In 2016 Colting wetsuits entered the swimrun market with several products. Led by Jonas Colting, a well know ultraman winner and swimrunner, the brand aims at the high-end of the market. We (WoS) have previously tested and evaluated their wetsuit and used their swimrun Calfs with success in many races, including a 4th position at this year’s ÖtillÖ. Colting’s latest contribution to their swimrun line is the Swimpants SP01.
On their website they write:
The swimpants features a 100% Yamamoto SCS surface. The Yamamoto is 99.7% water impervious and for the pants, Colting have used Yamamoto version 39 and 40 for maximum flexibility, to retain body temperature and keep buoyancy. The tight structure of the neoprene makes it more resistant to wear and tear. For best fit and adherence around the hip, to keep water out, the pants come with a specially developed hip seal, made out of a flexible material with a lacing feature. Along the sides, the pants features a 1.5 mm thick panel with extra stretch which is also found on their wetsuit. This panel increases mobility while running but not least, in and out of the water.
We had several people try the pants, beginners as well as advanced swimmers. Together we swam several kilometres in an indoor pool and on several occasions to get accustomed to the pants. This gave us time to reflect upon and thoroughly discuss their performance. For comparison, we also swam with our ‘regular’ swim-gear i.e. with only standard pants and the standard foam pull-buoy for buoyancy purposes.
Doing these varying tests during the same session gave us a proper feel for how the pants manifested themselves differently to the other options in relation to; body position in the water, swim-speed, flip turns, entries and exits. We also timed ourselves swimming different distances to compare speed. To get a complete feel for the pants we ran several kilometers in both flat and varying technical terrain.
Given that we tested the pants during weekends, being out of our science lab, we created a home-made version using a pool, a plastic basket and some cutlery and metal plates as weights, to compare the pants and the buoys respective characteristics. The pants weighed in at 432 grams (g) dry weight, compared to the buoy at 59 g only. We packed the pants together and released all trapped air and then added weight underneath until the pants started to sink, the same for the buoy. After deducting the floating capacity of the plastic basket (10 g) we found that the buoy had a lifting capacity of 2 916 g (2.9 kg) compared to the pants with 1 918 g (1.9 kg).
What we like
+ The pants provide adequate and well placed buoyancy to achieve a good streamlined position in the water, which increases the speed when swimming.
+ The pants suits both the beginner and the more experienced swimmer. The beginner will benefit from not having to work to control a loose buoy between the legs, which will not only release added muscle tension, but also allow for focus to be put on the actual and important swimming technique.
+ The extra material in the back ensures a tight fit against the arch in your lower back (see red circle in the picture below).
+ 2 items become 1. You can skip both the separate buoy and regular pants and instead only use these ‘dual-action’ swimpants.
+ The flexing capacity of the 1.5 mm panels on the side. They help out when running in technical terrain and at fast pace. Colting is currently the only brand offering this feature. Other types of neoprene pants are solely aimed at the pure swimmers’ market, not the swimrunners.
+ Running with the swimpants provide a feeling very similar to running with classic swimrunning wetsuits (however without the top section flopping around), providing another training option.
+ If you run in cold climate they will easily fit under you normal running pants.
+ They keep you warm in the water.
+ They dry quickly.
+/- If you are in-between sizes, opt for the larger one. The pants are tight. If you buy the smaller size it will impact on your running.
? We did not try to swim with shoes on so we don’t know how adding shoes will affect the position in the water and the current gained speed.
What can be improved
– We miss a small pocket in the lining or in the elevated back section for storing a key.
– They could be longer. If they were 10 cm longer we would not have cut them. Adding lenght would allow the user this option to adjust for custom fit.
– They could have had more flexibility around the buttocks, especially if you are going to run a longer technical distance in them.
– The price. They are quite expensive.
Some further thoughts
They are marketed as swimpants but we believe that they can become the next generation swimrun pants. They are quite comfortable to run in given the extra flexible panels on the sides. During off-season, swimmrunners tend to stop running in neoprene which makes them forget that specific feeling. This new product could encourage more people to take up on ‘dry-neoprene’ training, i.e. using pants like this to only run in and keep the body and gait accustom to the natural resistance of the neoprene.
Despite what you stand to lose in terms of ‘weight-buoyancy-capacity’ compared to the foam pull-buoy (approximately 1 kg), you gain in terms of absence of tension to keep the buoy in place between the legs, and the improved hydrodynamics (streamline) in the water allowing for better speed. If you are an advanced swimmer you will definitely be able to take advantage of this since the pull-buoy due to its shape, creates a small yet significant resistance in the water. And it’s a no-brainer that the Yamamoto neoprene will glide better in the water than a standard pair of polyester pants. The experienced swimmers performing the test all increased their speed significantly compared to swimming with the foam pull-buoy and standard swim pants.
The beginners will also be able to use these pants to their advantage. The flotation capacity of the pants will help lifting up the lower body into a position helping the swimmer into a more natural swimming position. This will allow more focus to be put on important technical aspects such as breathing, arm positions, shoulder and hip-rotation and the leg-kick and so forth.
Is this the beginning of the end of the swimrun wetsuit?
In warmer conditions, we expect some people to completely skip the wetsuit and instead opt for a combo of the swimpants and a swimrun race vest. The good swimmers and naturally warm people will be able to take advantage of this minimalistic and flexible combination. However the overlap between the vest and swimpants need to be large enough to prevent water from entering between them and form a non-hydrodynamic bulge. We are sure someone has already thought of this and that we will see a solution hit the market already in 2017, no names mentioned 🙂
The development of swimrun equipment is not yet finished and we like this a lot! All-in-all we’re happy with the pants and we expect them to become an easy ‘avoid-the-crowd-and-order-online’ Christmas gift.
/The WoS Team