Tech suits are easily one of the most important and critical pieces of competition swimming equipment- and one of the most expensive as well. These suits can have a big effect on your performance in the water and can help you to shave off that extra bit of time that you need to qualify for that big championship meet or swim team, break that big record, or claim that podium position you’ve always dreamed off.
So with that said, you are probably wondering- well how long do tech suits last?
Tech suits last about ten swimming meets or about 30 to 40 swims. Once the tech suit starts to stretch out and lose its water repellency, it won’t provide optimal performance benefits anymore. Keep in mind these numbers can be increased by taking good care of your tech suit.
That might not sound like a long time for such an expensive piece of swimming equipment, but if you think about it 20 to 30 races is a lot and if it means that you are able to snatch that important qualifying time due to the added performance enhancement then it’s totally worth it.
By the way, if you want to know how much time you can expect to drop with a tech suit or if they make a difference at all, you might want to check out these articles- how much time does a tech suit drop? and do tech suits make a difference?
Also, just because the suit starts to hold some more water and provide less compression than it would in its prime stages doesn’t mean it’s completely done for and that you should throw it away, in a lot of cases the suit will still provide decent to good performance enhancement for another probably about 20 swims before it really starts to soak up the water and fall apart at which point it starts to become useless.
Some tech suits will also last longer than others, depending on the brand of the suit. Personally, I’ve found the TYR Venzo to be very durable and to also pack some solid features. Speedo, Arena, Finis, Jaked, and Dolfin tech suits are also great options and are usually your best bet in terms of tech suit quality and performance.
If you’d like to read a little more about these swimming brands as well as some other good options you can check out my article on the best swimming brands.
Need a new tech suit? Check out our guide on the best tech suits currently available by clicking here.
How to Know If It’s Time for a New Tech Suit
As we briefly discussed a bit earlier- all tech suits are not created equal. Some are better in terms of performance, others in terms of durability and some better in both scenarios.
Thus the guidelines for how long your tech suit will last may be cut shorter or extended a bit depending on what suit you have and how well you take care of it.
The thing is that it will probably be a bit different from swimmer to swimmer depending on what events you swim, the amount of chlorine in the pool, and so on and so forth.
So for that reason, I want to give you some indications that you can look for in your tech suit to know whether or not it is time for a new and fancy tech suit-
Compression: muscle compression is an important feature of a tech suit and helps to activate your muscles as well as to increase blood circulation for improved performance. Usually, in the beginning, compression will be very high and it will be quite uncomfortable to even wear your tech suit.
After a few swims, the tech suit should’ve adjusted to your fit, but it will still be highly compressive. Keep in mind, if you buy a distance/ multi-racer tech suit the initial compression may be slightly lower, you just have to remember how the suit felt when you first got it.
As the suit gets older the compression will fade. Once compression feels at about half of what it was in the beginning you can consider letting the suit go.
Water-repellency: All tech suits are designed to be water-repellent as to cut drag and help you slide through the water more easily. As the suit gets older it will start holding more and more water.
A little water is alright as it will still be faster than a regular training suit, but once the suit starts getting completely soaked after a race you may want to consider upgrading.
Lower-end budget suits will also usually lose their water-repellency faster than higher end tech suits.
How long it takes to get the suit on: This has to do with the stretch and also a little bit with the compression of the suit. As the suit stretches out it won’t be as effective anymore and it’s compression will also reduce.
In the beginning, it might take you 30 minutes to get your suit on, after a couple of swims once the suit has adjusted it might take you 20-25 minutes, and as the suit stretches out more and more that time will reduce.
(These numbers are just examples).
Once the suit is really stretched out it will only take you a couple of minutes to get it on which at this point you should consider picking up a new tech suit.
Seams and threads: Paying attention to the seams and threads on your tech suit may also give you an indication of the condition of your tech suit. Over time, seams will stretch out and won’t be as watertight anymore and some threads will start to come loose.
Keep in mind, a few threads that have raffled out usually aren’t a bad thing and that happens with most suits anyway.
Once the seams are feeling loose and not keeping water out anymore and threads are raffling out all around the edges of your suit it’s probably an indication to get a new tech suit.
If you are in a need of a new tech suit, here are some good options:
Top Pick Overall
Middle and Long Distance Swimmers
Swimmers on a Budget
If you need more help, consider reading these articles:
- Best tech suits for every event- the expert review
- Best tech suits for butterfly
- Best tech suit for backstroke
- Best tech suits for breaststroke
- Best tech suits for freestyle
- Best tech suits for distance swimmers
- Best tech suits approved for swimmers 12 and under
- Best budget tech suits
What You Should Do with Your Old Tech Suits?
Now once it’s time for a new suit you might be wondering what you should do with your old tech suit? Throw it away? In most cases not.
You see, as mentioned earlier old suits still have about 20 or so swims left in them before they are really completely done for and useless. Obviously, you don’t want to use a suit that isn’t in its prime condition anymore as it may cost you that gold medal or qualifying time, but at the same time it will seem like a waste to just throw away a $200+ tech suit just because it isn’t in top condition anymore.
What I like to do is to keep these suits for smaller meets or for the heats. This way I save my new tech suits for when it really matters- like in the finals, or for the big championship or qualifying meets.
Also, keep in mind, that occasional time here and there where your coach might ask you to come to do some fast race pace swims in training with an old tech suit if you have one- then it’s always nice to be able to do that and go really fast in training.
Plus if you swim in a big club the chances are quite good that there’s also a younger guy or gal on the team that may have never swum with a tech suit before. Occasionally, if it fits the situation you can also give away that old suit to a younger swimmer that will find use in it but may not have any need to purchase their own tech suit just yet.
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How to Make Your Tech Suit Last Longer: 5 Important Steps
Now that we’ve covered roughly how long you can expect a tech suit to last, I want to give you 5 important tips/ steps that you should follow every time you finish a day of racing with your tech suit.
1. Buy the Correct Size Tech Suit
The first step might sound a bit dumb to some swimmers, but in the end, it will determine how long your tech suit lasts. Some swimmers and parents size up when purchasing a tech suit with the idea that the swimmer will be able to wear it for longer since they’ll take longer to grow it out.
This is really counter-productive, as the suit only has a limited number of swims anyway, a bigger size will reduce the performance of the suit, and as the suit stretches out it will take less time for the performance to degrade as it is already bigger than it should be from the get-go.
So honestly just save yourself the hassle and purchase a tight and compressive suit from the start, trust me it will stretch out a bit after a few swims and will sit much more comfortably.
For help with finding the right size for your tech suit, you may want to consult my tech suit sizing guide.
2. Rinse Out Your Tech Suit with Cold Water
Once you’re done swimming for the day and you take off your tech suit, the first thing you want to do is to thoroughly rinse it out with cold water. This is going to remove the majority of the pool chemicals and chlorine that may cause damage to your suit by slowly eating away at the fibers over time.
Once you’ve rinsed it out, just place it in a towel, fold the towel up and carry it home like that in your swim bag which brings us to step number 3.
3. Soak Your Tech Suit in a Dechlorinating Agent
This step isn’t necessary but by doing it you’ll definitely be maximizing the lifespan of your tech suit. As mentioned, chlorine and other pool chemicals nip away at the fibers of your suit over time so getting them out will help to increase the lifespan of your tech suit.
Using a dechlorinating agent can get out 99.9% of the chemicals. This might sound a little complex and like effort but if you purchase a little tub of sodium thiosulfate and mix it with a bucket of distilled water (not tap water) you’ll create a nice dechlorinating agent.
You can easily purchase some Sodium Thiosulfate from Amazon if you wish, just click here to view some options.
Then all you want to do is thoroughly soak your tech suit in your homemade dechlorinating agent for a minute or two and then move onto step 4.
4. Allow Your Tech Suit to Air Dry
Allowing your tech suit to air dry on a flat surface is a critical step in maximizing its lifespan. Any heat sources like direct sunlight, tumble dryers, hair blowers, etc. will damage the fibers of your suit and will ultimately reduce its lifespan by causing it to stretch out faster.
Once, you’ve either rinsed out your suit with cold water, soaked it in the dechlorinating agent- or both. You want to allow it to air dry on a flat surface.
I recommend throwing your towel out on a table or on the floor and laying your suit flat until it is dry. Keep it somewhere warm where the suit will dry out but don’t place it in direct sunlight or near artificial heat sources.
5. Don’t Put Your Tech Suit on While It’s Still Wet
The last tip I have for you is to preferably avoid putting your tech suit on while it is still wet. I know this might not always be possible for swimmers who only have one suit (another use for old tech suits), but try to give it time to dry out completely.
Putting on a wet tech suit will cause it to stick to your skin and will inevitably stretch it out as you try to get it on.
Need a new tech suit? Check out our guide on the best tech suits currently available by clicking here.
Your Tech Suit Will Last Longer If You Take Care of It
Tech suits are a wonderful piece of swimming equipment but still very expensive, and that is why you should take good care of your tech suit. I recommend following all of the tips in this article and looking for signs that it might be time for a new suit.