Looking for a kneeskin swimsuit for conquering your next swim meet? Here’s a breakdown of the best tech suits for women, how to choose the right one, and more.
Swimming fast on race day comes down to a lot of things going right: the swim practices leading up to the meet, the taper going according to plan, and nailing your race strategy when you hit the water.
Being properly outfitted for success with the right kneeskin, however, can feel like an altogether different set of challenges.
Tech suits are pricey, often don’t fit according to size, and come in a dizzying variety of fabrics and materials.
- Best elite kneeskin for sprinters: Speedo Fastskin Pure Intent Kneeskin at SwimOutlet
- Best mid-priced tech suit for women: Arena Powerskin Carbon Flex Kneeskin at Amazon
- Best lightweight kneeskin for swimmers: Arena Carbon Air2 at SwimOutlet
- Best entry-level kneeskin: Arena Powerskin ST 2.0 at Amazon
In this guide to the best tech suits for women, we will highlight the fastest women’s tech suits in the pool.
We will also detail the things to look for when choosing the right suit for you. And we will answer some of the most common questions when it comes to tech suits and kneeskins for women.
By the end, you will be able to choose the right kneeskin for kicking butt on race day with confidence.
Let’s dive right in!
Best Kneeskin Swimsuits and Tech Suits for Women
Speedo Fastkin LZR Pure Intent Kneeskin
⭐ Best elite tech suit for women (and sprinters)
Speedo Fastskin suits have been at the forefront of the high-performance racing suit pack for decades.
Since making a big splash at the Beijing Olympics—with Michael Phelps rocking out the legging version on his way to 8-gold medals—the Fastskin series of suits have continued to evolve.
The latest edition of the Fastskin suits is the “Pure” series (Pure Intent, Pure Valor, and Pure Focus).
The Fastskin LZR Pure Intent is the one that provides the most compression, providing maximal blood flow to your core and legs, giving you that extra buoyancy and energy at the end of races, making it an excellent tech suit for sprinters.
In other words, it’s the fastest and most compressive kneeskin swimsuit for women.
“The compression is perfect, and I feel like the suit is really working with my kicks,” says American backstroker Kathleen Baker, a 2-time Olympic gold medalist and world record holder. (She’s also sponsored by Speedo, for what it is worth.)
If every last hundredth of a second matters on race day, the tech suit that will maximize your swim is the Fastskin LZR Pure Intent Kneeskin.
|✅ PROS||❌ CONS|
|Fastest women’s tech suit||Most expensive racing suit on the market|
|Closed back or open back|
|Tons of color combinations|
|Made with the feedback of Olympic champions|
|Dual layers of compression|
Arena Carbon Air2 Kneeskin
⭐ Best lightweight kneeskin swimsuit
Putting on a tech suit after weeks or even months of training with a 100% polyester training suit can feel a little… weird. The thinness and lightness of tech suits compared to your practice suit feels like you are walking, or rather, swimming, on air.
The Arena Carbon Air2 Kneeskin takes this to another level with the lightest kneeskin on the pool deck. The suit weighs just over 100g, which is about the same poundage as a medium-sized tomato, making it feel truly like a second skin.
The Air2 has a fabric blend of 65% polyamide, 34% elastane, and the usual 1% carbon fiber that is typical of Arena’s premium tech suits.
The Powerskin Carbon Air2 comes in a handful of solid colors, in open or closed back designs, and is the ideal racing suit for mid-distance and distance swimmers.
If you are looking for a women’s tech suit that is exceptionally light, and compressive yet still mostly flexible, then the Air2 is going to be perfect for you.
Arena Powerskin Carbon Flex Kneeskin Swimsuit
⭐ Best mid-range women’s tech suit for stroke events
It’s probably no secret that I am a big fan of Arena suits and swim gear. The Powerskin Carbon Flex is a killer mid-range racing suit for women.
Compared to many kneeskins, which can leave you feeling stiff and stuffed into the suit, the Carbon Flex balances compression with a range of motion.
The Powerskin Carbon Flex Kneeskin is middle of the road when it comes to pricing, usually around $275-300 depending on the seller, but retains the high-performance attributes that you expect from a tech suit.
Available in over a dozen colors and color combinations (including the Adam Peaty-themed lion suit, pictured below), the Carbon Flex is my top pick for mid-range kneeskin.
|✅ PROS||❌ CONS|
|Ideal for stroke events||Not as light as other kneeskins for stroke events|
|Available in size 22-34|
|Tons of color and print options|
|High compression levels|
|Bonded seams for reduced drag|
FINIS Vapor Pro Kneeskin
Runner up: Best mid-range racing swimsuit
FINIS is one of the more innovative swim gear companies, with their swimmer’s snorkel, Tempo Trainer, and waterproof headphones being extremely popular in the pool. Their racing suits, the Vapor, is a slick looking and highly compressive racing suit that delivers on high-performance comfort and feel.
Made of 27% spandex, 73% nylon, the Vapor is constructed with dual panels along the backside that promotes buoyancy and promises to maintain muscle efficiency. The seams of the suit are welded and bonded so that there is no stitching on the exterior of the suit, and the Vapor Pro Kneeskin comes in black and slate.
Comfortable, fast, and reasonably priced, you cannot ask for much more with the Vapor racing suits.
Arena Powerskin ST 2.0 Kneeskin
⭐ Best budget-friendly racing kneeskin
The Powerskin ST series of swimsuits are my favorites when it comes to affordable, entry-level suits that also provide the benefits you expect from a high-performance suit, including compression and water-repellent fabric.
The Powerskin ST 2.0 Kneeskins cost around $100 (depending on where you live) and is made of 71% polyamide and 29% elastane. The suits are available in over a dozen colors, from your typical full black and aquamarine to a series of color combinations and patterns.
(The Arena Powerskin ST 2.0 is also the best 12-and-under tech suit on the market.)
Comfortable, durable (with proper care, obviously), and fast, the Powerskin ST kneeskin is an excellent racing suit for women who want to break some personal best times without breaking the bank.
TYR Venzo Genesis Women’s Tech Suit
⭐ Best kneeskin for Breaststrokers
Let’s just come and say it: there is something unique about breaststrokers. They perform the only stroke in the water where the body comes to a nearly dead-stop in the middle of each stroke cycle.
Add the external hip rotation required of breaststroke kicking, and you can see what sets them apart.
Because of the unique leg movement inherent in the breaststroke kick, swimsuit manufacturers need to be able to make a racing suit that provides all the compression and support benefits along with enough range of motion in the hip to allow a breaststroker to kick with full power and range of motion.
The TYR Venzo Genesis tech suits, the latest in the line of the Huntington, California-based swim company’s line of racing suits, delivers on this.
Made of 70% nylon and 30% spandex, the Venzo Genesis Kneeskin crushes it when it comes high-performance breaststrokin’.
BlueSeventy neroFIT Tech Suit
Runner up: Entry-level kneeskin
BlueSeventy is a manufacturer of gear for swimmers and open water swimmers. Their racing suits, the neroFITs, take a lot of the same high-performance features of high ticket suits and bundle them up in an affordable, cheaper kneeskin.
While most premium kneeskins run in the range of $400-600, the neroFIT comes in at under $200, making it an excellent budget-friendly tech suit.
Although it has slightly less elastane than elite racing suits (20% of the suit is made with this fast-drying, water-repellant fabric), the suit has fully bonded seams (no stitching, reducing drag), and has silicone grippers on the inside of the legs so that you can climb in and out of the suit more readily.
Other Kneeskins We Tested and Researched
The Speedo Vanquisher Kneeskin is similar to the Powerskin ST 2.0 in it is a budget-friendly racing suit. The Vanquisher, however, has more polyester, making it a slightly “slower” yet more durable racing suit.
The Arena Core FX Kneeskin is a top-tier, maximum compression kneeskin and is Arena’s most compressive racing suit. While we like it, the Speedo Pure Intent is a better option.
TYR’s Avictor Kneeskin is a really good multi-stroke racing suit—particularly good for breaststrokers. TYR has largely sunsetted this suit for the new TYR Venzo, but there is still some stock floating around.
Tech Suits for Women – FAQs
How to Choose the Best Women’s Tech Suit
You’ve placed a lot of time, energy, sweat and tears into your training.
Each day you havee gone to the pool and hustle and grinded your way through countless threshold sets, lactate sets, and more meters and yards than you can count. (Probably more than you drive, to be honest.)
Now, it’s time to put all that hard work from practice and put it to the test in competition. With a successful taper behind you, and the bottled nerves causing your stomach to feel like its turning itself inside out, you prep yourself for race day.
Picking out the best racing suit for yourself is part of the process.
There are a lot of things to consider when women pick out the kneeskin they take with them into battle.
- Cost: Racing suits are not cheap. Premium kneeskins run upwards of $600. Entry-level racing suits are in the $100-150 range.
- Durability: Kneeskins are made up of mostly delicate fabrics that are extremely light, water-repellant, but also not particularly long-lasting.
- Comfort: Some kneeskins are better suited for specific strokes and events. Stroke swimmers will want more flexibility and less compression so that they can swim with a better range of motion. Sprinters will want maximum compression and “stiffness” for peak body support in the water.
- Performance: Racing suits promise to boost performance through a combination of compression, hydrodynamic construction, and other drag-reducing features, including bonded seams.
Do tech suits and kneeskin swimsuits help you swim faster?
Tech suits come with a lot of hype and flashy lingo.
Whether it’s the proprietary fabrics, the claims of performance benefits, or the hyperbole that comes with racing swimsuits, a question remains: will wearing a tech suit actually help you swim faster on race day?
The answer is: most likely.
Studies at the University of Iowa, with French international-level swimmers, and at Speedo’s research lab (fittingly called AquaLab), have shown a range of performance benefits.
For example, while developing a new range of FastSkin suits following the rubber suits ban of 2009, Speedo found  that their Fastskin-3 reduced passive drag by 16.6% and reduced surface drag by 5.2% compared to a “standard suit.”
Okay… But how do tech suits help women swim faster?
There is no doubt that you simply feel faster when wearing a tech suit in the water. Women, in particular, with the added suit coverage benefit from the compression, fabric, and design of these swimsuits.
Here are some of the ways that tech suits help women swim faster than ever on race day:
Improved body position. Racing swimsuits provide added buoyancy in the water. One of the main things swimmers notice with a tech suit is their hips rise to the surface, putting them in a biomechanically superior position to swim well.
Reduced drag. Traditional swimsuits that are used in training are made of polyester, which lasts a long time but also soaks up a lot of water and wrinkle up, causing additional friction and resistance in the water. Tech suits are built of water-repellant material that cuts down on drag when swimming.
Improved efficiency. Studies with racing swimsuits have found that swimmers get more distance per stroke when wearing a tech suit. Being able to get more distance with each stroke makes you more efficient in the water, boosting how far and how fast you can swim.
What are women’s tech suits made of?
Although tech suits vary widely in design, cut, and colors, they are generally made of the same types of material.
Here are the biggies when it comes to tech suits for women:
Elastane is one of the two main fabrics that compose a fast tech suit. Also known as Spandex or Lycra, elastane is a water-repellent fabric that is stretchy, giving you a 1-2 punch of drag reduction and comfort.
Also commonly found in yoga pants, elastane tends to pill and can stretch out and thin quickly over time. The reason that tech suits don’t last very long after repeated exposure to chlorine and wear is because of elastane.
Elastane is blended with other more durable fabrics to provide a long-lasting swimsuit that is fast and comfortable.
Swimsuit makers commonly rotate through the different names for this fabric, but elastane, Lycra and Spandex are basically the same thing, so don’t get too stressed about the way it’s branded.
Almost every swimsuit on the planet is made from polyester. It’s the reigning champ when it comes to a durable, comfortable and water-appropriate materials for swimsuits.
Polyester resists chlorine, doesn’t fade (or at least, takes almost forever to fade), is comfortable, and provides a breathable and quick-drying fit.
✅ Polyester PBT
Polyester PBT is a tough fabric that is highly resistant to chlorine, saltwater, color fading. It has a little more stretch than regular polyester, making it an ideal material for swimwear, and particularly, racing suits for competitive swimmers.
Unlike regular polyester, the PBT version is slightly better at repelling water. It also has a smooth, matte finish that is soft on the skin and looks great, too.
Another polyester alternative is nylon. Nylon isn’t as durable when it comes to chlorine resistance, meaning that it will fade faster compared to polyester.
That said, it does have some benefits, in that it repels moisture, it’s soft, and provides a decent level of elasticity for a comfortable fit.
✅ Carbon fiber
Lastly, we have carbon fiber, which is a tech suit ingredient that is unique to Arena racing suits.
Carbon fiber is an extremely tough material that allows a tech suit to be stretched out without being stretched to the point that it becomes see-through or it loses compression and stability.
Combined with the more durable materials like nylon or polyester, carbon fiber stiffens the swimsuit, providing excellent compression and suit durability.
The amount of carbon needed to achieve their performance benefits is actually quite minimal. For example, the Powerskin Carbon Air2 tech suit for women has 1% of carbon fiber in the suit.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to choosing the right racing suit for kicking all of the butts on race day, you want something that has the performance features (compression, bonded seams), durability (silicone grips on the leg holes, for example), and proper range of motion.
To recap our top choices:
⭐ The Speedo LZR Pure Intent Kneeskin is our top overall choice for the fastest kneeskin on the market. Definitely best suited (ha!) towards sprinters and elite swimmers with that $599 price point.
⭐ The Arena Carbon Air2 Kneeskin is an excellent choice for girls and women who want a lightweight, yet still compressive, racing suit for stroke and distance races.
⭐ And the Arena Powerskin ST 2.0 continues to be our top choice for best budget-friendly kneeskin, with a sizable amount of compression balanced with an inexpensive price tag.
Choose the best kneeskin swimsuit for you, strap it on on race day, and crush those PB’s!
More Tech Suits and Guides
What is a Tech Suit? (And Do You Need One?). Tech suits are racing suits for competitive swimmers. Here’s a look at what makes a tech suit so “techy”, why swimmers wear them, and how they differ from regular swimsuits.
How Much Do Tech Suits Cost? (67 Tech Suits Compared by Price). Wondering how much tech suits cost? Here’s a detailed look at all of the tech suits on the market right now, broken down by price.