to need to haul a bunch of belongings to your spot in the transition area, you don’t have to put a serious dent in your bank account to get there. Read on for our top picks for affordable swim, bike and run gear. Plus, find fancier, advanced-tech pieces for those looking to push their multi-sport performance into high gear. 

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Swim, Bike, Run: Your Guide to Triathlon Gear for Every Budget

Affordable Swim Essentials

1. Speedo MDR 2.4 polarized goggles
These bestselling goggles by Speedo boast large, anti-fog lenses that stretch over your eye socket for a comfortable fit that keeps water out. They’re also polarized to help cut glare on sunny race-day mornings. ($33, speedousa.com)

2. 2XU A:1 Active wetsuit
You could always rent a wetsuit from a local triathlon shop — you will definitely want one in open water — but to have one of your own, go for this one by 2XU. It features a thickened, coated chest panel meant to keep you higher in the water, and therefore reduce drag and pick up the pace. The strap connected to the back zipper also makes it easy to slip in and out of the wetsuit so you can cut your transition time. ($300, 2xu.com)

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Splurge-Worthy Wetsuit

3. Roka Maverick X wetsuit
If you want a seriously efficient stroke, snag this high-end, worth-the-steep-price-tag model by Roka. Designed with an arms-up construction, it gives you the flexibility and freedom to move fast. And when you start feeling fatigued, the internal taping offers support for your core, helping you maintain proper form as you freestyle. The neoprene is also super durable, so you can wear it swim after swim after swim. ($900, roka.com)

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Budget-Friendly Must-Buys for Biking

4. Cannondale Synapse Disc Tiagra bike
This bike is a great option for a tri newbie. Its lightweight frame absorbs shock to make for a comfortable ride and helps keep the wheels aligned when you hit bumps, so the ride feels smooth and stable. Its design also lets you sit between a forward race position and an upright posture, which can boost your confidence while still keeping you comfy on long rides. ($1,250, cannondale.com)

5. Bell Stratus MIPS helmet
A moderately priced helmet that’s lightweight and super-breathable, meet the Bell Stratus MIPS. With tons of ventilation, your head always stays cool, no matter how hot the race-day weather. It includes an adjustable dial that you can tighten or loosen for a perfectly snug fit, which is easy to do in transition or even while you pedal thanks to the large size. ($150, bellhelmets.com)

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6. Pearl Izumi Elite Pursuit Tri Suit
The easiest way to breeze through transitions is in a tri suit that you’ll wear for all three activities. (It’ll go under your wetsuit for the swim.) This design has a fabric made to keep you cool, a quick-dry chamois — so your seat doesn’t feel soggy as you ride after the swim, but you still get the padding — and two easy-access pockets for storing gummies, lip balm or other mid-race necessities. What’s more: Elastic silicone grippers on the legs keep them from riding up so they stay snugly in place throughout the race. ($145, pearlizumi.com)

7. Shimano TR5W cycling shoes
Get the most power on your two-wheeler with shoes that connect with your pedals, like this pair by Shimano. An asymmetrical loop at the heel makes these simple to pull on when you’re anxiously moving from the water to the road, and the straps and extra-wide collar are easy to secure. Once you’re pedaling, breathable mesh lets air hit your feet to keep them cool and dry. ($130, amazon.com)

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Worth-the-Price Bike Upgrades

8. Specialized Shiv Expert bike
If you get super into racing, especially long-distance triathlon courses, investing in a tri-specific bike like the Shiv is smart. The aero bars above the front tire make for a comfortable extended position for your arms as you pedal, while the carbon frame is extra aerodynamic. A bonus on this bike: There are storage compartments for water and mid-ride snacks built right into the frame. ($3,800, specialized.com)

9. Giro Aerohead MIPS helmet
Wearing a regular bike helmet is fine…until you start getting serious about shaving the most minutes off your finish time. Then, you might consider getting an extra efficient model like this offering by Giro. Its polycarbonate shell and ventilation are designed to keep your head cooler as you ride. ($250, giro.com)

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10. Saris SuperClamp EX bike tray

A bike rack makes traveling to your tri ten times easier, especially if you’re racing with a friend and have two bikes to transport. This lightweight option by Saris easily connects to your car and carries up to two bikes. Bonus: It doesn’t have any contact with your bike frame, so it stays protected and scratch-free. ($470, saris.com)

11. Smith Attack Max sunglasses
These sunglasses will elevate your performance by blocking bright sunlight — and keeping bugs and road debris from messing with your vision. They come with two interchangeable Chromapop lenses (switch them up depending on the level of sunlight) that’ll increase visibility on both your bike and run. Adjust the two-position nosepiece for a perfect fit. ($250, smithoptics.com)

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Gotta-Get Running Sneakers Made for Miles

12. Asics Noosa FF sneakers
Featuring a seamless mesh, slipping into these Asics triathlons shoes means you can run sans socks. Their elastic laces and grips on the heel and tongue let you pull them on and take off. To finish it, the FlyteFoam soles keep them super-lightweight. So you’ll basically feel like you’re flying when you step off the bike and head into the final leg of the race. ($140, asics.com)

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Quality Accessories for All Three Sports

13. TomTom Spark 3 Cardio

Want to track your pace through the swim, bike and run? This watch by TomTom will gather all your stats from the swim start to the post-run finish line without breaking the bank. It has a built-in heart rate monitor, a large face that’s easy to read on the go, one button to simply switch as you move from sport to sport, and a ventilated band to stay comfy and cool on your wrist. ($190, tomtom.com)

14. Fitletic Hydra 12-oz hydration belt

Attach your race number to the toggles on this belt before the race and leave it in transition; pull it on easily after you finish the swim. This belt boasts a pouch big enough to hold your phone, elastic loops to hold onto mid-race nutrition, and two bottles to keep sports drink or water with you as you go. Staying fueled just got simple. ($42, fitletic.com)

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Top Tracker If You’re Willing to Pay Up

15. Garmin Forerunner 935

The Forerunner 935 is one of the sleekest, lightweight triathlon watches out there. It manages to track all your stats, including distance, calories burned and elevation, while allowing for easy toggling on the go, as well as heart rate monitoring. The best part: It analyzes your VO2max (one of the best markers of fitness level) and scores your workouts, telling you whether you’re over- or undertraining or at optimal performance. ($499, garmin.com)

Disclosure: All products featured on our site are hand-picked by our editorial team in the hopes of getting you closer to your health and fitness goals. We only recommend products we love and believe that you will, too. If you come across an affiliate link on our site, that means we receive a small commission should you decide to make a purchase.