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Would you believe me if I told you that you could improve your swimming performance in the pool just by wearing a swim parka? Well, that is the reality and numerous studies have proven that reducing muscle temperature loss after warm-up can significantly increase sports performance.
One such study (1) aimed to determine the effects of passive insulation following a sprint specific warm-up on muscle temperature and maximal sprint performance. The study was conducted on elite male cyclists.
There was concluded that passive insulation increased both peak and relative power output by 9.6% and cyclist were ultimately able to improve their sprint cycling performance.
Another study (2) investigated the effect of using additional warm-up methods in the transitioning stages between the pool warm-up and the start of a race on elite swimming performance.
The study also concluded that swimmers who did a traditional pool warm-up and then used passive heating (such as parkas) were able to improve their swimming speed and performance.
After all, if you have ever watched an Olympic swimming race (which let’s face it everyone has, swimmer or non-swimmer) you would have probably noticed that most of the swimmers walk out onto pool deck wearing swim parkas.
This is done to keep core body temperature at optimal levels to ensure that swimmers can swim as fast and efficiently as possible.
On a more personal level, how many times have you been in the call room waiting for your race, only to sense your muscles cooling down and tightening up because of some delay on pool deck?
And then again on the other spectrum of things, you have probably also been standing on pool deck at morning swim practice wishing you had something a bit warmer to wait in than your pair of speedos or one-piece swimsuit before jumping in the cold pool water for warm-up.
This is where the good old swim parka takes its place. As a swimmer, the parka is your ultimate friend when it comes to maintaining a good core body temperature before a race and staying warm before or after a hard training session.
Here is a quick list of the best swim parkas for swimmers–
- Arena Pistony Swim Parka
- Speedo Elite Swimming Parka
- TYR Alliance Team Swim Parka
- Speedo Color Block Swimming Parka
- Arena Team Line Swim Parka
- Speedo Team Swimming Parka
- Surf-fur Swim Parka
- Sporti Comfort Fleece-Lined Parka
- Adoretex Swim Parka
- Adidas Swim Parka
1. Arena Pistony Swim Parka
My first pick for a swim parka would be the Arena Pistony Parka. This is one mean looking swim parka that will make you stand out in the call room. It presents polished lines and details and it is packed with awesome features.
The Arena Pistony Parka is manufactured from high-quality polyamide with polar fleece lining included in its design. The Pistony swim parka is quite large and will go down all the way to about the middle parts of your shin, ensuring that you stay warm in between swimming races or practices.
The Arena Pistony swim parka includes zippered side pockets where you can store your racing goggles and caps, your iPod and headphones, or if you’re anything like me- a lot of snacks and energy bars.
Further, the Pistony swim parka has a really comfortable and snug performance fit and it also includes a two-way zipper and snaps running down the front of the parka to maximize body isolation.
Overall, the Arena Pistony Swim Parka is a great option for anyone looking for a clean and comfortable swim parka to keep them warm on pool deck. It has some cool features and I probably shouldn’t forget to mention that the Arena logo on the front looks pretty neat.
2. Speedo Elite Swimming Parka
Next on our list, we have the Speedo Elite Swimming Parka. This is another great swim parka for swimmers looking for a clean and functional parka to keep them warm and ready to crush their swim races.
The Speedo Elite Parka is made from high-quality polyester fabric and it includes a water-resistant exterior and a comfortable quilted fleece liner. The parka has a double front zipper and also includes some pull cord bungees to adjust the parka hood to your personal preferences.
Moving onto some of the storage aspects, the Speedo Elite parka features a 12 inch internal zip pocket where you can keep your race day essentials or anything you would like to carry with you to swim practice. There is also a vent at the back of the parka to allow for air circulation.
All in all, I really like the Speedo Elite Swim Parka. It has some cool features designed to keep you warm, focused and ready on pool deck.
3. TYR Alliance Team Swim Parka
Jumping (or should I say diving) to our next swim parka, we have the TYR Alliance Team Parka. The TYR Alliance Parka is a great looking swim parka with a bit more color and variety than some of the other swim parkas on our list. It also includes a whole bunch of awesome features to satisfy your swimmer needs.
To start, I just want to point out one of the unique features of this parka. It includes an interior zipper pocket with a headphone opening so that you can listen to your favorite pump-up song before that big race. Personally, I thought that was a pretty neat feature to include in there.
The Alliance Team Parka is designed from high-quality polyester material with microfleece lining making it ideal for cold weather and it also prevents wind and moisture from bothering you.
The Alliance Parka is slightly slimmer fitting than other swim parkas, but I find it adds to the uniqueness of the design. It incorporates adjustable raglan sleeves to allow for a more comfortable fit around the arms and to increase your freedom of movement.
Back to the pockets, and we will find that the parka has a few exterior zipper pockets lined with microfleece, as well as an exterior cell phone sleeve pocket with velcro closure. It also includes a lined interior zipper pocket for additional accessories like extra swim caps and goggles.
Lastly, the parka also features an adjustable hood, front and back venting for air circulation and large customizable front and back velcro flaps.
Overall, I am really impressed with the TYR Alliance Team swim parka. It has loads of awesome features, a great and comfortable design, and as a bonus some color, style, and uniqueness to it.
4. Speedo Color Block Swimming Parka
Moving onto our next swim parka, we have the Speedo Color Block Parka. As the name suggests, this is also a bit more of a fun and less serious looking parka with some color dotted in here and there (if you want it).
The Speedo Color Block Parka incorporates a water-resistant shell to keep you protected from all the swimmers who came late for warm-up and need to put in some extra time. Then, on the other hand, the fleece lining keeps you warm and cozy while you wait for them to finish up.
The parka fabric is high-quality polyester, just like most of the other Speedo Parkas. The Color Block parka includes its own internal goggle pocket and has a back vent opening for some air circulation.
There are also two zip pockets included where you can store additional accessories, a 2-way front zip and an adjustable drawstring hood.
All in all, I think the Speedo Color Block swim parka is a really good parka. It has its own unique design, some cool features, and a warm and cozy design.
5. Arena Team Line Parka
Next on our list, is the Arena Team Line Parka. This is another unique swim parka with some great features built in. The most notable characteristic of the Arena Team Line swim parka is its comfortable and warm design.
The Team Line parka is manufactured from a durable and high-quality polyamide exterior and a soft polar fleece interior to increase warmth while wearing.
The Arena Team Line parka has a lot of storage zipper pockets included and has an adjustable hood. There is also a flap over the front zipper to maximize the warmth of the parka.
Overall, the Arena Team Line Parka is an awesome swimming parka for any swimmer looking for a simple, neat, and highly comfortable swim parka to rock onto pool deck.
6. Speedo Team Swim Parka
Moving on, we have the Speedo Team Parka. This is another awesome and neat swim parka with all the standard features you would expect. The Speedo Team swimming parka is available in a few color options. My favorite color for this parka would be the traditional black though since I think it looks the toughest.
The Speedo team parka has a water-resistant outer exterior and it is designed using high-quality polyester with a polyester fleece lining for increased warmth. The parka includes fleece-lined zipper pockets on the outside, as well as an internal zipper pocket for additional accessories.
The hood has drawstrings so that you can adjust it to your personal preferences and there is also a 2-way zip on the front of the swim parka.
All in all, the Speedo Team Parka is an awesome and basic swim parka, with a couple of cool color options and a good design guaranteed to provide swimmers with all the warmth and comfort they’ll need.
7. Surf-fur Swimming Parka
Next on our list is a great swimming parka from a less traditional swim brand going by the name of surf-fur. This is a really cool and unique looking swim parka with some cool features built into its design.
The surf-fur parka is constructed from high-quality fabric designed to be wind- and waterproof, ultimately ensuring maximum warmth when needed. The parka has a deep moulded hood, along with deep front pockets and an internal pocket for your iPod or other important swim gear.
One of the cool and unique features of this parka is that you can flip it inside out if you ever wanted to or if you somehow managed to get the inside wet after a tiresome swim race.
The Surf-fur swim parka has high-quality snaps instead of zippers. According to Surf-Fur these snaps are superior to zippers since they maximize warmth, won’t bunch and are far more durable.
When we take a closer look at the design of the Surf-Fur swim parka we will quickly notice that this is a really warm and cozy swim parka. This is great for those really cold days at swim practice or when you need to warm up quickly before a race.
Overall, the Surf-Fur Parka is a really great swimming parka for swimmers with its own unique design and all the features you’ll ever need. Yes, it may not be a parka from one of the traditional swim brands, like Arena, TYR, or Speedo, but it still guarantees a really high-quality parka.
8. Sporti Comfort Fleece-Lined Swim Parka
Through my experience of competitive swimming and writing a lot of swimming-related articles, I have grown quite fond of some of Sporti’s products.
They deliver some really nice gear for the most part. I actually included one of their prescription swim goggles in one of my articles just the other day, you can check it out by clicking here.
Anyway, back to the topic. The Sporti swim parka is a great way to stay warm in between long races and swim practices in the cold parts of the swimming season. Another benefit of the Sporti parka is that it comes in at a slightly lower price than most of the other parkas, making it a good budget option.
The Sporti swimming parka is water-resistant and fleece-lined for increased warmth. It is manufactured from high-quality and long-lasting fabric and it includes large front and back velcro flaps for some customization.
This swim parka also includes a zipper pocket specially designed for MP3 players and other music devices. There is an exterior cell phone sleeve pocket with a velcro closure and a hidden chest pocket at the front.
The hood comes with adjustable drawcords and there is a double zipper at the front of the swim parka.
All in all, the Sporti Comfort Fleece-Lined swimming parka is a great option for swimmers looking for a basic, affordable, and functional swim parka with all the necessary features required on race day.
9. Adoretex Swim Parka
The Adoretex swim parka is available in a wide range of colors and it also includes all of the standard parka features. First of all, the Adoretex swimming parka is made from high-quality fabric with soft interior fleece lining.
The fleece lining on the Adoretex swim parka keeps you warm and cozy on cold training days and blocks out the heat in the summer months. The parka is quick to dry if you manage to get it wet and includes a 2-way zipper at the front.
When it comes to storage you won’t be disappointed. The Adoretex swim parka has not one, but 2 fleece-lined exterior zipper side pockets and one sleeve pocket with velcro closure to provide additional storage space.
The hood is adjustable and also lined with fleece to increase warmth. Lastly, the Adoretex swimming parka has a unique feature for personalizing your parka. On the inside, you will locate a pre-sewed name label so that you don’t have to pay extra for name embroidery.
Overall, the Adoretex swim parka is great for any swimmer looking for a neat and functional swim parka coming in at a budget price.
10. Adidas Swim Parka
And then last, but certainly not least, we have the Adidas Swim Parka. Once again this is a good swim parka with all the standard features, but nothing that really makes it stand out from some of the other parkas on this list.
Whether you choose this parka or not is simply going to depend on personal preference. The Adidas swim parka is manufactured from quality fabric and it’s fully lined for optimal warmth. There are zipper pockets at either side and the hood is adjustable.
All in all, it’s a decent swim parka with everything you will require to stay warm and ready on the pool deck.
How to choose a swim parka- a few things to consider:
Now that we have covered some of the best swim parkas for swimmers to stay warm in between races or swim practices on those cold days, we are going to take a look at some things to consider before deciding which swimming parka would be best for you.
It is important to remember that the main reason why you are investing in a parka is to keep you warm and isolated in between races or training sessions. Therefore it is important to choose a parka designed from high-quality isolation and waterproof fabric such as polyester for example.
Another benefit of choosing a swim parka made from quality material is the durability. The higher the quality of the material, the longer your swim parka will last. Luckily, you can be assured that all of the parkas on our list will meet these standards.
Nearly all swim parkas come with fleece or faux fur lining on the interior. Therefore it’s always a good idea to consider when you are going to be wearing your parka since there are differences between the lining fabrics.
For those swimmers who are planning on wearing their parka straight after a race, the fleece lining may be preferred since it is quicker to dry. Faux fur lining would most likely be preferred by swimmers, coaches, and spectators who are planning to wear their parkas only when they are dry.
Parka pockets and storage:
The third factor to consider when choosing a swim parka is the number of pockets and storage spaces available.
Naturally, some swimmers tend to carry more accessories with them like headphones, snacks, and extra goggles and caps. While other swimmers prefer to only keep the essentials with them.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide how much storage you will require in your swim parka and then take it into consideration when making your decision.
Parka ventilation can be another highly important aspect to consider. Some swimmers may be slightly worried about overheating, which can actually also cause a hindrance in swimming performance. Therefore, you might want to choose a swim parka that allows for air ventilation.
Most swim parkas will come with some form of underarm vents or back flaps, ultimately allowing for extra air circulation through your parka.
This would seem like a pretty obvious one right? And sure, it is, but you need to ensure that your swim parka doesn’t only fit you well, but that it is also the optimal length. Ideally, it should come down to at least below your knees to ensure good isolation and protection from the elements.
Answering some additional swim parka questions.
What is the best swimming parka?
The best swimming parka is the Arena Pistony swim parka. This is an awesome and neat parka with a lot of great and functional features packed into its design. The Arena Pistony parka is designed from high-quality polyamide with polar fleece lining on the interior.
Although the Arena Pistony swim parka would be our first pick, we still highly recommend the Speedo Elite parka and the TYR Alliance team parka if you think they would suit you better.
How do you wash a swim parka?
With time your swim parka will probably become a bit dirty. Therefore, it is important for you to know how to take care of your parka and how to clean it.
If your swim parka needs a wash, you can either wash it with a gentle cleanser in your sink or you could consider using a washing machine. If you do decide to use a washing machine, I recommend washing the parka in cool water with modest soaps. Avoid using bleach or fabric softeners when washing your parka.
Are all parkas waterproof?
The larger majority of swim parkas are water-proof, but unfortunately not all of them. I recommend that you take a quick glimpse of the specifications on the parka before investing in one. Luckily for you, all the swimming parkas on our list are waterproof or water-resistant so you really have nothing to fear.
All in all, swim parkas are a great way to keep you warm and isolated on those cold racing or training days. They also provide additional features that can come in useful like zipper pockets, wind protection, and water-resistant fabric.
Whether you go with a basic swim parka or one with all the luxurious features, you are certain to adore your swim parka every time you slip it on.
Below is a quick summary of the best swim parkas for swimmers-
|Swim Parka||Color Options||Our parka rating out of 10|
|1. Arena Pistony Parka||2 colors||10/10|
|2. Speedo Elite Parka||1 color||10/10|
|3. TYR Alliance Parka||5 colors||10/10|
|4. Speedo Color Block Parka||8 colors||9/10|
|5. Arena Team Line Parka||3 colors||9/10|
|6. Speedo Team Parka||5 colors||9/10|
|7. Surf-fur Water Parka||1 color||9/10|
|8. Sporti Comfort Fleece Lined Parka||10 colors||8/10|
|9. Adoretex Swim Parka||21 colors||8/10|
|10. Adidas Swim Parka||4 colors||7/10|
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Source 1- Loughborough University
Source 2- Research Instute of Sport and Science (University of Canberra)