Skip to content
Home » Blog » What gear do you need for a Swimrun race? 

What gear do you need for a Swimrun race? 

Swimrun is quite a demanding sport that requires a combination of swimming and running skills, as well as proper gear! In this blog post, I’ll outline the essential gear you’ll need for a Swimrun race, to help you prepare for this exciting and challenging adventure.

Note that you don’t have to buy all this gear before the first time you try the sport. If it’s summer where you are, you can get out on a session with just a swimming suit and any pair of running shoes that you have (that you don’t mind getting wet), swimcap and a pair of goggles. When you’re hooked on the sport (which I think you will be!) you can invest in some specific gear. It does make it more fun and easier to train and compete if you invest in some of these items! 

You need the following gear for a Swimrun Race: 

  • Swimrun Wetsuit
  • Swim cap
  • Goggles
  • Trail running shoes
  • Hand paddles
  • Bull Buoy 
  • Optional: Tether, socks, undergarments

Below, I’ll explain each piece of equipment in more detail! 

Swimrun Wetsuit

A wetsuit is an essential piece of equipment for a Swimrun race. It helps to keep you warm in cold water, provides buoyancy, and enhances swimming efficiency. Choose a wetsuit that is flexible, lightweight, and fits well, as you’ll need to run and swim in it for several hours.What makes a Siwmrun wetsuit unique, is that it zips in the front so you easily can open it up on the running sections. It is also short, cut off above your knees, and usually has short arms. 

The most frequently asked about type of Swimrun gear is probably the wetsuit as well. It can be hard to pick a wetsuit with the right thickness, flexibility, and size to ensure you get the right fit and comfort for their race, also because every swimrun race is different. For a cold race, you probably want a slightly thicker suit and long arms, while doing swimrun in tropical waters you might even consider a very thin lycra suit.

My favorite wetsuit: HEAD Aero 

Swim Cap for Swimrun

A swim cap is used to keep your hair out of your face and improve your visibility in the water. Look for a swim cap that is lightweight and fits comfortably, as you’ll need to wear it for the entire race. I usually wear a swim cap on the larger side, to fit my hair in it. Note that in races, you are almost always given a race-specific swim cap to wear. 

Goggles for Swimrun

Goggles are used to protect your eyes and improve visibility in the water. Look for a pair of goggles that fit well, provide clear vision, and don’t leak. Swimming goggles are avery personal thing, so it is important to try out which model fits your race. For Swimrun and open water, I would recommend slightly larger silicon goggles that fit outside yoru eye socket. This makes it more comfortable to wear for a logn time and increases visibility in teh open wter while navigating. 

My favorite goggles: Tiger MID by HEAD. 

Swimrun Shoes (Trail running shoes) 

Running shoes are a critical piece of equipment for a Swimrun race, as you’ll need to run on various terrains, including rocky and slippery surfaces, after completing a swim section. Choose running shoes that are quick-drying, have good traction, and fit well.

Swimrunners often worry the most about footwear and teh equipment piece I usually get most questions about. The right running shoes can make a big difference in terms of comfort, grip, and speed. The most important features of a good shoe is that they are quick-drying or draining as you exit teh water, have good traction (rubber spikes underneath), and perhaps most important of all, that they fit your feet well to ensure you are comfortable during the whole race! 

Socks for Swimrun

A question I get often is if you actually need to wear socks, since you get wet. Many people think that socks would generate blisters. In my opinion, it is teh opposite! I always wear socks, and prefer long socks that go up to my knee and provide both some compression to prevent cramps in the calfs and some protection from thorns and rocks. 

My favorite socks for Swimrun: Gococo knee-length wool compression socks 

Hand Paddles for Swimrun

Hand paddles are used to help with swimming efficiency and help compensate for the extra drag and weight form swimming with your shoes. If you have never swam with paddles before, you need to take some time to get used to it – otherwise the shoulder injuries can come creeping in! I recommend starting out with a paddle size that is equal to the size of your outstretched palm. When you get stronger, you can increase the size of the paddles. 

My favorite paddles: Frank Paddles carbon fiber paddles, size Medium.

Pull Buoy for Swimrun

A pull buoy is a floatation device usually made of foam that you place between your legs during the swimming sessions and carry on your waist or leg in a strap during the running.

In the later part of my Swimrun career, I discovered that the pull buoy is actually an essential piece of equipment. I started my Swimrun career thinking that it was an unnecessary item to carry around, and opted out of using one for several years. However, I tried it again and tested out my speed with and without a pull buoy, and it is definitely faster and more efficient to swim with it on. I carry my pull buoy around my waist, and it actually does not bother me at all when I run! Be careful about the size though and check beforeand, nowadays many races have restrictions on how big your pull buoy can be! 

My favorite pull buoy: Swimrunners pull buoy, Piraya model. 

Other Swimrun Equipment that can be useful

Some people wear a hydration pack or waist pack to carry food, water, and other essentials during the race. I don’t use this as I can usually fit all my gels inside my wetsuit pockets! 

A tether and belts are also recommended if you and your partner plan to pull each other. I would say it is essential if you are on different swimming levels! It is also nice for safety in the ocean, as you know you are attached to your teammate at all times. Look for a tether that is lightweight, flexible, and easy to attach and detach.

Underwear and what to wear under your wetsuit is something also heavily debated. If you get cold easily, you can opt for a merino wool layer underneath, for example a thin t-shirt, or even a neoprene vest. Many people wear specific swimrun net vests with pockets to store items and gels. I personally just use a swimrun sports bra with a pocket from HEAD and seamless thongs on the bottom. 

A GPS- or training watch is a common item worn by many Swimrunners. It is definitely not mandatory, but a great way to keep track of your pace and length of each swim and run leg.

Resources for selecting your Swimrun Gear

Here are a list of resources and gear reviews I recommend you check out in your hunt for teh perfect Swimrun gear: 

Brands that provide Swimrun Gear 

Here is a list of brands that produce Swimrun-specific gear. Note that soem brands may not be available in all parts of the world!

In conclusion, preparing for a Swimrun race requires more than just swimming and running skills. It also requires the right gear!  With the right gear, you’ll be ready to tackle the challenges of a Swimrun race and enjoy this exciting sport.

PS. If you have any gear questions feel free to get in touch with me and ask! Also, check out my training plans available to help you in your Swimrun race preparation.