Tech Tuesday: FINIS HydroX Now Among World’s Top Racing Suits

The buoyancy that the FINIS HydroX provides compared to a regular practice suit was obvious right away. As soon as I jumped in and had the suit fitted correctly, I felt my legs float to the surface, with the suit providing a helpful dose of stability. As I swam around in the suit before attempting true race-pace efforts, the HydroX’s ability to create a more hydrodynamic shape in the water became evident. My muscles felt primed to explode into a sprinting motion. Of course, the real test of speed was yet to come.

The HydroX has a unique design with two layers of fabric, a blue inner layer designed for comfort and a black or white outer layer where the technical aspects start showing up. The fabric on the outer layer seemingly arranged into a circular pattern. This is part of the technology the suit uses to repel water.

Based on a recommendation from FINIS, I obtained a HydroX one size down from my typical racing suit size, which is already one down from my practice suit size. Indeed, the suit was tight, and it took a couple minutes to put on (as most tech suits do when they are first worn). The fit was nearly perfect, snug but tolerable, so the size was correct.

For my test run in the HydroX, I chose to swim a set of all out 100-yard repeats with several minutes of rest and 200 yards easy swimming in between to simulate race conditions. I wanted to see how my legs and my body would feel in the suit compared to a practice suit and compared to other suits I have tried in the past.

Naturally, I felt the strongest on the first swim. My instant reaction was that the suit raised the floor for my swimming; however tired or fatigued or sluggish I felt in the water, I was not going to slow down too much with the suit helping to maintain speed. I felt strong off the walls during the first few repeats, although the fatigue did start to set in later on in the set.

Just like with most top-line tech suits, the HydroX helped stave off the lactic acid buildup that makes 100-yard sprints in practice so painful and exhausting. I felt the suit almost holding in the fatigue until I had a chance to swim down. I could reach down and give a bit more effort down the final lap knowing that the suit was providing me with the edge I needed to finish.

As marketed, this suit did not provide the compression that similar products from other brands do, but the hydrodynamics of the suit absolutely make it one of the best in the market. Best suit in the world? That’s tough to say. Swimmers sometimes prefer different designs, fabrics and models of suit based on their body composition and unique traits. After trying the suit, I believe a chunk of elite swimmers who test out multiple brands will decide that the HydroX provides the optimal design to help them reach their goals.