Reviewed: sailfish One 7 Wetsuit

For all the advances in technology in triathlon over the last five or so years, there’s one place that has seemingly stayed somewhat consistent — wetsuits. It’s been a long while since we’ve seen revolutionary changes in wetsuit design. And in some ways, that’s a good thing — wetsuit pricing hasn’t quite taken off at the rate that we’ve seen for other parts of our sport.

Wetsuits also tend to be an area where triathletes attempt to save money — either by holding onto a wetsuit that is, quite literally, hanging on by a thread for one race too many, or by ordering the current suit offered at 50-60% off “retail” price (of course, if that discount is always offered…that’s just the price, and you may want to shop accordingly).

But outside of bike fit, a properly fitting wetsuit that matches with your body might be the best investment you can make. A poor fitting wetsuit is, at best, a drag on your swim. At worst, it can impede your stroke or even be a safety hazard. Unfortunately, it’s become more difficult to shop for wetsuits; there are precious few retailers who carry a line of suits for try-on, and even fewer who can tell the difference between a suit that’s right and suit that’s available to sell right now.

That’s where sizing charts have become ever more important, but they don’t always tell the entire story. Let’s take, for instance, the subject of this review — sailfish’s One 7 Wetsuit. With nine different sizes available, there’s also some significant overlap between each size in the run. (At 6’3” and somewhere between 182 and 194 lbs depending on the day, I opted for the medium long.) But those size charts don’t tell you, say, torso length versus leg length.

I would say that, based on my experience, sailfish errs on the longer side for torso length, which means a slightly shorter leg length. The opposite fit would likely be blueseventy’s wetsuits, which are shorter in the torso and longer in the leg. With a 34” inseam at 6’3” tall, I’m pretty squarely between those options in terms of torso versus leg length — in other words, I can make both work pretty well.

The One 7 offers a high amount of buoyancy in key regions — 4.5 mm thick Aerofloat neoprene in the hips, torso, and thighs — paired with 1.5 mm thick neoprene in the shoulders and arms to give maximal flexibility. Granted, there’s no replacement for fit — any restriction in the shoulder will be amplified regardless of the thickness of the neoprene — but the arms are about as thin as anything I’ve ever put on.

Speaking of — the One 7 I find to be one of the easier suits to put on. No need for the classic shopping bag trick (unless you’re *very* sweaty when attempting to put this on); just a little lubricant and it slides up. Getting the suit into position was quite easy. It did take a minute for me to get used to the zipper; I’ve been wearing a B70 Helix for so long that all I know is the reverse zipper. But that’s a minor niggle.

Swimming in the suit and you find the Aerofloat panels do, in fact, provide the level of buoyancy you’d expect. It’s like swimming with a permanent pull buoy, which is a godsend for someone like myself whose kick consists of barely tapping his big toes together. And there’s zero shoulder restriction. Coming up on ten years since my big cycling crash, some of those niggles in the back and shoulder creep up on me, and thankfully there’s none of that wearing this suit. It isn’t as comfortable as going sleeveless — but it’s also around 3 seconds per 100 meters, in my testing, faster than going sleeveless.

The One 7 is a fast suit. It’s pretty easy to put on and live with. It should fit a pretty wide swath of the marketplace. And at $725, it undercuts other top-end wetsuits on price by anywhere from $25 to $250. That’s a hell of a deal for triathletes seeking maximum floatation help with a lot of flexibility in the arms.

Or, in other words, if you didn't swim competitively in your younger years, or you love seeing pull buoy and paddles on your swim sets -- this is your suit.

sailfish One 7 Wetsuit
Price: $725
Available: Now
Buy: Men's / Women's