Every season I spend hundreds of dollars on swim gear– goggles, swimsuits, and mesh bags need to be replaced. Fortunately, this isn’t the expensive part.
So what is? Tech suits.
I need to make sure that all of my hard work and countless hours in the pool and gym pays off. And if that means paying for a special swimsuit that can make me swim faster, so be it.
This, however, got me thinking.
Why exactly are tech suits so expensive? Do swimming brands really just charge as much as we swimmers are willing to pay? Or is there more to it?
In this article, I break down several reasons behind the expensive price of tech suits. I also go over the average price and what you can expect to pay for tech suits of different tiers. Finally, I discuss whether or not tech suits are worth it and where you can purchase yours to save some money.
Why Are Tech Suits so Expensive? (And no, Swimming Brands Aren’t Just Greedy)
In this section, I go over several reasons contributing to the expensive costs of tech suits.
It Takes Years to Design and Test a New Tech Suit
In a previous article, I discussed how tech suits can help you swim faster.
This is no accident.
Swimming brands invest a lot of money into the research, design, and testing of their tech suits to produce a suit that can make a substantial difference in your swimming performance.
And it’s not only about improving your swimming performance– but also about creating a suit that’s better and faster than what was previously available.
Large swimming brands hire entire teams of scientists, engineers, and human performance experts to research, design, and test their tech suits. They often collaborate with Olympic-caliber swimmers and, in Speedo’s case, even with NASA to produce the best technology available.
Not only is this process expensive, but it also takes a lot of time (years in many cases), which adds up to costs that the brand will try to make up for when they finally release their new tech suit.
The Special Hydrophobic Fabrics Used In Tech Suits are Costly to Manufacture
Tech suits are made from a variety of materials. The most common fabrics used in tech suits are polyamide and elastane. Other fabrics that are also used include carbon fiber and polyester.
Polyamide and polyester are standard consumer fabrics and aren’t particularly expensive to manufacture. Typically, these fabrics are also found in your regular training suits.
Elastane and carbon fiber, on the other hand, are much more expensive. These fabrics require a complex manufacturing process as well as skilled labor to produce, which drives up their cost.
The fabrics are important for several reasons, such as their hydrophobic and compressive qualities, which help you to swim faster.
On top of this, fabrics are often treated with additional water-repellent coatings to help reduce your drag in the water further.
The Production Process is Complicated
Manufacturing tech suits is much more complicated and expensive than manufacturing traditional swimsuits.
Due to the nature of the product and the fragility and cost of expensive fabrics like elastane and carbon fiber, more intensive quality control will also be required, which further drives up production costs.
Manufacturing tech suits requires skilled labor and special machinery.
For example, unlike regular stitched seams used on traditional swimsuits, tech suits have bonded seams, which require laser bonding.
Many tech suits are also double layered, which adds more complexity to putting them together, compared to traditional swimsuits.
Tech Suits Have to Pass FINA Regulations for Competition Use
If the design and manufacturing of tech suits wasn’t already expensive enough, swimming brands also have to make sure that their suits qualify and pass FINA regulations, which adds another layer of complexity and quality control.
After the ban on the so-called “super suits,” which helped swimmers crush nearly every world record back in 2009, the regulation of tech suits has been much more intensive.
Most swimming meets won’t allow you to race in a tech suit that doesn’t feature a FINA-approved badge.
Tech Suits Aren’t Mass Produced in the Same Way as Regular Swimsuits
As mentioned, tech suits are complicated to manufacture.
Due to this, it’s hard to mass-produce large quantities of tech suits.
The demand for tech suits also isn’t that high compared to regular swimsuits, meaning they are unlikely to be manufactured at mass.
In all likelihood, swimming brands produce tech suits in much smaller batches than other items like regular swimsuits or goggles.
In the end, this adds to the overall cost of the suit.
From a manufacturing standpoint, it’s much cheaper to produce a batch of 10 000 products than a batch of 1000 of that same product.
Swimmers Are Willing to Pay More to Enhance Their Performance
While there are factors that make tech suits much more expensive to manufacture than regular swimsuits, swim brands will inevitably charge more for a product when swimmers are willing to pay that price.
As swimmers, we put in countless hours of training, not only in the pool but also in the gym, on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. Often for years on end.
Sometimes that hard work pays off, and we drop time. Other times it doesn’t, and we plateau.
The fact of the matter is we are willing to go to extreme measures to drop even a few split seconds from the previous season. (This is even more true at the elite level). And if that means paying 400 or 500 dollars for a fancy new tech suit, then that’s what we’ll do.
I should mention (and as I’ve said in many of my other articles on the topic), tech suits only enhance performance; they don’t create it. You still have to put in the hours and effort in the pool and gym.
On top of this, our competitors are most likely racing in these suits as well. So when it comes to championship meets where you are trying to take a podium position or even just make a final, you have to wear a tech suit to avoid being at a disadvantage to your competitors.
Out of interest, you might want to read my article on how much time a tech suit can help you drop. It has a cute little formula to help you calculate this based on your actual times.
What Is the Average Tech Suit Price? I Analyzed 57 Tech Suit Prices
Short Answer: The average combined price for tech suits across all categories (flagship, midrange, and budget) is $261.35 for men and women. For men’s suits only, the average price is $229.12, and for women’s suit’s only, it’s $300.68.
Flagship Tech Suits
Average price for flagship tech suits: The average combined price of tech suits in the flagship price range is $440.09 for men and women. For men’s suits only, the average price is $378.64, and for women’s suits only, it’s $501.54.
|Tech Suit||Men’s Price||Women’s Price|
|Speedo LZR Pure Intent||$400||$600|
|Speedo LZR Pure Valor||$365||$500|
|Arena Carbon Core FX||$400||$550|
|Arena Carbon Glide||$400||$550|
|Arena Carbon Air 2||$325||$450|
|Mizuno GX Sonic V||$400||$530|
|Mizuno GX Sonic Neo||$400||$530|
|FINIS Rival 2.0||$400||$490|
|A3 Performance Phenom||$350||$500|
|A3 Performance VICI||$300||$400|
A Cheat Sheet for Creating the Perfect Swimming Workout and Routine
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Midrange Tech Suits
Average price for midrange tech suits: The average combined price of tech suits in the midrange price range is $237.25 for men and women. For men’s suits only, the average price is $202, and for women’s suits only, it’s $272.50.
|Tech Suit||Men’s Price||Women’s Price|
|Speedo LZR Racer Pro||$190||$210|
|Arena R-Evo One||$180||$250|
|Arena Carbon Duo||n/a||$250|
|Mizuno Sonic MX||$240||$365|
Budget Tech Suits
Average price for budget tech suits: The average combined price of tech suits in the budget price range is $106.73 for men and women. For men’s suits only, the average price is $85.45, and for women’s suits only, it’s $128.
|Tech Suit||Men’s Price||Women’s Price||12 and Under Eligible|
|TYR Fusion 2||$100||$120||Yes|
|Arena Powerskin ST 2.0||$110||$150||Yes|
|FINIS Fuse Jr.||$120||$150||Yes|
|Mizuno Stream Ace||$80||$115||Yes|
|A3 Performance Nova||$105||$125||Yes|
Seeing that tech suits are expensive, I recommend taking good care of them to increase their durability. Read my article on the topic if you’d like to learn how to take care of your tech suit and how long you can expect it to last.
Where to Buy Your Tech Suits for the Cheapest Price?
If you’re looking for the best prices on tech suits, I recommend purchasing from SwimOutlet. They offer a membership program that only costs $5 per year and allows you to buy tech suits and other swim gear at the lowest prices available. On top of this, Swimoutlet also has frequent sales enabling you to purchase your tech suit at an excellent price.
Click here to shop on SwimOutlet.
Are Tech Suits Worth It?
You might wonder if it’s worth paying the expensive price for a tech suit.
And my answer would be yes.
If you’ve gone through all of the hard work of training consistently, eating right, and bringing your A-game every practice (or at least trying to) in an effort to swim faster, drop time, and hit a new PB, then you should also make sure you have the best racing gear to help you achieve that.
If you don’t want to spend as much for a flagship tech suit just yet (which is entirely fair), then I recommend considering investing in a mid-range or budget suit to start with.
If you need help picking the perfect tech suit for you, I recommend checking out some of my tech suit guides:
- Best Tech Suits for Swimming- The Expert Review
- Best Budget Tech Suits for Swimming
- Best Tech Suits for Butterfly Swimmers
- Best Tech Suits for Backstroke Swimmers
- Best Tech Suits for Breaststroke Swimmers
- Best Tech Suits for Freestyle Swimmers
- Best Tech Suits for Swimmers 12 and Under
Yes, Tech Suits are Expensive!
Tech suits are, without a doubt, the most expensive piece of swim gear a swimmer will purchase– and often on a seasonal basis.
That said, these suits are costly to develop and can help you to swim faster, making them worth their expensive price tag.
If you are still on edge, weigh the advantages of tech suits against their cost to consider whether or not they align with your swimming goals.