Team Ultraswimrun was recently given the opportunity to try the new ORCA RS1 and Zone3 Evolution swimrun wetsuits. We took them out into the Stockholm archipelago and put them through some thorough trials – Ultraswimrun style.
We tested the wetsuits in both bad and somewhat sunny weather, and the water was really cold, just below 4.5 degrees Celsius.
The ORCA RS1 Swimrun, what we like:
- It’s easy to take on and off, even when you are wet on the body
- It provides a good fit with its 2mm arm panels around the shoulders while swimming
- Dual zippers allows for semi-down-cabbing on each side while running
- Added panels on the legs (front) help out with the buoyancy while swimming
- It’s really comfortable to run in, both on flat surface and in technical terrain. It’s also easy to climb archipelago mountains in it
- The closing around the neck is superb, keeping the water out
What can be developed further:
- The extra panels on the front legs are not enough to compensate for not having full length legs. A pull-bouy can be of good use if you prefer.
- The whistle in the front. Its unnecessary and jumps around while running
- The pockets are way too small for us and our need for gear. They just about fit some gels and a car key
- Given the different fabric-panels used, to find a way to drop the zipper on the back
- Allow for more stretch in the fabric in the crotch that under current and certain circumstances can give the appearance of a camel toe.
The Zone3 Evolution
What we like:
- Provides a good fit around the shoulders making it easy to swim with
- The closing of the neck is good, keeping water out
- Only 1 easily used zipper, on the front
- The large pocket on the back is perfect for storing swimrun gear. Smart to put it on the back, which really does not disturb and is very easily reached when swimrunning with a partner
- Orange panels on the arms make you more visible in the water and we do like the colours on the suit
- The two 8mm thick neoprene calf sleeves helps out with buoyancy and provides flexibility for the swimrunner if you want to just go without
What can be developed further:
- The integrated straps around the upper arms, sewed into the wetsuit around the biceps, makes the wetsuit both hard to put and take off. Two of the three person team couldn’t even get their arms properly into it and we wonder how Zone3 decided on the measurements for these straps
- In addition, the extra seams makes the wet suit more vulnerable to wear and tear and we suspect the wetsuit can rip or get holes very easily due to this
- However, if having a pocket on the inside, we would suggest they were made a bit bigger so you could store your phone or goggles in as well.
- The suit can be a bit hard to cab-down for those with larger shoulders
To sum up:
All in all, both these suits are really good for shorter and semi-long swimrun races, in not-so-cold water. They align well to the body and provides the necessary flexibility for swimming and running, and come in many sizes. They would definitely be our preferred choice for many of the sprint races in and around the world. If you plan to buy any of them, we suggest you take both out for a spin, to get that individual feel for it, since they are constructed in different ways making it impossible for us to recommend any of them specifically for you.