In 2016 the swimrun community saw the birth of a new swimrun brand, namely Colting. The founder Jonas Colting, multiple Ultraman and ÖtillÖ world champion, who in 2014 swam 640 km from Stockholm to Gothenburg, is a guy who pretty much knows everything there is to know about being in the water. And him taking the step to materialize his ideas and experience, has sort of been expected. Among several products, he’s designed and developed a brand new swimrun wetsuit which was launched early this summer. But despite us having seen a few suits being used here and there, we hadn’t really seen a proper review of it. And curios as we are, we decided to get our hands on one and give it a thorough test.
The Colting Swimrun Wetsuit
The suit is made out of the well-known 39 and 40 Yamamoto Super Composite Skin (S.C.S) neoprene. It’s a combination which allows for maximal flexibility, buoyancy and durability yet with minimal water resistance. The Yamamoto neoprene is up to 99.7 % water resistant.
To ensure free movement and elasticity during the swim stroke, it carries Quad Stretch around the shoulders. The arm and shoulder panels are only 1.5 mm thick, whereas the waist panels (3 mm) and front side of the thighs (5 mm) are thicker to grant the swimrunner an optimal swim position in the water, even when swimming with shoes.
The legs are fitted with extra stretch and thin 1.5 mm side panels, to add even more flexibility to the suit when running and entering or exiting the water.
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Down at the heel, the suit is fitted with a small triangular and thin panel, making it really easy to pull over the foot.
The suit carries a front and back-zipper which is optimal for swimrun racing. The dual zipper allows for taking the top on and off with ease, or to just ventilate the back or front while running. As shown on the pictures, the front zipper is almost equally long to the back zipper, a unique feature compared to its rivals.
It has 4 pockets on the inside, 2 smaller and 2 larger.
The smaller pockets are closed using velcro, and all seams are robust and glued shut.
Testing the suit
Our overall impression of the suit is very positive. This is a well thought-out product that feels genuine and delivers as intended. The suit comes in a wide range of sizes, but in general they seem a bit small and we had to try several suits before we found the most appropriate fit. The test subject, 182 cm tall 84 kg, normally build, in the end opted for a medium tall (MT) after having tried both the medium large (ML) and large (L), despite the MT being recommended for people 185 cm or taller. In general this wetsuit tends to be a bit tight (stiff) on the front side between the crotch and the throat (as most dual-zipper-suits are), most likely due to the extra long front-zipper.
Despite the fact that the thinner panels give the sense of being delicate, the material is sturdy and can handle quite tough treatment. This is a good thing since most swimrun races usually mean having to negotiate tough and thick terrain, or skidding up and down wet rocks when the waves are big.
The varying thinner and thicker panels are placed in a strategic way, making the suit align itself perfectly around the body. However, when running in the (full) suit you immediately feel the resistance of the material limiting your gait, especially when running in technical terrain. The thin stretch panels on the side of the legs do help out, but it’s the butt-section, as with most wetsuits, that works against you when running with high knees. This won’t be as much of a problem on flat trail. Especially if you cut the suit above the knees.
You heat up quite fast in the suit, as in most, but with the dual zippers it’s easy to cab-down, or just to ventilate the front, back, or both. The extra long zipper in the front is a plus, especially if you only want to ventilate the front, since it really lets you open up the suit. Also, the extra long zipper makes access to the 4 pockets easy while running.
When you cab-down fully, the 2 top pockets fall over (upside down), but this is no problem since they are secured by velcro. The lower 2 larger pockets don’t close-shut, but remain under the waist line leaving that nothing inside them will fall out when cabbed-down.
It’s going to be interesting to see how the material between the legs (in the crotch) will handle a couple of 100 km of running. Suits without protection in this area tends to wear over time, especially if you’re using a rope around your thigh to attach stuff. We’ll have to get back on that one.
From the 1st arm stroke, we’ve had 0! chafing. This is impressive given the various problems we’ve had with other suits, especially around the neck. The suit is really comfortable and flexible around the shoulders and the Quad Stretch leave virtually no resistance in the rotation during the swim stroke. A good indicator of the flexibility of the material in any new suit, is to see how your muscles feel the day after a long initial swim. Normally, if the suit is not a 100% fit or that the material is not flexible enough, it will work against your rotation and your muscles will suffer from this, giving the sensation of ‘new’ muscle soreness the day after.
We had none.
The suit doesn’t allow water to trickle in, especially not in the front. At one point we had water coming in on the back, but this tiny amount can be explained from not getting the back top flap closed shut, which requires some training when you put on the suit by yourself. You can feel that the suit really closes shut around the neck, and that the robust zippers and top flaps to close them, can really take a beating.
The suit provides a really good position in the water. This is good if you’re a beginner, struggling to find the proper level of buoyancy. It’s also really fast, even when swimming with shoes on, and if you’re chasing seconds / 100 meter, you should definitely give it a try. During our swim-tests, also with shoes on, we significantly improved on our times.
We don’t think anyone will be disappointed.
Another plus, which we have called for with other swimrun wetsuits, is the bright colour on the arms. When swimming in the water, the yellow areas on the arms makes it more visible, which is a good thing if you train or adventureswimrun where there’s lots of boat traffic.
What can be developed further
This is a brand new suit, and of course there is room for improvement. Here below are our initial thoughts:
- We miss the front and back nylon loops for attaching a pull-cord. As it is now you need an (unnecessary) extra rope around the waist to accommodate for this feature, used by many swimrunners
- The lower pockets are closed shut in the bottom, retaining unnecessary water. A small hole in the bottom will take care of this problem
- Given that the suit is tight from the beginning. Stuffing it full with gear and energy will make it even more tight.
- The design. We don’t have an opinion on it other than that it can be quite difficult to see if you put the arms on wrongly (slightly twisted), which you’ll only discover when taking that first arm stroke. Lines along the arms would visualise this challenge
- It is quite expensive and you will cut it, at least the legs to improve your running economy. At the moment Colting are running a summer sale where you get a 20% discount on anything you buy, so now is probably the time to get one.
All in all we’re happy with what the suit has to offer. This is a good suit that will please both the beginner and pro-swimrunners out there. We also belive this suit is a strong competitor in the top-tier wetsuit segment, and we won’t be surprised if we start to see more of them making it to the podium finish. As proof of its emerging success, we saw team Olanderswim lag Ekman who raced in the Colting suits, finishing 3rd at the Amfibiemannen swimrun race last weekend.
It will be exiting to see if the suit can reach any of the top spots in the upcoming 2016 ÖtillÖ world championships, especially as the suit has grown in popularity, being used by more and more people this summer.
Next week is SAUC-week and after that we’ll be back with an updated review of the cut version of the suit. We will also try out the specially developed hybrid “calf-compression-buoy-guards”. So stay tuned!
/The WoS Team
Even though the site is in Swedish, its possible to get a suit shipped internationally. Just e-mail Colting to get more info (firstname.lastname@example.org).